Cordillera Central / Central Mountain Range of Puerto Rico


is a mountain town in the Cordillera Central Mountain Range. It has a lovely cool climate and places to stay on your journey through the mountains. . This photo (above left) was taken looking down from the panoramic route just above Adjuntas on the way to Lake Garzas and the Guilarte Forest Reserve. Adjuntas is one of the easier mountain towns to reach due to the new road # 10 that starts in Ponce and goes to Adjuntas ( except for one stretch). There are several places to stay the night.

Lago Dos Bocas near Utuado (above right). All the lakes in Puerto Rico are man made and used either to catch water, make electricity or both. There is good fishing in the lakes. (see fishing page). The municipality has a small ferry boat that takes people out on the lake on weekends and several restaurants will pick you up at the municipal dock in their whalers. (weekends). You cannot swim in the lakes of Puerto Rico due to a tropical liver parasite called Bhilharzia.

" I Just took a trip around the Cordillera Central mountains of Puerto Rico. Whenever I get a few days to do this I get happy! I spent the night in the Hotel Monte Rio in Adjuntas. What a terrific nights sleep I had. Very clean, reasonably priced and quiet. I was exhausted from driving well into the dark due to my persistence in seeing all the Toro Negro Lakes after a swim in the Coamo Hot springs!

The next morning I continued my drive up into the Guilarte Reserve. Passing beautiful Lake Garzas on the way up. The Guilarte Peak is the only one without all the radio tower paraphernalia and has a magnificent view. It's a half hour hike from the road. You can park your car at the concession and walk up. Great typical food can be bought at this concession, they open on the weekends and holidays.


I started getting dizzy with all the curves on the road so I decided to get down off the mountains and go swimming on Gilligan's Island beyond Guanica on the south coast."

Hike in the forests, camp in Toro Negro, Cabins in Guilarte and Maricao (see camping info)

Guilarte peak in the background, hiking trail to the top, striking view. These houses are just above Lago Garzas.

Parador Hacienda Gripiñas in Jayuya is a real treat to stay in. The old coffee plantation building is nicely restored and it is one of the few nostalgic places to stay in Puerto Rico, if a bit pricey. Good Restaurant too. You will need advance reservations to stay here, most of the time.

It is easiest to reach Toro Negro Reserve from Villaba off the south coast highway. When you get to the top and turn right on the panoramic road you will soon pass a 'Cabanas' restaurant with a view that sells local food! Try some of the 'root' vegetables. Delicious!


Salto de Doña Juana (' Doña Juanas Leap'). Waterfall by the side of the road in Toro Negro. Bigger picture.

camping in the Toro Negro Forest in Puerto Rico

Camping in the Toro Negro Reserve, you need a permit from San Juan to do this. A few hiking trails.

The Official 'Ruta Panoramica' across the Cordillera Central has some breathtaking vistas. Route # 15, above Guayama. Many scenic roads are just as nice; parts of the official 'panoramic' route are not very scenic.
Lago Matrullas in the Toro Negro Reserve Puerto Rico
Matrullas Lake is one of the highest lakes in Puerto Rico, located in the Toro Negro Forest. Las Tortugas kayaks does guided kayak trips in here. It is cool and misty up here most of the time. Good fishing, the lakes are all well stocked with Peacock and Large mouth Bass. See fishing page for lakes info.

Right schoolchildren in Villalba . 'Toa Baja' resevoir is here. Villalba is just below the highest mountains in the Cordillera Central and it is all uphill, winding roads, from here on up.