Isla mona puerto rico tour: Exploring Mona Island | Discover Puerto Rico

Exploring Mona Island | Discover Puerto Rico

Discover Puerto Rico’s low-impact tourism. 

Embark on a once in a lifetime adventure to an untouched Caribbean island. 

Imagine a trip to an uninhabited island where you can unplug from everyday life and connect to nature and yourself. On Mona Island, a small unoccupied nature reserve off the west coast of Puerto Rico, you can clear your mind with the rhythmic sounds of the gentle waves and breathe in the freshest air. Often referred to as the Galapagos of the Caribbean, this breathtaking island is surrounded by crystal-clear waters and soaring limestone cliffs.

There are no hotels or infrastructure, nor are there any human inhabitants. The boat ride lasts from three to four hours and it’s a 45-mile voyage across the infamous Mona Passage. Being far away from the mainland, Mona is rich with endemic flora and fauna, making it a Caribbean jewel of biodiversity. There are hiking trails and two designated camping areas where you can set up a tent and enjoy the mesmerizing sounds of unspoiled nature.  

Mona was once inhabited by the Taíno indigenous tribe, used as a haven by pirates, and explored by guano miners. As a result, it’s filled with historically significant artifacts, archeological sites, and caves covered in ancient petroglyphs.

So, if you’re all about thrilling, unique, eco-friendly expeditions, a trip to Mona Island may be just what you’re looking for. 

Imagine a trip to an uninhabited island where you can unplug from everyday life and connect to nature and yourself. On Mona Island, a small unoccupied nature reserve off the west coast of Puerto Rico, you can clear your mind with the rhythmic sounds of the gentle waves and breathe in the freshest air. Often referred to as the Galapagos of the Caribbean, this breathtaking island is surrounded by crystal-clear waters and soaring limestone cliffs.

Preparing for Paradise 

If you have your own boat, you are allowed to visit the island’s surrounding waters but can’t venture onto the beach, since visiting the island itself requires a permit from the Department of Natural Resources of Puerto Rico. This is why it’s much easier to go with a tour operator that can take care of all of the logistics beforehand.

Staying overnight at Mona Island requires some preparation, so make sure to book weeks or even months in advance. Being a natural reserve, you must bring (and leave with) everything you might need for the duration of your stay, including fresh water and several days’ worth of food, among other camping supplies.

Luckily, eco-adventure tour operators like Acampa and Adventures Tourmarine not only submit the permits needed, but they do the planning for you. Acampa, for example, tailors your experience to your needs. This can include bringing along a local chef to take care of the meals or renting all the premium camping equipment such as tents, hammocks, sleeping pads, and camping lights.  

Once on the island, you’ll enjoy guided excursions where you’ll have the opportunity to explore caves, photograph the island’s hypnotizing landscape, admire the centuries-old lighthouse and shipwreck sites, and learn about the history of this special place. At the same time, you’ll enjoy picturesque sunsets and gaze at the brilliant, star-studded night sky from your campsite, a nearby beach, or the top of a limestone cliff.

Mona Island is beach camping like you’ve never experienced it before. Fantastic memories await.  

Mona Island provides total disconnection. 

There is nothing better than a stroll on a pristine beach. 

Everywhere you look, you’ll find natural beauty surrounding you. 

You can let your inner explorer roam free in Mona Island. 

From caves to ancient archeological sites, you can explore the unspoiled surfaces of Mona Island. 

Discover the biodiversity in Mona Island. 

Take on the adventure and dive inside a cave.  

Mona Island provides diving spots like no other. 

You’ll be amazed with the variety of marine creatures you will encounter. 

Countless schools of fish will play and swim with you when you go diving. 

Mona offers some of the most unspoiled sceneries in Puerto Rico. 

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Mona Island / Isla de Mona, Puerto Rico

Mona island (Isla de la Mona, formal name) is one of the Islands of Puerto Rico, often called “The Galapagos of the Caribbean” and one of the last true secret adventure destinations in the Caribbean.   Mona Island is mysterious, breathtaking, and beautifully rugged, for travelers wishing an “off the grid” adventure.  Mona Island is the third-largest island in the Puerto Rico Archipelago. Mona is a barrio (ward) of the municipality of Mayaguez along with Isla Monito.

