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Reservation Ticket for El Yunque (La Mina Recreation Area — Rd 191 N)

Reservations for tickets are available at  Recreation.gov 

 

Know Before You Go:

The health and safety of the public and Forest Service employees is our priority. To reduce crowding and to operate within COVID-19 public health guidelines a reservation system is being implemented along Rd 191 corridor (La Mina Recreation Area starting near La Coca Falls — Km 8.1 Rd 191). When visiting this area an entry ticket will be required. You can get these in advance of your visit at Recreation.gov or on the recreation.gov mobile app.

  • Reservations can be made on internet-connected devices, including smart phones. You need to create a Recreation.gov account first in order to reserve tickets. 
  • Reservations can be made up to one month in advance through Recreation. gov. A percentage of reservations will be held for release 24 hours prior to entry to accommodate spontaneous outdoor visits. These 24 hour reservations are realeased at 8:00 a.m. and 11:00 a.m. local time. 
  • Recreation.gov charges a $2 service fee payable by credit card.
  • Visitors must display a printed or digital ticket to enter. The tickets are issued per vehicle. Person named on entry ticket must be present in vehicle at time of entry. Entry to the main recreation area with tickets will be honored between 8a.m. and 3 p.m. The main recreation area closes at 5:00 p.m.. 
  • Visitor capacity is about 300 vehicles per day.
  • Visitors must follow health and safety rules. Visitors are asked to follow guidelines for social distancing, reduced crowding, trash management, and parking.
  • Reservations are not required outside the Road 191 corridor (Roads 988, 186, and 191 South in Naguabo).
  • Entry on Road 191 may close when capacity is reached or during hazardous weather.   If there is a need to close the Forest, those with reservations will receive a notification.
  • Entry ticket reservations are not required for tours booked with an authorized tour operator under a special use permit. There are no commercial ridesharing companies or services permitted to operate in El Yunque.

Outdoor Safety and Ethics

When visiting El Yunque National Forest at this time we ask that you please do your part and  follow these health and safety guidelines to prevent the spread of COVID-19:

  • Do not visit recreation areas if you are sick
  • Look for alternative sites if an area or trail are crowded
  • Maintain social distancing of 6 feet from other people
  • While on trails alert others of your presence. Step aside to let others pass at a safe distance
  • Follow local or federal restrictions on group size
  • Park in designated areas – Do not block gates or roads
  • Practice “Leave No Trace” principles while visiting the Forest. Be sure to pack out all your trash.
  • Bring enough water and supplies to sustain during your visit.
  • Be prepared for rain. Flash flooding occurs regularly.
  • The CDC and Leave No Trace have further guidelines on outdoor safety and responsible recreation

Boleto de Reservación para El Yunque (Área Recreacional La Mina  — 191 N)

Las reservacións para boletos de entrada están disponsibles en Recreation.gov

Se requerirán reservaciones a partir del 20 de diciembre

Que debes saber antes de ir:

La salud y seguridad del público y los empleados del Servicio Forestal son nuestra prioridad. Se estará implementando un sistema de reservaciónal a lo largo de Carr. 191 (Área Recreativa La Mina comenzando cerca de la cascada La Coca — Km 8.1 en Carr. 191) para reducir la conglomeración y operar dentro de los protocolos de salud pública de COVID-19.  Se requerirá un boleto de entrada para visitar el área antes mencionada. Debe obtenerlos antes de su visita en Recreation.gov o en la aplicación móvil.

  • Se puede realizar reservaciones en dispositivos conectados a Internet, incluyendo los teléfonos inteligentes (smartphones). Tienes que crear una cuenta con Recreation.gov para poder reservar los boletos.
  • Las reservaciones estarán disponibles a partir de 30 días de anticipación a través de Recreation.gov. Un número limitado de los boletos estarán disponible con 24 horas anticipación de la visita planificada. Estos boletos limitados están disponibles a las 8:00 a.m. y 11:00 a.m. del tiempo local.
  • Los boletos son gratuitos, pero Recreation.gov cobra una tarifa $ 2 para procesar las reservaciones.
  • Los visitantes deben mostrar el boleto impreso o digital para entrar. Los boletos de reservación son por vehículo. La persona que realice la reservación debe estar presente en el vehículo al momento de la entrada.
  • Los boletos son validos para entrar entre a las 8 a. m. y las 3 p.m.. El Área Recreativa La Mina cerrará el portón a las 5:00 p.m. 
  • La capacidad será de alrededor de 300 vehículos por día.
  • Los visitantes deben seguir los protocolos de salud y seguridad, manejo de basura y estacionamiento en áreas designadas.
  • No se requieren reservaciones fuera del Área Recreativa La Mina, PR191 (carreteras 988, 186 y 191 sur en Naguabo).
  • La entrada a PR191puede cerrarse cuando se alcanza la capacidad máxima o de haber condiciones del tiempo peligrosas. Si es necesario cerrar el bosque, aquellos con reservación anticipada recibirán una notificación.
  • Las reservaciones son para uso público y no están autorizadas para uso comerciales. Si reserva un recorrido con un operador turístico autorizado, no se le requiere un boleto de entrada.

