Our group slowly emerged from our rooms and had breakfast at the hotel. We then got into our cars and drove about an hour to the park.
El Yunque National Forest
The park was started in 1876 by the Spanish King Alfonso XII, making it one of the oldest reserves in the Western Hemisphere. It became a National Forest in 1906 and is the only tropical forest in the US system of parks.
The first stop in the park is El Portal, the visitor center where you can learn about the park and get trial maps. This is the only part of the park that has an admission charge ($4). There is a gift shop and some displays to learn about stuff, but not much else.
Driving up the path, we came up to the La Coca Falls and many tourists taking pictures.
Our next stop was Yokahu Tower. There is a convenient parking right on the side of the road, but it can get full. This tower give you panoramic views over the forest and of the ocean.
Next we stopped at the Big Tree Trail and hiked into the forest to see La Mina Falls.
Hiking back, we drove up and stopped at Yuquiqu Delights for a local snack. I recommend the quesadillas.
We then drove to the end of the road, where we wanted to hike to Mt. Britton Lookout Tower, but at this point it was raining quite hard and the park was closing. So we decided to call it a day and start driving back.
Overall, the park was well maintained, easily accessible, and worthwhile stop if you are visiting Puerto Rico! There were some longer trails that looked like fun hikes, but I didn’t get a chance to experience them.
We decided to take in the sunset from the beach, so we stopped at the seafront Parque Damaso Riviera. The atmosphere was fun, with some lively restaurants along the road and a relatively clean beach.
Back in Old San Juan we rested up a bit before an elegant dinner at St. Germain. Friendly staff and delicious meals made for a perfect conclusion for a day of activity! I could definitely get use to sipping on a ginger margarita every evening.
After that I headed out to check out some nightlife with my brother. We looked up the reviews of local places and started at the grungy El Batey, a local dive bar. The walls were full of graffiti and if it weren’t for the tourists and reviews, I would feel quite uncomfortable in this dingy bar.
More Puerto Rican sightseeing tomorrow!