Las Cabezas de San Juan Nature Reserve is like a jewel that literally and figuratively shines for the pleasure of anyone who has a passion for seeing the wonders of nature in all their unadulterated glory.
Located in Fajardo, at the island’s north easternmost tip, Las Cabezas de San Juan Nature Reserve is owned and managed by the Conservation Trust of Puerto Rico. In keeping with its mission to protect and maintain the ecological systems of Puerto Rico, and inform the general public about the importance of preserving ecological balance and safeguarding natural resources, the Trust provides tours to present and explain the ecosystems in the reserve.
You need to make a reservation to take part in the tour, because walk-ins are not allowed. The admission fee is $10 for Adults, while Seniors and Children only need to pay $7.
By the way, just in case you aren’t sure of the relationship between the United States and Puerto Rico, the island is a commonwealth, an unincorporated territory of the United States. The American dollar is the official, national currency Puerto Rico.
Tourists who have reservations are advised to come at least 30 minutes ahead of time.
Riding the Tram
The tour begins with the guide passing on information about the ecosystems that are passed by while on the tour trams. The ecosystems are truly captivating treasures to gaze at and admire. Aside from the aesthetic pleasures, you can even wax philosophical in your mind as you ponder the diversity of it all – from sea grasses and coral reefs to lagoons and mangrove forests.
The Mangrove Forest
Tourists are allowed to walk on the boardwalk to view the mangrove forest. Initially, the mangrove forest in itself may not look like much, but once the guide explains what the mangroves do in terms of being a habitat and source of food for many kinds of plants and animals, and the exquisite web of life that acts as a bond for all the creatures you’ll get to view the mangrove forest from a different perspective.
The Rocky Beach
The beach that’s part of the tour looks as if it’s the perfect setting for a romantic movie. It’s no wonder it’s so easy to fall in love while on a Puerto Rican vacation. On a more practical note, however, the rock formations and the corals, aside from the crashing waves, are what makes the stop on the beach interesting.
People have been fascinated with lighthouses for the longest time, and the lighthouse that’s part of the Las Cabezas de San Juan Nature Reserve tour has fortunately been restored to a near pristine, working condition. Iguanas and crabs are displayed in glass cages, and many kinds of fish swim energetically in the aquariums.
There are also skeletal remains of big turtles, whales, and manatees, plus a display of the history of the lighthouse to view.
Update on the Bioluminescent Bay
The Fajardo Grand Lagoon
(a bioluminescent bay) at the Las Cabezas de San Juan Nature Reserve, which is highly popular with kayaking tourists at night because of its bioluminescent microorganisms, went dark for eight days last November. Fortunately, as of December 6, 2013, the lagoon’s striking brilliance at night has once more been restored.