In the last week of May some good friends and I decided to visit the Cambalache Forest in the north region of Puerto Rico. For me was the third time visiting this place, but with every forest I visit, it was like the first time. With a little help from the GPS, well, a lot of help from the GPS, we found the entrance of the forest located at the road PR- 6682. Cambalache, between the municipalities of Barceloneta and Arecibo, is a humid sub-tropical forest that grew over limestone hills also called “mogotes”. The “mogotes” are characterize by its karst topography.
From the moment you enter the forest a ka-ka-ka-ka-ka sound coming from the trees got your attention. This is the vocalization of the Puerto Rican Lizard-Cuckoo an endemic bird of Puerto Rico, and for me, the king of this forest. The distinctive sound of this bird stands out from any other and in almost any part of the forest. If you come early in the morning is easy to take a look at it, jumping tree form tree looking for lizards to eat. Cambalache is also home of many other birds, that makes it good for bird watching. That day I identify by sound birds like the Puerto Rican Tody, Adelaide's Warbler, Bananaquit, Puerto Rican Vireo, Puerto Rican Bullfinch and more.
As you walk through the trail the vegetation gives you the sensation of an enchanted forest, like the ones in the Faerie Tales. Beautiful greens, yellows, browns, and deep in the trail a delicate light coming trough the trees. In my way to Monte Largo Trail a little field of chamomile flowers attracts different species of insects; wasps, bees, and butterflies. Also during my walk I got the chance to see and photograph two species of spiders. Later in the day it got cloudy with rain showers at times, but its normal for the summer climate in Puerto Rico. Easy to walk trails, a nice recreation area, good for mountain biking, hiking and home of the SOPI Information and Visitor Center (Puerto Rican Ornithology Association).
Here a few pictures of The Cambalache Forest biodiversity and its trails.