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Go For a Walk in La Marquesa Forest Park

Posted on Mar 15th, 2009 by • Updated on Dec 10th, 2013

La Marquesa Forest park

Guaynabo City has created a beautiful forest reserve of approximately 600 acres for the enjoyment of locals and visitors to the island, called La Marquesa Forest Park (or Parque Forestal La Marquesa in Spanish).

We have been to La Marquesa Forest Park a few times to do the Original Canopy Tour zipline, which is located within this reserve. Over the past few years, we have seen the progress they’ve made on the Forest Park.

Being pretty close to SJ, we went to check it out for ourselves, after we visited the Luis A. Ferre Science Park in Bayamón

Getting Started

La Marquesa Forest park

Upon arriving at the park, the guard at the gate told us where to park. There are clean bathrooms and water fountains just beyond the parking lot. We then went to the information booth, paid of entrance and got an information sheet (all in Spanish) and a map. You can walk or take the free trolley up to the tower and then to the other features of the park (like the aviary, zip line course and butterfly house). There is also a funicular (think a ski lift gondola) you can take up to the top.

We got on the trolley, which took us up the hill. It stops along the way at a look-out point and a picture spot (a man-made waterfall) and again at the observation tower area, where there are bathrooms, a play ground and covered picnic tables. The road continues to the aviary, butterfly house, gift shop and cafeteria.

Our Trip

Once you get off the trolley for the observation tower, you need to walk uphill. Just a little ways up, you pass another playground and tables. It then starts to get to be a pretty steep walk for about 1000 feet. Take your time. There are no benches along the way. But at the base of the tower there is another playground and picnic tables.

La Marquesa Forest park

The views from the tower are very nice. From the top, you could see the aviary pavilion.

The viewing platform up on the tower is at 1066 feet above sea level, so you could see a distant San Juan, the northern shore, a few other towns and all the lovely mountains that run through the middle of Puerto Rico. You are above the tree tops. There was a strong wind the day we went — very refreshing!

Our next stop (hop back on the trolley or walk) is up to the Aviary pavilion. This area has an nice open air aviary (with lots of macaws and other colorful birds). There is also a small butterfly house and lab (so you can learn about butterflies). There is also a gift shop and a cafeteria and bathrooms and meeting areas. The La Marquesa Original Canopy Zip Line tour is also up here if you want some adventure!

The Funicular is another way to get from the entrance of the park to this aviary pavilion. It offers great views as you slowly glide in the 6 passenger enclosed cabin. They don’t stop, so you need to quickly walk onto and out of the slow moving cabin, but they are able to stop them if they need to. And they are wheel chair accessible. The ride takes about 10 minutes. They are not air conditioned, but when the cabins are moving, a breeze does come in (however when stopped, not so much!). It was an enjoyable ride high above the ground.

 

Getting Back to Your Car

When you are done looking around up in the tower or the aviary area, you can then either walk back (gravel sidewalk), wait for the next trolley, take the funicular. At the stop for the observation tower, there is also a paved path through the forest.

La Marquesa Forest park

We chose to walk back on the path through the forest. Along the way, we passed some of the zip lines where the Original Canopy Tour is running. There are also a number of gazebos with picnic benches along this route. At gazebo 5, you have to walk up about 100 steeps to get back to the parking area. It was a nice workout!

La Marquesa Forest park

Before we headed back to our car, we then spent some time talking to the park information guy. He told us about the future plans for the park. 11/12- The dinosaur park is also open! It is a walking path that has a bunch of animatronic dinosaurs that move and act real. Great fun for the kids!

The city of Guaynabo is really doing a great job with this park. Go out and see for yourself! It is a great place for the family to enjoy nature and burn off some energy.

 

They charge an entrance fee : $5 for adults, $3 for kids under 12 and senior citizens. Parking $1 cars (All fees are plus 7% tax). The funicular/gondola will have a small separate fee, as does the zip line, but everything else (tram transportation/aviary/butterfly house) is included in the price.

The park is open on Tuesday through Sunday from 9:00am until 5:00pm. The park is closed on Mondays.

The trolley/funicular is wheelchair accessible. The observation tower and some walking paths and trails in the forest are not.

I would allow 2 hours or more, depending on if you plan to walk through the forest or how long the kids want to play.

You can call (787)272-4530 or 787-908-1478 for more information. They rent out the gazebos and playgrounds for family parties, call to get information about that!

Parking fee is $1 per car. The parking lot has space for about 100 cars. This park is popular with locals, especially on the weekend.

Driving directions from the San Juan area: Take Route 2 or 22 to Route 20 south. Follow Route 20 south (pass the Big Kmart) and look for the toll booth on your left, then take the second exit after the toll (it doesn’t have an exit number). This will put you onto Road 834. Then go straight across through the light and continue on Road 834. Road 834 eventually ends on Road 835. Turn left onto Road 835. Go a couple 100 feet and the park entrance will be right in front of you. There are some signs along the road that you can follow to get there.

The drive to the park from the San Juan area takes about 20 minutes.

Use this map to locate places mentioned in this article. You can click on a placemark to view the GPS coordinates for that place.

