One of the last true adventure destinations in the Caribbean, the ISLA DE MONA is a blessedly isolated nature reserve 72km off the west coast of Puerto Rico, and just 61km from the Dominican Republic. Staying on the island requires advance planning, though it’s much easier to arrange day-trips to dive or snorkel off its deep, unbelievably clear waters and richly stocked barrier reef. It’s worth the effort: although it’s not quite the “Galapagos” made out in the tourist literature, it does offer the chance for a real wilderness, back-to-nature experience.

The island is roughly 11km long and 6.5km wide, and other than occasional groups of illegal immigrants from Cuba, completely uninhabited, though you can still see evidence of Taíno and early Spanish settlement. The island is essentially a raised plateau surrounded by 40m sea cliffs, with an extensive cave system and 8km of absolutely stunning pearly white beaches lining its southern shore. Other than enjoying the caves and these (usually) utterly deserted strips of sand, Mona’s chief attraction is its wildlife. The Galapagos comparison was spurred chiefly by the giant rock iguanas that lounge on the shore, and can grow up to 1.5m long. There are also wild pigs, goats and cattle, left by Spanish colonists, and pods of humpback whales offshore in winter. Between May and October turtles nest on the beaches and there are over 100 species of bird zipping around the island, including hawks, red-footed boobies and pelicans. The DRNA maintains a basic ranger station, toilets and showers at Playa Sardinera on the west side of Mona, but otherwise you’re on your own – you must bring a tent and all your food and drink.

 

Book through Rough Guides’ trusted travel partners

Puerto Rico features

The latest articles, galleries, quizzes and videos.

Top live music destinations

Top live music destinations

San Juan, Puerto Rico Puerto Rican artistes were prominent in the New-York based creation of salsa in the 1970s, when the pan-Latin mix was given a rock fla…

10 Mar 2014 • Rachel Mills camera_alt Gallery
View more featureschevron_right

Privacy Preference Center

Necessary

Mandatory - can not be deselected. Necessary cookies help make a website usable by enabling basic functions like page navigation and access to secure areas of the website. The website cannot function properly without these cookies.

PHPSESSID,aelia_cs_selected_currency,cookie_notice_accepted,RS,bp-message,bp-message-type,id,UIDR,w3tc_logged_out,__cfduid
__cfduid

Statistics

Statistic cookies help website owners to understand how visitors interact with websites by collecting and reporting information anonymously.

__utma,__utmb,__utmc,__utmz,_ga,_gid,__atssc,__atuvc,__atuvs,di,dt,ssc,ssh,sshs,uid,uit,xt
__utma,__utmb,__utmc,__utmz,_ga,_gid
__atssc,__atuvc,__atuvs,di,dt,ssc,ssh,sshs,uid,uit,xtc

Marketing

Marketing cookies are used to track visitors across websites. The intention is to display ads that are relevant and engaging for the individual user and thereby more valuable for publishers and third party advertisers.

__gads,PISID, BEAT, CheckConnection TempCookie703, GALX, GAPS, GoogleAccountsLocale_session, HSID, LSID, LSOSID, NID, PREF, RMME, S, SAPISID, SID, SSID,__utmv, _twitter_sess, auth_token, auth_token_session, external_referer, guest_id, k, lang, original_referer, remember_checked, secure_session, twid, twll,c_user, datr, fr, highContrast, locale, lu, reg_ext_ref, reg_fb_gate, reg_fb_ref, s, wd, xs
__gads,PISID, BEAT, CheckConnection TempCookie703, GALX, GAPS, GoogleAccountsLocale_session, HSID, LSID, LSOSID, NID, PREF, RMME, S, SAPISID, SID, SSID
__utmv, _twitter_sess, auth_token, auth_token_session, external_referer, guest_id, k, lang, original_referer, remember_checked, secure_session, twid, twll
c_user, datr, fr, highContrast, locale, lu, reg_ext_ref, reg_fb_gate, reg_fb_ref, s, wd, xs