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Travel Memories: Vibrant Puerto Rico Wildlife

By April 3, 2015August 1st, 20155 Comments

bird in rainforest in Puerto RicoOn the mainland, the U.S. has a bunch of big animals, including cougars, bears, and buffalo. However, you won’t find any of these giant creatures on a family vacation in Puerto Rico. Instead, the island is home to more vibrant, smaller and colorful animals that make the space unique to the country. It’s also the only place in the U.S. that has rainforest, making for an even more diverse array of wildlife. When you and your family go to visit, keep an eye out for some of these incredible winged, legged and slithering beings.

Coqui Frogs

The Coqui frog is the unofficial mascot of Puerto Rico, Named for its signature call in the night, ‘co-qui! co-qui!’ it’s a colorful amphibian found throughout the island. Look for them in hues of brown, green or yellow. The males are most active at night and sing their calling songs to the females. However, when searching for these tree frogs, understand that they like damp and secluded places. If you’re hearing them loudly outside your hotels in San Juan, it could be a recording! You may or may not want to tell the kiddos that. It’s better to see and hear Coqui in places like the El Yunque National Rainforest.


If this is your family’s first time somewhere tropical, seeing iguanas roaming around can be a thrill! The adult iguanas grow to be fairly large, sometimes a few feet long. They have no predators in Puerto Rico and countless numbers of them make home on the beaches. They can nip at little fingers though, so keep the kids at a safe distance.


Some of the bigger parrots and birds are pretty, but hummingbirds may have the largest population on the island. They can be zipping around resorts and in green places by flowers year round. Birds feed and thrive in the tropical atmosphere. Some resorts might have hidden manmade feeders within their gardens to draw the birds out for people to enjoy.


Whether they are a nuisance or fascination, you and your family are bound to encounter some brand new bugs while in Puerto Rico. Especially keep an eye out in forest areas for creepy creatures like hairy spiders and centipedes. Other insects that are just as big but not as scary include walking sticks, roaches, and beetles. On the other hand, you will need protection from annoying mosquitoes and other bite-y beings near the ocean on calms days, so pack the spray and lotions to prevent itching.

Where to Experience Puerto Rico Wildlife

There are several programs and attractions that can bring your family up close and personal to animals in Puerto Rico. They have everything from a cat sanctuary in San Juan to the Mayaguez Zoo filled with giraffes. If nothing else, keep an eye out for the parrots kept in the lobby of the El Conquistador Resort, or bring your own pets to stay at the San Juan Water and Beach Club!

Let us know if we can help in achieving your travel goals, we love to offer personal tips and advice – ask away. This post was created in partnership with the #HipmunkCityLove project. All opinions are our own and we only promote destinations we’ve experienced first hand (unless it’s on our bucket list!)

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Eileen Cotter Wright

Author Eileen Cotter Wright

Eileen Cotter is a freelance travel journalist and owner of Pure Wander. She's our resident expat extraordinaire and falls down a lot in yoga class. Follow her on Twitter @PureWander.

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