Hiking in Puerto Rico (part 1 of 2)

El Yunke_1One of the most beautiful hikes  that we’ve ever made is in Puerto Rico, in “El Yunque” Tropical Rain Forest. It’s the only rain forest  in the US. More info about it can be found here!

Our first experience here was not very pleasant… because of the rain (still very fresh in our memory the last hike in Hawaii, 8 miles through unstopping rain). We took the Road 191 (a very good one, you can rent a small car) from the south. The same road can be found on the North side of the forest also, but although it shows on Google maps that it’s only one road, you can’t pass though the forest on it. Dead end on both sides! ;)) More information about driving in Puerto Rico can be found here!

From Jose Celso Barbosa Highway exit on Carretera 31 and keep it till the intersection with 191. The South Road 191  it’s not very long. Around km 20 (descending kilometers from the intersection with 31 to the top) is a barrier that was closed (open from June to  August), so we had to park there. On the left side of the road is a small pool where some locals were enjoying their time in the ice-cold water. There is no sign of trails or anything else, but they said we can find a rest area just a little way up the street. Beautiful landscape, big tropical trees and herbs with leafs bigger than 2 meters.

El Yunke big leaf

But they call it rain forest… So that’ s the time when rain came! Pouring like the first rain ever, even if the temperature was pretty good, around 26º C, the rain made us feel not very comfortable…

Here we’ve encountered one of the most “fierce” creatures from this forest:

El Yunke - soparla Following the road uphill, in less than 10 minutes we found the recreation area called “Rio Sabana”. I’ve just discovered some details about it here. El Yunke Rio SabanaNice place where you can shelter from the rain and have a sandwich (even a barbecue). That’s also where the road ends, blocked by another barrier on the right side. Beyond it, you can find a trail leading up in the forest. But again, there is no sign, just the path made by other hikers before you. With the continuous pouring rain, we’ve struggled for about 20 minutes though the muddy terrain. On our way up we found another couple witch said that they went 15 minutes upper from this point and it was the same…

El Yunke Rio Grande 2After another 10 min,  this never-ending rain, lack of visibility and landscapes, made us give up, so we’ve decided to return to the car and leave this forest for the warmly beaches of Puerto Rico… But not before trying the pool near the place were the car was parked…

Ale Rio Sabana

We’ll try again tomorrow, no matter what!

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