Things to Do in Río Grande
Enjoy a tropical adventure surrounded by nature and beauty.
Whether you want to relax on a leisurely getaway, or you prefer to follow the trail to adventure, you will find something to love in Río Grande. The town, known as the home of the famous El Yunque rainforest, is an enchanting palette of greens and blues with panoramic views of Puerto Rico’s best attributes.
Take a solo trip or book an excursion to find the many things you can do. From hiking, canyoneering, rappelling, waterfall chasing, river dipping, and much more, fill your agenda with adrenaline-rushed activities to make the most out of your time in this beautiful municipality.
The only rainforest included in the US National Forest Service is found in this beautiful eastern town. Within the park’s 28,000 acres you can find more than 240 species of plants — most of them endemic —spread across valleys, rivers, streams, waterfalls, hiking trails, and more. The forest is also home to a handful of rare creatures as well. You can find endangered species like the Puerto Rican parrot or iguaca, and the coquí (a small native tree frog), both symbols of Puerto Rico.
One popular stop is La Coca Waterfall. It may not be the biggest in El Yunque, but it is one of the first ones you will encounter as you set out. The towering rock from which the water spills makes a stunning backdrop for a vacation photo.
Be aware that the forest receives rainfall at least three times a day (it’s a rainforest for a reason), so you’ll want to bring waterproof gear and a change of clothes. It’s a good idea to bring water and snack, too, depending on how long you’ll be staying.
Reserve your spot!
To guarantee the safety and health of visitors and the Forest Service employees, you must wear a facemask at all times and reserve your visit in advance through www.recreation.gov/. Only one reservation per vehicle is required and it can be booked up to a month prior to your visit. Tickets for your vehicle are free, but the booking engine charges a small fee payable by credit or debit card.
To accommodate those spontaneous outdoor enthusiasts, a percentage of reservations may be released 24 hours prior to opening.
Note: Your entry ticket can be used to enter from 8:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. and 12:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. daily. Recreation areas close at 5:30 p.m.
Yocahú Observation Tower
Enjoy sweeping vistas of El Yunque when you climb up the 98-step spiral staircase that leads to the top of the imposing Yokahú Observation Tower. This landmark’s name is rooted in Puerto Rican mythology and it refers to the deity that watched over nature, according to the Taíno. From it, you can see Yokahú’s battle scars, two major landslides that represent the protection of this god over the forest. On a clear day, you can a enjoy a view of Puerto Rico’s entire eastern coast, stretching from the rainforest down to its beautiful beaches.
There are a variety of trails and paths for hikers of all skill levels. One of the most famous trails leads to Mt. Britton. Along the way you’ll pass a stone tower built in the 1930s by the Civillian Conservation Corps located at one of the highest elevations in El Yunque. On clear days, hikers can view the surrounding forest, Atlantic Ocean, and the southeastern and northeastern coastal plain. This hike is approximately 1.3 km and takes 20 to 40 minutes to complete.
For a walk to waterfalls, check out the Juan Diego stream. A less popular hike, but dubbed “El Yunque’s best kept secret,” the path leads to three stunning waterfalls where you can jump in the water and relish in the wonderful scenery. The trail can be steep and muddy in certain spots, so be careful and choose appropriate footwear.
Experience an exhilarating adrenaline rush when you step off the platform and fly through the lush canopy of El Yunque. Choose from one of the three companies that offer access to a dozen ziplines and rappelling points. The adventure includes safety equipment and a guided-educational hike through the forest. Canyoneering and rock-climbing options are also available.
Between Río Grande and Luquillo is the Espíritu Santo river, the only navigable river in Puerto Rico. Enjoy a small ferry ride that takes you boating through the five-mile natural reserve. Learn about diverse ecosystems and the variety of flora and fauna, as well as the myths and legends that woven into the fabric of the region.
Nested in the foothills of El Yunque is the Carabalí Rainforest Adventure Park, a place where the whole family can enjoy different activities throughout the day. At this action-packed ranch you can choose to a peaceful horseback ride, race along trails on an ATV, follow winding mountain bike trails, compete in a crazy go-kart race, enjoy a side by side UTV adventure, and take smaller children on a hayride.