Home to 32 of the most diverse and beautiful ecosystems, it’s no wonder the Conservation Trust of Puerto Rico is doing everything to protect, rehabilitate and preserve its national treasures. From glowing oceans to waterfalls and canyons, these are the conservation sites we’re most excited to add to our bucket list.
The Bioluminescent Bays
Puerto Rico is home to three glowing bodies of water. Yes, glowing. The luminescence is created by movement in the water that cause a reaction from microorganisms. Tourists can kayak through or go for a dip in the midst of this phenomenon. Most cameras will not be able to catch the ocean’s glittery appearance, forcing people to put down their iPhones and truly appreciate the moment.
San Cristobal Canyon
Trash to treasure. Breathtaking San Cristobal Canyon is Puerto Rico’s one and only volcanic rift. A restored dumpsite, it is now a popular hiking destination, for locals and tourists with reason. Visitors adventure through riverbeds, caves and tunnels that lead to three majestic waterfalls, including Cascada la Niebla [The Fog Waterfall], the island’s highest.
If you like turquoise waters and turtles, Isla Culebra [Snake Island] is your ultimate paradise. Flamenco Beach boasts calm, crystal clear waters and a soft, white sand coastline. Tamarindo Beach is perfect for snorkeling with sea turtles and stingrays. The island’s pristine landscape will make you toss your iPhone and be one with nature.
El Yunque Tropical Rain Forest
As the only tropical rain forest in the United States National Forest System, El Yunque offers stunning trails that lead visitors through the dwarf forest where they can see waterfalls, orchids, coqui frogs and giant snails. A climb to the top of the Yokahu Observation Tower showcases clear views of the crescent-shaped rain forest.
La Cueva del Indio
This cave along the coastal zone holds the largest amount of Taíno petroglyphs engraved by Taíno Indians who lived on the island before Christopher Columbus’ arrival. Climb to the top and you’ll discover a 360° view of the ocean and island.
San Juan National Historic Site
These are nothing like your pillow forts. Castillo San Felipe del Morro and Castillo de San Cristobal were built as the ultimate, two-prong defense system. The former defended San Juan from sea-based attacks and the latter protected the city from land attacks. After being occupied by the United States Army, both forts have been converted into museums.
Hacienda Buena Vista
One of the best remaining examples of a Puerto Rican coffee plantation, Hacienda Buena Vista flexed it’s coffee production muscles in the 1880s growing and processing more than 10,000 pounds of coffee per year. Hurricanes and the failing coffee market brought the plantation to a full stop by 1900. It now serves as a museum for the coffee addict in all of us.