Location: Luquillo Region: East Coast “Porta Antillas”
El Yunque National Rainforest is one of Puerto Rico’s and the Caribbean’s most precious natural resources…a thick emerald green forest covering 28,000 acres with peaks that rise up to 3000 ft. El Yunque is the most visited attraction on the island and part of the US National Forest. Most tourists and locals visit El Yunque as a morning / afternoon trip, to really appreciate this amazing ecosystem we encourage you to spend at least one full day exploring the misty lush forest by walking the trails and cooling off under the plunging waterfalls and natural pools with crisp spring waters.
Getting to El Yunque National Rainforest
Concierge desk typically have a map of Puerto Rico and ask for additional directions. Following we’ll provide directions from San Juan.
From San Juan take Rte. 26 / Baldorioty de Castro Expressway east to Carolina, from where you will get on Rte. 66 / Roberto Sanchez Vilella Expressway. Go east to the right on Rte. 3, follow east to intersection of Rte.191, a 2 lane highway that leads south into the rainforest. Then take 191 for about 3 miles. As the road goes uphill you will be entering El Yunque Rainforest.
Make a stop at the visitor center for maps and more information about the rainforest.
El Yunque is open 7 days a week and it closes at 6pm.
El Portal Tropical Forest Center on Rte. 191 is open daily from 9am – 5pm. Visitor’s center is $3 per person, children 12 and under and seniors is $1.50. Tel. (787) 888-1880
El Yunque Catalina Field Office along the highway on the north side of the forest offer hiking information and will help you plan tours of El Yunque including overnight ones. Tel. (787) 888-1880
Entry to the rainforest is free of charge. There is a fee for entry to the visitor center, more info below.
Driving through the rainforest
El Yunque was designed in a way that all individuals can enjoy including those with a handicap that are may not be able to walk and explore the trails. Of course, the best experience is by foot, however if you’re not able to walk or short on time, you can drive through the rainforest and even see a few falls along the way. If you have sunroof, open it the whole way and look up at the giant ferns. There is a lookout tour with steps that end at an open observation patio with breathtaking views that extend all the way to the east coast on a clear day.
You don’t need a tour guide, the trails are clearly marked. If you want a more educational experience and make the most of your time there, then book a tour with a ranger at the visitor center or with a private tour company.
The Forest Service offers a one hour guided tour from 10:30 to 2:30, they leave at every half hour and the cost is $5 per person, children and seniors is $3. Rangers will take you on tour on the easiest trails, if you want to experience the more challenging trails you have to explore them on your own.
What to Bring
Bring some snacks, drinks, walking shoes, swimsuit if you want to get in the falls, bug repellent and if you have children all your necessities. There is a snack place with few items and refreshments.
(787) 888-1810 or (787) 888-1880 – US Forest Service
Camping at El Yunque Rainforest
If you would like to enjoy El Yunque to the max, there are some nice small inns in the heart of the rainforest as well as many resorts and hotels on the east region of Puerto Rico.
Ceiba Country Inn – Bed & Breakfast
Mountainside country inn for those wishing to spend a quiet vacation without crowds with cooling breezes, singing of coquis, friendly service and affordable rates.