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El Yunque National Forest

El Yunque National Forest
Few visitors to Puerto Rico leave without having visited El Yunque, the only tropical rain forest in the the U.S. National Forest system. Stop at the visitors’ center to pick up a park map and to 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 the 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 National Forest staff.
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I thought the rainforest would be a tourist trap but it was everything but that. Quiet, adventurous, educational and BEAUTIFUL is all that I can say. I reccomend getting a tour guide so you dont walk by the plants, trees, flowers and wildlife without acknowledging the hundreds of different kinds life thriving there. This is a must see for sure
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The El Yunque Rain Forest
As the only rainforest in the U.S. National Forest Service system, the El Yunque Rain Forest is a must-visit. Take a car and drive the winding road PR 181 into the park. Be sure not to miss the Yokahu Observation Tower and La Mina Falls.
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Through the Tower Window
The El Yunque National Forest has been attracting visitors since the site's opening over a century ago. There's lots to see and do along the twisting and turning roads. Don't miss the waterfalls, rivers, and the tower of this photo—especially if you want a fantastic view of the lush jungle and mountains, capped with rolling fog. I suggest visiting on a weekday, in the morning. Be prepared for rainy weather even if it's sunny prior to entering. You can bypass the entrance, stay on the main road, and continue up till you reach this tower. Anything off the main road is free to visit and enjoy. Look for groups of cars parked alongside the road, that's where you know there's probably a little river or waterfall around that area.
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Zip Line in El Yunque
Both my wife and I visited Puerto Rico and decided to give zip-lining a try. We had a great time and thoroughly enjoyed it. We chose Yunkee Zipline Adventures, and our guides Jaime and Roqui were both fun and knowledgeable. We both recommend their company to anyone who wants to give this type of outing a try.
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Hiking to Spectacular Views in El Yunque
Hike to waterfalls, climb viewing towers, and snap photos of stunning natural landscapes in the U.S. National Forest Service's only tropical rain forest. Keep an eye out for coqui, Puerto Rico's famous singing tree frogs, plus iguanas and all kinds of birds.
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Nighttime Serenade in El Yunque
The island comes alive at night with the sound of thousands of tiny cocqui frogs. There is no better way to hear this than by spending a night in El Yunque National Forest, where the sound of the frogs' song is deafening at 4am. Camping permits are required (and can be obtained day-of at the park’s Visitor Center) but not in demand: The locals leave before dark for fear of La Chupacabra! We were the only campers in the park the night we stayed.
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Amazing National Forest
Puerto Rico is beautiful. El Yunque is a national forest with unique flora and fauna, and picturesque views of mountains, ocean, and waterfalls.
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On Top of the World
A short hike along the trail will leave you feeling like you're on top of the world. You can see El Yunque in the foreground. In the distance, the beaches and Atlantic Ocean that border northern Puerto Rico stretch along the horizon.
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Waterfall in El Yunque National Rain Forest
You can take a leisurely hike in El Yunque National Rain Forest to several waterfalls, depending on how many miles you want to put into your hike. The one seen in the picture is just a 1.7 mile hike in very nicely kept paths.
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Exploring El Yunque
In the El Yunque National Forest, you are completely surrounded by lush, green plants and fresh air. There are trails that you can hike all the way to the highest point of the forest! I only had time for a half-day tour, but I would have loved to spend an entire day exploring the trails.
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El Yunque National Forest

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.

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El Yunque National Rain Forest
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Weather the Rain for El Yunque National Rainforest
Encompassing 28,000 acres, El Yunque National Forest is the only tropical rain forest in the entire U.S. National Forest system — thanks in large part to its location on the slopes of the Sierra de Luquillo Mountains in the northeast corner of the island. Towering above the park, the peaks of this range reach over 3,537 ft above sea level. And since it’s been protected as far back as 1876, the park holds another uncommon distinction as the oldest reserve in the Western Hemisphere. So much uncommon goodness in one place!
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Inside a Cloud at El Yunque
Being from Arkansas, I'm familiar with mountains. But my eyes were opened to a different kind of mountain when I hiked to the peak of El Yunque in Puerto Rico, just as a cloud engulfed the mountaintop. It is like heaven on earth.
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American Rain Forest?
The only tropical rain forest in the United States National Forest system, El Yunque is a must-see. Not a long drive from San Juan, you can experience everything a rain forest has to offer, including great views of the island and stunning waterfalls.
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Swimming Under a Hidden Waterfall
The Yunque, the only tropical rainforest in the U.S. National Forest system, was also a finalist in the elections for the New Seven Wonders of Nature. Naturally, when my boyfriend came with me to visit my family, I had to bring him. I enjoyed this visit more than any of my other eight to the Yunque—all because of ten minutes spent in the Juan Diego Waterfall.

We lucked out: A friend of a friend had told us about the fall. This treasure is so hidden that locals, even the Yunque workers, had never heard of it. We spent our last hour there searching for it. With twenty minutes until the park closed, we found a tiny trail. We climbed it until we came across a waterfall and ran into a pool colder than any water I'd ever felt. It was completely out of sight. And it was our own private waterfall—as exhilarating as white-river rafting, more romantic than a candlelight dinner on a rooftop overlooking the Eiffel Tower.

We kept climbing and found several other falls of various sizes, all with pools and all equally private. Next time I'm in the Yunque, I will spend all day here.

The Yunque has other natural wonders, including a dwarf forest, breathtaking views, and other waterfalls. The Coca fall is my favorite place to sit with a plate of ribs brought with me from Guavate (mentioned in my "Whole Pig" highlight). Likewise, I love sitting under the powerful rush of the Mina.

To find it: Drive up Road 191. A little past the Coca, there will be a tiny trail you should climb to the falls.
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