El Yunque National Forest Things to Do

  • Vereda Trail map
    Vereda Trail map
    by grandmaR
  • Yokahu Tower Observation Point, Puerto Rico
    Yokahu Tower Observation Point, Puerto...
    by jumpingnorman
  • Bano Grande at El Yunque, Puerto Rico
    Bano Grande at El Yunque, Puerto Rico
    by jumpingnorman

Best Rated Things to Do in El Yunque National Forest

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    Yokahu Tower for panoramic rainforest views

    by jumpingnorman Updated Apr 4, 2013

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    Yokahu Tower Observation Point, Puerto Rico
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    Yokahu Tower Observation Point at an elevation of 1575 feet above sea level (at Km 8.9) is a great place for panoramic views of the rainforest.
    Also known as the Lookout Tower, the Yokahu Observation Point was named after the supreme being of the Taino Indians --- it looks like a one of the towers on a chess piece set, and I told my daughter that Rapunzel would let down her hair at anytime.
    The climb up is a bit tiring, but the view is worth the trek going up! There is a little viewer at the top which my five year old son played with, and also by the time we were to go down, it started to rain again.
    There is a little store at the bottom of the tower as well.

    UPDATE! UPDATE! UPDATE!

    Here is a video of the Jumping Family enjoying the beaches
    and the rainforest of PUERTO RICO
    to the tune of the Flintstones theme song, haha:

    PUERTO RICO RAIN FOREST AND BEACHES

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    Bano Grande at El Yunque

    by jumpingnorman Updated Apr 4, 2013

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    Bano Grande at El Yunque, Puerto Rico
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    There are some natural pools around the El Yunque Forest and our guide brought us to a big pool, appropriately called Bano Grande.

    Our guide said that when he was a little boy, they were able to swim in it.

    But now, there are metal bars around the pool, and I think swimming is not allowed anymore. It may be because it may be dangerous when the water level goes up fast after a rainfall (I understand since I myself almost drowned swimming in a waterfall lagoon which turned murky brown in just a few seconds with flash flooding after a rainfall in the Philippine island of Catanduanes).

    But there are nice paved pathways where you can enjoy walking around the pools, and maybe trying to listen to those singing “Coqui” frogs that sound like “Co-gui”…

    UPDATE! UPDATE! UPDATE!

    Here is a video of the Jumping Family enjoying the beaches
    and the rainforest of PUERTO RICO
    to the tune of the Flintstones theme song, haha:

    PUERTO RICO RAIN FOREST AND BEACHES

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    La Coca Falls at El Yunque Rainforest

    by jumpingnorman Updated Apr 4, 2013

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    La Coca Falls at El Yunque Rainforest, Puerto Rico
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    There is a famous waterfall in the El Yunque Forest called la Coca Falls, sometimes people call it Coco Falls…but either way, it’s a great waterfall to see in the rainforest.

    A favourite stop for tourists and even with the rain, I saw some people walking onto the rocks for picture taking – I thought the rocks would be a bit slippery, but it seemed people still ventured out to it (for a better shot without the rails). But I suggest you do that only if you have good footing!

    UPDATE! UPDATE! UPDATE!

    Here is a video of the Jumping Family enjoying the beaches
    and the rainforest of PUERTO RICO
    to the tune of the Flintstones theme song, haha:

    PUERTO RICO RAIN FOREST AND BEACHES

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    • Family Travel

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    Photograph amazing creatures at rainforest

    by jumpingnorman Updated Apr 4, 2013

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    Lizard by our hotel pool in Puerto Rico (Marriott)
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    You can hear the Coqui frogs singing in the rainforest, “Ko’Kee..” But I was not able to photograph this small frog.

    We did see a lot of lizards though, even by the pool of our hotel and a lot at the El Portal Visitor Center. We also saw snails, woody insects on the plants, lots of birds…but not the elusive green parrot which has a very low number and chances of seeing it in the wild is close to NIL.

    UPDATE! UPDATE! UPDATE!