Etica al aire libre y Seguridad

Al visitar el Bosque Nacional El Yunque en este momento, le pedimos que haga su parte y siga estos protocolos de salud y seguridad para evitar la propagación de COVID-19:

  • No visite áreas de recreación si está enfermo.
  • Busque áreas o veredas alternas de estar llenas.
  • Mantener distanciamiento social de otros visitantes de 6 pies.
  • Mientras esté en las veredas, alerta a otros de tu presencia. Hazte a un lado para dejar que otros pasen a una distancia segura.
  • Siga las restricciones locales o federales sobre el tamaño de los grupos.
  • Estacione en áreas designadas: no bloquee portones o caminos
  • Practique los principios de «Leave No Trace» mientras visita el bosque.
  • Asegúrese de llevarse toda su basura.
  • Traiga suficiente agua y suministros para su visita.
  • Prepárate para la lluvia, inundaciones repentinas ocurren con regularidad.
  • La CDC y Sin Dejar Huellas tienen protocolos adicionales sobre la seguridad al aire libre y la recreación responsable

El Yunque National Forest (A Local’s Guide to Visiting)

El Yunque National Rainforest is a reserve located in the Sierra de Luquillo mountains. El Yunque is the only tropical rainforest in the U.S. National Forest System, with over 120 inches of rainfall in a year. Home to hundreds of unique plant and animal species, it features beautiful waterfalls, natural pools, hiking trails, camping areas, and historical sites.

As a Puerto Rican local, I’ve been there multiple times, and I know there is a lot to see and do. In fact, El Yunque is high on my list of the top Puerto Rico attractions.

In this guide to the El Yunque National Rainforest, I’ll walk you through some things you should know before visiting El Yunque.

Table of Contents

  • How to Visit El Yunque National Rainforest
    • How to Get to El Yunque
    • Reservations
    • Hours and Details About El Yunque
  • Things to Do in El Yunque 
    • El Portal Visitors Center
    • Hiking
    • Exploring Nature
    • Observation Towers
    • Zipline Canopy
    • Horseback Riding 
    • Waterfalls
    • Camping
  • History of El Yunque 
    • The Taíno
    • The Spanish Era
    • The American Era
    • After Hurricane Maria
  • Tips for Visiting El Yunque
    • Book Your El Yunque Tickets in Advance
    • Wear Hiking Boots
    • Pack Snacks
    • Pack an Extra Change of Clothes
    • Wear Sunscreen
    • Explore Other Areas 
    • Drink Tons of Water
    • Bring your Asthma Inhaler
  • FAQs About El Yunque
    • What is special about El Yunque?
    • How much does it cost to visit El Yunque?
    • Is El Yunque one of the Seven Wonders of the World?
    • How long does it take to walk El Yunque?

Disclosure: Travel Lemming is an independent reader-supported blog. You can support us by purchasing via the affiliate links on this page, which may earn us commissions. Thank you!

How to Visit El Yunque National Rainforest

How to Get to El Yunque

The trip from Old San Juan will take you around 50 minutes taking PR-66 and PR-3. PR-191 is the main street that will take you from Rio Grande’s town center up to the gate of the forest. 

🚗 Drive – Public transportation doesn’t reach El Yunque from San Juan. The best way to get there is to rent a car in Puerto Rico. You can use Discover Cars to find the cheapest prices in rental cars from multiple agencies.

🚎 Tours – Alternatively, private tour companies can pick you up in your hotel in San Juan. Check out some of the best El Yunque Tours on Viator, or see my guide to the best El Yunque tours.