This Caribbean gem is an ecological reserve managed and protected by Puerto Rico’s (DRNA) Department of Natural and Environmental Resources. The island is uninhabited, but police and rangers from the Department of Natural and Environmental Resources are always on the island to manage visitors. Biologists are often on the island doing research.

If you love adventure, cave exploring, a feeling of solitude, scuba diving, deep-sea fishing, camping on the beach, stargazing, experiencing what it would be like on a secluded island, then Mona island ought to be on your Bucket List.

The beaches of Mona Island are beautiful and fully protected from tourism exploitation, a true postcard-perfect paradise that will take you back in time where the only thing surrounding you is nature at its full glory.

On Mona Island, you’ll find beaches truly untouched, protected by keys, with waters clear like blue tone glass contrasted by the deep colors of the coral reef.   Walk miles of white sand, and be sure to bring your snorkel gear to float over the healthy and alive underwater world teeming with fish.

The most popular beaches are Playa Sardineras, Playa Pajaros, Punta Arenas, and Playa Mujeres.  The beaches are accessible through trails.  The deep waters around the rest of the island make Isla de Mona a favorite spot for scuba divers. Those lucky enough to visit this secret destination describe the island as a real unique gem.

West

  • Playa Sardinera
  • Playa Carmelitas

Southeast

  • Playa Escalera
  • Playa Pájaros
  • Playa Brava
  • Playa Coco
  • Playa Caigo

Southwest

  • Playa Uvero-1
  • Playa Uvero-2
  • Playa U-8
  • Playa U-1
  • Playa Carabinero
  • Playa Mujeres
  • Playa Carite

 

Geography of Isla de la Mona

Isla de la Mona lies close to the middle of the Mona Passage just 41 miles off the west coast of Puerto Rico (Porta del Sol), 30 miles southwest of Isla Desecheo, and 38 miles off the eastern coast of the Dominican Republic. Mona Island is close to the deepest trench of the Atlantic Ocean also known as the Puerto Rico Trench, with depths of over 3,000 feet.   The Mona Passage is one of the most difficult passages in the Caribbean, even the most experienced tour guides have the utmost respect for these waters.

Isla de Mona is about 7 miles long and 4 miles wide. The island is mainly flat, a raised plateau completely framed by cliffs that drop 130 feet into the sea. A dramatic sight as you sail towards it. The land is composed of dolomite. The climate is very arid and hot with average temperatures of 80 to 90 degrees.

Habitat of Isla Mona

Mona Island is the perfect habitat and the best kept Caribbean refuge to more than a hundred endangered species, including sea turtles and giant iguanas.

Very few travelers are lucky to visit Mona, and only a total of 100 visitors are allowed at one time on the island.  Nature lovers come to Isla Mona to enjoy the secluded gorgeous quiet beaches, explore the magnificent coral reefs and caves, marvel at the sights of limestone cliffs, and photograph its unique flora and wildlife.  During your exploration in Mona Island, you’ll find petroglyphs on the walls from Tainos who made the island’s caves their homes.

Camping is allowed but you must get permits well in advance and bring all necessities.  Few tour operators go to the island, it’s expensive and about 3 hours long. You can go to Mona just for a day and again you can choose to camp overnight.  Mona Island attracts many scientists and photographers.

Local’s most common way of getting to Mona Island is by private yacht/boat, and only those that know how to navigate the waters of the Puerto Rican trench are advised to go there.

There are various tour operators that will arrange your transportation, permits, and equipment for the camping experience.    Book your trip well in advance.

  • Adventures Tourmarine – 787-255-2525 / E-Mail:  [email protected] – Mona Island trip is for a (maximum of 10 persons)
  • Acampa Nature Adventures – (787) 706-0695 / E-Mail: [email protected]

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The territory of Puerto Rico consists of several islands: the largest and gave the name to the entire archipelago. Vieques, Mona, Culebra and others are no less colorful and attractive for a beach holiday. Small islands and reefs perfectly diversify beach tours in Puerto Rico.

