Introducing Bosque Estatal De Carite
Less than an hour south of San Juan, the Bosque Estatal de Carite was created in 1935 to protect the watersheds of various local rivers from erosion and urbanization. Measuring 6000 acres in area, the mountain reserve is easily accessed from the San Juan metro area. It can get crowded on weekends and during the summer when sanjuaneros come here to enjoy the 72°F temperatures, leafy shade and mutiple lechoneras (restaurants specializing in smoky, spit-roasted suckling pig) that line Hwy 184 as it approaches the northern forest entrance. The forest is one of the first points of interest you will hit if you are traversing the Ruta Panorámica from east to west.
As with most Puerto Rican forest reserves, facilities are spartan and ranger stations are often unmanned. If you are intending to stay here, make arrangements in advance and bring water, insect repellent and food; no supplies are sold inside. The only way to enter the forest is by car. From the north, take Hwy 52 to the Cayey Este exit to Hwy 184. From the south, take the Ruta Panorámica from Yabucoa. You can also reach the forest from Patillas on the south coast via Hwy 184.