Hiking in puerto rico: Popular Hiking Trails in Puerto Rico
Popular Hiking Trails in Puerto Rico
Hiking trail at Guánica Dry Forest.
Take a walk on the wild side.
Puerto Rico is renowned for its beaches and historic Old San Juan, but what many don’t realize is just how numerous the natural areas are for hiking, camping, and other outdoor adventures. On the Island’s 3,500 square miles there are national and state forests, nature reserves, cave systems, and dozens of different ecosystems spanning coastal valleys, the karst region, wet and dry forest, and the United States’ only tropical rainforest.
If you want to get out and enjoy the natural beauty of the Island, here’s a handy guide to help you find the perfect trail.
Descubra una gran variedad de rutas de senderismo en todo Puerto Rico, desde el Bosque Nacional El Yunque hasta humedales y reservas en toda la Isla.
In Guánica’s Dry Forest you will find numerous trails.
On the south side of the Island, you’ll find the opposite to El Yunque’s rainforest: the Guánica Dry Forest. The southern side of the Island is more arid — with cacti and other plants better suited to the desert-like conditions — and you’ll often see red-tailed hawks and turkey vultures leisurely circling against a perfectly blue sky. There are numerous trails in the reserve and the ranger at the entrance can provide you with a map. Among the most popular: Ballena leads all the way down the mountain to the beach, La Cueva to limestone caves, and Fuerte Caprón to a historic fort overlooking the coast.
Explore the Dry Forest
Aerial view of the Guajataca Forest and the beach.
Located in the town of Isabela, the Guajataca Forest has 27 miles of trails, and the two most frequently used are the Interpretative Trail and the trail to Cueva del Viento (Cave of the Wind). You can easily do both on the same day, as well as explore the cave, which is full of otherworldly stalagmite and stalactite structures (as well as bats!). Follow Trail #1 to the cave then take the Interpretative Trail back to the parking area off of PR-446. There’s even a side trail to an observation tower as a bonus. The trail is easy to walk but bring sturdy shoes with good traction and flashlights if you plan on exploring the cave.
Get to know the town of Isabela
In Toro Negro Forest you can camp and hike while enjoying the waterfalls and rivers.
The nearly 7,000 acres of Toro Negro State Forest is spread over six different municipalities and includes four types of forest (tabonuco, palm, Micropholis Buchenavia, and a cloud forest), the three highest peaks of the Island (Cerro de Punta, Cerro Jayuya, and Cerro Rosa), a lake, two natural swimming pools, nine rivers, and numerous waterfalls. To hike and camp there, visit the ranger station on Route 143 KM 32. 4 in Villalba. Most of the trailheads are concentrated in this area, and the most popular (and currently open) are El Bolo, which leads to a stone tower on the top of a mountain, and Charco La Confesora, which has a trailhead at the Toro Negro camping grounds.
Cambalache State Forest is the perfect setting for a leisurely hike in nature (mountain bikes also welcome), or enjoy birdwatching and camping. The facilities are easily accessible and include parking, bathrooms, picnic tables and gazebos, and there’s even an ornithological center that opens on weekends. During your hike you can spot more than 150 types of trees and shrubs, of which 15 are endemic and 10 are rare or endangered. Birding is also popular here since you can spot 45 species of birds, including 12 of the 17 that are endemic to Puerto Rico.
More things to do in Arecibo
The name of the mountain itself is Cerro de los Cielos but the trail gets its name from the solitary mango tree at the top which is visible from the highway
Visible from highway PR-52 just past the Jíbaro Monument in Salinas, there is a lone tree on the top of a tall mountain called Cerro de los Cielos. Until 2016, hiking up to the Solitary Tree was very controversial because people would park their cars on the highway emergency ramp, and since the trail wasn’t properly marked many would become lost. Now the «official» trailhead is off PR-1 and takes one hour to 90 minutes to complete via a steep, challenging trail. The view of the southern mountain range stretching all the way to the Caribbean Sea makes it all worthwhile. People have attached swings to the tree and there are also flags near the top making it a perfect place for a photo op.
