Laguna Cartagena National Wildlife Refuge
Efforts to rehabilitate the Laguna Cartagena began in 1989 with the lagoon and surrounding land being leased out through the Puerto Rico Land Administration. During the year 1996, the area was increased to over a thousand hectares, with conservation initiatives continuing to protect the habitats of migratory and resident bird species. Hundreds of birds have made the lagoon their home, and today it is a magnificent destination for wildlife and bird watching enthusiasts. Located in landscapes blanketed in hills, sugar cane fields and rolling green slopes, Laguna Cartagena National Wildlife Refuge offers visitors a unique and breathtaking experience.
A large amount of the land in the Laguna Cartagena National Wildlife Refuge consists of abandoned agricultural land. These fields are slowly being converted into rich pasturelands and reforesting some areas to provide safer habitats for its bird life. The main focus of the ongoing projects within the reserve is reforestation and education. Providing the public with informative materials helps them to understand the need for conservation and the importance to protect the lagoon. Due to the massive expanse of fresh water that forms the lagoon, a variety of aquatic migratory birds seek refuge here, as well as neotropical migrant species.
The beauty of the Laguna Cartagena National Wildlife Refuge is breathtaking. Visitors will be able to marvel at the magnificence of the Sierre Bermeja and enjoy the tranquility of the lagoon. The only disturbance in the air is the song and colors of various bird species, which will have bird watchers captivated for hours. Some of the wonderful bird life to look forward to includes waterfowl, a variety of heron species, peregrine falcon, Smooth-billed Anis, Yellow-Shouldered Blackbird and Magnificent Frigatebird, to name but a few. During the years before the establishment of the Laguna National Wildlife Refuge, the area was used for waterfowl hunting, but as the numbers of these amazing birds have dwindled, hunting is no longer permitted within the refuge.
The refuge is open to the public every day of the week and visitors are invited to share in the beauty and uniqueness of the wildlife, landscapes and bird watching opportunities of the Laguna Cartagena National Wildlife Refuge.