Top Ten Caribbean Classic Adventures

Puerto Rico: Hike El Yunque
By Paris Permenter & John Bigley
El Yunque National Forest, Puerto Rico
El Yunque National Forest, Puerto Rico (DC Productions/Photodisc/Getty)

Going deep in Puerto Rico means diving into rainforest, not water. In the humid heart of Puerto Rico's interior, the Caribbean National Forest covers 28,000 acres of mountainous rainforest terrain. Known colloquially as "El Yunque," the preserve is part of the U.S. Forest system. In fact, it's the only tropical rainforest habitat in the entire system.

Still, you'll know you're not in Kansas when you step into this jungle. An eerie silence hangs over fog-shrouded peaks. The air is heavy as you choose from several trailheads and begin your hike on rough trails cloaked in huge tropical ferns and palm trees, still dripping from an early-morning shower. Some of the trails lead to hidden waterfalls where you can take a refreshing plunge; some climb through diverse ecosystems on the way to mountain summits. Most require at least a half day; all require good hiking shoes and insect repellent.

Published: 30 Apr 2002 | Last Updated: 15 Jan 2013
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication


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