The Cabo Rojo Wildlife Refuge was established in 1974 in southwestern Puerto Rico and is home to a diversity of flora and fauna that visitors can explore via the park’s hiking and biking trails. Much of the refuge consists of subtropical dry forest, meaning conditions are hot and arid most of the year. It’s a very popular destination for birdwatching, particularly in the park’s unique salt flats. The Wildlife Refuge is open from Monday to Saturday, while the Salt Flats Interpretative Center is open Thursday to Sunday. Bring water and sunscreen, sturdy hiking shoes, and a camera.
Things to Do
See All Articles
15 Best Hikes in Puerto Rico (By a Local)
If you’re an outdoors lover, you’ll be happy to know Puerto Rico is home to some great hiking destinations. You can find everything from chill seaside treks to challenging routes hidden in the mountains regardless.
I am a Puerto Rico local and I’ve hiked in many of these places on the island. In this post, I’ll spill the beans on all the best hikes in Puerto Rico, so you can choose your next hiking adventure.
Let’s dive in – but first, could you bookmark my guide to the best activities to do in Puerto Rico?
Table of Contents
- 15 Best Puerto Rico Hikes & Hiking Trails
- El Toro Trail in El Yunque
- Cueva del Viento in Guajataca State Forest
- Lluberas Trail in Guánica Dry Forest
- El Bolo in Toro Negro State Forest
- Tres Picachos
- Cambalache State Forest
- Arbol Solitario
- Los Morrillos Lighthouse
- La Zanja
- Survival Beach
- Cañón San Cristóbal
- Puerto Ferro
- Charco Azul
- Charco Prieto Waterfall
- Cerro Mime
- FAQ’s About Hiking in Puerto Rico
- Is hiking in Puerto Rico safe?
- Can you hike in 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!
15 Best Puerto Rico Hikes & Hiking Trails
El Toro Trail in El Yunque
Difficult | 4.9 miles | Google Maps | Park Website | 45-minute Drive from San Juan | Cost: $2 for a ticket online
El Toro Trail is one of the different trails you can find in El Yunque National Forest, the only tropical rainforest in the National Forest System. The climb is challenging for how muddy it is, and takes 3-5 hours to finish the route but reaching the top “Cloud Forest” makes up for the trip.
👉 Local Tip: If you’re visiting El Yunque, wear swimwear underneath or bring an additional set of clothes so you can bathe in one of the waterfalls. Read my list of the top things to do in Puerto Rico to learn about other amazing activities.
Cueva del Viento in Guajataca State Forest
Moderate | 2. 6 miles | Google Maps | 2-hour Drive Time from San Juan | Cost: free
The Guajataca State Forest in Isabela offers multiple trails for hiking lovers. Trail #1 takes you to Cueva del Viento, and trail #9 leads you back to the entrance. For warming up, take the side trail to the observation tower, where you can enjoy the panoramic views.
👉 Local Tip: Keep in mind that the stairs to get inside the cave are in bad condition, so you should use them cautiously. Drink lots of water as the forest is hot and bring a flashlight to explore the cave. The ALIPRET headlamp is great since it helps you to keep your hands free.
Lluberas Trail in Guánica Dry Forest
Moderate | 10 miles | Google Maps | 2-hour Drive Time from San Juan | Cost: free
The Lluberas trail is the longest trail in Guánica Dry Forest, but what makes it a difficult route is the heat you’ll be experiencing. This trail takes you down to Ballena Beach where you can enjoy the Caribbean Sea views. Make sure to stop at the ranger station next to the parking lot to get your map.
While you are in the area, be sure to check out the many fun things to do in Guanica.
👉 Local Tip: Guánicas State Forest is hot, especially during the summer. Make sure to bring enough water to stay hydrated during the hike. The Mubasel Insulated Hydration Backpack stores up to 2 liters of water, plus it sports space for snacks and a waistband for your important items.
El Bolo in Toro Negro State Forest
Difficult | 3.9 miles | Google Maps | 2-hour Drive from San Juan | Cost: free
Home to a cloud forest and Cerro de Punta, one of the highest peaks in Puerto Rico, the Toro Negro State Forest stretches between different cities and offers multiple trails for hikers, camping areas, and some of the best Puerto Rico waterfalls.
Trail #1 known as El Bolo, leads to an observation tower from where nature lovers can admire the view.
