Walking & Kayaking in the Humacao Nature Reserve
The Humacao Wildlife Refuge (now called the Punta Santiago Natural Reserve in Humacao) is located on the east coast of Puerto Rico. Within the reserve you’ll find numerous trails for walking, biking and light hiking, long stretches of beach, spectacular views of the coast, lots of fishing opportunities, an area with picnic pavilions, some ruins from the area’s history as a sugar plantation, old bunkers from wars past, and the availability of kayaks and bikes to rent. The reserve has been recently refurbished and now offers kiosks for crafts too. The reserve is not heavily visited, so you may very well have this large area almost all to yourself! If you are a bird watcher, this is a great place to see birds. And iguanas!
Arriving at the reserve is easy. It’s located right on Route 3, just south of the Punto Santiago Beach. The entrance is clearly marked with a brown sign for the “Reserva Natural de Humacao”. Pull your car right through the gate and park (for free). Just watch out for crossing ducks and iguanas!
We started our visit with a walk around the reserve. Unfortunately, at that time, there are no maps nor informational brochures available. But now, the kayak and bike rental place has maps available. But even without a map, it is not too hard to get around – we went to the end and turned around, then just going a small way on the other paths we came to – they all went to lagoons. I enjoyed the beginning of the walk since many of the trees are marked with their names, and I like learning the names of plants and trees. The reserve has all sorts of fruit trees and other tropicals.
During our walk, we saw a local family catching crabs – they explained how they do it. It was kind of neat. I assume it was allowed as there were some signs up on which fishing lures where good for certain fish.
The walking path leads to a lovely beach – you pass old bunkers, an old pump station and lagoons where you can stop and enjoy the scenery. We walked for a few hours, then headed back to the parking area to get our lunch out of our car. If you didn’t bring your lunch, there is a food kiosk open. And also a craft vendor or two. There are picnic pavilions and clean bathrooms.
After lunch, we decided to kayak in the lagoons. The kayak company employee was very nice. She explained the route to take into and around the lagoon. It was very peaceful, fun and educational, as there are lots of signs explaining the lagoon, some history of the area, and the birds and other critters that call this place home. Here we learned the area was on old sugar cane area and that the lagoons had to be drained to grow the cane. The lagoons are interconnected and they lead out to the ocean.
I don’t know much about birds, but I know we saw lots of different types – white egrets, large gray cranes, and all the other water fowl were very beautiful to see during our kayak tour. We also got a kick out of all the iguanas lounging in the trees and swimming in the water!
The Nature Reserve itself, as well as parking inside the Reserve, is free. Kayaking is $12 per person for either a 1 or 2 person sit-upon ocean kayak, and (required) life preserver.
2/12 Currently the Reserve is open from Wednesday – Sunday 9am – 5pm.
Depending on what you want to do (walk, kayak, bike, fish), allow between a couple of hours up to a full day
Water Sports and Eco-Tours runs the kayak and bicycle rentals at the Reserve. Prices- Kayaks $12 per person for the 1-1.5 hrs it usually takes to do the water trail. Bikes are available for $7 per hr. Call them if you need more info 787-852-6058. They are there Wednesday- Sunday during park hours.
For more info on the Reserve, call 787-852-6088 or 787-999-2200 ext 5158
Located on Route 3 at Km 74.3, just south of the Punto Santiago Beach. You will see some kayak signs on the west side of the road, but the entrance is just opposite that on the east side.
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