Thursday, August 21, 2014

El Yunque Rainforest

El Yunque in Puerto Rico is like no other place in the United States.  Why? Because it is the only rainforest that is part of the US Forestry Service. If you are here in Puerto Rico on business, vacation or honeymoon, a trip to the El Yunque rainforest is a must on your ‘To Do’ list.

El Yunque is located approximately one hour east of San Juan, along highway 3. Once on highway 3, take the exit for road 191 and this will take you into the rainforest. Most of the hotels will offer half-day excursions to El Yunque with a typical cost of $45 – $50 per person. My preference would be to pay for a car rental and drive to El Yunque. My reasons for this:
Car rental for a full size car will be in the region of $35 – $40 per day + gas
You can visit El Yunque at your own pace and are not limited to the time of an organized tour
You can return via Luquillo beach and spend the after noon relaxing by the sand and surf.

Once you arrive at El Yunque (entrance is free), you can either make a stop at the tourist office or continue along road 191 and stop at the various visitor car parks that lead to watch towers or marked trails. The major trails in the rainforest are all well marked and will take you through lush forest and views of waterfalls and rivers. The trails higher up will give you great views of the surrounding landscape and on a clear day views of the ocean.

El Yunque Waterfall El Yunque watch Tower Colourful Butterfly Captured in the El Yunque rainforest 

click on the images for a closer view

Remember, this is a rainforest so you may encounter some rain on your visit.  Just remember to bring along your camera and plenty of film and or memory, to capture all that El Yunque has to offer.

After walking through the forest you may feel like it is time to take a break. One option if you have a fews hours is to take a slight detour and head for Luquillo beach.  Here you can grab some local Puerto Rican food from one of the many kiosks that are close to the beach and just relax.

Check out a summary of the trails here