Update- Abandoned- Spend Some Time in the Aguirre State Forest
1/21 update- Trails are not on good shape at all. Partially usable.
One of the things I love about Puerto Rico is that it is so diverse. Rain forests, dry forests and everything in between … like a mangrove forest. The Bosque Estatal Aguirre (or Aguirre State Forest) in Guayama is a mangrove forest that has walking paths, and areas for bird watching. This protected natural area is a nice place to spend some time exploring the marshy shores.
The town of Guayama is located on the south coast of Puerto Rico, on the east end. The area is warm and dry, and perfectly situated for lots of shore birds and marine animals. The Aguirre State Forest is a preserve that is managed by the Department of Natural Resources of Puerto Rico (Departmento de Recursos Naturales y Ambientales or DRNA). It is over 2000 acres of mangrove forest, little salt water lagoons, and marshy area.
We have been to this nature reserve a few times. We enjoy walking the paths, watching the birds, and taking photos. As there is no map provided by the DRNA, it is a little bit confusing. Basically, there are two trails.
According to the sign at the trail head, the trail to the right of the “Welcome to the Aguirre Forest” sign is an “interpretive trail”, so we decided to start with that one. Unfortunately, there were no “interpretive” signs on the trail, other than arrows that indicated which way to go. We followed the trail and saw a million crabs and lizards (and mosquitoes!) along the trail. We eventually got to a look-out tower, but there is no real view from the tower. I guess the intention of the tower is for bird-watching.
If you continue on the trail beyond the tower, you will come to the best part — the boardwalk. The boardwalk takes you through the swampy mangrove marshes. The water is an odd orange/brown color in spots, and dark brown in others. It also has a nice platform that opens onto a lagoon, where all sorts of birds come and go. When we got there, we heard a racket which turned out to be about 40 white egrets. The flock was really impressive, though they were photo-shy and would fly away when approached.
On the way back, we tried a few of the other paths we found (also marked as “interpretive trails”), but they we swampy, so we decided against continuing on them. I assume the ones on the south side go to the old camping area (now in disrepair, though there are some covered pavilions you can use to have a picnic lunch). I believe the trail on the south side (to the far left of the “Welcome” sign) also go to the defunct camping area (we gave up when it got too muddy). There are signs that indicate that there were floating kayak platforms at one time. Those platforms are gone, though I am sure someone could find a way to launch a kayak if they really wanted to.
While not perfect, this Forest Reserve is still a nice place for a walk, and a great place to bird-watch. Just wear insect repellent, as the mosquitoes are killer!
There is no fee to access the forest. Parking is in the dirt lot on the side of the road.
The forest is “open” during daylight hours.
Bring water, insect repellent, and sunscreen.
Allow a couple of hours to walk around, more if you’re bird-watching or having a picnic lunch.
The parking area and trailheads are on Road 7710 at KM 2.6 in Guayama.
Click on a placename below to view the location on Google Maps ...
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