🚕 Taxis & Uber – Taxis and Ubers cannot enter El Yunque for pick-ups or drop-offs.

Reservations

To enter the most popular part of El Yunque known as La Mina Recreation Area, you’ll need to make a reservation for a fee of $2 per vehicle.

Use Recreation.gov to book your spot up to 30 days in advance. You can arrive anytime within 3 hours of your reservation ticket and stay until the park closes. Note that you won’t be able to enter after 3:00 pm.  

If you can’t get a ticket, you’ll still be able to visit other areas of El Yunque, like El Angelito Trail, Puente Roto, El Toro Trail, and the rivers in PR 186.

Hours and Details About El Yunque

🎟️ Entrance – The entry ticket costs $2 per car.

🕖 Operating Hours – 8:00 am to 5:00 pm daily, closed on December 25 and days with dangerous weather conditions.

😷 COVID 19 Regulations – El Yunque does not have a vaccination requirement. When social distancing is not possible, you’ll need to wear a mask.

🚙 Parking – Available in designated parking areas

🖥️ Website – El Yunque National Forest

📍 Map It – Río Grande 00745

📞 Phone – 787-888-1880

🧑🏻‍🤝‍🧑🏻 Tours – It’s possible to visit El Yunque National Forest through private tours and this route is recommended if you’re hiking. Some great tours are:

  • Full-Day Rainforest and Waterfall Adventure from San Juan
  • El Yunque National Forest Half Day Tour
  • From San Juan: El Yunque Rainforest Hiking Adventure

📍 New to Puerto Rico? Here are the popular places in Puerto Rico you need to visit!

Things to Do in El Yunque 

El Portal Visitors Center

El Portal Visitors Center is the go-to place if you want to know all about El Yunque, from its history to its importance as a research site. El Portal costs $8 to enter. 

👉 Local Tip: As of January 2022, you can only pay the entrance ticket with a Visa card or cash. Although this might change in the future, make sure to come prepared.

Hiking

El Yunque National Forest is a paradise for hiking enthusiasts, with numerous trails for all tastes. Some of the top trails are:

🥾 Mount Britton Tower Trail –  Around 0. 8 miles long, it takes about 1 hour and 30 minutes to complete, but it offers an amazing view of the surrounding forest from the viewing tower on clear days.

🥾 La Coca Trail –This challenging trail goes down the mountain into the Tabonuco forest, crossing three times the water, climbing over fallen trees, and walking through muddy paths until reaching the Mameyes River. People often get lost here, so make sure to follow the trail.

🥾 Los Picachos Trail – You can access this trail of moderate difficulty through the Caimitillo Trail. Los Picachos is one of the longest trails in El Yunque, and it takes over 3 hours to do a roundtrip, but the landscape at the top will take your breath away.

🥾 Angelito Trail – You can access the Angelito Trail through PR 988. This is an easy trail of a 0.2-mile distance and it takes you to the Río Mameyes after a 10-minute walk. 

📚 Concerned About Your Safety? Read the complete guide for staying safe in Puerto Rico.

🥾 El Yunque Trail – Starting in the Caimitillo Trail, El Yunque Trail is one of the most difficult in the forest, but the changes in altitude will allow you to appreciate the diversity of flora and fauna. The trail is 2.6 miles long and it takes around 4 hours to complete. 

⚠️ As of January 2022, the path to El Yunque Peak is temporarily closed after reaching the division between El Yunque Trail and Los Picachos. 

🥾 La Mina Trail – La Mina Trail goes down the mountain until reaching a 30 feet waterfall. Although temporarily closed for repairs, this is one of the trails with more traffic.

🥾 Big Tree Trail – Next to La Mina Trail, this 0.9-mile trail of moderate difficulty gets its name from the Tabonuco trees you can see in it.  For now, it’s temporarily closed.

🥾 El Toro – El Toro trail takes you to one of the highest peaks between the Luquillo mountains. It’s a challenging trail of 2.3 miles through the forest, but taking a picture of the landscape and next to the “End of Trail” sign is worth every step.

📚 Bookmark for Later: The Top Hikes in Puerto Rico

Exploring Nature

With hundreds of species within 29,000 acres of green forest, El Yunque National Forest is a destination nature lovers can’t miss. The forest allows visitors to enjoy immense biodiversity including endangered species like the Puerto Rican parrot, which the USDA forest service has protected since 1968.

