El Yunque is open daily (except December 25) from 9am to 4:30pm, and it's free to get in.   Visitors who have never been to the Caribbean National Forest should make their first stop the El Portal Rain Forest Center. The welcome center, designed to blend in with the natural surroundings, has a visitor orientation area, where guides from the U.S. Forest Service can help with planning your visit and pointing out main attractions. The center also provides maps, lists of dangerous species to avoid, exhibits on forest wildlife and ecosystems, as well as a small theater that shows short clips introducing visitors to the forest and only costs $3.00.

First time visitors should also be aware of rules and regulations in the park. Fishing is prohibited in the park, and camping is strictly regulated by permit. Picnicking, hiking along the trails and swimming or wading in pools is allowed, but bikes, motorcycles and horses are forbidden on the nature paths. The main attractions along the hiking trails are Yokahú Tower, Mt. Britton Lookout Tower, and the El Yunque Peak.

There are several recreation sites with picnic areas and restrooms in the area; Sierra Palm sells hot food in its Yuquiyu Delights cafeteria. Palo Colorado, the most popular, is situated near a waterfall and is often crowded on weekends. There are barbeque pits here, but charcoal is not available on-site.