Puerto Rico, El Yunque Rainforest

Puerto Rico is the highlight of my first posts in this blogging experiment.  Thus far, Puerto Rico is my favorite location in the Caribbean (Cancun, Aruba, St. Croix).  Flights and hotels are affordable and the island has something for everyone.  Personal safety never felt like a concern in San Juan or any other area for that matter.  The climate and terrain is diverse with desert sands on the south west end of the island and tropical rainforest in the northeast.  My wife and I spent eight days on the island in 2012.

Destination 1:  El Yunque Rainforest

The El Yunque Rainforest is the only rainforest found in the United States.  Located in northeastern Puerto Rico, this 28,000 acre rainforest is a must see on the island.  Within the park, a short drive and or hike can take you from mountain peaks in the clouds to spectacular secluded waterfalls.  The Yokahu observation tower, La Mina Falls, and La Coca Falls are popular attractions.  Long strenuous hikes are available as well as shorter more accessible trails.  The La Mina Falls trail is easily accessed and the trail is even paved in some areas.  The less popular Juan Diego Creek trail is the must see in my opinion.  Finding the trail is the most difficult part.  Excellent directions can be found here.  The climb up to Juan Diego falls (post header shot) is not too strenuous however it is steep.  The cool water of the falls is refreshing after a day of hiking in the humid rainforest.  Shots below were taken with an Olympus EPL-1 and package 14-42mm lens.  Next Post: Old Town San Juan and Castillo San Felipe del Morro.

Small Waterfall on Juan Diego Creek

Small Waterfall on Juan Diego Creek

Juan Diego Falls in Background

Juan Diego Falls in Background


7 thoughts on “Puerto Rico, El Yunque Rainforest

  1. sassiitalytours

    Great shots! Have been to El Yunque twice but never done the Juan Diego trail, will def have to hit that one next time. Where else in PR did you go? Rincon is where I want to retire, but last fall the wife and I did a week in Boqueron and Cabo Rojo. Absolutely stunning.

    You really captured how gorgeous the forest really is. It’s a treasure…glad the Puerto Ricans have protected it. Did you stop and get a coco frijo and some corn fritters from that roadside stand on the way up the hill? The street food there is just so good. Not good for you maybe…but good!

    1. Mike Valore Post author

      Thanks! I actually might re-do the Puerto Rico post. I have quite a few more photos that I didn’t put up. We didn’t get to visit too much of the island, unfortunately only had a week total. We stayed in San Juan at a boutique hotel called the Acadia Seaside Inn. We took side trips to El Yunque and Fajardo. Definitely did stop at the stand up the hill. Ate lots of mofongo in San Juan. Verde Mesa was our favorite restaurant over in the old town. Wife and I have talked about heading there again this coming winter. Any recommendations?

      1. sassiitalytours

        Love it! And yes…I tend to be a bit enthusiastic about PR so forgive me if I babble. Reco: go west young man! Couple ways to skin the cat–one is just head west along the north coast through Arecibo and Isabela to check out Aguadilla and Rincon. The latter is full of surfers, fishermen, and expatriated mainlanders who went down for a weekend only to decide to get a job tending bar just so they could stay in paradise! It’s where I want to retire. 🙂

        You can also keep going around the top, through Rincon, and check out Boqueron and Cabo Rojo. Boqueron is a lovely little fishing town with a seaside street market with lots of little places that serve the freshest seafood I’ve ever had. They have guys with stands selling that morning’s oysters and clams for fifty cents a pop. Check out Galloway’s “Irish” pub there for some good sorullitos and fried plaintains and mean margaritas and cold El Presidente. Nearby are the cliffs of Los Morillos (careful at the edge…the water is 200ft below) which are just stunning, and the little town of Joyuda. I’ve never seen water that color…the most perfect blue that comes right up to the winding sea level street. Check out Playa Buye too…great snorkeling. The most scenic beach I’ve ever been to in a very quiet way. The people are great on the west side. The Boqueron bakery is a great place to work off a hangover in the morning!

        Pics of the cliffs: http://farm3.staticflickr.com/2728/4371073978_c6d02245d9.jpg

        You can also drive down through Carolina and Caguas on Rt. 52. The mountains in the jungle are amazing, and you’ll go through Ponce and Salinas. Either way you get to the west and south of the island for some amazing sites. Enjoy!

  2. Mike Valore Post author

    Thanks for the recommendations! I think you just sold us on our winter trip in 2014 to the west side of the island. We were already seriously considering a trip back. Will get back to ou on more details when we start to plan it. Thanks again!

  3. Margarita Figueroa

    Would like to know if you sell your photos (hi-res quality). I’m decorating our beach apartment near Dorado and would love to have a couple of framed 16×20 stunning photographs. I really like your El Yunque pics. Thank you!


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