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9 comments
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  1. I visited the park with my wife and 5 and 7 year old children.

    They charge an entrance fee now: $3 for adults, $1 for kids under 12 and $1 for the car.

    We got there after noon, that day there weren’t that many visitors. After a five minute wait, the train started the tour. The first stop was the artificial waterfall, great place to take pictures, on the opposite side of the fall there’s a spectacular view of Guaynabo and the metro area. After that the train continued to the last stop where you can find a playground for kids, gazebos and restrooms. There was an employee indicating where the observation tower was located and the trail to head back to the visitor’s center. After an uphill walk we reached the tower and another playground. The view from the tower is great and so is the wind to cool down after the walk. There are benches on the observation tower to sit for a while. On our way back we decided to walk back instead of taking the train. A very well maintained gravel trail takes you into the forest. We took our time taking pictures, our kids looking under the rocks and listening to all the birds vocalizing. We heard the Puertorican Lizard Cuckoo, PR Tody and the PR Woodpecker. The most exciting thing we saw were the two snakes, puertorican racers. One behind one of the gazebos and the other on the side of the trail. Nothing to worry about, they were small and were gone before I could even take a picture. It took us around 45 minutes to hike all the way back, but you can do it faster. There are many gazebos along the way, ideal to spend a few hours if you bring supplies, the only thing you can’t do in the park is cook your food. At the end of the trail we found the really long staircase that would take us to the parking. My son counted all 160 steps, but we climbed them without problem.

    To get to the park just drive down Martinez Nadal (Road 20) South towards the end you will start seeing signs that will guide you to the park.

  2. Thanks Gian- I have updated the article to include the admission fees.

  3. i guess that dont have wheelchair access

  4. The trolley is wheelchair accessible. The observation tower and trails in the forest are not.

  5. We loved this park and we have been there at least 3 times, but I must admit, my calves were sore for a few days! We walked up and down the long stairs, up and down the tower, down past all the gazebos and back up the main entrance as there was no way to get back up to take a shortcut to the parking lot so we had to walk through a hole in the fence to get to the entrance booth, where they offered us a ride in the golf carts to the parking lot, I guess they felt sorry for us as we looked tired. Well, that was the first time and we wanted to see everything. My husband wants to return soon but I tell him to give me some more time to practice at the walking track and get into better shape! ha!ha! But of course, it was worth it as it is a beautiful place, just make sure you go in some good sneakers as I have seen people get out of their cars in the parking lot with high heels on and we just greet them and smile with them as we get into our car to go home :-)

  6. Went today again… Inaugurated officially a couple weeks ago… Dinosaur trail is working now… Awesome time with my kid! Update the admission fee: adults $5.35 children 3-12 & seniors $3.21

  7. El Parque muy lindo…. Buen precio, pero el servicio en la cadateria y/o restaurante es fatal…. No hay organizacion ni respeto entre los q laboran en el area… Nada de organizacion… Q lastima pq podrian sacar muchos beneficios obteniendo control de sis respectivas areas…

  8. Recientemente visite el parque para un dia familiar; las facilidades estan estupendas pero necesitan mejorar los servicios y sobretodo contratar a un consultor que les enseñe como correr un parque de esta magnitud o de lo contrario van a adquirir mala reputacion. Algunos problemas que confrontamos: (1) hay que erradicar la mentalidad de empleado gubernamental; los empleados tienen que ser entrenados para proveer informacion, estar atentos a lo que necesita el visitante; el dia que fuimos el telesferico no funciono porque los empleados no vinieron a trabajar; los conductores del tren tienen que mantener los trenes transportando a los visitantes constantemente en un itinerario fijo, parar en varios puntos para bajar y recojer personas y sobretodo, proveer informacion por altoparlante sobre el parque etc, tienen que actuar como si cada dia fuese el primer dia y tienen que demostrar entusiasmo (2) ciertas facilidades no habrieron hasta dos horas tarde por falta de agua (plan de contingencia?), (3) falta de cortesia de los empleados (4) cierran facilidades a la hora de almuerzo para que los mpleados almuerzen (y los visitantes…que?), (5) mucha empleomania pero haciendo poco trabajo, falta de direccion(6) falta de informacion en ingles, a los visitantes extranjeros (7) no hay facilidades para comer,(8) durante la presentacion de video de las mariposas, los empleados se quedan en el salon y comienzan a hablar y a caminar lo que no permite concentrar en la informacion (sobretodo…too many video screens in that room, it’s distracting), puedo seguir pero no quiero, en resumen, contraten a un consultor que les enseñe a manejar un parque y sobre todo entrenen a los empleados

  9. We visited the park 5/18/13, we had the nicest time. We went there for the zip-line but decided to check out the park and I’m glad we did. We loved the aviary and butterflies. The hike up the dinosaur trail was fun, nice place to take pictures. Sad to say that a lot of the dinosaurs have been damage by visitors, I had to bite my tongue when adults didn’t care that the kids were bending parts, hitting and jumping on them.

    After all the walking we were starving so were were happy that the Forest Park Cafe has real food, not just snacks.

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