Maunabo – Escape to a Cultural Paradise
If you travel to the southeastern coast of Puerto Rico you may well find yourself enchanted by the small town of Maunabo. This delightful city was founded in 1799. Named for the Taino Indian named river ‘Maunatabon’, Maunabo is an absolutely delightful part of the island that every tourist should visit at least once.
Locals like to call Maunabo ‘La Ciudad Tranquila’ which means ‘The Calm City’. This is an appropriate nickname for this small piece of paradise since high mountains and difficult mountain passes have long restricted access to the city. This has resulted in the city enjoying a very strong colonial feel. Maunabo in Puerto Rico is rich in culture and has a lot of personality because it isn’t overly commercialized like many other Puerto Rican cities. One of the most appealing aspects of the city has to be its three beaches – each complete with warm, unspoiled blue and green waters and beautiful white sand. Los Pinos beach is one of the less visited beaches since it is filled with black carbon mineral deposits which tend to stick to moisture. On the other hand, Los Bohios is the most popular beach since it is great for swimming and picnicking. The beach has excellent barbequing areas and showers to help you wash the saltwater off. Many surfers love braving the dangerous waters of the beach while swimmers play it safe under the watchful eye of lifeguards. The Los Bohios Restaurant is also an excellent place to enjoy some great seafood dining. The Playa Punta Tuna beach is not really a swimming beach. It is home to the Punta Tuna Lighthouse which was built by the Spanish in 1892. This attractive lighthouse is now a symbol of the town and it is open to the public which makes it the main attraction at the beach. The beach is separated from the road by section of grape trees and can only be accessed by foot via a short, dusty road.
Over the years, Maunabo has become somewhat famous for several different reasons. For one thing it is home to the annual ‘Festi-Carnaval ’ – or crab carnival – which features three days of live music, street fairs, competitions and crab food. The festival is one of nine annual events and is held each year in the month of September. Maunabo is also home to one of the most endangered creatures on the island, the little coquí frog, which sings like a bird in the evening. This dainty frog can be found in the lush tropical vegetation surrounding the city and in a few other parts of the island. The surrounding mountains and lush vegetation make Maunabo a popular hiking destination though most people prefer to go sight seeing instead. Interesting attractions include the Callejon Gallery, the Cantera Caverns, the La Cueva del Indio cavern and the Maunabo Lighthouse. If you would like to visit this great destination, but are unsure about making it through the difficult mountain pass, you can either catch a boat ride to the city or you can wait until the first under-mountain tunnels in Puerto Rico, which are currently under construction, are opened. These tunnels will bypass the mountain road and connect Maunabo with Yabucoa directly making access to this awesome little town much more convenient.