When some people hear about visiting a place called the Tropical Agriculture Research Station in Puerto Rico, they often become a bit puzzled. Just why, they ask, would anyone want to visit a research station when the island has so many tourist-y spots to offer?
Admittedly, it’s not a well-known tourist spot. But it can be, because among those who have been here, the experience has been very pleasant.
The Tropical Agriculture Research Station is about 2 and a half to 3 hours from San Juan by car. You can find it at the corner of Roads 65 & 108 in Mayaguez just off Route 2. It’s just east of the University of Puerto Rico Mayaguez campus (UPR-Mayaguez). For more info, call 787-831-3435.
It’s open only on weekdays from 7:00 in the morning to 4:00 in the afternoon. You may want to go there early because an hour here is barely enough to really soak up the place.
Admission is free, and so is the parking on the left side. The office building looks like some sort of hacienda structure. But before you go exploring, you’ll need to get a pass at the visitor’s area. You’ll know where it is by the sign in front of the building telling you where to go. Once you get there, you will also get a map of the area.
Enjoying Your Visit
Not everyone can make heads or tails of the map, but then again you don’t absolutely need it. It’s not exactly a huge place that can get you lost in a hurry. You just walk on the paved paths and drives and the trees you pass by have numbers that can help you locate the spot on the map.
And that’s the real beauty of the Tropical Agriculture Research Station. You’re not really going to visit a lab where scientists are busy peering over their microscopes. The key words here aren’t “research station” but “tropical agriculture”. In other words, the place is all about tropical plants and trees that you may not find where you come from.
And that’s why this place is great. The trees are wonderful, especially if you’re interested in all sorts of flora. You will see a wide range of trees and plants in a single place which you won’t easily find elsewhere. For example, there are 17 different kinds of bamboo trees in this place alone.
The plants and trees come from the tropical regions all over the world, and they include Australia, Indochina, and Africa. You’ll know a lot more about them, because they’re all tagged with their scientific and common names. In addition, the staff can tell you a lot more about the plant’s background too.
Take a look at the place, and marvel at the specimens. You can even get exotic fruits and flowers as a memento. The Tropical Agriculture Research Station isn’t a lab or even a garden, but an arboretum that you will really enjoy.