[Editor’s Note: In this issue, we render tribute to the magazine’s first publication by republishing it as we are celebrating ecotreasures magazine’s fifth anniversary. We are very happy and grateful for having been able to share our experiences, findings, and learnings during our journey so far.
Enjoy the remembrance as we go back through time and relive our experience at Garzas Reservoir in the island of Puerto Rico.]
“Countryside Kayaking on Garzas Reservoir”, article published in February 2016 ecotreasures ® issue:
Kayaking on Garzas Reservoir (“Embalse Garzas”), surrounded by the mountainous area in Adjuntas, Puerto Rico, was a trip we could not wait any longer to experience. Discovering this body of water, under the guidance of Jorge Irizarry alias “Alemán”, is a “must-do” when visiting the Municipality of Adjuntas. The reservoir is located in the Garzas neighborhood, which name is in honor of the heron birds (known in Spanish as “garzas”) found at that area. Garzas Reservoir is around 2,415 feet above sea level, as stated by Mr. Irizarry. The reservoir may be accessed nearby Road # 518, Km. 7.6.
Definitely, we had a very different experience than when kayaking nearby the coastal zone. Kayaking surrounded by the view of Guilarte Forest area and the mountains and animal and plant life around Garzas Reservoir is what we would refer to as “countryside kayaking”. The ecotreasure explored and its habitat let us appreciate the green and brown colors of nature as we got wet.
As we kayaked, we had the chance to admire beautiful light pink water lilies and a Green Heron bird (“Martinete” in Spanish). The scenery also showed orchids cohabitating with the “shy” plant (“moriviví” in Spanish), which leaflets fold as they are touched.
On the way towards “Río Vacas” (Vacas River), we were surrounded by hills, mountains and a wide variety of elegant trees such as palm trees, fern trees and stunning bamboo trees. A shy dark gray duck was seen along the way. We were also lucky to see a very big Green Heron’s nest. Then Mr. Irizarry pointed out a small tower on the reservoir, where the depth of the water is measured, as well as the “Puente Colgante” (also known as “Puente Hamaca”), a bridge across Garzas Reservoir.
Right on “Río Vacas”, we were amazed by the taro plants (“malanga” in Spanish) grown underwater on soil at both sides of the river, and the dazzling papyrus plants. The narrowness of this river along with the serenity around us influenced a cozy experience.
The pendulous Angel’s trumpet flowers (“flores de campana” in Spanish) greeted us while we continued our kayaking journey on this river.
After a break time to eat sandwiches and snacks, kayaking on the Garzas Reservoir led us to “Charco Prieto”, a gorgeous freshwater pool with a small waterfall. Almost every adventure has an impressive ecotreasure to find at the end of the journey—“Charco Prieto” was definitely such.
The peacefulness found while enjoying “Charco Prieto” makes it a perfect spot to meditate as one listens to the relaxing and powerful sounds of its waterfall. Also, the beauty of the forest area found behind the waterfall is extremely amazing.
Afterwards, Mr. Irizarry surprised us with a kayaking race as we headed back.
The kayaking trip guided by may be arranged by contacting Parador Villas Sotomayor, a lodging establishment in Adjuntas, Puerto Rico. T. 787-829-1717. [See updated information below.]
UPDATED INFORMATION: Currently, this particular kayaking guided tour is not available. However, the beauty of nature is still evident at Garzas Reservoir and you may like exploring this natural area on your own.
Remember to be responsible and follow the required the required protocol and recommended precautions in view of COVID-19 pandemic (e.g.: wearing a mask, washing hands, social distancing) while exploring natural areas. In general, people in Puerto Rico are required to keep a minimum of 6 feet between people who are not from the same family unit. However, currently people visiting any Puerto Rico beach are required to keep a minimum of 10 feet between people who are not from the same family unit whether they are at the sand or body of water.