When most people think of Puerto Rico, they think of cruise ships halting or departing from the port, or they think of Old San Juan, but rarely, unless you already know about Puerto Rico, do they know everything it has to offer, and there is a lot!
If you enjoy nature and being outside, Puerto Rico is a must-see destination.
Cycling as a mode of transportation is a low-cost, health-improving mode of transportation that also provides environmental benefits to cities that encourage it. Cities around the globe have only lately begun to implement policies to promote cycling, in response to concerns about climate change, pollution, congestion, and obesity, among other things. However, bicycle use is restricted in Greece. There are attempts to encourage cycling in Preveza, a small touristic city in Northwestern Greece where bicycle use is prevalent when compared to other Greek cities. Residents evaluated the city’s cycling suitability, current infrastructure, suitable education, and cyclist and driver behavior using a structured questionnaire.
More than half of the residents use bicycles for transportation and believe that they are an inexpensive mode of transportation in the city. They also believe that the state should promote bicycle use by providing subsidies for bicycle acquisition. Two-thirds of residents rated their city’s cycling facilities as sufficient, but dangerous for young cyclists who do not observe traffic laws. Adult cyclists, on the other hand, were more committed to the code but complained that drivers did not recognize their presence on the road. This study offers valuable information on the perceived shortcomings of cycling as a mode of transportation in Preveza, which may be of interest to towns/cities with similar characteristics.
The highlights of the Piñones boardwalk
Pinones is a popular destination for both locals and visiting Travel Channel food presenters, and for good reason: the numerous roadside food kiosks and eateries that line PR 187 through Pinones towards Loiza serve delicious Puerto Rican cuisine.
However, Pinones has another hidden gem: the Pinones Boardwalk. An 11-kilometer nature path that follows the north coast and passes through the Pinones mangrove forest. (Bosque de Pinones).
On weekends, the Pinones Boardwalk, like the Pinones food kiosks, is a favorite destination for both locals and tourists. (and holidays). The boardwalk begins in Pinones and travels east for 11 kilometers, skirting beaches and traversing PR 187 into the Pinones mangrove forest.
The boardwalk is only open to non-motorized traffic, such as pedestrians, strollers, bikes, and the odd police horse. If you want to bike the boardwalk, there are a few places along the trail where you can hire bikes, though the bike conditions and helmet availability may be lacking.
CicloNatura is housed in the COPI (Centro Cultural y Ecoturistico de Pinones) building, which is situated just after the Boca de Cangrejos bridge at the Pinones entrance. Children’s and adult versions are available, as well as baby seats and tandem (double) bikes. They also provide headgear. Rates are around $5 per hour, and they are available seven days a week from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
COPI also rents boats for exploring the lagoon and mangroves.
There are also roadside bike rentals along PR 187 at different locations.
Other choices include Isla Verde bike rentals (check with your hotel), such as Rent the Bike.
Allow plenty of time to stop and enjoy the scenery if you intend on biking the entire trail (there and back).
A popular spot is about 2 kilometers from the beginning of the boardwalk, near a group of food kiosks. The water is protected from the ocean by a huge rock divide and is popular with families because it has shallow pools to swim in as well as adjacent food kiosks.
If you don’t intend to bike the path, you can park your vehicle and take a leisurely stroll along sections of it, or simply relax at one of the many beaches along the way.
The views along the boardwalk are spectacular, and the smell of food as you stroll past the food kiosks and restaurants will drive you insane. So give yourself plenty of time to take it all in.
There are far too many food kiosks to name here; simply stop at one that appears to be busy. For restaurants with ocean views, The Waterfront and Soleil Beach Club are famous. The Soleil Beach Club provides conveyance from Isla Verde.
The experience of biking on the Piñones boardwalk
We selected the Piones sector near Isla Verde sector and Road 187, Loza Municipality for our biking excursion in Puerto Rico. The unique feature of this spot is that you can bike on Piones Boardwalk while admiring views of the coastline and beaches, then continue on Piones Forest trails. The contrasting views of nature in Piones made for an exciting biking excursion.
First, we rented bikes from Lula’s Bike Rent, a conveniently located bike rental van store near km. 5.9, Road 187. The friendly owner of this bike rental shop, Alexei Poventud, recommended us to first bike along the coastal path towards the forest trail nearest to the main road.
We couldn’t help but notice the plants and trees near Lula’s Bike Rent because the Piones mangrove forest is so nearby. It was intriguing to discover young Noni edible fruits near an almond tree and palm plants that are common on this Caribbean island.
