The Interpretative Trail In Guajataca Forest
The Guajataca Forest (or Bosque de Guajataca in Spanish) comprises 2357 cuerdas (which is about 2289 acres) in Isabela. Being in the Karst Region, it is hilly and the elevation ranges from 500 to 1000 feet above sea level. This low laying area, with its unusual soil, has different flora and fauna than some of the other forests you will visit in Puerto Rico.
The Guajataca Forest is a nice place — some 80 years ago, the land was set aside to become a forest. The walking paths were constructed in the 1930s and 1940s by the Civil Conservation Corps. Areas that needed it were reforested. It was designated a state forest in 1943. It is maintained (surprisingly, fairly well) by the Departamento de Recursos Naturales y Ambientes (DRNA). And to date, it continues to be great place where flora and fauna are protected and people can have a well-maintained place to enjoy nature.
Though this forest has about 25 miles of trails available within its boundaries, the typical visitor will probably use just either Trail #1 (which leads to the Cueva del Viento) and the Interpretative Trail. Both of the trails start out at the same trail head (right by the Information Center). We wrote about the Cueva del Viento in a previous article. This article will give you the information about the Interpretative Trail.
The Interpretative Trail
This trail is a circle — so it starts at the Information Center and ends just a few hundred feet up the road at the picnic/camping area. According to the information sheet that the DRNA gives out, this trail it is 3.2 KM long (about 2 miles). However, according to our GPS, it was actually only about 1.3 miles.
This trail is packed earth, with the occasional limestone rock sticking up — but I found it relatively flat and easy to walk. You will enjoy birds and butterflies along the way. This trail also includes a little side trail (about 0.15 miles) that leads to the Observation Tower. In my opinion, this is the only strenuous part of the Interpretative Trail — it is pretty steep and then there are the stairs up in the tower. I found the effort is worth it (for the breeze alone!). But if you can’t (or don’t want to) do it, there is a bench at the turn-off for this side trail where one can sit and wait for the others in their party to go up to the tower.
What makes this an Interpretative Trail is that, along the way, there are 14 marked "stations", which correspond to numbered descriptions in a guide sheet that the people at the Information Center can give you.
There is no fee to use the forest trails and facilities.
The forest is open during daylight hours. The information office (located at Route 446 KM 9) may be open daily from about 7am to 3:30pm.
Allow about 1 hour to walk on the Interpretive Trail.
The Guajataca Forest is managed by the DNRA. You can call them at 787-999-2200 for more information.
Take Route 2 to approximately KM 108 and turn onto Route 446 (there is a Reliable Mortgage building on the corner). Follow Route 446 into the forest.
The forest is about 2 hours from the San Juan area and about 1 hour from Rincon.
Use this map to locate places mentioned in this article. You can click on a placemark to view the GPS coordinates for that place.