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El Yunque national forest is the only forest in the United States National Forest System. It covers about 11,000 hectare area in northeastern Puerto Rico. The National is a house for abundance of flora and fauna including more than twenty species of unique trees. If you are a nature lover, hiker, or birdwatcher, this National Forest would be a perfect tour destination for you. You can see and enjoy the whole area of the forest by car. It allows you to visit the whole park and discover its diverse attractions. El Yunque National Park is located 37 miles east of San Juan. The National Forest is managed by the US Forest Service that maintains an extensive network of hiking trails. Camping is allowed in El Yunque, but it is pretty wet.
Enjoy its Challenging Hiking Trails
The Condado district is located on a piece of land between the Atlantic Ocean and Laguna Condado. It was originally developed as San Juan's first tourist zone in 1950. Condado offers a broad selection of accommodations and facilities in all price ranges. In the eastern area of the district is Ocean Park. It is a white-sand beach which is very clean and and popular with locals. Abundance of visitors visit the beach to enjoy the sunrise and sunset every day. Condado is also home to the huge Convention Center with shopping, theaters, restaurants, and space for festivals and exhibitions. Condado becomes the most popular district in the country. It is worth to visit the district end enjoy all the attractions.
San Bay is a popular beach in San Juan. The beach is well known for its beautiful evenings. It is also the only beach in Vieques with public facilities. The beach has showers, bathrooms, a small area to purchase food, and a short walk away called Esperanza. The water is shallow for a walk out, and the waves are mild. That would be such a perfect place to visit with family. It is also great for family with kids. The best time to visit the San Bay is early in the morning to enjoy sunrise, and in the afternoon to enjoy sunset. It is open from dawn to dusk every day, but the beach facilities only open on Wednesday to Sunday. Beach access is free. You just need to pay for parking fee if you ride private transportation. The parking fee is $2 USD on Wednesday to Sunday. Parking is free on Mondays and Tuesdays.
If you really like shopping, visiting Calle Del Cristo is a must. The shopping street is located at Calle del Cristo, san Juan. It is a heaven of restaurants, art galleries, and boutiques. In addition to popular stores, when you walk the cobblestone street, you can discover local crafts and artisan shops. Calle del Cristo is also a great photo-taking opportunity. Along the street you can find two famous chapels: the San jose Church and the Capilla de Cristo. Those two chapels are closed for visitors while they undergo renovations. You can also swing by Pigeon Park to see kinds of birds waiting to be fed. The street is free to visit and it is accessible at any time.
How to Get Tickets?
The Forest is open daily for visitors. There is no fee for entry. Passes are required for camping and other outdoor activities.
How To Get Around?
Taking a walk is the best choice to go around the El yunque National Forest. San Juan is a pleasant city for pedestrian.You can go around to the tourists areas of Condado, Ocean park, and Old san Juan, those places are great for pedestrians. You can enjoy the main attractions in San juan, great restaurants, shoppings, and nightlife by walking or taking taxi. You can also find Uber in the city. Puerto rico is a fun island to explore by car.
What Should I Wear?
There is no dress code when you have a tour at the National Park. The only thing that is important is you should wear comfortable shoes or sandals and stuff. Make sure you bring some sun screen protections like: sun block, sunglasses, hat, scarf, or face mask. It is comfortable to wear t-shirt, skirt, pants, or light jacket. When you are hiking, it is good to wear hand gloves and thick soled shoes. The trail to the summit has sharp limestone rocks. It is recommended to have protective gears for your hands and feet since the rocks are getting hot especially on sunny days.
Best Time to Visit
The best time to visit the National forest is earlier in the morning to see the sunrise, and in the afternoon to enjoy the sunset. The best time to start hiking is around 04.00 a. m. when the sun rises you are already at the peak. You will be headed by a wonderful panorama of the sunrise. It is also good to start hiking at 02.00 p. m to enjoy the beautiful sunset at the peak of Pamitinan Cave.
United States Dollar
Will I Need a Guide?
Maps, guides, and further informations can be found at this site.
How To Get There?
El Yunque National Forest is located 37 miles east of San Juan. It can be reached by car and it is not serviced by public transportations, however, some chartered tours offer trips to the national Forest. You can also hire a car or motorbike to reach the National Forest.
You should avoid hiking in holiday since there will be a lot of people hiking during the holidays. You will find a long queues especially at areas where you can take photos.