We were already biking up a small slope towards the Pinones coastal path shortly after 10:30 a.m. We were rewarded with a spectacular panoramic view of the Atlantic Ocean coast once we reached the summit. The rock formations at this location created a fascinating ocean scenery. At the time, all I could think was, “What a lovely island I live on.” This was the first Eco treasure discovered during this biking excursion.
We kept biking on the Piones Boardwalk path, noticing flowers and plants along the way. We were forced to look at the second remarkable ecotreasure: a small honey bee. We had to praise the bee for pollinating the local flora. It even posed for the photograph!
We had reached the usual Caribbean Island temperature, but the ocean breeze allowed us to continue riding joyfully along our way.
Then, on the other side of the major road, still in front of the ocean, we discovered the first area with many colorful kiosks. We couldn’t stop riding across the road at 11:00 a.m. to eat traditional Puerto Rican cuisine. Some of us drank “alcapurria” while others drank coconut water from a pleasant “coco fro.” “Alcapurrias” are a Puerto Rican specialty made of deep-fried dough made of green bananas and yautia or cassava. We recommend paying a visit to “El Cacique del Terraplen de Sonia,” a shocking, pink-colored kiosk that you won’t be able to mistake in this area.
It was also fun to pause at the kiosks and listen to Puerto Rican lively and loud music right in front of the beach.
We then kept riding our bikes on a trail along the side of the road near the kiosks. We saw red mangroves (Rhizophora mangle) and found other impressive ecotreasures on our way to the mangrove forest and nearby km 7: a small natural red pond and a young black mangrove. (Avicennia germinans). We had the impression that these were welcoming us to the jungle and what we were about to experience.
Our other impressive ecotreasures experience was riding the bike into the Piones Forest. It was absolutely fantastic.
We were surprised to see enormous termite colony nests alongside the red mangrove trees as we started our ride in this different habitat. The Greater Antillean Grackle (chango in Spanish) was hiding among the bushes.
This forest path was lined with tall Casuarina trees that resembled pines. The route was littered with small cone-like fruits and almond drupes. Casuarina needle-like leaves covered a portion of the route, creating stunning natural scenery.
We came across two wooden trails to choose from later in our trip. We went with the one that was nearest to the main road. It was fascinating to cycle on this trail while listening to Puerto Rican lively music at one point, and then to ride where pure nature and silence were our companions.
We continued admiring the mangroves and watching lizards, birds, spiders, and many more termite colony nests while riding. Some of the massive termite colony nests were even suspended from tree limbs.
Our biking adventure took about two hours total, including photo stops as we were amazed by the ecotreasures found.
The benefits of biking on the Piñones boardwalk
One-third of CO2 emissions are attributed to the transportation industry. According to recent study, motor vehicles are the world’s leading source of atmospheric pollution. According to Unger, short vehicle trips add a disproportionate amount to transportation emissions. In Europe, approximately 30% of car trips span distances of less than three kilometers. Major cities around the globe have attempted to decrease transportation emissions by enacting policies that encourage the use of non-motorized transportation.
The shift from automobile trips to other modes of transportation known as ‘active transportation’ is an excellent opportunity for reducing car use. Walking and cycling are the most prevalent modes of active transportation. Many cities around the world have placed a strong emphasis on promoting active travel, with a slew of reports from government and other organizations making the case for people to walk or bike for short distances. Bicycle sharing schemes have grown in popularity in countries across Europe, Asia, and America in order to promote cycling as an alternative mode of transportation in metropolitan areas.
Cycling was a popular mode of transportation in Greece until the 1970s. However, in recent years, a lack of safety standards has caused many people to rely on automobiles for their daily transportation requirements. In recent years, there has been an attempt to reintroduce cycling into the lives of city dwellers. After a lengthy time of delay in comparison to other European countries, the first cycle networks in Greek cities have already been implemented. Previous studies in Greece investigated residents’ intentions to cycle in three large cities, but only one documented residents’ attitude toward cycling in a small city without a cycling net. According to research, the bicycle is very common, especially in medium or small sizes.
This research documented residents’ perspectives on transportation modes and the distance they traveled for everyday needs in a touristic, small-sized Greek city.
Other activities and attractions in Piñones
Notwithstanding, there are a lot of fun fact activities in Pinones which includes.
- Full – Day Culebra Island Tour
- Snorkeling Tour
- Rainforest House riding
Piones State Forest (Bosque Estatal de Piones), named after the Casuarina, commonly known as Piones (after an invasive species of salt-tolerant tree from Australia used for lumber), is a timberland forest near one of Puerto Rico’s longest beaches. It is situated in the barrio of Torrecilla Baja in the municipality of Loza. The Puerto Rico Department of Natural and Environmental Resources manages it as a tourism attraction.