El Yunque National Forest Travel Guide

  • El Yunque National Forest
    El Yunque National Forest
    by meteorologist1
  • El Yunque National Forest
    El Yunque National Forest
    by meteorologist1
  • A Lizard at El Yunque Rainforest, Puerto Rico
    A Lizard at El Yunque Rainforest, Puerto...
    by jumpingnorman

El Yunque National Forest Highlights

  • Pro
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    sswagner says…

     Easy to access and explore this tropical rainforest. 

  • Con
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    sswagner says…

     It rains a lot! 

  • In a nutshell
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    sswagner says…

     For many, this is their favorite part of a Puerto Rican visit 

El Yunque National Forest Things to Do

  • Photograph amazing creatures at...

    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...

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  • Yokahu Tower for panoramic rainforest...

    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...

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  • La Coca Falls at El Yunque Rainforest

    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...

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  • Bano Grande at El Yunque

    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...

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  • Drive Through El Yunque Rainforest

    If I remember it correctly, there is a drive up the rain forest road (Rd#191?) that will allow you to pass one of the falls (I think it's La Coca) where you can pull up the road and take a picture of it. On this drive, you will see various tropical foliage.

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  • Mt. Britton

    We still had a lot of time after hiking the Big Tree/La Mina trails so we decided to drive to the end of the access road and do one more hike to the Mt. Britton tower. This trail is almost entirely vertical so you should be in decent shape to do it. Follow the signs to the trail head and park there, you have to take a right off the main road and...

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  • La Mina Trail

    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...

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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...

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  • El Yunque National Forest

    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...

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  • La Coca Falls

    After leaving the visitors center on the main road through the park, you pass by La Coca Falls. You can pull off the road and take a picture, no hiking required.

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  • Bird Watching

    At El Yunque there 50 species of birds, 11 species of bats, 8 species of lizards, and 13 species of coquí (a tree frog - photo 5). Also found here are several species of shrimp and fish. So sounds you hear may be either those of birds or frogs.There are 17 endemic species of birds in Puerto Rico and many other birds that stop on the island on their...

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  • Waterfalls

    Because this is a rain forest, there is a lot of water around, and some of it falls down cliffs - making waterfalls. Apparently sometimes people swim in pools that form at the base of the waterfalls. I've been in a ship's pool where there was a waterfall, and it seems like this is more fun to think about than to actually do. Because the water isn't...

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El Yunque National Forest Hotels

El Yunque National Forest Restaurants

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    Dining Room 4 more images

    by grandmaR Updated Apr 8, 2009

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    There was a snack shop by the Yokahu Tower, and by now it was about 12:30. Marian wanted to know if we wanted to eat in the snack shop, but all of us said we'd rather have something more indigenous.

    So we drove down and stopped at a little roadside stand 15 minutes south of the waterfall (this was the low season so a lot of things are closed). They had a sign in the window that they only had fried food. They had samples of the various items that were available in the window (photo 5), and the milkshake menu (photo 4) was painted on the wall

    Favorite Dish: For $6, I got a cheese taco (photo 2) and a strawberry milk shake (photo 3). The milk shake was made in a blender with milk, ice and strawberries. It wasn't made with ice cream. (That's like the milk shakes in RI which are really made with milk - if you want one with actual ice cream in it, you ask for a frappe). I ate on the porch overlooking the rain forest.

    Related to:
    • National/State Park
    • Jungle and Rain Forest
    • Food and Dining

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El Yunque National Forest Transportation

  • Driving from San Juan

    We debated over driving vs. taking a tour and we were really glad that we decided to do it on our own. We rented a car from Charlie's near our hotel in Carolina which was only $22 for the day, gas was only another $6. The tours I found were around $50 per person and only stayed for 1/2 a day. Driving to El Yunque from San Juan was an easy drive, I...

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  • YOU HAVE TO DRIVE

    The rain forest is most definitely beautiful. The only problem is that there is not form of public transportation that goes to it, so you are gonna have to drive. If you are visiting San Juan and want to visit El Yuenque you are going to have to rent a car or take one of those tour group trips advertised through out the city.A warning about...

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  • El Yunque National Forest Hotels

    3 Hotels in El Yunque National Forest

    239 Reviews and Opinions

El Yunque National Forest Shopping

  • grandmaR's Profile Photo
    Bookstore 4 more images

    by grandmaR Updated Apr 8, 2009

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    Although the Caribbean National Forest is administered by the US Forest Service this appeared to be the normal National Park Service type store - we didn't buy anything here, but we did walk through. At the URL below you can shop on line - some of the items you can buy on line are pictured here.

    What to buy: Apparel
    - Hats
    Audio & Video
    - CD
    - DVD
    Books
    - Cooking
    - Local History
    - Nature & Wildlife
    - Park Guides
    - Travel Guide
    Children
    - Books
    - Educational
    - Games
    - Plush Toys
    Collectibles
    - Patches
    - Pins

    Related to:
    • Jungle and Rain Forest
    • National/State Park
    • Cruise

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El Yunque National Forest Warnings and Dangers

  • You Might Not See Much Wildlife

    I came here in hopes of seeing mongoose, iguana, boa, tree snake, legless lizard, Puerto Rican Owl, and the highly endangered, Puerto Rican Parrot. I didn't see any of them, but I did see some tree snails, fast coquis, a condor, and lots of anoles lizards. Don't get me wrong, I was happy to see those, but I really wish I would've seen some of the...

