Guánica’s 1,570-acre Dry Forest is home to more than half of all the species of birds that live in Puerto Rico, including some endangered ones. It is also the location of Ballenas Bay, an important breeding place for the manatee. Its two-mile stretch of beach is the nesting site for Hawksbill and Leatherback sea turtles, species also in danger of disappearing.
The relative isolation of Ballenas Beach helps guarantee the safety of wildlife. Visitors are asked to “leave only their footprints,” although many also leave their hearts at this stunning natural wonder. Here is the quintessential “Blue Lagoon” beach, with mangroves, cacti, and coconut palms. The Caribbean runs blue, green and turquoise offshore and the sand is soft and white under your feet.
Guánica is the place where most historians believe Christopher Columbus landed during his second voyage to the New World in 1493, and it is irrefutably the site where General Miles landed the American fleet to take Puerto Rico from the Spanish in 1898.
A lovely beach resort with a first class restaurant is nearby, as are many informal restaurants featuring the region’s excellent seafood and native dishes.
How to Get There
From San Juan, take Highway 52 to Ponce, then head west on Road 2 and south on Route 116 to Guánica. Follow Route 333 straight to The Bahía de la Ballenas.