Puerto Rico has many natural attractions that are full of beauty. Many people enjoy visiting them and always have great memories and stories to tell upon their return home. It is a popular hub that is almost always brimming with eager tourists who cannot wait to get to their respective destinations. One of such attractions is Las Cabezas Nature Reserve.
The Las Cabezas Nature Reserve is about 400 acres and has about 11 different ecosystems such as mangroves, sea shore, dry forest, bioluminescent lagoon and many more. It is a unique natural attraction in Puerto Rico.
When visiting, you will receive a tour where your guide will educate you on the reserve and its ecological importance to Puerto Rico. You will stop at the beach, and walk across the road to Laguna Grande, and enjoy a tram ride up to the lighthouse.
The history and characteristics of Las Cabezas Nature Reserve and the Bio Bay
It is located on the northeast tip of the Island in Fajardo and its name arises from the shape of the three rocky headlands that extend to the Atlantic Ocean. The land for the reserve was acquired by the Puerto Rico Conservation Trust in 1975 and was designated as a Nature Reserve in 1986.
As mentioned before, it is roughly 400 acres.
It has a bioluminescent lagoon, mangroves, coral reefs, dry forests, sandy and rocky beaches set between headlands all in one place. There have been nearly 100 species of birds documented in Las Cabezas, including the Great Egret and the White-cheeked Pintail. The only mammals found in the reserve are bats, mongoose and rats, the mongoose and rats not being endemic.
The lighthouse was built by the Spanish in 1880 and is known as El Faro del Fajardo. It has 2 wall-charts on the ground floor of the lighthouse that you may find particularly interesting. One shows the location and range of all the lighthouses on Puerto Rico. The other shows the different patterns of light each light house makes.
After a brief walk on a boardwalk, the first stop is in the mangrove forest, the second stop is a beautiful rocky beach called Los Lirios, which means “the lilies.” The last stop is the Fajardo Lighthouse which has displays, an aquarium, and crabs in the wild. You can go to the top of the lighthouse for a magnificent view of north-eastern Puerto Rico.
The best time to vist Las Cabezas Nature Reserve is when there is a new moon. This will ensure that there is little to no external light that may interfere with the glow of the water at the bio lagoon, Laguna Grande.
The sights and sounds diverse and so are the tours. There are multiple tours such as traditional, night, or thematic tours by bike, trolley, or kayak always accompanied by a history or nature specialist. They offer workshops, volunteer opportunities, citizen science opportunities, and special events.
How to plan a visit to the Bio Bay on foot at Las Cabezas Nature Reserve in Puerto Rico
Tours are run only on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights. Making reservations is obligatory and you must specify whether you want your tour to be given in English or Spanish. There is an admission fee that you must pay. This costs about $24 for individuals. Students are made to pay a sum of $14. Payments are made when booking a reservation. They accept Visa, Master Card and American Express. You can make a reservation by hopping onto their website www.paranaturaleza.org . Make sure you receive your reservation number and print out your confirmation sheet.
Tours start at 7:00pm and are approximately 2 hours long. As mentioned before, the best time to participate in the tour is when there is little to no moonlight. You can look at the moon calendar available on their website to confirm the best day to go.
Since it is a moonlit trip, it may be a good idea to bring a torch light. Make sure you wear comfortable shoes and clothes. Avoid the use of bug sprays or lotions that may serve as a threat to the marine life in the lagoon. Most of the tour is handicap accessible so that should not be a worry. It is also advised that you arrive 30 minutes prior to the scheduled time of your tour.
Things to do and see during the Bio Bay on foot tour at Las Cabezas Nature Reserve in
Here are some things to do while you are on the bio bay foot tour at Las Cabezas. Enjoy an educational tour on the surrounding mangrove swamps while you hike. You will learn about what makes the water red.
Next you will visit the lighthouse which located on the highest point of the reserve. Climb the iron staircase to the observation deck of the lighthouse and take in stunning sweeping views of the preserve, bio bay, and El Yunque National Forest on one side, and the islands of Vieques, Icacos, and St. Thomas islands on the other.
You will be taken into a darkened room where you will get to hold bioluminescent dinoflagellates in your hand as they glow blue in the dark.
Make sure you stay hydrated and come with your mind ready to learn and be captivated.
Other natural attractions in Puerto Rico to try
There are so many other natural attractions in Puerto Rico that you can try. Here are a few of them. Have a look and see which one calls out to you.
- El Yunque National Forest
- Flamenco Beach
- El Patron Waterfalls
- Luquillo Beach.
- Cabo Rojo Lighthouse.
- Caguana Indigenous Ceremonial Park.
- Caja de Muertos.
- Cueva del Indio.
- Cueva Ventana, trailhead.
- Gilligan’s Island, and many others.
Going over everything, Las Cabezas Nature Reserve in Puerto Rico provides you with an opportunity to hike through the mangroves and learning about the wildlife there, visit the lighthouse and glide through the bioluminescent bay. Come and discover the beauty of the magical island of Puerto Rico and visit the bio bay on foot at Las Cabezas Nature Reserve.