The Ruta Panorámica is a 266km route made up of interconnecting country roads that traverse Puerto Rico’s Cordillera Central mountain range. The route begins in the southeastern coastal town of Yabucoa and ends in the western city of Mayagüez.
Imposing views of the Caribbean Sea greet each visitor as they start through State Route 901, completing a circuit that takes them high above the coast through the town of Maunabo, with it’s prominent lighthouse and beaches, and back to Yabucoa. From there, the roads continue west towards the center of the island, passing through such notable spots as the Carite Forest Reserve on State Route 184 in Cayey and the Mirador Piedra Degetau on route 7718 in Aibonito.
Follow the road as it twists and turns, guiding you past another lookout platform at the Mirador Villalba-Orocovis, and into Toro Negro on route 143. This forest reserve, located in the municipality of Jayuya, is where Puerto Rico’s highest peaks can be found.
La Ruta Panorámica bears west among the high altitudes of the quiet mountain towns of Adjuntas and Maricao, with several noteworthy nature reserves and observation posts. A downhill drive from there, following route 120, leads you to the metropolitan area of Mayagüez.
Whether you decide to traverse the entire route or only visit certain spots is up to you – but be sure to bring an up-to-date map for the trek and consider making overnight stays at local inns or paradores along the way. Preparation is part of the fun and will have been well worth the effort once you get to experience the forests, mountain peaks, waterfalls and breathtaking views of Puerto Rico’s heartland.