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  • Rainforest and getting lost - so easy to...

    Careful about getting lost!The guide asked our small group if there were any physicians amongst us, and my wife pointed at me – Thanks! The guide laughed and said he asked because there were two female doctors from Atlanta, Georgia who were just on the news after being lost in the rainforest. He said the public’s general feeling was that they...

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  • Wear a raincoat or get wet...

    It may look like it so nice and sunny…but in the rainforest, all of a sudden, the weather changes…not snow – but rainfall of course. Of course, being my adventurous self, I preferred to be wet. But my wife and twins preferred to don raincoats which we bought at a gift shop at the rainforest itself. The raincoats were only $10 for adults and $5 for...

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El Yunque National Forest Tourist Traps

  • Dabs's Profile Photo

    by Dabs Written Jan 24, 2011

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    I was extremely disappointed in the El Portal Rain Forest Center, they charge you $4 per person if you drive in and park (not sure if they charge you on foot as well), otherwise the visit to El Yunque to hike the trails is free.

    I thought that they would have a better map, perhaps they sell them, but the map the information desk gave us was the same one that I printed off their website. There is a film that we didn't watch and a room with some explanatory panels about what you can see in the forest, if you don't plan on visiting either of those, just keep driving into the forest.

    Fun Alternatives: Print out the trail map from the website and skip the center

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El Yunque National Forest What to Pack

  • Dabs's Profile Photo

    by Dabs Updated Feb 10, 2011

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    Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: This may vary depending on the season but we did not have a drop of rain while there in January. The guidebooks say to bring a poncho but I was so warm that I wouldn't have worn one even if it was pouring.

    Bring good shoes, I was glad to have my tennis shoes instead of the walking sandals I normally wear as much of the terrain is steep and slippery. Hiking boots weren't necessary, at least not on a dry day.

    If you are hiking to La Mina, you can get in the water there so bring a bathing suit

    Toiletries and Medical Supplies: Suncreen is always a must for me in tropical climates

    Miscellaneous: There are snack bars and ranger stations with water fountains throughout the park but if you are doing a longer hike, bring along some water

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El Yunque National Forest Off The Beaten Path

  • Robin Phillips is King of this jungle!

    Robin was probably a cocci in his past life. Kidding aside, he is so knowledgeable about the vegetation, animals, history of el yunque (and beyond) that aside from giving an excellent tour/hike of the rainforest you will end the tour still contemplating on nature/environment. he took us to high above beautiful waterfalls where we swam and got...

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  • Mountain Wildlife

    The snails were the most common and only animal seen on the mountain, but the coquí (endemic frog on Puerto Rico) can be heard all over.

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  • Flowers!

    Of course being a tropical island these plants can be seen throughout the tropics. Please don't collect plants or pick their flowers - that's biologic GENOCIDE!!!!

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El Yunque National Forest Favorites

  • Views over the country

    At Yokahu Tower, there was a visitor's center and snack bar. Bob climbed the circular 98 steps to the top of the tower (which was built as an overlook by the Park Service- you can see 10 miles on a clear day) and took some pictures from the top, but I remained at the bottom and just took pictures from there. According to legend, the good spirit...

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  • INVASIVE (bad) or Non-Native Rain Forest...

    An invasive species is a non-native (or alien) species whose introduction causes, or is likely to cause, economic or environmental harm, or harm to human health. Only a small proportion of non-native species are invasive. While you might not think so, there are a lot of non-native species in the Caribbean Forest. Some of them have pretty flowers -...

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  • Asian Bamboo Grasses to avoid the...

    In walking in the rainforests of Puerto Rico, be on the lookout for trees that you might be surprised to find here – Asian plants! We were driving at the side of a mountain and I was surprised to see so many Bamboo trees (which is actually not a tree, but a kind of grass). Apparently, these were imported from Asia so that erosion would be avoided...

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Explore Deeper into El Yunque National Forest
BRING A PONCHO
Warnings and Dangers
SLIPPERY SLOPES
Warnings and Dangers
Endemic and Endangered Parrot
Favorites
RESPECT THE WILDLIFE
Favorites
Visitor's Center
Favorites
Multiple Minor Warnings
Warnings and Dangers
CCC Handiwork at Baño Grande
Favorites
Yokahu Tower
Things to Do
Seventy Five Species of Ferns
Favorites
Hiking the Los Picachos trail
Things to Do
SWIM IN THE FALLS
Things to Do
YOKAHU TOWER
Things to Do
EL PORTAL VISITORS CENTER
Things to Do
GO HIKING
Things to Do
Don't let the ferns fool you!!
Warnings and Dangers
Yohaku Tower
Things to Do
Hiking in the Rainforest
Things to Do
Rainforest
Things to Do
Mountain Palms
Things to Do
Swimming in Water Holes
Things to Do
Yokaku Tower
Things to Do
Luquillo Beach
Things to Do
Stay on the trail
Warnings and Dangers
See a waterfall
Things to Do
Take a hiking trail
Things to Do
Map of El Yunque National Forest

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