Guánica, located in Puerto Rico, is a small location located in the southeast of the island. While it is a very tiny town with less than 15,000 inhabitants, it borders the Caribbean, which makes it a very calm and amazing place to visit.
Places to Visit in Guánica
Since it is a location with not many urban places for tourism, most of its attractiveness is nature, beaches with golden sands and beautiful scenery. These are some of the best things to do in Guanica Puerto Rico when visiting the island:
Guánica State Forest
Being one of the United Nations International Biosphere Reserves, Guánica State Forest is also known as “El Bosque Seco de Guánica” (Guánicas’ Dry Forest). It is one of the most extensive tropical dry coastal forests in the world, with more than 9,000 acres of land.
This reserve also features 12 different trails to visit, each one with varying degrees of difficulty. Acclaimed also for its birdwatchers paradise place, it has a variety of exotic birds that thrive in these warm habitats.
One of the most popular among tourists is the longest one (six miles) since the payoff is worth it. A historic fort known as Fuerte Caprón is at the end of the trail. Visitors can admire a unique view of Guánica Bay from there, a landmark structure built out of wood by Spaniards in the 16th century.
For those nature-lovers seeking an ideal adventure, the place also contains more than 600 species of flora and fauna, as well as 48 endangered animal species. In addition, people can visit it for climbing, biking, and enjoying a day at the beach.
Gilligan’s Island (Cayo Aurora)
Nicknamed after the popular TV show, this island is one of the unique ones tourists need to visit when going to Guánica. Cayo Aurora, its formal name, is a mile away from the main town, and very close to the Caribbean coast.
As well as the Dry Forest, this island is part of the Biosphere Reserve of Guánica and is managed by the Department of Natural Resources, known as DRNA. This makes it a relaxing heaven, and one of the untouched places in Puerto Rico, away from civilization.
The best times to visit this place are from mid-August until the end of March, since there are no large crowds, except during holidays or weekends. Another main attraction of this place besides its calm scenery, is the huge chances it offers for kayaking and snorkeling.
Don’t forget to bring towels, suntan lotion, bug repellent, hats, sunglasses, beach umbrellas, and chairs, along with plastic bags since there are no facilities at all. For those who bring food or related things, taking the trash away instead of letting it there is vital to keep the environment safe and clean.
Punta Ballena Natural Reserve
This natural reserve, also known as Punta Ballena Conservation Easement (PBNER-CE) protects 163 acres of Guánica and a part of Yauco. Being part of the already mentioned natural reserve, this place has many critically endangered species under its protection, along with more than 700 plant species.
Visitors can enjoy its extended territory, connect with nature and discover the many things wildlife has to offer, always keeping everything clean and in order.
Finca El Girasol
Located 20 minutes away from Copamarina, Finca El Girasol offers a unique and picturesque stop for those that want to discover Guánica. This charming place is run by a local family that cultivates a lot of sunflowers. It is possible to walk past them and take lots of pictures with flowers as background.
They also sell them to those interested. It’s recommended to bring or buy some sun protectors, glasses and hats since the journey there will be under the sun most of the time. Depending on the weather and flower disponibility, this place may be open or closed.
Guánica’s Lighthouse Ruins
The Guánica’s Light was a historic lighthouse located in Guánica Town, Puerto Rico. It was lit for the first time in 1893 and completely deactivated in 1950. Today, completely in ruins, it is a very interesting landmark for those who want to learn a bit more about how lighthouses worked in the past.
These ruins are part of one of the 15 lighthouses built by the Spanish government in Puerto Rico to strategically protect the waters and ships sailing. It was also part of the important ports that protected the export of sugar, coffee, maize, and cotton.
With more than 54 meters tall, it could be seen from 8 miles away. Originally, it was built with red bricks in a neo-classical style, with a small room for the lone keeper and a spiral ladder to the top. An earthquake in 2020 destroyed most part of the remaining parts, but it’s still possible to go and take some pictures.
Located in a dry forest, Fuerte de Caprón is another of the forts and buildings located alongside the shore of the Caribbean coast of Puerto Rico. While it is not a very impressive building, it offers an amazing view since it is a very high place, and has many histories in it.
Originally built with a wooden structure, the Spanish government built it in 1898 during the American invasion of the isles, although the first settlement was before. In 1508, Ponce de León established a small town there called Guayna, which used to be the capital of Puerto Rico for a while.
Playa Santa is one of the most renowned beaches in Guánica. Many locals and tourists that visit the place take a moment to visit this place hidden from many crowds of people. It also has one of the most beautiful sands and water on the island, tinted by crystal blue and clear grass.
Visitors can even get something to eat there too since there are many food kiosks called “Chinchorros”, that sell Puerto Rican fritters such as empanadillas. These are mostly filled with beef, chicken, or seafood bought from local fishermen.
It is often recommended not to visit the place during holidays or high travel seasons to get the full experience. It tends to get very crowdy, and doing activities such as kayaking, ski jet or banana boats could be complicated.
Cayo Don Luis
Very similar to Gilligan’s island, Cayo Don Luis is another small location that tourists cannot miss. This small cay is located less than a mile away from the main island and features many channels among mangroves. Its shallow turquoise coastal waters will make everyone feel like walking over the ocean.
This curious site can be an excellent attraction for big groups and families with children that are looking for an adventure day. Puente Hamaca, located near Guánica, is a hanging bridge that serves as a historical location (built-in 1956) that can be visited by anyone.
This wooden-made bridge is also renowned since it crosses the city, making it very useful as a shortcut for anyone.
Caña Gorda Beach
Located in Guánica’s Dry Forest, this beach is another one best renowned for its activities. Snorkeling, swimming, and hiking can be practiced here. In addition, it’s often recognized as Blue Flag beach.
Caña Gorda is lined up with palm trees for shade and its intense-blue waters crash softly on the white-sand shore. There are many services for visitors too, like various food vendors, chair rentals, picnic tables, restrooms, changing facilities, and showers.
This beach makes an ideal plan for families with kids that want to spend a day at the beach. It even has a basketball court, on-duty lifeguards, and free parking.
La Jungla Beach
Playa la Jungla, also known as Playa Las Paldas, is a small but beautiful beach located nearby Guánica. Its calm waters near Playa Santa make it an excellent relaxation spot for people that want to spend a beach day in a calm place.
It is possible to access it with any vehicle since it has free parking, but it’s often recommended to do so with a 4×4 or a high vehicle to avoid any inconvenience.
The place also offers many services and attractions such as snorkeling, jet skiing, windsurfing, boat trips, paddle surfing, and camping zones.
Guánica is a very small town mostly hidden from the spotlight of other famous zones of Puerto Rico, but this doesn’t make it a boring place. There are many activities, especially related to nature, that can be explored with family and friends.
Any tourist that wants to learn about the best things to do in Guánica Puerto Rico also needs to know that the place really cares about its wildlife. Remember to not throw any trash or object when visiting a place, since most of it is part of a natural reserve where endangered species live.