Bosque Estatal de Maricao

Central Mountains

This forest of more than 10,000 acres lies along the Ruta Panorámica south of Maricao: it's the largest of the island's state forests. The drive through is spectacular, with sharp curves snaking over ridges as the mountainsides fall away into sheer valleys. En route are several pull-offs at trailheads leading into the woods or down steep inclines, although most visitors just stop at the stone observation tower, La Torre de Piedra, as Rte 120 crests the mountaintop at 2450ft.

While the landscape is categorized as high-mountain rainforest, scientists note that the 845 species of plant here are less ‘exuberant’ than tropical rainforests such as El Yunque. Birds are the most studied fauna, with 44 identified species. Tanagers, cuckoos and warblers are some of the remarkable types spotted in the forest.

Curiously, few trails are maintained or mapped and guides are difficult to come by. There is also no ranger station with information here. If you are coming to hike, bring a topographic map from a supplier in the US, or order one from the USGS (US Geological Survey).

While the main access is via Rte 120 south of Maricao, taking a combination of Rte 105 and 425 southeast of Maricao will bring you to a northern outpost of the forest, where there you'll find the impressive Salto Curet waterfall.

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