Visiting El Yunque- the US’ only rainforest

Whenever I escape the concrete jungle of NYC, I try to find patches of nature and breathe in as much as humanly possible.

On our second and final day in Puerto Rico, we drove 1.5 hours outside of cosmopolitan San Juan to El Yunque Forest, the only tropical rainforest in the US national park system.

Coca Falls, Puerto Rico rainforest El Yunque hiking trail waterfall

Coca Falls can be seen from the road on the drive up.

Puerto Rico rainforest El Yunque hiking trail

El Yunque has nicely paved trails and tame walkways for the most part. I was hoping to get my fitness on via some steep inclines, but these trails were great for a nice morning walk regardless.

Puerto Rico rainforest El Yunque hiking trail

I like trees.

Puerto Rico rainforest El Yunque hiking trail waterfall swimming

There are 6 different trails you can take up El Yunque. We picked La Mina so that we could follow the winding river up to La Mina waterfall for a quick (freezing) dip.

Puerto_Rico_Yunque_Luquillo_beach_trip

Puerto Rico has about 270 miles of beach to frolick along. After leaving El Yunque, we took a 45 minute ride to Luquillo, a local beach.

Puerto_Rico_Luquillo_Beach_Kiosks

On a Sunday, Luquillo was brimming with families on jetskis and awkward teens on dates. (Don’t lie. You can relate.)

Puerto_Rico_Yunque_Luquillo_Local_Beach_water

Hanging off the piers and catching the breeze with our feet.

Puerto_Rico_food_Luquillo-Kiosks

We spent our last 2 hours at the Luquillo Kiosks, a stretch of 60-or-so outdoor food stalls next to the beach.

Puerto_Rico_rainforest_food_Luquillo-Kiosks

The kiosks serve everything from traditional monfongos (mashed plantains) and morcilla (blood sausages), to ceviche and fried everything, like this tasty but salty little friend. After we got our fill of local snacks and rum-y drinks, we made our way back to the airport. Good-bye for now, Caribbean Sun. See you again in May :D

 

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