Puerto Rico’s Guanica Dry Forest

I spent a long weekend diving and cavorting around Vieques Island off of Puerto Rico a few months ago, and I was very pleased with the experience. I particularly enjoyed swimming at night and paddling in the Bio Bay Reserve there, a small inlet wherein swim gazzillions of luminescent plankton that seem to magically light up around you when you swim in the water. But one thing I noticed about Vieques was how dry and rather barren the island is. Don’t know what I was expecting exactly. Maybe just a lot more palm trees.

The recollection of this aridness is what came to mind when I read this finely wrought piece about Guanica Dry Forest, a state forest on Puerto Rico’s southwest coast. It is dry there…hence the name. But the author encounters a variety of birds and wildlife that help make the place seem far more exotic than a visit to Puerto Rico. She also comes across the “Guayacan Centenario,” a plant older than Columbus. Or older than Columbus would be if here were still alive…in which case he’d likely be very shriveled and green. But I’d still have a beer with him. Anyway, my interest was piqued by this piece and I confess a tremor of regret that I never saw the Guanica Dry Forest during my own trip the PR. Perhaps next time.