Puerto Rican Troupial at the Mayaguez Zoo © Kati Fleming
Although located in Mayaguez on the east coast of Puerto Rico - and so rather off the beaten tourist track in Puerto Rico - the Mayaguez Zoo (also called the Dr Juan A Rivero Zoo) is a world-class establishment, and well worth a visit for animal lovers and for those who are passionate about wildlife conservancy. The island's only large-scale zoo, since its establishment in 1954 the Dr Juan A Rivero Zoo has been growing a collection of rare and exotic animals that now includes lions, tigers, jaguars, hippos, giraffes and rhinos, as well as many species of tropical birds and large and varied collections of butterflies, amphibians and snakes.
Central to the Zoo's growth has been a focus on conservancy, and several native species - including the Andean condor and the Puerto Rican crested toad - have benefited greatly from this approach. Featuring several recreated 'habitat systems' (including the tropical Spider Monkey Island), as well as numerous recreation areas, the Mayaguez Zoo is a wonderful place to take the kids for the day. Budget at least two or three hours to take it all in.