El Yunque is a cool, mountainous, tropical rain forest.
The El Yunque Rain forest in Puerto Rico is located on the Easternmost mountain range and faces the Trade Winds which come from the Northeas.The air must rise to pass over the mountains, this cools the clouds and causes the newly compressed air to rain, and rain, and rain! up to 200 inches a year. El Yunque is a tropical rain forest, it is lovely and cool, the highest peaks are 3,500 feet above the nearby sea.
"The true sub tropical 'Rain forest' occupies very little area in Puerto Rico, only a single, crescent shaped, band on the windward side of the El Yunque mountains. It lies wholly within the El Yunque National Forest Reserve. This life zone is characterized by an annual total of 3,400 mm of rain or more. Its' main features are the Sierra Palms and a superabundance of epiphytes. As the warm moist air rises when it meets the mountains and cools off, it dumps the rain" ... excerpt from the Forest Service.
Many unique plants and trees have adapted to these conditions and create an exotic scenery for the visitor to experience. The 'Dwarf Forest', at the highest elevations, has the most unusual vegetation, and is also one of the longer trails to hike up. The majority of the trails and places of interest are more easily accessible. El Yunque Rain forest is a quiet and beautiful forest with many clean streams and an endless number of hiking trails.
GETTING TO EL YUNQUE:
1. There are a variety of Tour companies that will pick you up at your hotel, and they will give you an overview with a few stops and a small walk.
2. You can rent a car and drive yourself, and if you truly want to experience the forest, take your time, take a hike etc. this is the least expensive way and may suit you best.
4. Uber may be able to take you there and drop you off but then how will you get back. You can not call Uber from the forest, your cell phone will probably have no reception. so if you do go by Uber make sure the driver is willing to pick you up again at a designated time. You can not call Uber and get picked up in the rainforest, you must pre-arrange with your driver. , You might have to walk miles down the mountain to find transportation. Tour buses are not allowed to stop and give a lift.
1. Coming from San Juan, to the North, and more popular, side of the rain forest, take route 66 east and follow the main signs to El Yunque National Forest. Exit at the light through the small town of Palmer. There are a few souvenir shops and restaurants in Palmer and the El Portalito Visitor Center for information and education. Follow road #191 up into the forest.
2. Going to the South ( less developed) side of the mountain you need to drive south from Fajardo to Naguabo. Get off the hwy at exit 22 and drive up road #191.The two sides of road #191 to the North and South no longer connect, due to landslides long ago.
El Yunque is a US National Forest. Entrance is free. Hours are 6 AM - to 6 PM. The gates will close if the parking is full, come early. Phone numbers for US Forest Service (787) 888-1810 or (787) 888-1880. Camping is not presently allowed. There are no facilities for campers.