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An Ecotourism Advocate Shares the Attributes of Guided Tour on San Juan Bay Estuary

Melba Ayala’s Genuine Perception about Excursiones Eco’s Ecotouristic Tour
Publication of Discovery: Nov. 30, 2018
Issue: November, 2018

Two years ago, ecotreasures discovered the San Juan Bay Estuary as it navigated on Corozos Lagoon, San José Lagoon, Suárez Channel and Torrecilla Lagoon, crossing through the Municipalities of San Juan, Carolina and Loíza, Puerto Rico, under the guidance of one of Excursiones Eco’s local interpretive guides.

We make reference of the article titled “A Journey through Inland Waterways in the San Juan Bay Estuary”, published under the “eco” section of ecotreasures magazine. You may read about how Melba Ayala, founder and owner of Excursiones Eco, a community-based microenterprise, enlightened us about the flora and fauna seen at San Juan Bay Estuary’s surroundings and the history behind our favorite body of water discovered at the area, and encouraged us to contribute to nearby community’s economic development through the purchase of local food.

Due to Excursiones Eco’s important role in fostering ecotourism in Puerto Rico, we highlight the ecotouristic characteristics of Excursiones Eco’s boat tour on the eastern side of the San Juan Bay Estuary. As Melba recently shared with us, Excursiones Eco’s local guides are highly focused on educating about the estuarine ecosystem and the relation between human beings and the visited area’s natural environment as well as interpreting the history behind Caño Martín Peña and its nature. Supporting local merchants and Caño Martín Peña’s neighborhoods, promoting cultural experiences, and engaging in practices or works for the benefit of the environment are some of Excursiones Eco’s means to positively impact the tour area and nearby communities, according to Melba. We exhort reading the “delve!” subsection of this article, which provides information about the Environmental Quality Award conferred by the United States Environmental Protection Agency to Melba in 2014, considering her contributions through Excursiones Eco’s boat tour.

In view of the above and that Excursiones Eco has been serving as an ecotouristic operation in Puerto Rico during the last 10 years, you may like reading about Melba’s insights and opinions with respect to Excursiones Eco’s interpretive tour and nature per se as follows:

1) What has attracted you the most as an interpretive guide during Excursiones Eco’s tour on the San Juan Bay Estuary?

“All the tours I have experienced have been different or special. I have seen manatees or manta rays. On another tour, we admired a beautiful birds’ choreography as a result of courtship among birds. On some days we see fishermen in action, catching fish. On occasions, some experiences have been emotional.” (translation ours)

2) What do you find to be distinctive about Excursiones Eco’s interpretive tour, considering nature and other aspects?

“During the tour, you navigate across three municipalities and nearby protected natural areas, limestone mogotes, urban development, high-income and low-income communities, an impressive bridge, and residential, tourist and commercial zones.” (translation ours)

3) Which environmental conservation practices or environmental investigations or related works have you performed while navigating the Corozos Lagoon, San José Lagoon, Suárez Channel and Torrecilla Lagoon?

“Collection of buoyant plastic material, participation in bird counts, and collaboration with scientists to monitor water quality. Also, I have provided data about the birds seen in the area for purposes of the eBird database so that it is available to the general public and scientist community.” (translation ours)

4) Summarize a memorable experience about one of Excursiones Eco’s interpretive tours.

“The Magnificent Frigatebird (“tijereta” in Spanish) flew toward our spot while we were on the boat. We saw that the width from one of its wings to the other was around 6 feet. Recently, I saw a breeding spectacle by a flock of around 100 Magnificent Frigatebirds, and I remembered the grand Magnificent Frigatebird I had seen.” (translation ours)

5) What message you wish to communicate young and adults in relation to nature’s role and benefit in Planet Earth, and human beings’ role towards nature?

“Nature surrounds us. You are part of nature. You cannot live without water or oxygen. It is entirely reasonable to desire to take care of what contributes for you to stay alive.” (translation ours)

Those interested to schedule Excursiones Eco’s boat tour may contact Melba at 787-565-0089, or send an email to

tour provider: Excursiones Eco
book here
where the crew ate: Si No Corro Me Pizza
photograph by: N. Michelle Rodríguez and Melba Ayala

Note: This story was accurate when it was published. Please be sure to confirm all details with the pertinent businesses before planning your trip. Please be cautious. The company behind this publication assumes no responsibility for your safety when participating in the activities mentioned in this article. You are responsible for confirming whether you are capable of participating in any of these activities or tours, regardless of the effort level or any other information provided in this website.


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Corozos Lagoon’s dock area

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Corozos Lagoon’s dock area

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Excursiones Eco Ecoturistic Boat Tour’s Testimonial (2016):

José Ferrer Tanco, San Juan, P.R.: “The experience resulting from this tour was very interesting. Melba has the capacity of transporting you back in time to the history behind the Suárez Channel. She enables you to see the majesty of the lagoons and the mangroves. The biodiversity of the flora and fauna are impressive. Melba demonstrated a lot of knowledge about the ecosystem, catching our attention.” (translation ours).


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