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...more
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...more
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...more
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...more
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...more
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...more
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...more
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...more
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...more
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...more
I love the El Yunque rainforest. I've always wanted to live here. It is incredibly peaceful. Every...more
the place is run by a mother and her son. looks like they are overwhelmed with running the place. i...more
Rd 956 KM 7.9, BO Guzman Abajo, , 00745, Caribbean
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.
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...more
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...more
227 Reviews and Opinions
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
Audio & Video
- Local History
- Nature & Wildlife
- Park Guides
- Travel Guide
- Plush Toys
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...more
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...more
It's a rain forest so it rains and often. While we were here we got rained on twice. The first was an outright down pour the second was more of a sun shower. It's a good idea to bring a poncho or some other light weight rain gear. I don't suggest an umbrella cause it could poke some other hiker in the eye.more
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
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
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...more
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...more
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 -...more
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...more