Driving Tour: Karst Country

  • Start Arecibo
  • Finish Faro y Parque Histórico de Arecibo
  • Length 95km; four hours without stops

Start in Arecibo, a town perfectly situated to fuel up for the trip, and head south toward Lares, birthplace of the independentista movement. Take a scenic detour along the way to the Observatorio de Arecibo, the world’s largest radio telescope and a surreal sci-fi vision in the jungle. Afterwards, stop at the Parque de las Cavernas del Río Camuy, where you’ll find a network of dripping caves that can be a great place to cool off. Head south on Hwy 134 to Hwy 111. The circuit continues east from here, but it's worth taking the 6km detour west to Lares, where insurgents issued the short-lived Grito de Lares independence call in 1868. Here, refresh yourself with some of the Caribbean's most amazing (and aberrant) ice cream at Heladeria El Grito. Backtrack on Hwy 111 and proceed east (up and down lots of ridges) to encounter, in quick succession, Tanamá River Adventures (try your hand at kayaking or cave tubing!) and then Parque Ceremonial Indígena Caguana, a quiet park that was once used for worship and ball games by indigenous Taíno people. After a quiet walk, follow signs toward Utuado, after which you can turn off for a short detour to either of the stunning mountain lakes in the area, Lago Caonillas and Lago Dos Bocas. Regular boats ply the lakes and ramshackle restaurants sell all the regular Puerto Rican favorites. You’ll find serene accommodations just up from Lago Dos Bocas at TJ Ranch.

On the way back towards Arecibo, you can divert down to Rte 621 and Bosque Estatal de Río Abajo, where former lumber roads have been converted to trails. Leaving the park, head back north on Hwy 10 and, as it approaches the edge of Arecibo city, hook up with Hwy 681. This will bring you down to the Faro y Parque Histórico de Arecibo, where a picturesque lighthouse stands guard over the Caribbean.