El Yunque also sports four types of tropical forest including the Tabonuco Forest, Palo Colorado Forest, Sierra Palm Forest, and the Dwarf Forest, which means you’ll see different plants and vegetation depending on where you are.

Observation Towers

El Yunque National Forest features two observation towers that allow visitors to soak in the view of the surrounding Puerto Rican mountains. The first one is the Yokahú Tower and the second is Mount Britton Tower, which you can find at the end of a 45-minute hike.

Zipline Canopy

Besides hiking and bathing in breathtaking waterfalls, adrenaline-seekers will love to know that private companies surrounding El Yunque offer ziplining in the foothills of the park. Search Viator’s top ziplining tours in El Yunque, to add more adventure to your trip.

Horseback Riding 

If you’re not a fan of hiking, you can also admire the beauty of the forest while riding a horse. Hacienda Carabalí offers popular horseback riding tours around El Yunque and Rio Grande’s beach.

🛎️ Need a hotel? Exploring El Yunque in one day is close to impossible. You can stay in the Wyndham Grand Rio Mar Beach Resort, to spend a few days discovering El Yunque and other great nearby attractions in Luquillo, Fajardo, Vieques, Culebra, and Naguabo.

Waterfalls

🌊Juan Diego Falls – Juan Diego Falls is not visible from the main road. You have to hike 5 minutes uphill through a muddy trail, before finding the beautiful fall and its natural pool. 

🌊 La Mina Falls – A 30-feet waterfall surrounded by the Tabonuco forest. The reopening to La Mina Falls is set for 2022.

👉 Did you Know? There are over 400 waterfalls in Puerto Rico. Check out my post on the top waterfalls in Puerto Rico to visit.

🌊 La Coca Falls – La Coca Falls is visible from the main road and you can climb through the rocks to take a closer look at it and get a beautiful picture.

🌊 Las Pailas – Born from the rivers of El Yunque Rainforest, Las Pailas in Luquillo is a waterfall that forms a natural slide between rocks.

🌊 Las Tinajas – On the south side of El Yunque, you will find Las Tinajas waterfall, and Charco El Hippie, popular for its Taino petroglyphs and cliff diving activities.  

👉 Local Tip: Always check the weather before swimming in the rivers and falls of El Yunque. Since it rains constantly the area is prone to flash flooding.

Camping

Staying a night in El Yunque will be the highlight of your visit. The park sports designated areas for camping, but you have to ask for a special permit to stay through the USDA Forest Service website.

⚠️ As of January 2022, the forest service hasn’t announced the date of the reopening of the camping areas. See my guide to camping in Puerto Rico for other spots that are currently open.

History of El Yunque 

The Taíno

It’s believed El Yunque represented a sacred mountain to the Taíno on the island and that the name of the mountain might be related to the word Yuke, which meant “white lands” for the Taíno.

📍 Don’t miss – Taíno petroglyphs carved in rocks along Rio Blanco in the southside of the forest in Naguabo, close to El Hippie swimming hole.

The Spanish Era

1500s – The Europeans established mines surrounding El Yunque and Sierra de Luquillo.

1600s – The forest became an area for coffee and timber production.

1876 – King Alphonso XII proclaimed 10,000 hectares of the Luquillo mountains a reserve, becoming one of the oldest reserves in the Western Hemisphere.

The American Era

Baño Grande in El Yunque

1898 – Puerto Rico becomes a commonwealth of the United States.

1905 – The name changes to Luquillo National Forest under the supervision of the National Forest Service. 

1933 – The Congress creates the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC), a group of locals responsible for reforestation, building roads and recreational facilities through the Luquillo mountains.

📍 Don’t miss – Baño Grande Historical Site and Mount Britton Tower created by the CCC.

1935 – The name changes to Caribbean National Forest with more than 20,000 acres of land.

1940s – The peak of El Yunque serves during World War II as a radar site.

1976 – Now called the Luquillo Experimental Forest for being a research site, El Yunque becomes part of the United Nations International Network of Biosphere Reserves.

1989 – Hurricane Hugo causes great damages to the ecosystem of El Yunque.

1998 – Hurricane Georges strikes the island.

