Guajataca Tunnel (Tunel De Guajataca) In Puerto Rico – All You Need To Know

Do you like ocean views, trains, history and legends?

If so, El Tunel de Guajataca is a must-visit for you. Tunnel Guajataca is one of my favorite places in Puerto Rico.

I have been visiting the tunnel since I was a child.

In this article, I will cover everything that you need to know about the Guajataca Tunnel in Puerto Rico:

What is the Guajataca Tunnel?
Where is it located?
Is the Guajataca Tunnel worth visiting?
What else can you do nearby?

 

What is the Guajataca Tunnel?

The Spanish started the Puerto Rico rail system in 1888.

They took almost 20 years to complete the route from San Juan to Ponce

When the American Troops arrived in Puerto Rico during the Spanish-American war in 1898, the railroad system consisted of 168 miles of tracks.

image showing the Railroad Map of Puerto Rico
Railroad map of Puerto Rico.

In 1902 The American Railroad Company (ARC) from New York acquired Puerto Rico’s railroad system. In that same year, passenger travel began to grow.

The ARC expanded the railroad to the west of San Juan. This included the towns of Arecibo and Aguadilla, and they wanted to link the railroad line through the towns of Quebradillas and Isabela.

Because of the area’s topography, they needed to build two tunnels and a bridge.

old image of Guajataca Tunnel
A historic image of the Guajataca Tunnel in the early 1900’s. Image credit: Library of Congress.

In 1904 the American Railroad Company dug a tunnel through the mountain that separated Guajataca’s Beach in Quebradillas and Pelicanos Beach in Isabela, completing the Guajataca Tunnel.

The tunnel was in service until 1957 when commercial travel ceased. Passenger traveling ceased in 1953.

Allow me to share with you the legend of the train wreck.

In November of 1910, on a trip from San Juan to Aguadilla, the train could not slow down sufficiently and derailed exiting the tunnel.

image of the 1910 Guajataca Tunnel trainwreck
The aftermath of the 1910 Guajataca Tunnel train wreck. Image credit: Universidad de Puerto Rico.

In this accident, 16 people died, and 50 were injured. People said that the tunnel was haunted and that you could hear the voices of the train wreck victims.

In 2000, the Puerto Rico Government declared Guajataca Tunnel a Historical Monument.

 

Where is it located?

You will find Guajataca Tunnel on Guajataca Beach, where the towns of Quebradillas and Isabela meet.

image of Gujataca Beach
Guajataca Beach is great for lounging in the sun, but currents make it too dangerous to swim here.

There is plenty of free parking space, and you do not have to pay to enter the tunnel.

Below is a Google Map that shows the location of the Guajataca Tunnel:

Warning: For us at puertorico.com, your safety and well-being are very important.

When you arrive at the Guajataca Tunnel, you will see a white sand beach with intense blue water, but be careful.

Strong currents and powerful waves make this beach a dangerous one. Please stay out of the water!

Isabela has other beaches that are safer — check out our article on Isabela’s best beaches.

 

Is the Guajataca Tunnel worth visiting?

Guajataca Tunnel is worth visiting! The view is simply breathtaking. 

image of Guajataca Tunnel
An aerial view of the tunnel.

You will see the ocean, walk through history and witness a feat of American engineering. 

From Playa Pelicanos, look to your right to see one of the most beautiful cliffs in Puerto Rico.

The place is excellent for taking photos, and if you go on weekends, you will see artisans selling their artwork.

image showing the aerial view of the south of the tunnel
Great views surround the area, making it a great place to stop and take pictures if you are driving from San Juan to the west coast.

Try to get a piragua (shaved ice covered in fruit-flavored syrup) and taste some empanadillas.

 

What else can you do nearby?

There are many things to do near Guajataca Tunnel.

You can go to El Mirador (lookout point) to get a bird’s eye view of the tunnel and Guajataca’s beach.

image of Mirador de Guajataca
Mirador de Guajataca is a beautiful lookout spot nearby the tunnel.

You can also visit La Cara del Indio or Taino Chief Mabodamaca’s face carved in the mountain.

Read all about this monument in our article La Cara Del Indio – All You Need To Know.

image of La Cara del Indio
La Cara del Indio, Isabela, Puerto Rico.

Another thing you can do is go to Tunel Negro or Black Tunnel.

In 1906, The American Railroad Company of Puerto Rico built another tunnel a couple of miles from Guajataca Tunnel.

The Black Tunnel is the longest of both tunnels and was joined by a steel viaduct 250 feet long at an elevation of 131 feet above the river level. 

You have to walk for half an hour up the Guajataca river to reach the Black Tunnel. Once you enter the tunnel, you will know why it is called Black Tunnel. 

You can also kayak or paddle board at Guajataca’s river.

Check out the two tunnel adventures in Guajataca in the following video:

 

Final thoughts

Guajataca Tunnel is a must-visit place if you go to the west coast of Puerto Rico.

You will enjoy a great view, a hike near the ocean, and a wonderful place to take pictures.

And regarding pictures, check our article about the 72 Best Places To Take Photos In Puerto Rico.

Article by

Carlos Cubero

Writer at PuertoRico.com. I was born in Aguadilla, Puerto Rico. I’m passionate about Puerto Rican history and culture. I live on the west coast of Puerto Rico, and host an Airbnb for tourists. I also coordinate tours and concierge services for tourists. I authored “Eat Like A Local, Puerto Rico”, and have contributed to blogs and magazines with articles about discovering and enjoying what Puerto Rico has to offer.

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