    Here is a video of the Jumping Family enjoying the beaches
    and the rainforest of PUERTO RICO
    to the tune of the Flintstones theme song, haha:

    PUERTO RICO RAIN FOREST AND BEACHES

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    • Jungle and Rain Forest
    • Photography
    • Family Travel

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    EL PORTAL VISITORS CENTER

    by moiraistyx Updated Mar 14, 2009

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    The entrance to the visitors center
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    Before you begin your hiking adventure you can stop at the visitors center. This was a pretty interesting part of our visit to El Yunque. It costs $3 per person to visit the center. After we parked the car we had to walked across this wooden bridge to get to the center. The center itself is not in the rain forest. It's at the bottom of the rain forest in an area known at the wet forest. The center is open 9 AM to 4:30 PM 7 days a week. The visitors center is loaded with exhibits and information about the importance of El Yunque, the wildlife of El Yunque and the plants and foliage of the area. Some of the features here include a cafeteria, gifts shop, bathrooms, and multi lingual staff.

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    GO HIKING

    by moiraistyx Updated Mar 14, 2009

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    Me and Jason
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    I am sure that by now you are getting tired of reading hiking tips from me, but oh well here's another one. When Jason and I decided to visit Puerto Rico, one of the first things I did was start checking out places to hike. It didn't take me long to find the rain forest. After doing some reading, we decided to take a relatively short hike, just a couple of miles to and from. We took the Las Minas trail which was took us less than an hour. We started at one of the rest stops and walked down the slop to a really pretty waterfall. The trail is well marked and actually has a combination of stones and wooden planks to walk on. This made the hike really easy for us since Jason and I both are very physically active. These trails are easy enough for young child, but they are definitely not stroller friendly. Where walking shoes with good grip because it rains often here making the walkways slippery in some places. I wanted to see some of the orchids I have heard so much about or even the coqui frogs that you hear all over the island, alas I did not which was a small disappointment. You will get to see tons of beautiful foliage and trees, mini water cascades and clear basins of water. The trails tend to be crowded but most folks are polite and if you walk faster will step aside and let you pass. Plan on it raining at some point during your hike, bring along a poncho if you hate to get wet. Also, if you plan on swimming, either bring your suit or change at the ranger station. There is no changing area by the falls. The trails are open from 7:30 AM until 6:00 PM. We brought along a couple bottles of water and some snacks just in case we got hungry.

    The forest is open daily from 7:30 AM until 6:00 PM

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    SWIM IN THE FALLS

    by moiraistyx Updated Mar 14, 2009

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    Once I heard that you could swim in the falls I knew that I would be one of those annoying tourists. I couldn't wait to swim on up to that waterfall until I actually put my toes in the water and felt that the water was about 50 degrees of pure coldness. I sucked it up and got into the water with the rest of the folks there. It took me a while to go above me knees but once I did I thought I was gonna die. So I finally get to the bottom of the falls and lucky for me a hunky, totally hot man helped me up onto the first rock. From there I climbed up along the side to about mid falls. It was a great experience, but I don't think I'm gonna swim in those falls again. It was way too cold for me. Make sure you wear water shoes to protect your feet. If you want to swim you are going to have to change at the ranger station or already have your suit on, there are no changing rooms along the trail. The rocks along the edge of the basin can be slippery as well so take care when climbing down.

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    El Yunque National Forest

    by Dabs Updated Feb 10, 2011

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    El Yunque

    El Yunque National Forest, located about an hour southeast of San Juan, is the only tropical rain forest in the U.S. National Forest System. The forest’s 28,000 acres is home to 240 species of trees, 150 types of ferns and you may see tropical flowers depending on when you visit. You may come across tiny tree frogs, the rare Puerto Rican parrot or Puerto Rican boa although sightings are rare.

    You can start at the El Portal Rain Forest Center or if you know where you are going you can drive and park at any of the trail heads and save the $4 fee for the visitor center. You can print off the information for each of the different trails from their website which lists the length of the trail, the level of difficulty and estimated time to complete. We found the time estimates to be a bit inflated but the level of difficulty accurate.

    Although we didn't see a drop of rain, this is a rainforest and if you come during the rainy season, you may want to come prepared for a shower or two. The three trails we hiked were all paved and there were rain shelters dotted along the trails.

