The El Yunque rainforest – hiking and sight seeing

Paths through the El Yunque rain forest in Puerto Rico have been made by the C.C.C. in the 1930's. They are paved and very easy hiking as you can see in the trail in El Yunque

The Big Tree Trail (Tabonuco forest and Sierra palm forest) is a very popular hike and I recommend you go on a weekday when it is not as crowded. We also can guide you on some

Highest peak in El Yunqueadventure hikes that go into areas of the rainforest that are not along paved trails and where it is unlikely that you will meet a fellow hiker. But you might Our guide with a Puerto Rican Boa meet a large boa hanging from a tree branch or sunning on a rock and you will certainly go through the tough silk strands of a peanut spider web. rainforest spider

The spiders along the rainforest trail are all unique. The are almost like snow flakes with their variations in colors and markings.

The seven hour El Toro Trail to Trade Winds Trail is one that few have accomplished. The upper third is in the cloud forest with stunted trees like bonsais on either side. Another hike that we can direct you on is to a little known tall ribbon waterfall at the end of the trail we affectionately call "the stair master from hell". A third adventurous hike ends up at the old (over 300 years) Spanish gold mine.

cute baby coqui

A cute baby coqui from a rainforest leaf.


our waterfall

swim at the base of a rainforest waterfall


El Yunque Lost Machete Hike (scroll down for other adventures)

Venture into the El Yunque jungle where things become missing. One misplaced step and you slid down the mountain and become tangled in vines never to be seen again. Your companions go on without you and morn your passing into the enchantment of the Rainforest El Yunque. Maybe the ghost stories really are true.

Okay so we are exaggerating just a little. However, The Lost Machete Hike is not an easy hiking trail. But you were looking for an adventure, right? This is a private trail where you will not encounter others. It is on our private property. There are several very steep areas where one misplaced step could send you sliding Rio Grande river waterfalldown the mountain side. Also the rocks and boulders of the beautiful stream (that will remain nameless to protect the trail's anonymity) are very slippery. There are also mysterious plants that can cause a severe rash and burning sensation on exposed skin. The trail is well maintained and you will only encounter these plants off the beaten path. And if you're lucky you might see one of the resident Boa Constrictors lying about. Now that you have learned of some of the dangers let's explore the unique beauty that will make risking the wilds all worth while.

One step off the pavement and you will immediately feel the jungle surround you. At the trails end you will experience a waterfall that very few private swimming hole in rainforest hominoids have ever seen up close. Be a part of the unique group of people that have enjoyed these descending waters and bathed in the pools. We can't claim that you will be a part of the Mile High Club but you will be treated to an awesome vista of the Caribbean Sea as you perch upon a boulder that is yours for the day.

Privacy here is a premium. The Lost Machete Hike the most memorable time you spend on the Isla Del Encanto. Some of our guests have proposed at the pool above the waterfall. See Nature photos of El Yunque that we have taken on our hike.

In addition to our private trail there are also secret hikes that we can tell you about (or draw a map to) into un-traveled areas of the El Yunque rainforest. There are also several public access trails that we suggest (and we help spot a car on the other side). The El Toro trail is our favorite and very near our place it leads to the Trade Winds Trail which is a seven hour combination that needs a guide especially through the places where the trail has suffered landslides. In the El Yunque Recreation View  from El Toro Peakarea we recommend La Coca Trail or The Big Tree Trail. El Yunque Trail is also nice as are shorter trails like Baño de Oro which are short hikes which do not need a guide. And don't forget about birding in the El Yunque rainforest.

We can also help you arrange sailing on a local fishing sloop, out to a beautiful sandy key, with great snorkeling or show you the route for a scenic drive down around the southeastern tip of Puerto Rico. Information about rainforest activities.

A rainforest is a forested biome with high annual rainfall due to the Inter-tropical convergence zone. Maximum rainfall in El Yunque "America's rainforest" can be 250 inches per year. Sometimes it rains hard every day for three or four days although usually we just get showers in the afternoon. The soil is poor because high rainfall tends to leach out soluble nutrients -- we use truckloads of horse manure for our exotic tropical gardens.

Rain forests are home to two-thirds of all the living animal and plant species on the planet. It has been estimated that many hundreds of millions of new species of plants, insects, and microorganisms are still tradewinds trail late in the day and deep in the rainforestundiscovered and have no names yet. Tropical rain forests are called the "jewel of the earth", the "Earth's lungs", and the "world's largest pharmacy" because of the large amount of natural medicines discovered there.

Despite the growth of flora in a rainforest, the actual quality of the soil is quite poor. Oxisols, infertile, deeply weathered and severely leached, have developed on the ancient Gondwanan shields. Rapid bacterial decay prevents the accumulation of humus. The concentration of iron and aluminum oxides by the laterization process gives the oxisols a bright red color and sometimes produces mineable deposits (e.g. bauxite). On younger substrates, especially of volcanic origin, tropical soils may be quite fertile.
The undergrowth in a rainforest is restricted in many areas by the lack of sunlight at ground level. This makes it possible for people and other animals to walk through the forest. If the leaf canopy is destroyed or thinned for any reason, the ground beneath is soon colonized by a dense tangled growth of vines, shrubs and small trees called jungle.

The Caribbean National Forest located on the island of Puerto Rico, and commonly known as El Yunque (named after the Taíno Indian spirit Yuquiyú, and meaning "Forest of Clouds") is the only tropical forest in the United States National Forest System.

The forest is located the slopes of the Sierra de Luquillo Mountains in Puerto Rico, and encompasses over 28,000 acres (113 km2) of land; making it the largest block of public land on the Island of Puerto Rico. The highest portion of the mountain measures 1074 meters (3494 ft).

The forest covers lands of the municipalities of Canovanas, Las Piedras, Luquillo, Fajardo, Ceiba, Naguabo, and Rio Grande.
The forest region was set aside in 1876 by the Spanish Crown, and represents one of the oldest reserves in the Western Hemisphere. It is home to over 240 species of trees and plants, 26 of which are found nowhere else.
Typical yearly rainfall can be up to 240 inches (6 m) per year. More than 100 billion US gallons (380,000,000 m3) of rainwater fall on the forest per year.

El Yunque is composed of four different forest ecosystems:

• Tabonuco Forest
• Palo Colorado Forest
• Palma Sierra Forest
• Dwarf Forest


El Yunque Rain Forest Information Websites:

El Yunque Guide with Photos & Info

Ray & Gwenn's Puerto Rico Day Trips 

Guided tours and travel suggestions:

For kayaking, snorkeling and diving excursions in Puerto Rico:

For kayaking, snorkeling and diving excursions in Puerto Rico

Golden Heron Ecotours    Vieques Travel Guide   

Snorkeling with Elena near Fajardo

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