Expert | 2.8 miles | Google Maps | 2-hours Drive from San Juan | Cost: free
The Tres Picachos is a challenging trail in Jayuya full of fallen trees, spiders, overgrown grass, and around a dozen rope climbing sections that can take up to 5 hours to complete. The trail gets muddy when it rains so it’s advisable to go with dry weather.
👉 Local Tip: Wear hiking boots with grip for muddy routes like Tres Picachos. These Columbia boots are waterproof and have a slip-free rubber sole.
Cambalache State Forest
One of the birds you can see in Cambalache Forest
Moderate | 5.09 miles | Google Maps | 1-hour Drive from San Juan | Cost: free
The Cambalache State Forest in Arecibo offers well-maintained and identified hiking and biking trails, plus areas for camping. You can choose your trail and the distance you’ll be walking according to your taste, and enjoy the variety of species of birds and trees.
Moderate | 3.16 miles | Google Maps | 1-hour Drive from San Juan | Cost: $5 for parking
This hike, also known as Cerro de los Cielos, is a popular place to visit among Puerto Rico locals for different reasons. One of those reasons is the Instagramable tree with a swing sitting alone on top of the hill and the view from the top of one of the best mountains in Puerto Rico. You can access the official and safest trail from Hacienda Los Maldonado.
Los Morrillos Lighthouse
Easy | 1.5 miles | Google Maps | 3-hour Drive from San Juan | Cost: free
One of the hikes with more scenery in Puerto Rico, Los Morrillos Lighthouse trail is easy to walk and is fit for any type of hiker. Once inside the Wildlife Refuge, you can check out attractions like the Salt Flats, Playuela Beach, or the Observation Tower close to the visitor’s center.
📚Bookmark for Later: My Guide to the Top Puerto Rico Beaches
Cabezas de San Juan Nature Reserve from above
Moderate | 5. 6 miles | Google Maps | 1-hour 15 minutes Drive from San Juan | Cost: free
This trail runs along the coast of Cabezas de San Juan Nature Reserve in Fajardo and you’ll be crossing the beach with scenic views until the last section where you’ll go uphill until reaching La Zanja, a natural water pool. Always take into account the tide before visiting.
👉 Local Tip: You should wear swimwear under your clothes and shoes that are good for hiking and dry quickly. The UBFEN Water Shoes are great for both doing watersports and hiking and they’re quick drying.
Difficult | 2.7 miles | Google Maps | 2-hour Drive Time from San Juan | Cost: free
Along the coast of Aguadilla, you will find a trail that will lead you to a hidden beach with giant boulders. The trail sports beautiful scenery but has many ups and downs, tree roots, spiky floor, and boulders.
Cañón San Cristóbal
Expert | 3. 47 miles | Google Maps | 1-hour 15-minute Drive from San Juan | Cost: Private Tours Only
San Cristóbal Canyon features multiple trails that either intertwine with the river or are full of vegetation and rocks. Exploring it can take up to 5 hours if you visit the waterfalls and swimming holes. You can only visit with a private tour you can book either with Go Hiking Puerto Rico or Para La Naturaleza.
Moderate | 1.4 miles | Google Maps | Park Website | 1.5-hour Drive from San Juan to Ceiba + 30 minutes on ferry to Vieques | Cost: free
Inside the Wildlife Refuge, you’ll find the Puerto Ferro trail. Although short, the trail is rocky and challenging under the heat of the Caribbean but it leads to Puerto Ferro Lighthouse Ruins and the best panoramic views of Vieques.
Easy | 1 mile | Google Maps | 1-hour Drive from San Juan | Cost: free
Charco Azul is an easy hike all family members can do. Located in Patillas, this mostly-paved trail leads to a swimming hole and it takes around 20 minutes to get to it. Although the area is a bit neglected, the swimming hole is still open to the public.
Charco Prieto Waterfall
Difficult | 1 mile | Google Maps | 48-minute Drive from San Juan | Cost: free
Located in Bayamón, this hiking trail is difficult as it crosses water pools, fallen trees, and parts of the river until reaching a beautiful waterfall. The trail starts behind an abandoned house and it’s marked in certain areas to guide you.
👉 Read Next: Best Things to Do in Bayamon
Moderate | 1.1 mile | Google Maps | Drive Time from Name | Cost: $5 for parking
Cerro Mime is off the beaten path, but the views the trails offer are worth the visit. Although short, the trail is challenging as it’s uphill and rocky between overgrown grass. Depending on your fitness level, the round trip can take 1 or 2 hours.
