Travel Thursday: El Yunque Rain Forest

junqueFrom San Juan the best route to El Yunque rain forest is along the coast road through Loíza, a small town on the northeast coast of Puerto Rico that was named in honor of Yuisa or Luisa, one of the women caciques (chiefs) on the island when Spanish conquerors arrived. Take your time driving through the small towns and watch out for animals, chickens, children and speed bumps in the road.

When visiting El Yunque expect it to rain but  storms are brief and not intense. If you want to stay dry, pack an inexpensive rain poncho available from outdoors outfitters. Take the time to observe the hundred of varieties of plants that have managed to grow and adapt to the year-round rainfall.

The rivers and waterfalls formed by all that water rushing down to the sea is not only beautiful to see but is refreshingly cool and clean enough to jump into! The higher you are in the rain forest, the more it rains. Maximum amounts at the forest’s highest elevations, such as La Mina falls reach over 250 inches annually, while lower elevations receive 50-60 inches. Here in Colorado we typically get 15 inches a year!

The above image was made at the bottom of the La Mina falls in the El Yunque rain forest in Puerto Rico and in case you’re wondering you’re free to splash in the water at the base of the falls—or make photographs—if you like.

Puerto Rico combines the best of the Caribbean including food and lifestyle, with all of the conveniences of being in the USA as well as some of the warmest and most gracious people I’ve ever met. It is truly an Island of Enchantment.

Author: Joe Farace

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