Camuy Coastal Area

The Camuy Coastal Area is the only mangrove area designated as protected by the Puerto Rican Department of Natural and Environmental Resources and is a very unique area where different types of ecosystems can be found within a short 15 minutes distance travel. This high energy coastline makes this beach a variable landscape available through the year; visitors here can find more than 40 species on any single day they spend in town, especially during the migratory season.  A study of the area showed that at least for the month of January, close to 50% of the birds recorded for the area were either regional or North American migratory birds. However there is a constant flow of migrants from as early as June up to March every year.

The Camuy River is the third largest underground river in the world and the scenary for the biggest rafting event on the island (Balseada del Río Camuy):

Photo by Israel Guzmán

Camuy River (Photo by Israel Guzmán)

Over 14 species of butterflies and similar count for dragonflies adds up to the atractives on these wetlands:

Photo by Israel Guzmán

Butterfly (Photo by Israel Guzmán)

Camuy is a regular stop for birders of all levels in Puerto Rico and can be accessed via a paved road, PR 485. Along this road, there are bakeries, coffee shops, and restaurants where visitors can enjoy Puerto Rican tropical cuisine as well as their favorite refreshments from local beers to fruit frappes. Along this route is also Playa Peñón Brusi where you can take a rest while enjoying an acaí fruit bowl or have your own picnic on any of the tables located in the area.

The mudflat area in the following picture is at a high water level that changes levels throughout the seasons, providing one of the best birding spots in the area due to the resulting species rotation during the year:

Photo by Israel Guzmán

Mudflats (Photo by Israel Guzmán)

Transportation for small groups can be coordinated in advance with the municipal Tourism Office:

Photo by Israel Guzmán

Tour Transportation (Photo by Israel Guzmán)

Enjoying the sunset at the iconic Peñón Amador (right of the pier) after a long day of birding in Camuy:

Photo by Israel Guzmán

Peñón Amador (Photo by Israel Guzmán)

Camuy played an important role on the economy of the Island since since the early days of the Spanish conquest. The wetland area was well priced for its richness of trees “as tall as cathedrals” as well as for the easy to catch life contained within. This made possible the settlement of its first village close to Río Camuy and only at 300 yards from the sea. Río Camuy became the biographical feature used to divide the island into the San Juan Party and the San Germán Party, the first political division of Puerto Rico. Camuy became an official town by the year 1807 and was utilized for wood production, cotton crops, sugar cane field and finally for sand extraction for construction. Today the main use for the area is for recreation and tourism, and for local fisheries.

The Birds

More than 120 species have being recorded for Camuy territory (that’s 1/3 of the total for Puerto Rico), including 10 out of 17 Puerto Rican endemics species and other endemic subspecies.


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Catch up on past issues of Caribbean Birdwatch, a feature in Liat's Zing magazine that highlights the region's birding hotspots.

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