Clean Campsites and a Nice View in Maricao State Forest

Parque Ecologico Monte del Estado

I am not a camper, but I know a number of people who are, so I am always looking for places where they can camp in Puerto Rico. I can’t say I have been too impressed with most of the campsites around the island, but Monte del Estado in Maricao gets my vote for probably the nicest, cleanest camping facility. Located up high in the forested mountains of Maricao, the air is always cool and clean.

There are a number of campsites around the island that the Puerto Rican government manages through the local National Parks Company (Compañia de Parques Nacionales). I have seen a number of these that are in disrepair (in other words, you couldn’t pay me to camp there!).

But, on a recent visit through Maricao, we walked around the small camping facility at the Monte del Estado, and I was surprisingly impressed.

Parque Ecologico Monte del Estado

The camping area has 12 campsites. Each campsite is a flat, circular gravel area, with a charcoal BBQ pit, a hose bib, and a picnic table.

There are 2 bathroom areas that each have seperate areas for men’s and women’s composting toilets, showers and large tubs for hand washing/rinsing clothes and gear.

The camping area is associated with, and just down the road from, the Maricao Vacation Recreation area. Campers can use the swimming pool at the vacation recreation area for an additional $2/person/day.

Parque Ecologico Monte del Estado

One thing to note is that there are picnic pavilions in the camping area that can be rented out by anyone (non-campers), and also short trails that lead to a lookout or observation point — so there will be other people (non-campers) around your campsite during the day. So make sure to protect any valuables you have with you. There is a gate at the entrance to the camping area that gets locked at night, but campers are given a key to the gate so they can come and go as needed.

If you are less into pitching a tent and more into renting a cabin, they also rent out 24 small cabins in the main vacation recreation area. They have a nice pool and other facilites there. These little cabins (with maximum capacity for 6 people) range from $65.40 to $71.00 per night. They are equipped with hot and cold water, refrigerator, stove top, beds and fireplace. You need to bring everything else (sheets, pillows, kitchen utensils, etc).

Parque Ecologico Monte del Estado

Details

The cost of a campsite is based on the size of your tent and the number of people that will be camping. A small tent (about 9′x9′) with up to 3 people is $15/night. A medium tent (about 11′x11′) with up to 6 people is $30/night. Any arrangement of tents with a maximum of 12 people is $55/night. Campers or anyone can use the swimming pool for an additional $2/person/day.

You can check-in for camping from 12noon to 4pm. Check-out is before 12noon. You have to register at the office in the main vacation recreation center. Camping is available 365 days/year, though the office is closed on some holidays.

There is a 2-night minimum for camping. During high season, there is a 7-night maximum. During low season, there is a 4-week maximum.

Remember, this camping area is up in the mountains. It can be cool there, even in August. When we were there in early August, it was about 75°F mid-day.

You need to check-in at the front desk of the vacation recreation area (which is at KM 13.2). After registering, you drive up to the campsites that are just down the road at KM 13.8.

The Parque Ecológico Monte del Estado Area de Acampar is located on Carr 120, KM 13.2 in Maricao.

The phone numbers are (787)873-5652 and (787)873-5632. The people we spoke with in this office did not speak English, so calling for reservations may be difficult for non-Spanish speaker. In that case, you might want to try calling the office in San Juan at (787)622-5200 ext 128. You can ask for the paperwork (called "solicitud de area de acampar") which you can fill out, and mail or fax back to them.

There is some information on the Parques Nacionales web site (in Spanish) has some information about the camping areas (areas de acampar). Click on the tarifas tab. Take the information on that web site with a grain of salt, we found that information to be different than what we were told on the phone. It is best to call for exact information. Currently, you cannot reserve a campsite over the Internet, only cabins under the “attractions” tab.

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

PuertoRicoDayTrips.com assumes no responsibility regarding your safety when participating in the activities described in this article. Please use common sense! If your mother or that little voice in your head tells you that you are about to do something stupid … then don't do it! Read more about Safety →

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you need to contact http://www.parquesnacionalespr.com/

Comment by Gwenn on 15 Nov 2015

Mee gustaria. Saber si esta disponible una cabana en diciembre 31 al 1

Comment by Elisa Hernández on 15 Nov 2015

Excellent 5 Stars*****

Comment by Gladys on 23 Aug 2015

12 of us went to Maricao this weekend. We were pleasantly surprised with how clean the facilities were and how the showers had hot water. This is definitely a place to go if you want peacefulness and serenity. We were the only group in the campground. The overlook was amazing, where we could see Cabo Rojo and other places. If you are camping here, I'd advise one to get ice and other belongings before they actually get to the site. Also, it was tricky to get enough wood to keep our fire going all night. But, luckily the administration office (and security) showed us where we can get enough to last us--and it worked. By mid-night, the temperatures dropped tremendously, and we are glad we brought jackets, hats, pants, etc. If you are planning to sleep in a sleeping bag--it may be too cold. This is definitely a gem-of-a-place, and I'd definitely go back. Coming from San Juan area is quite a trek, so I'd recommend more than one night. And, if you plan to stay here, look on the PR Day Trips site for other things to do in Maricao and its surrounding areas--helpful information.

Comment by Jordan on 14 Apr 2014

If you like peacefulness, remoteness, and nice views, I would definitely recommend a trip up to Monte Del Estado in Maricao. I didn't really know about the campsites, but then again I'm not a camper, either. Several years back we took a trip into the mountains from Mayaquez in search of Parador La Hacienda Juanita in Maricao, which someone recommended. I was kinda disappointed, but someone there recommended that if I like views, to go in that direction, and take Rd 120 in "that" direction, so we did. They told us about this place (Monte Del Estado), so when we reached it, we drove in. It was a little spooky, because there was this huge facility, and there was nobody in sight. We explored the place, wondering if we were even allowed in there. Then we heard some power tools, as we discovered that there was a work crew doing work to some of the cabins. This area that we saw was what's described as the Vacation Recreation Area in the article. In addition to the pool (and kiddie pool if I remember correctly), and pavillions, there was also some basketball/tennis courts. Overall I really liked the place. On the drive from Maricao, there is also a Mirador Torre de Piedra to stop, take a break, and enjoy the view. It was closed the day we went, so we didn't get to climb it. It's kinda designed like a castle, and had covered picnic tables, where we busted out the cooler and enjoyed a snack. Great addition to the extensive number of articles here. Thanks.

Comment by Josh on 29 Aug 2011

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