FAQ’s About Hiking in Puerto Rico
Is hiking in Puerto Rico safe?
Overall, hiking is safe in Puerto Rico. Visitors should take overall safety measures like staying on existing trails, visiting during daylight hours, wearing the right clothes, staying hydrated, and taking enough supplies for their trip. Hikers should also consider hiking with a partner. Learn more in the Puerto Rico safety guide.
Can you hike in El Yunque?
El Yunque National Forest is one of the popular destinations for hiking in Puerto Rico. The rainforest features multiple trails of different difficulty like La Mina Trail, El Yunque Trail, and El Toro Trail, with great scenery, waterfalls, and a variety of flora, and fauna. Some trails are temporarily closed after Hurricane Maria.
🥾 Read All Our Hiking Guides: Hikes near Seattle, Hikes near Denver, Hikes near Boulder
You’ve made it to the end of the best hiking trails in Puerto Rico! If you’re looking for more activities to do, you can’t miss my list of popular Puerto Rico destinations.
How useful was this post?
Click on a star to rate (you can leave feedback after clicking submit)
Help us help you travel better!
Your feedback really helps …
What did you like about this post? Or how can we improve it to help you travel better?
Discovery of the Lesser Antilles and Puerto Rico.
Discovery of the Lesser Antilles and Puerto Rico. Essays on the history of geographical discoveries. T. 2. Great geographical discoveries (the end of the 15th — the middle of the 17th century)
Essays on the history of geographical discoveries. T. 2. Great geographical discoveries (the end of the 15th — the middle of the 17th century)
Magidovich Iosif Petrovich
Puerto Rico Attack
Attack of Puerto Rico
In the early morning of September 24, 1625, lookouts stationed in the bastion of San Felipe del Morro, located in the Puerto Rican fortress of San Juan, saw an endless string of sails going towards Boqueron Bay. Ships anchored three miles from
John Coxon Troop attack on Puerto Bello
John Coxon’s attack on Puerto Bello
Despite the fact that in 1668 Puerto Bello was thoroughly ravaged by filibusters under the command of Henry Morgan, the Spaniards managed to rebuild the city from the ruins, and they continued to use its harbor as a parking lot
Capture by Morgan’s detachment of Puerto Principe
Capture of Puerto Principe by Morgan’s detachment
Henry Morgan became the «general» of the filibusters of Jamaica shortly after their former leader, Edward Mansfelt, was captured by the Spaniards and was executed by them in Cuba. Morgan’s first operation as commander-in-chief was a daring
[Discovery of the Lesser Antilles and Puerto Rico]
[Discovery of the Lesser Antilles and Puerto Rico]
On Sunday, November 3, when dawn broke, the whole flotilla saw land. And so great was the universal joy, as if the heavens had opened before the sailors; this land was an island, which the admiral called Dominica, because
Chapter 23: Morgan’s stunning trip to Puerto Bello
In June 1668, the commander of the Jamaican flotilla, having only 460 people under his command, decided to attack the city of Puerto Bello. From the report of Morgan himself, it is known that nine leaders
participated in this campaign.
This culture existed in the Viru valley on the north coast from the beginning of our era to 500. Not much is known about it — mostly what the burials preserved. The dead were buried in soil pits about 1.5 m long and about 0.5 m wide.0003
Chapter 32. DUTCH EXPANSION IN ASIA. DISCOVERY OF AUSTRALIA AND THE ISLANDS OF OCEANIA
DUTCH EXPANSION IN ASIA. DISCOVERY OF AUSTRALIA AND THE ISLANDS OF OCEANIA
First Dutch expeditions to Indonesia
The heyday of Dutch power in the southern seas begins … in a Lisbon prison. There in the 90s. 16th century was imprisoned for debts by the Dutch sailor Cornelis
nine0011 Cuba — the pearl of the Antilles
Cuba — the pearl of the Antilles
Bonpland’s illness proved to be protracted and serious. Humboldt took him higher to the mountains — in the hope that there it would be easier for his friend to cope with the disease. Only on July 10, 1800, after many months of uncertainty, they were able to start again
Five days of luxury and relaxation in Puerto Rico
Treat yourself to a tropical paradise, just what your holiday needs. Whether you’re looking for an exclusive experience or just hoping to unwind, you’ll be amazed at what the island of Puerto Rico has to offer, from secluded beaches to private, tailor-made, elegant restaurants, world-class spas, and luxury accommodations.
