8 Things to Know Before Visiting Las Cabezas de San Juan, Puerto Rico

The Fajardo Lighthouse at Las Cabrezas de San Juan
The Fajardo Lighthouse at Las Cabrezas de San Juan | © Bjoertvedt/WikiCommons
Kris Pethick

Las Cabezas de San Juan is a nature reserve in Fajardo on the northeastern most tip of the island. Tours are available to explain the different ecosystems that make up the reserve. Here are some tips on what to do to get ready for this interesting exploration opportunity.

Reservations needed

You must have reservations, drop-ins are not allowed. You need to be on the reservation list to get past the guard. For reservations, use their online booking system on their website Conservation Trust. The official name of the tour is “Meet Las Cabezas de San Juan”. You can also call 787-722-5882 for more information. You should arrive about 30 minutes early. There are rockers on a beautiful veranda along the water where you can enjoy the breeze while you wait.

Wildlife

There have been nearly 100 species of birds documented in Las Cabezas, including the Great Egret and the White-cheeked Pintail. As with the rest of the island, the only mammals found in the reserve are bats, mongoose and rats, the mongoose and rats not being endemic. The mongoose was introduced to take care of the rat problem in the sugarcane fields, but now the mongoose is the problem, feeding on ground-dwelling birds. Not unlike El Yunque, Las Cabezas is teeming with reptiles and amphibians.

Whales

According to a 1999 report by the US Forest Service, a number of whales have been seen near the reserve due to the influx of the waters of the Caribbean and probably drawn there by a food supply. The report indicates that sperm, humpback and pilot whales have been seen, as well as speckled dolphins, and manatees have been spotted in the open waters.

Sights to see

The ecosystems of Las Cabezas include bioluminescent lagoon, sandy and rocky beaches, coral reefs, mangroves and dry forests, and their proximity to each other is what makes this nature reserve so significant. A guide will explain the ecosystem along the way. After a 30-minute walk on a boardwalk, the first stop is in the mangrove forest, the second stop is a beautiful rocky beach called Los Lirios, which means “the lilies.” The last stop is the Fajardo Lighthouse which has displays, an aquarium, and iguanas and crabs in the wild. You can go to the top of the lighthouse for a magnificent view of northeastern Puerto Rico.

Bioluminescence

The Conservation Trust of Puerto Rico now offers walking night tours to Laguna Grande, one of the brightest biolumimescent areas in Puerto Rico and worldwide. The tour is not solely the lagoon, you also get a nighttime tour of the rest of the reserve where you will, just as in a day trip, learn about the different habitats and the wildlife of Las Cabezas. This tour is not widely publicized, so if interested, make sure you ask for it.

Humpback whales are sometimes seen off the coast of Las Cabrezas

The lighthouse

El Faro de Fajardo was built by the Spanish in 1880. This is a great sight to visit, day or night. Make sure you check out the charts on the ground floor that illustrate the location and range of all of the lighthouses in Puerto Rico and the patterns of light and how those patterns are used by incoming vessels.

Types of tours

Not only are the sights and sounds diverse, even the tours are multiple and varied. You can take traditional, night, or thematic tours by bike, trolley, or kayak always accompanied by a history/nature specialist. They offer workshops, volunteer opportunities, citizen science opportunities, and special events.

Contact information

Las Cabezas de San Juan is located at Carr. 987 km 5.9 Las Croabas, Fajardo PR. 00738. 787-722-5882 or 787-860-2562. Their normal hours are Wednesday-Sunday 9a-5pm. Admission fees are adults $12, Seniors and children $9. Tours are offered at 8:30, 10:30, 1:30, and 3:30. Only the 1:30 tour is in English. Tours are about 2 hours long. Food and drinks other than water are prohibited.

landscape with balloons floating in the air

KEEN TO EXPLORE THE WORLD?

Connect with like-minded people on our premium trips curated by local insiders and with care for the world

Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.

Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.

Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.

Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.

We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.

Winter Sale Offers on Our Trips

Incredible Savings

X
Edit article