Magnificent wild landscapes, undisturbed by modern civilization, have been preserved here. The tropical jungle is very picturesque. You will never forget them. You can admire the splendor of the waterfalls. Paradise beaches will delight you with silky white sand and silence. In Puerto Rico, you can not only plunge into the azure waves and sunbathe to the fullest on the beach. We advise you to diversify your vacation with exciting tours. There are quite a few old sights here. The island still bears bright and very colorful colonial features. Therefore, the impressions left behind are varied, bright and very pleasant.

Puerto Rico holiday price

There are many beaches on this Caribbean island, but we will consider the most popular tourists. It is quite difficult to choose the best beaches in Puerto Rico. Therefore, we advise you to pay attention to those that have been attacked for years by lovers of relaxation on a tropical island. Boqueron Beach is ideal for families with children, even small ones. Here you will never get bored. There is an opportunity to choose entertainment to your liking from a huge number of tempting options. There is expanse for fans of outdoor activities: kite surfing, cycling, diving, snorkeling and more. It is located in Southwest Puerto Rico. If you are crazy about wildlife, you can visit the luxurious reserve of Cabo Rojo.

About 30 miles east of the capital city of San Juan is Luquillo Beach. This is the most visited pearl of this Caribbean island. The calm waves of the ocean and the golden sand of Luquillo Beach attract couples with children like a magnet. Flamenco Beach is located on the island of Culebra. 17 miles from Puerto Rico. This is one of the most beautiful beaches in this Caribbean country. Here you can revel in the rays of the tropical sun, swim in the purest azure waves of the Caribbean Sea, enjoy all the delights of a tropical holiday on the island. Guests of Isla Culebra often spend the night right on the beach under the starry sky.

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11 Best Things to Do in Puerto Rico

Now, if you’re like us, you’ll want to explore as much of the island as possible. Sometimes this leads to a lot of stress when we try to squeeze it all in, which, as we quickly realized, no one is interested in. You end up leaving so exhausted that you tried to squeeze in too much.

So, to help you along the way, I’ve highlighted a few solid favorites that you really shouldn’t miss in Puerto Rico. This is an amazing island.

Check out the best things to do in Puerto Rico below. Have a good trip!

1.) Explore San Juan

Exploring San Juan is one of the best things to do in Puerto Rico when you visit the island. In fact, I’d say you can’t miss it!

After spending some time at the Museum of Art, touring Casa Bacardi (with a glass of rum in hand) and exploring the lively La Placita area (with all the live bands, bars and restaurants), be sure to visit the historical sites in San Juan.

This means you should also check out Old San Juan.

] Old San Juan is Puerto Rico’s oldest settlement and listed on the National Register of Historic Places of America, where you can easily wander around for half a day.

Yes, a simple trolley bus runs around the museum, but it’s even more exciting. get lost in its historic streets on foot; Well, unless it’s in the bright midday heat.

Also be sure to visit the San Juan National Historic Site.

Located in Old San Juan, this National Park Service protected site includes a number of locations such as; forts San Felipe del Morro (El Morro), San Cristobal and San Juan de la Cruz. Fabulous!

After all this research, head to Verde Mesa for the most delicious of dinners — their grilled tuna is so good.

Finally end your rooftop evening at AC Rooftop Bar and Eter Rooftop Lounge in Condado.

Both have some epic cocktails.

Read more: Interesting US cities to visit

2.) See El Rio Camui Caves

About an hour from San Juan is the third largest underground cave system in the world. It’s absolutely amazing (in the literal sense of the word).

Now you probably won’t have time to see all the 10 mile caves or every one of the 220 caves, but a guided tour is a must and well worth the walk. In addition, you can try your hand at zipper, dive into the water and jump on the river.

It’s so much fun.

3.) Explore the El Yunque National Rainforest

Located on Puerto Rico’s east coast, you’ll find one of the island’s natural wonders, just 45 minutes from downtown San Juan. .