Once you arrive in Puerto Rico, take the time to breathe in the hearth and let it guide the rest of your trip.
Before you start exploring the city, you will need a place to rest. San Juan offers a variety of options, from the luxurious Condado Vanderbilt and La Concha at Lush Condado or Dorado Beach to the Ritz Carlton nature reserve, just 20 minutes from the area. And if you prefer boutique accommodation, some options include O: Live, AC Hotel and Condado Ocean Club. nine0046 Start your holiday with a breakfast with great views from the kitchen of renowned chef Juan José Cuevas at Front Ola Ocean Bistro, located at the Condado Vanderbilt Hotel. You can also visit Pannes for a more casual option. Here you can start the day with a mimosa and a sample of typical Caribbean dishes.
For lunch, the 1919 Cuevas restaurant is another standout with cheeky little plates and unparalleled ocean views. Another great option is Semilla, a quick lunchtime bite full of fresh flavors infused with Puerto Rican roots. nine0046 After that, head to the beach to relax for a while, read, rent a kayak or paddleboard, or just enjoy the surreal sunset. And after enjoying a day at the beach, for dinner visit typical restaurants such as Mario Pagan or Kosina Abirta. If you’re craving an international brew and want to visit local favorites, head to Calle Loíza at Sabrina’s, Café Tresbé, Panuchos, or Shibo.
To explore outside of San Juan, we recommend renting a car and discovering the island at your own pace. nine0046 To go beyond «tourist» places, book a private tour with the flavors of San Juan, bespoke lifestyle management or spoons, among other things. Whether it’s a walking tour of interests like churches, restaurants and tasting rooms, these companies specialize in tour and concierge services and even provide transportation.
In the afternoon, enjoy a relaxing massage at a first-class spa, such as the exclusive salt water flotation, Cloud Spa, for the Hamman experience at the Vanderbilt County Spa, or for an innovative face and body treatment at Nouvelle D’ Spa. nine0046 Of course, the nightlife in Puerto Rico is great. From dancing at La Placita, having a drink in the bars and halls in the area, or attending an orchestra concert at the Luis A. Ferré Fine Arts Center, the possibilities are endless.
There is nothing more relaxing than enjoying nature, so what about Heaven in Paradise? Pack your bags and head to the southern region of the island where you can take a boat to a secluded cay called Cardona Island. Here you can snorkel, hike, take amazing photos and explore a paradise of white sand and turquoise waters while enjoying the view of Ponce. nine0046 With Waterland Adventure you can organize a boat tour that includes an expedition and lighthouse snorkeling, plus you don’t have to worry about lunch as the crew provides, as well as snorkeling equipment, chairs and tables.
After a day in the sun, immerse yourself in the heritage of Ponce, the second largest city in Puerto Rico. Visit a downtown cocktail bar and order a drink (or several) made with Don Q and fresh juice such as «rum-bang» to soak up a piece of the city’s treasure: the Serrallés Distillery. nine0046 You can also opt for an excursion to Cayo Aurora in Guanica, better known as Gilligan’s Island, a place where you can enjoy a day without worry. The crystal clear shallow waters are ideal for snorkeling and swimming. A must-stop for dinner in Guanicca is La Casa Del Chef for a fresh seafood platter and authentic Puerto Rican El Negocio de Panchi for a gastronomic experience with dishes like spitted mushrooms, crab cakes, escargots and more. nine0046 In addition, in Guánica, enjoy the first-class gastronomic offer in the Caribbean at the Trasiego Seafood restaurant or choose a sumptuous dinner and its famous piña coladas at the Alexandra restaurant. For a stay in Ponce, we recommend Ponce Golf & Casino Resort Hotel, Fox Hotel or Copamarina Beach Resort and Spa.
Start your fourth day by immersing yourself in local culture and art. Make a quick stop at the Museo de Arte de Ponce, where you can enjoy over 4,500 pieces of art by renowned international and emerging Puerto Rican artists.