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A Rainforest to Remember; Puerto Rico "El Yunque"

Updated on October 22, 2017

This video is property of El Yunque

Directed by Maria Falcon

Narrator: Benicio del Toro

Journey into a Tropical Rain Forest - Benecio del Toro

Puerto Rico, the smaller Caribbean Island of the Greater Antilles, houses the only tropical rain forest in the United Stated National Forest System, El Yunque National Forest. It is also, one of the smallest forests in the National Forest System (28,000 acres or 43.753 mi2 ). El Yunque is located on the eastern part of the Island approximately 24.8 miles from the capital of San Juan and its land rests on the slopes of the Sierra Luquillo mountains. It also comprises the entire El Yunque Mountain that raises to 3,494 ft. above sea level and most of the other neighbor mountains (including the highest mountain in Puerto Rico, El Toro, with an elevation of 3,533). El Yunque gets its name from the aboriginal Taino word yu-ke (meaning: "white lands") due to the low clouds and mist on top of the mountains.

Rainforest, El Yunque


One of the fascinating aspects of El Yunque is the ability of the plants and trees (mostly on the top of the rainforest) to endure the recurrent amounts of rainfall which reaches over 220 inches a year in some areas creating the mystic jungle-like setting. Since the rainforest spreads along slopes, all the rainfall constantly fills the water streams and rocky rivers creating waterfalls and pools. All around the year, El Yunque maintains fairly the same warm tropical climate (730F/210C). The length of days and seasonal changes are almost unnoticeable. This is the ideal environment for the ebullient tropical vegetation.

The sound of the Coqui

Visit the official website of the United States Department of Agriculture Forest Service and Rainforest el for more information.
Visit the official website of the United States Department of Agriculture Forest Service and Rainforest el for more information. | Source
Photo courtesy of Father Alejandro Sanchez
Photo courtesy of Father Alejandro Sanchez | Source

Capturing the beauty of the rain forest

Approximately 1,000,000 people visit El Yunque every year, and their experience have been an unique one. The rain forest is an excellent place for people of all ages who are looking to learn and understand the ecological importance of the forest and/or experience serenity and quietness. The forest provides seven recreational trails (total of 24 miles), and six administrative trails, which are restricted to hiking. These trails lead to unique different areas of the rain forest. Although handicapped access is not yet available for the trails, the "Portal Tropical Forest Center is. Many areas will never be used for trails in the future in order to preserve the environment.

El Yunque offers a variety of areas for recreation like: camping, cabins, outdoor learning, scenic driving, hiking, picnicking, water activities and nature viewing. There is a small admission charge if you go to the Portal visitor center or reservations for tours, which is used for the administration and maintenance of the rain forest. Visiting to the forest is free, just drive up. Camping permits are available.

Take a whole day to visit El Yunque. Make sure to wear comfortable clothes or layers that can get wet, walking shoes, a backpack and first aid kit if you plan to go to the farther areas of the rain forest. Although there are facilities at the starting point of the trails and some other recreational areas (camping), no facilities are available once you are in the rain forest itself.

For travelers who want to stay near El Yunque, they can choose among a variety of mountainside cabins, bed and breakfast and eco-lodges. Also, there are luxurious hotels ranging from five to 15 miles from the rain forest: Rio Mar Beach Resort & Spa, a Wyndham Grand Resort, and El Conquistador Resort in Fajardo.

Visit el Yunque the next time you travel to Puerto Rico. For more information, visit:,

© 2012 AnnaCia


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