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The keys of the Cordillera were designated as a Natural Reserve in 1980 by the Planning Board after being recommended by the Management Program of the Coastal Zone of PR.


The Cordillera Arrecifes Natural Reserve (RNAC) consists of a chain of small islands, cays, rocky islets and coral reefs located off the east northeast coast of Puerto Rico, covering about 18 nautical miles and a total surface 120 square kilometers.


Of these formations, Las Cucarachas, Los Farallones, Cayo Icacos (see photo), Cayo Ratones, La Blanquilla, Cayo Diablo, Hermanos and Barriles reefs and Palominitos Island stand out for their size. The latter is not aligned with the rest of the chain, and is located to the south of the Reserve, east of the Rada de Fajardo.


Cayo Lobos and Cayo Palominos are a natural part of the Cordillera but are not included in the Reserve, as they are privately owned. The submerged land and the waters surrounding these units, as well as the land maritime zone, are included in the Reserve.


In 2003, the DRNA commissioned, through funds from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA, for its acronym in English), the development of the Natural Reserve Management Plan, using as a reference the existing draft since 1991.


Cayo Icacos and Cayo Ratones (top)

Nautical activity in Cayo Palominitos (Below)

Staghorn coral ( Acropora cervicornis ) in the patch reef of Cayo Icacos

Octocorales or soft corals dominating the colonized pavement of Cayo Palominos

The area is made up of a series of islands, cays and reefs that occupy 224 ranges and include the following formations:




Devil and Barquilla


Arrecifes Hermanos

Reefs Barrels




All these islands are widely used for artisanal fishing and recreational activities, and are accessible only by private boats that usually depart from the coasts or marinas of Fajardo and Ceiba.

The most frequented submerged soils in the reserve are those that surround Cayo Icacos, Cayo Lobo, Cayo Diablo, Isla Palomino and Isla de Palominito.

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