El Yunque National Rain Forest
Experience nature hiking through the whirling mist with ferns and dwarfed trees in the elfin
forest heights of the El Yunque National Rain Forest, our island's premier eco-tourism location
and the only tropical rain forest in the U.S. National Forest system.
Located in the rugged Sierra de Luquillo, 40 km southeast of San Juan, El
Yunque gets its name from an Indian spirit Yuquiye, which means "Forest of Clouds", that gave the mountain that dominates the 28,000 acre of
Green is everywhere in the 28,000-acre national forest: grasses and bushes, clumps of bamboo and
tall palm trees, vines and lianas hanging from branches.
There are turnouts and parking areas. The first good one is right above Coca Falls and a lot of
visitors take it as their first photo opportunity.
Above it are visitors' areas with roofed shelters, pictures of wildlife and maps with legends in
two languages. The rangers are also bilingual, friendly and helpful. Trails lead out into the heart of the
The trail to Mina Falls ranges from level and paved to rugged and rough. The trail crosses a few
small streams and parallels a larger one that rushes over rocks and small falls.
Watch a Video about El Yunque National Rain
El Yunque is one of the most famous peaks in Puerto Rico despite not being
the tallest, Pico del Toro peak measuring 3,526 feet above sea level. Cerro de Punta, measuring 4,390 ft, is the
tallest peak in the island.
Their steep slopes can sometimes receive rainfall of over 200 inches (508 centimeters) or over
16 feet at higher elevations. El Yunque is noted for its biodiversity.
It is home to thousands of native plants including 150 fern species, 240 tree species (88 of
these are endemic or rare and 23 are exclusively found in this forest).
The forest has no large wildlife species, but hundreds of smaller animals abound in this gentle
forest, many of which exist nowhere else on the planet. Frogs and spiders hide under leaves. Ants, spiders,
beetles, and even termites live under tree bark or in the soil. Snakes slither along the ground or wind around tree
At El Yunque there are over 40 species of birds, 11 species of bats, 8
species of lizards, and over 10 species of coquí (a tree frog). Also found here are several species of shrimp and
fish. Snakes are rare but the Puerto Rican Boa, which can reach a length of 90 inches, can be found here.
As the name rain forest denotes, expect rain nearly everyday at some point. Only the northern
island entrance allows access to the summit area. The southern route, which has a deep "jungle" feel as you
approach road's end, was closed by a massive landslide at the 13.8km marker.
The views are worth the occasional sprinkling and you'll want a camera (keep it in
plastic against the rain) with a telephoto lens.
Rain descends on these thickly vegetated hillsides in biblical proportions and plant life is remarkably
diverse. In fact, more individual species of trees cram into this small space (142 types of trees) than in any
other national forest, many of which are 100 times bigger.
For most Americans, this is as accessible and convenient as tropical rain forest gets; no
passport, vaccinations, or complex travel plans are required to visit. Be advised, the dry season, such as it is,
occurs in March and the wettest month is May.
You can see the forest best hiking within the trails, but much of its splendor can be
appreciated during a slow drive up and down the mountain.
As you enter the park bear to the right for the El Portal Tropical Forest
Center. It is open 9am to 5pm daily and for a $3 admission you get a map of the park and entry to a large
pavilion with displays that explain the various micro-climates that make up El Yunque.
Where to Stay
Nestled in the lush foothills of the El Yunque National Forest in Rio Grande
Puerto Rico, Coqui's Hideaway vacation rental offers adults and families a tranquil rain forest retreat,
away from the crowds of the resorts and big city hotels. Our location, in the mountains adjacent to the rain
forest in the north-east of Puerto Rico, offers the perfect combination of beach and rainforest vacations.
Map Puerto Rico provides most of
this information as accurate as possible but keep in mind that changes beyond our control may make some of this
information inaccurate. If you have questions or want to report problems to us, please contact us.