Should you prefer a drive-by tour of Bosque Estatal de Guánica, take the breathtakingly beautiful scenic route Carretera 333, which starts in the town of Guánica and traverses eastward along the southern rim of the forest. The curvy road snakes up the side of a steep incline that grows thick with cactus and bougainvillea. When the road crests, prepare yourself for a stunning bird’s-eye view of the ocean and Bahía de Guánica.
Continue eastward and you pass the ruins of a Spanish lighthouse on the left, and on the right is Area de Pesca Recreativa, a shady remote patch of beach and a fishing spot with no facilities except for one picnic shelter. The road leading to the recreation area is bumpy and deeply rutted, but it is possible to travel without a four-wheel drive if you proceed with caution.
Continue eastward along Carretera 333 and you encounter Balneario Caña Gorda (Carr. 333, km 5.8), a large, modest, shady public beach with bathrooms, covered picnic shelters, a roped-off swimming area, and a wheelchair-accessible area. The facilities are fairly worn but well maintained. There are also a basketball court and lots of parking.
Next on the route is Punta San Jacinto, where you can catch a ferry (Carr. 333, 787/821-4941, Tues.–Sun. during high season and Fri.–Sun. during low season, 9 a.m.–5 p.m., every hour on the hour, $5) to Gilligan’s Island, a small cayo just a few hundred yards offshore featuring a huge shallow lagoon of aquamarine water perfect for swimming and lots of great snorkeling and diving spots. It was tagged Gilligan’s Island by the local tourist trade as a marketing gimmick, and the name caught on.
Carretera 333 ends at Bahía de la Ballerna, a lovely sandy beach area and a great snorkeling and diving spot known as Submarine Gardens.
© Suzanne Van Atten from Moon Puerto Rico, 2nd Edition