The Inés María Mendoza Nature Reserve, located in the Municipality of Yabucoa, Puerto Rico, is a perfect place to explore very distinctive and beautiful flora while listening to the sounds of nature. This ecotreasure, also known as Punta Yeguas, is located on the southeastern side of the island of Puerto Rico.
Our Punta Yeguas' guided tour experience was versatile and very interesting since we not only hiked on a path towards the meeting place of two wonderful bodies of water, but also discovered an agroecological farm managed by the YUCAE Committee. Below we narrate our discovery on the Punta Yeguas Trail. To read about our exploration in YUCAE Project’s farm, please search the corresponding article in the agritourism section of ecotreasures magazine.
At the beginning of the tour in Punta Yeguas Trail, we encountered one of the attractions that most impressed us: an enormous steel container that was used decades ago to store rainwater for horses that were sheltered in that area, as stated by YUCAE Committee’s tour guides, Lydia Díaz and Daniel Cruz.
Afterward, a sightseeing paradise hypnotized us.
Multiple birds were singing—the endemic Adelaide’s Warbler (“Reinita Mariposera” in Spanish) (“Setophaga adelaidae”), Antillean Crested Hummingbird (“Zumbadorcito Crestado” in Spanish) (“Orthorhyncus cristatus”), and the Northern Mockingbird (“Ruiseñor” in Spanish) (“Mimus polyglottos”), identified by Daniel and Lydia, delighted us with their music.
While hiking on the stunning and tropical Punta Yeguas Trail, we were completely surrounded by bodies of water and peculiar trees and plants. Among the ecotreasures identified by the tour guides, we appreciated the gumbo limbo tree (“Almácigo” in Spanish), bellyache bush (“Tuatúa” in Spanish), fiddlewood tree (“Péndula” in Spanish), a big seagrape tree (“Uva playera” in Spanish), white indigo berry tree (“Tintillo” in Spanish), and white frangipani tree (“Alelí” in Spanish), among others. We must confess we had never seen the first three of the flora mentioned.
The Apple of Sodom small tree (“Bomba de Seda” or Algodón de playa” in Spanish) captivated most of the people in the tour group. Its small purple flowers and big leaves displayed delicateness and strength. To see the beauty of this ecotreasure, take a peek at the Apple of Sodom’s photo.
The coastal scenery along the Punta Yeguas Trail was precious and very special—sightseeing views of beautiful beaches on both sides of the trail, resulting from the Atlantic Ocean on one side and the Caribbean Sea on the other side. Both the sounds of the waves and the beauty of nature accompanied us as we hiked towards the end of the path: a cape area where we encountered the most amazing ecotreasures.
We were lucky to witness a magic fusion of the Atlantic Ocean and the Caribbean Sea. At the end of the trail, we were rewarded with a terrific sightseeing cliff site at an approximate height of 500 feet, according to Lydia.
Once we thought we had finished appreciating the Punta Yeguas' banquet of nature, an awesome ending of the tour surprised us. As we stood up in front of a calm ocean, Lydia exhorted us to meditate and focus our senses upon nature. She asked us to close our eyes, breathe deeply and relax while listening to the sounds of nature. We felt the peace within and the caress of the wind as we surrendered to nature.
As if there had been a meeting of the minds between Mother Nature and our excellent hosts, a Magnificent Frigatebird (“Tijereta” in Spanish) (“Fregata magnificens”) flew over us as a farewell sign of our magnificent nature encounter experience.
For those interested to visit Punta Yeguas, you may schedule a tour reservation by contacting YUCAE Committee’s representative at 787-385-5422. Regular tours are held on the last Sunday of each month. Upon availability, groups of 10+ persons may schedule a tour to be held on a weekday or Saturday. Be advised that Para La Naturaleza, a nonprofit organization, manages the nature reserve.
Translated by: N. Michelle Rodríguez Amadeo