Through the beautiful scenery of the El Yunque National Rainforest, you can follow the trail from the Visitor Center down to the waterfalls. To be honest, the Rio Espiritu Santo Falls and the Juan Diego Falls are spectacular.

Yes, the roads can be a bit tricky when you travel here, but it’s worth it.

Or take the trail to Mount Britton or explore Torre Britton if you want to rest your feet.

4.) Relax on Culebra Island

When it comes to beaches, going to Flamenco Beach is one of the most loved and affordable of the best things to do in Puerto Rico if you like some sun, sea and sand!

With its sands stretching for a mile and a half around the edge of Culebra Island (only about 20 minutes from the coast of Puerto Rico), this beach seems both remote and full of services; This means you’ll never be too far away for snacks or bathroom breaks. Both are essential on the beach!

The easiest way to get here is to book a charter boat tour or go to the Ceiba ferry terminal to take a boat all the way to Culebra.

Also on the island are the ruins of the Faro Isla de Culebritas Lighthouse, which operated from 1886 to 1975 and is now listed on the US National Register of Historic Places to be seen.

Before you leave the island, stop at Zaco’s Tacos for some of Culebra’s finest seafood tacos. Trust me on this.

5.) Trek Cueva Clara

Located in the northwest of the island, exploring Cueva Clara is one of the best places in Puerto Rico if you want to explore the natural history of the island.

Guided tours allow you to explore the cave, enjoy views of the island, and admire the beautiful part of Puerto Rico.

Tours run on the hour, so arrive well in advance of booking (30 minutes is best).

6.) Stroll Vega Alta

Located west of San Juan, Vega Alta is a region that is easy to visit, especially the Cerro Gordo National Park surrounding the coastline.

For easy access to the beach, head to Balneario Cerro Gordo and Cerro Gordo West Beach, both very easy to visit after a long day. Plus, Playa Tocones Beach is nearby if you want to test your surfing skills!

Alternatively, if you want to visit a more lively beach (with lots of little restaurants, etc.), head to Playa Puerto Nuevo, which is also great for families.

7.) Visit Ponce

Located in the south of Puerto Rico, Ponce is one of the larger cities on the island and is well worth visiting on the south coast.

Once here, be sure to explore the Cruceta del Vigia (Watchman’s Cross) with its 10-story observation deck overlooking the Caribbean Sea.

Oh, and stop by the Castillo Serralles Museum, which showcases the history of Puerto Rico and its sugar plantations and rum. Also, stop by the Museum of Art to see the largest art museums in the Caribbean, which is great if you want to see some of Puerto Rico’s art.

For the best ice cream, head to King’s Cream . All of their treats are homemade and absolutely delicious.

8.) Los Morrillos Lighthouse Walk

Los Morrillos Lighthouse, located at the very tip of southwestern Puerto Rico, is totally easy to visit and worth seeing. This is an amazing place to take a walk along the coast.

This is a very easy and effortless hike — perfect for a relaxing afternoon. In addition, there is a magnificent beach where you can take a dip in the afternoon, in Playhuela, Cabo Rojo.

9.) Explore Chorro de Doña Juana (waterfall)

Right in the center of the island you will visit Chorro de Doña Juana. easily one of the best things to do in Puerto Rico if you want to escape the city for a few hours to explore other inland places.

Again, the roads here can be a little twisty and quite narrow at times, so be careful. At the same time, if you are used to European roads, you will not have any problems.

Easy to stop and just pull off the road. Everyone can enjoy this place.

10.) Visit Isla de Mona (Mona Island)

Halfway between Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic is Isla de Mona. A 22 square mile uninhabited ecological reserve for all of us. This is not the place to visit for a quick day trip and certainly not the place for everyone. It takes weeks of planning.

However, if you are well prepared and ready for a long adventure, you will easily find Mona Island as one of the best places in Puerto Rico. Yes, you will need to plan carefully, especially in harsh environments that can be very dangerous.

Yes, and just be aware there are a limited number of visitor permits each day and you will need to arrange transport to visit.

To make your exploration of this beautiful island more historical and cultural, go in search of carvings left in some of the many caves by the Taino Indians.

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