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    YOKAHU TOWER

    by moiraistyx Updated Mar 14, 2009

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    Yakahu Tower
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    On our way back down from our hike, we stopped at Yokahu Tower. This turned out to be a great stop loaded with fantastic views. I read that from top to bottom there are 99 stairs, but I really don't have a clue. We got to see a storm come and go within a matter of minutes. It was so cool, one second it was clear, blue with sunny skis and the next minute dark black clouds came rolling in. Check out my travel log for the pictures series I look of this.

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    Swimming in Water Holes

    by chodearm Updated May 22, 2006

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    Sweet nature.

    "When I hike I wear myself some high heels, I get my nails did and sport my dopest bikini. I headed down by da wawta, to meet my man. We's were sitting pretty all up on those rocks. Juan was der, José was dere. Dat day was the bomb. I got out da wata, and threw on my head to toe mesh outfit."

    I swear there were women wearing high heels and bikinis hiking in the woods and one woman did go head to toe clear mesh outfit I guess to be enclosed in a misquito net.

    The watering holes are packed. Bodies floating everywhere, and people posing in front of these beautiful natural scenes. Crazy contrast.

    For a more relaxing swim in the stream, walk up-stream a bit, theres multiple oppurtunities to be alone with nature.

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    Yohaku Tower

    by chodearm Updated Aug 15, 2006

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    foto yuki

    Specially built for the Disney coneursiurs (thats my attempt at that word) This tower is the second stop along the swervy asphalt road that swivels into the jungle. I was actually thinking of doing a little by-pass surgery on this attraction, just for the fact of the hordes roving up the spiral staircase. Yuki persuaded me in, and I am glad she did, the panoramic veiws were astonishing. Once you stuck your head through the arched windows you were able to put the tower behind you and with it enclose all the Panama-Jack hat wearing goof-balls.

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    Luquillo Beach

    by sswagner Written Jan 18, 2005

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    Luquillo Beach

    Although this is not part of the rainforest, it is nearby. Luquillo is considered to be one of Puerto Rico's nicest beaches, and there are good facilities here. It could be a great way to relax after your visit to the rainforest. The beach is on the north side of the island and faces the Atlantic Ocean.

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    Big Tree Trail

    by Dabs Updated Feb 10, 2011

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    Big Tree Trail

    The Big Tree Trail is one of the two most popular hikes in El Yunque, it's .7 miles in length (1.4km) and the estimated time to hike it is 40 minutes with a moderate level of difficulty, all of the trails we hiked including this one were paved. The Big Tree trail leads to the La Mina waterfall and from there you can hike the La Mina trail back up or you can do that in reverse and hike down La Mina and then back up Big Tree. After doing it, I'm still not sure which is the better route, Big Tree left me winded even going down to the falls as it's more of an up and down trail, whereas La Mina seemed like it was all descent going down. If you do the two trails in combination, you will be about 1 mile (1.8km) from where you park, we had to walk along the road to get back to our car. From La Mina you are going downhill, from Big Tree uphill. So I think it's kind of a toss up as to which is the route that requires more exertion.

    If you only have time to hike one, I'd suggest La Mina, it was the more scenic of the two routes as it follows the water down to the waterfall.

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    Rainforest

    by saw50st8 Written Jul 11, 2006

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    This is a must in Puerto Rico! The rainforest is located right by Fajardo. There is a visitors center with a great view and information and many hiking trails. We climbed to the waterfalls, where we had fun splashing around in the water. Its not a strenuous hike, but does take some effort if you are not used to hiking. We had no trouble at all!

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    La Mina Trail

    by Dabs Updated Feb 10, 2011

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    The La Mina trail is the continuation of the Big Tree Trail or you can hike it down and then back up if your time is short in El Yunque. The trail is .7 miles (1.2 km) and estimated to take 30 to 45 minutes one way, rated as challenging although I thought Big Tree required more exertion. La Mina was the prettier of the two trails, it follows the water as it flows down to the falls. At the falls, you can take a dip in the cold water so bring a bathing suit. Try to do this or Big Tree first, as the day progresses the ship tours and daytrip buses start arriving and it becomes crowded and not at all tranquil. We were followed by a giggling group of American college students, once they were in the water at La Mina falls there was no way to get decent pictures so we were glad we beat them down by 20 minutes.

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El Yunque National Forest Things to Do

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