Carite State Forest

Carite State Forest is located directly south of the city of San Juan, and is about an hour drive from the city. This state forest is over 6,000 acres in size and is a dense humid forest known for its dwarf forest and filled with Caribbean pine trees.

The facilities of the Carite State Forest are in poor shape like most of the other Puerto Rico State Forests, including the ranger station which is often empty. So, make sure you bring your own maps and other supplies, including water and insect spray, because obtaining supplies is very difficult. Most of the hiking trails are not well kept and not well marked, so you may want to speak to a ranger or guide for assistance but even that can be hit or miss. There are really only a couple trails that park rangers keep cleared, specifically the Charco Azul trail. Bird-watching is another main attraction at the park, with a large variety of species.

There are three main recreational areas, which are the Charco Azul Recreational Area, the Guavate Recreational Area, and the Real Patillas Recrational Area. These recreational areas provide picnic areas, fishing areas, campgrounds, bathrooms, pools from mountain run-off water, and hiking trails. The Charco Azul Recreational Area includes a 10 foot waterfall with a natural pool below. You can swim in its cool blue waters, which are fed by two small streams. It can get quite crowded on the weekends, so if you want the potential for privacy, go during the week. There are camping sites available at Carite State Forest, but like the other Puerto Rico State Forests, you are required to purchase a permit for $5 per person.

The Carite State Forest is open Tuesday through Sunday from 9am to 5pm. For more information and forest conditions, call the ranger and visitor center at 787-747-4545.