Few visitors to Puerto Rico leave without having visited El Yunque, the only tropical rain forest in the U.S. national forest system. Stop at the visitor center to pick up a park map and stock up on bug repellant, ponchos, water, and snacks before heading off on a self-guided expedition of El Yunque’s highlights. These include La Mina Falls and a trip to the top of El Yunque Tower. Along the paths, look for the elusive Puerto Rican parrot, which was on the verge of extinction before its population was stabilized by the Forest Service staff.
The only tropical rain forest in the U.S. National Park Service is found within small El Yunque National Forest. Well-maintained trails make the park easy to explore, and the rewards are many: splashing waterfalls and lush forests filled with ferns and tropical flowers. Keep an eye out for endemic species like the rare and endangered Puerto Rican amazon (a type of parrot) and the island's beloved coquí frogs, which sing their distinctive song every evening at sundown.