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“Beautiful Forest”

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Wauconda, Illinois
Level 6 Contributor
43 reviews
148 helpful votes
“Beautiful Forest”
Reviewed April 12, 2006

My wife and I visited El Yunque rainforest on March 30th. We rented a car and drove out there from Isla Verde. The trip was pretty easy and took us about 45mins. The guy at Charlie Cars said that there was construction on Rte 3 and took us north of the city. It was nice seeing all the littler beaches of San Juan. Just watch out for the road kill Iguanas.

I would definitely agree with many of the earlier comments about signage getting to El Yunque. Route 101 isn’t labeled off of Rte 3. You have to watch for a road sign that says its for El Yunque. Turn there even though it doesn’t look like a major streets. There should be signs that lead you to the 101 and into El Yunque. We ended up in Liqullio before we knew we should have turned.

Upon arrive at the park you will have to pay the 3 dollar entrance fee (pp) and then you can drive around to El Porto. There are some nice areas here for a photo. Also a gift shop, restaurant, bathrooms, and a part guide. The interesting thing I found about this part is that you actually drive through it, not hike it. Along the way there are areas for you to pull off and park and then hike to a site. Also there are about 2-3 restaurants that you stop off and eat at.
We had lunch at the nice café near the top. They had some really good grilled sandwiches.

The drive through El Yunque was nice and scenic. We drove to the top, but really didn’t want hike the 45 mins each way to the observation town. Plus, the rain was coming down pretty hard. We turned around and stopped for lunch at the café near the top of the mountain. They had some good grilled food and baked pastries there.

Further down the mountain, we decided to hike to the waterfall. Like the guide lady told us, it is 30mins there and 30 mins back. With the grade of the path it may wear on some, but the cold water of the waterfall will cool you off when you get there. It was very peaceful hiking through the rainforest. I would not recommend this hike for the handicapped or senior citizens. I sit behind a desk all day with little or no exercise and I was able to make the hike (though a little out of breath at the end).

The waterfall was really nice. Not as big as the waterfalls I have seen Oregon or Hawaii, but they didn’t let you swim in theirs. There are two paths that lead you into the waterfall. However they are
rock paths and hurt the bear feet to walk on. Would highly encourage you bring aqua shoes, a towel and some bottled water along. Also, be very careful in the basin of the waterfall and you can’t see the rocks
below. It could be very dangerous. Also, the water was rather cold. It had to be in the 50s or 60s. Like a very cold bath. Just be aware of that.

All-in-all…El Yunque was nice place to visit. Visit lasted about 3 hours. It was nice to see, but I don’t think I would ever go back.

2 Thank Brian_Schoppe
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
A TripAdvisor Member
“Nice trip but would choose another company”
Reviewed March 17, 2006

We decided on our last day in San Juan, before going on a cruise, to see the rainforest. We booked Holiday Tours through the hotel. We were in a van with 3 other couples, 2 older ones and 1 young couple.
The driver wouldn't stop talking (not about the rainforest)about other clients in the past, etc. We would rather he point out sights we were passing or talk about the forest. He took us to the tower which we climbed. The view was great but the 2 older couples couldn't do it. Then he drove us to the path in the rainforest leading to the waterfalls. The 2 older couples couldn't do it. The driver said it would take an hour and he would wait for us and the younger couple. An hour was not enough time. The path is steep, both up and downhill, and quite slippery at times. You have to be very careful. We did enjoy the walk but needed more time to do it leisurely. I would not advise anyone to take the path unless they are healthy and surefooted. My husband and I are in our fifties and had no problem. I would recommend the trip but not with this company. Also the drive back was very long since traffic in Puerto Rico is very heavy. So a trip that was supposed to arrive back at the hotel by 1 pm didn't arrive until 2:30.

1 Thank A TripAdvisor Member
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Kansas City
Level 5 Contributor
42 reviews
42 helpful votes
“Go Early!”
Reviewed January 4, 2006

We enjoyed our visit to El Yunque but have two recommendations. Go early and allow time to enjoy the Portal visitors center before touring futher. We didn't arrive till late morning and our teenagers rushed us through the visitors center. The parking was relatively tight for the trails and the trails somewhat crowded. I think it would have been much less crowded earlier in the morning. Is worth the trip in any case and one of the least expensive experiences on the whole island.

6 Thank Ben1500
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
New Providence, New Jersey
Level 4 Contributor
33 reviews
163 helpful votes
“Must see for green-lovers”
Reviewed December 27, 2005

While staying at Fajardo, my husband and I took a day trip to El Yunque. The rainforest was lush, green, and wonderful. After a small lunch at the main visitor's center, we drove along Rte 191 (which goes all thru' the forest), making stops at attraction points marked on the trail map that we obtained from the visitor's center. We did one trail - the Big Tree/La Mina Trail, that lead us to the La Mina falls. This trail tooks us about 2 hours overall (including time spent at the falls and reading all the eco-information plates on the trail). The pathway was a single-person, dense, green, quiet forest trail and you only hear nature's sounds when on the trail. It started raining hard when we were on the trail, but the tree canopy above us was so thick that not even a drop got to us. Towards evening, the forest turned foggy and we weren't able to do any of the mountain trails further into the forest. On the way back, we stopped at a local shack in the forest for some very tasty hot tacos and coconut water.
Overall, the experiance was amazing. If you are a green-lover, don't miss a chance to visit El Yunque.

15 Thank cooltraveller
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
A TripAdvisor Member
Reviewed November 8, 2005

Four friends and I were staying at Holiday Inn in San Juan, but rented a car for the day and got directions from the hotel staff, and off we went. The drive to El Yunque was beautiful, and we stopped at a roadside stand for lunch. However, once inside, it was unbelievable. We were told not to swim in the stream due to the rising water level, as it was pouring rain (sunny until you got into the forest). We hardly noticed the rain, though, since it was so warm. We bought a humongous bushel of bananas for $2 from a guy on the side of the road. Then we continued into the Rainforest. We didn't see that much wildlife due to the rain, but that was ok..it was beautiful enough without it. At one point, we parked the car and just started hiking. Inside, we climbed waterfalls, took pictures of coqui, and, as would be expected with a group of 4 guys, we went against locals suggestions and swam in the water. It was AMAZING. One of our guys did, actually, get swept over the rapids by the rising current, but we got him back. It was a tense few minutes, however, as we were an hour hike into the rainforest with no cell phones and no one around. We left as it started getting dark, and wow..there really are no words. You have to see it.

17 Thank A TripAdvisor Member
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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