2003 – The reserve celebrates 100 years.

2007 – The Caribbean National Forest name changes to El Yunque National Forest.

After Hurricane Maria

In 2017, Hurricane Maria struck Puerto Rico, causing massive deforestation in El Yunque Rainforest, affecting wildlife and endangering species like the Puerto Rican Parrot. As a consequence, some areas of recreation are off-limits to the public.

📚 Related Reading: Hurricane Season in Puerto Rico

Tips for Visiting El Yunque

Book Your El Yunque Tickets in Advance

The reservation system for El Yunque is an effort to conserve the forest by controlling the number of people visiting the most popular areas. Around 300 tickets get sold daily and they run out quickly. You have up to 30 days before visiting to make your reservation.

Wear Hiking Boots

Since it rains daily on El Yunque, the hiking trails get muddy and that, added to elevation, can make it hard to move around. If you’re planning to explore the trails then a good pair of boots will help you conquer the territory. 

👉 Read Next: The Best Hikes in Puerto Rico

Pack Snacks

If you decide to go hiking through some of the longest trails, bring a backpack with enough supplies to keep you going for a few hours. Just remember to take your trash with you. 

Pack an Extra Change of Clothes

You won’t be able to resist the waterfalls, but going around in wet clothes can ruin the rest of El Yunque’s experiences, so bring an extra change of clothes or swimwear. Bring a rain jacket too to keep yourself dry during the common showers.

Learn about other things you need to pack here.

Wear Sunscreen

Although in some parts the foliage is thick enough to barely let some sunlight through, you’ll still manage to get tanned in the tropical forest, so make sure to pack your sunscreen.

Explore Other Areas 

Many travelers spend their visit to El Yunque National Forest in La Mina Recreation Area, and who could blame them? But, the areas of the tropical rainforest that are in Naguabo and Luquillo, also offer great trails, rivers, and landscapes. Las Tinajas, Charco El Hippie, and El Toro Peak are a few of them.

Drink Tons of Water

Don’t let the cloudy day fool you. It’s easy to get dehydrated in El Yunque, so make sure to carry enough water along with your snacks, and don’t drink the river’s water.

Bring your Asthma Inhaler

For those who have chronic asthma, bringing along your asthma inhaler is a good idea. Besides the obvious strenuous activity, the high altitude, the humid atmosphere, and the spores in the air might trigger your asthma during your visit.

Want more local tips for visiting Puerto Rico? Check out my full list of Puerto Rico travel tips here.

FAQs About El Yunque

What is special about El Yunque?

El Yunque is the only tropical rainforest in the United States National Forest System and is home to hundreds of animal species, including the Puerto Rican parrot. The forest also consists of 4 different types of forest with vegetation that visibly changes with altitude.

How much does it cost to visit El Yunque?

A ticket to visit El Yunque National Forest costs $2.00 per vehicle, and you need to use the Recreation.gov website to make a reservation.

Is El Yunque one of the Seven Wonders of the World?

El Yunque is not one of the Seven Wonders of the World, but the rainforest is one of the 28 finalists of the New 7 Seven Wonders of Nature, chosen by the public vote.

How long does it take to walk El Yunque?

Exploring La Mina Recreation Area in El Yunque can take a complete day, but walking the different trails of the forest and visiting all its areas through the different cities can take at least a week.

***

Now you are ready to visit El Yunque! 

Don’t miss these other fun things to see and do in Puerto Rico to make your trip even better!

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90,000 25 cents (Q) 2012 — El Yunque National Forest D (UNC), US Parks Quarters (2010-2017) 90,001

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25 Cent Quarter 2012 D — El Yunque National Forest (Commemorative Coin) — USA

Commemorative coin «25 cents (quarter) 2012 El Yunque National Forest».
US Parks Quarters (2010-2014) (USA).
Mint: «D», Denver.
Copper-nickel plated copper.

Commemorative coin «25 cents (quarter) 2012 El Yunque National Forest».
US Parks Quarters (2010-2014) (USA).
Mint: «D», Denver.
Copper-nickel plated copper.

Article:

H–100697

70
70
RUB

Qty

Buy

  • Specifications
Condition:
UNC (Uncirculated)

Rating:
25 cents (quarter) 2012 — El Yunque National Forest
Type:
Commemorative coins
Material:
Copper nickel plated
Weight:
5.

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