Walk or Hike to Guaniquilla Train Tunnel
Puerto Rico used to have a train system that went almost completely around the island. It was mainly used for sugar cane transportation, but people also used it. I guess, due to the terrain, the north-western and western coastal towns still have a few of the tunnels that were built, such as Tunel Negro and Guajataca Tunel. I recently was able to see Guaniquilla Tunnel in Cabo Rojo. It is the shortest of these tunnels, but still nice to see.
The Guaniquilla Tunnel is located just outside the Guaniquilla reserve. Built in 1908, this tunnel was in use for about 50 years. The tunnel itself is only about 100 feet long, so it is not really dark inside it. One the one end, you will see the top stone has 1908 carved into it. And about halfway through it you will see the little opening in the wall, which would be where anyone walking through the tunnel when a train came a safe place to let the train pass.
There are a couple options on how to get there. There is the easy way, which requires just a short 8-10 minute walk (maybe 0.6 mile round-trip), or a couple of longer ways, going through the Guaniquilla Reserve from either the Buye area or the official Reserve Porton entrance area. (which makes it multi-mile round-trip).
The Easy Route
I did the quick route! Starting from Route 307, at KM 5 or so (refer to the GPS coordinates for parking on side of road).
There is currently a small sign that marks the entrance, but also a huge for sale sign! You walk through the narrow road cut through the rock, where the train used to run. This is very pretty, though it can be muddy. This soon gets you to the back yards of some houses – just keep following the trail through the tall grasses, prickers along the fence (you may have to go through a fence – I assume it is OK, since this is the way the the town says to go).
The first part is not maintained at all, and there is some trash. It eventually opens up in a more wooded/bushy area that is used by the mountain bikers, so the trail is better maintained. Stay left at the Y in the trail and almost right away you will come to the tunnel. If you are only interested in seeing the tunnel, go this way!
The More Strenuous Routes
For serious hikers or people that want to see the other areas of the Guaniquilla Reserve, there are 2 optional ways. You can get in from the official gate of the Reserva Natural Punta Guayanilla and then follow the trail (it should be marked with signs or follow the MTB trails). I highly suggest you check out All Trails where they have the trail marked.
The other (long) option is the gate at the south end of Buye Beach area. Here again, you will need to follow the trails/signs. Using either of these 2 ways, you can make a half-day of hiking this beautiful area. There are caves and a lagoon with some other worldly rocks in it, lots of birds, a beautiful coastline, and more. But it is hot and rocky, possible muddy, so one has to be very prepared before taking these routes. These trails are very well maintained. But it is a long way, hot, and signage is questionable in all areas (I found some parts of it confusing).
Plan your walk/hike so you are in and out during daylight hours.
It is sunny, so bring water and a hat. There are mosquitoes, so don’t forget the insect repellent.
If you go the short way, there is razor grass – so long pants/sleeves will be helpful. It could be muddy and/or rocky along the way, so closed-toe shoes are required.
Click on a placename below to view the location on Google Maps ...
- Guaniquilla Train Tunnel
- Guaniquilla Train Tunnel – Nature Reserve entrance
- Guaniquilla Train Tunnel – Playa Buye entrance
- Guaniquilla Train Tunnel – Route 307 entrance
- Guaniquilla Train Tunnel – Route 307 parking
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