El Yunque National Forest
El Yunque National Forest, Puerto Rico
7:30 AM - 5 PM
parks, local-highlights, hike, water-activities
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El Yunque National Forest is a must-see while in Puerto Rico.
There are many trails and waterfalls to enjoy. You can easily spend the entire day there. You must have a rental car to drive to the forest and around inside. Advance reservations are required to enter through the government website. It is $2 a car. Be sure and book in advance. They do sell out quickly. Entrance times are 8–11 am or 11–2 pm. Both entry times require you to be out the gate by 5 pm.
The main road, PR 191, is very easy to drive through the rainforest. You can stop along the way to see waterfalls or complete a hike. There are also several bathroom facilities along this road. The visitor center is also open again (requires an extra admission fee), remodeled, and gorgeous. Go early as parking and trails get pretty crowded by midday. You need to wear shoes with good tread as they can be very wet and slippery on rocks and trails.
One of the first waterfalls in the forest is La Coca Falls, an 85-foot drop. A stunning spot to photograph. The rocks are very slippery here. Swimming is not allowed.
The next sight is the Yokahu Tower, usually open 9 am - 4 pm. It's a 3-minute hike to the top for breathtaking views. You can see Culebra and Vieques islands from the top. Down the road, Juan Diego is a nice hike for younger children. Stay on the lower trails. It leads to multiple waterfall spots, where you can take a dip in crisp water. The water is crystal clear.
A few small independent food stands and shops in the park along the main road make for a nice pic stop. You will get wet/muddy, bring an extra change of clothes. Bring the hiking pack for your younger children. The Angelito trail is nice. It's a quick hike down to the river and back. It took about 35 minutes total, with a short visit to the river itself. You can even swim in the river!
This national forest is a must-see while in Puerto Rico!