Jobos Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve
Within the Jobos Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve’s (JBNERR) grounds, there are numerous trails that allow visitors to explore the terrain. The Jagüeyes Trail borders farmlands on the north boundary of Mar Negro and includes an observation platform.
This trail passes through a secondary dry forest skirts mangroves, salt flats, and a seasonal lagoon. The seasonally dry lagoon provides critical nesting habitat for the highest diversity of protected migratory shorebirds in the region.
The Salt Flat Trail extends from the parking lot just south of the Visitor Center. It begins as a small boardwalk and heads eastward toward the bay, crosses a dirt road, and continues through the brush and over the salt flats. There you can access a habitat enhancement project with a wooden deck for observation over an area that serves as a nesting and feeding ground for resident and migratory birds, such as the black-necked stilt, the Antillean nighthawk and the killdeer.
You can continue the trail to pass a small loop that reaches a wooden pier, a small shelter, and two spurs that connect to points of ecological interest. The trail provides access to salt flats, mangrove ecosystems, lagoons, and the waterfront with views across the bay.
JBNERR is an Important Bird Area (IBAPR-013). The relatively undisturbed mangrove system of Jobos Bay NERR makes it an important area for pelicans, herons, shorebirds, and waterfowl, with a total of 87 bird species identified in Jobos Bay. There are two federally endangered bird species found in JBNERR: the Puerto Rican plain pigeon and the yellow-shouldered blackbird. Both are endemic.
Thousands of birds from the Northern Hemisphere migrate seasonally to the south to escape extreme climate changes. Either, as a halt along their route or as their final destiny, many of them reach Puerto Rico. The mangrove forest and the Mar Negro lagoons provide refuge and feeding grounds to approximately 28 species of migratory birds reported for this area. Among these, the Plovers and the Pipers are the most observed surrounding the lagoons.
The major access road to the Reserve is State Highway 3, which can be reached from San Juan via the Las Americas and Luis A. Ferré Expressway (PR-52) or from the Guayama Expressway extension (PR-53) via State Highway 706. Highway 3 leads to the three main access roads: Highway 703 to Las Mareas; Highway 705 to Aguirre (Reserve facilities and Visitor Center). Entrance is free.
Near JBNERR you can stay at the local Bed & Breakfast, Casa Pura Bed & Breakfast in Guayama, Puerto Rico. Gustavo Crespo and company are locals from the Pozuelo Community who collaborate with the Reserve in conservation and stewardship efforts and with the conservation NGO, Puerto Rico al Sur, to provide their visitors’ with local guides for ecotourism adventures through the south of the island.
The Visitor Center is open Monday to Friday from 8:00 to 11:45 a.m. and from 1:00 to 3:30 p.m. On Saturdays and Sundays, the center is closed. The trails are open all the time.
If you want to visit with a group, contact JBNERR so they can provide you with the request form. Call (787) 853-4617 or write an email to [email protected].