Camuy

The valley of the caverns.

Camuy is a town on the northwestern Atlantic coast, which, until Hurricane María, had one big claim to fame: the Camuy River Caverns Park. It is the third largest cavern system in the world, with a flowing underground river. For decades it attracted hundreds of visitors each week, both locals and tourists. Unfortunately, the hurricane caused extensive damage to the caverns and it's unclear when they will reopen.

Luckily, there are plenty of other sites to visit in the "Romantic City" (no one is quite sure why Camuy is called this). Here are a few to get you started.

Camuy River Florencio Cabán Boardwalk

Also known as the Camuy River Park, this wooden boardwalk (tablado, in Spanish) follows part of the Camuy river, which originates in the town's famous caverns. There is free parking, gazebos, and picnic benches. Every year in April the park is the official site of the Balseada del Río Camuy, a unique aquatic parade. Dozens of elaborately decorated, homemade rafts and kayaks float down the river to where it opens up to the ocean. Onlookers and participants also get to enjoy a festival atmosphere, food vendors, artisans, and live music.

The Lone Flamingo

As you're driving along the way to the coast, you might glance over to the cow fields and marshes on the inland side of the road and spot something pink. A flamingo stands erect among the other water fowl and turtles. Since 2009, this lone flamingo has lived in the lagoons off PR-485 in Camuy. Flamingos were once common in Puerto Rico but eventually left the island. All except one. Sightings are common enough that the flamingo is even listed on Google Maps as Flamingo!

Peñón Amador Beach

Peñón Amador beach is a beautiful north coast beach with volcanic rock formations dotting a sandy coastline. This isn't a swimming beach since there are large waves and strong currents. Just off shore there is a rocky island with a cross on it, a tribute to those who have drowned in the area. So visit this beach for a relaxing day taking in the sun and enjoying the view safely from land.

The lovely, historic stone church in Camuy

1912 Ernesto Memorial Stone Church

In the early 1900s, Christian missionaries from the United States came to Puerto Rico, among them the Kiplinger family. This family had a son named Ernesto and they were saving money for his studies, but he passed away at a young age. The money was donated to build this church in his memory. The design is by American architect Albert Munson and it was built with limestone collected by the missionaries and the residents of Camuy. This unique structure was declared a historic monument by the Puerto Rican Culture Institute in 1990.

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