Isla Monito, Puerto Rico – The Caribbean’s Baby Galapagos
Puerto Rico is most famous for the glitz and glamour of sexy San Juan. Its natural wonders and adventure travel options, though, are also among the world’s best. Among the most uncommon of these is Isla Monito.
Never heard of it? No worries. Teenage me was probably a dozen or so visits into my love affair with Puerto Rico before I realized that Isla Mona had a smaller sibling.
Isla Monito is centrally located in the Mona Passage, 46 miles from the west coast of Puerto Rico. Notably, at just 36 miles from Hispaniola, it’s actually closer to the Dominican Republic.
Monito’s total area, just .6 square miles, pales in comparison to Mona (22㎡). Like its big sister island, which sits just three miles to the southeast, Isla Monito is uninhabited…at least by humans.
This, of course, is a very good thing if you love and appreciate nature.
Taken together, Mona and Monito are known colloquially as The Galapagos of the Caribbean. Officially, though, the sister islands and their surrounding seas constitute the Mona and Monito Islands Nature Reserve (Reserva Natural Islas Mona y Monito). The combined protected land and sea area here covers close to 39,000 acres!
Everything grows wild and thrives here free from direct influence from mankind. These islands are so unspoiled, in fact, that a few animal and plant species here exist nowhere else on earth.
In the case of Isla Monito, though, you’ll likely only get to see the rare marine creatures that populate her surrounding seas. The island’s coastline of sheer cliffs makes Isla Monito inaccessible to visitors. (Human ones, anyway.)
Ever enjoy scuba diving Isla Monito? Let us know how it went in the comments section below…
*Photo credit: Omark Reyes for Discover Puerto Rico