The El Yunque National Park – Useful Information
The El Yunque National Park is one of the last Caribbean tropical forests. This National Park is visited by around 600 thousand people per year. It is one of the biggest Puerto Rico attractions. How to prepare for a journey and what to focus on?
🏞️The route to El Yunque
Most of the route is leading through a paid highway and two lane roads. The highways I was driving through offered only an e-payment system, which is why there was no possibility to pay for it at the checkout. The car I rented was already registered in the e-payment system, which made it nothing to worry about for me. You can learn more about the highways in the Transport in Puerto Rico post.
The direct road to the national park is much more narrow, hilly and leads through a beautiful forest.
🏞️The entrance to the park and tickets
The park can be driven in by car. There is no possibility of paying the car fee at the spot (the amount of car space is limited, which is why it is strongly advised to book it beforehand). The tickets can be bought at the official government site. One person can buy only two car tickets. The price of such a booking is only 2$ per car. The ticket is for a car, meaning that you can take your friends in one vehicle and pay the same amount.
If you plan to visit El Yunque, make sure to book the tickets fast, as they are quickly disappearing! I booked them a month prior and unfortunately many dates were unavailable, or only single entrances were left.
You can pick a time of entering while making a reservation – 8AM or 11AM. If you plan to have longer trips, I strongly recommend picking an 8AM one, because you need to leave the park before 5PM.
If you think that you can enter without a reservation then you are wrong – I witnessed a few people not being allowed to get there by the staff, because they did not get it beforehand. What is essential is that if you want to pick a 191 La Mina route, the reservation is necessary.
🏞️The El Yunque parking spots
The parking spots are available along the whole length of the route. Be sure to choose the designated parking areas to avoid any troubles.
There are a few interesting viewpoints and attractions down the whole way. The entry to each observation tower is free. There is a staff member at each entry, who controls the limit of people going up.
🏞️The walking routes
The park offers many routes to choose from, depending on how much time you have and what you feel like doing. You will find both easy and more complicated routes there. The map of this national park can be downloaded from the website or opened in the app.
I chose a quick hike to the Britton Tower. It is around 40 minutes of one way hiking from the last parking spot.
The road is mostly flat, except for some hills, which are quite steep from time to time. The road is mostly asphalt or lined with concrete slabs. It kind of reminded me of the road to Morskie Oko. I felt my best during the walks through the highly wooded areas, as it was much colder there than on the asphalt road. Despite the fact that it is a rather short distance, make sure to have the right amount of drinking water on you, as there are no water points there.
🏞️The waterfalls and the attractions
🌳La Coca Falls
La Coca Falls is the first waterfall when you enter the park. It is quite pretty, you can get closer to it and take some pictures, but be careful, as the rocks are very slippery!
🌳Juan Diego Creek
The Juan Diego Creek is a natural pool, where you can cool yourself off. To get there you need to walk about 5 minutes away from the main road. Even though it is not a very long distance, it surely is better to have the hiking boots on, as some fragments of the trail are quite demanding. I got there in sneakers. but it was not the most comfortable thing ever, as I was constantly slipping on the mud and was not feeling very confident in this type of shoes.
🌳The La Mina Waterfall
Unfortunately, the trail to the La Mina Waterfall was closed during my visit and I could not get there. I took a picture of a beautiful lizard guiding the entrance to it though.
Just before the last parking spot on the route there is an old, historic pool built on the La Mina River, called Baño Grande. You can have a walk around it, get to know the history of the pool and, necessarily – take pictures!
🌳The picnic areas
You can find many resting places on the whole route in the El Yunque National Park. These are mainly wooden bowers and brick cottages. You will also find a small bistro, where you can satisfy your thirst and hunger. The only toilet on the route is located near the bistro, on the last parking spot.
In the Puerto Rico tab you can find more useful information and recommendations about this country.
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