Whether you want to relax on a leisurely getaway or prefer to follow the trail to adventure, you'll find something to love in Río Grande. Known as the home of the famous El Yunque rainforest, the town is an enchanting palette of greens and blues with panoramic views of Puerto Rico’s best attributes.
From hiking, canyoneering, and rappelling to waterfall-chasing and river-dipping, fill your agenda with adrenaline-fueled activities to make the most out of your time in this beautiful municipality.
El Yunque National Forest
El Yunque is the only tropical rainforest included in the U.S. National Forest Service. 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, and hiking trails. The forest is also home to a handful of rare creatures; as you meander through this enchanting forest, look for endangered species like the Puerto Rican parrot (or iguaca) and the coquí (a small native tree frog), both symbols of Puerto Rico.
La Coca Waterfall
One popular rainforest stop is La Coca Waterfall. It may not be the biggest in El Yunque, but it's one of the first falls you'll 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 four 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 snacks, too, depending on how long you’ll be visiting.
Yokahú 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, referring to the Taíno deity who watched over nature. From it, you can see Yokahú’s battle prowess: 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.
El Yunque Hiking Trails
There are a variety of trails in El Yunque for hikers of all skill levels. One of the most famous trails leads to Mt. Britton. Along the way you’ll pass the Mt. Britton stone tower, built in the 1930s by the Civilian Conservation Corps and located at one of the highest elevations in El Yunque. On clear days, hikers can view the surrounding forest, the Atlantic Ocean, and the southeastern and northeastern coastal plain. This hike is approximately 1.3 km (.8 miles) and takes 20–40 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 savor the wonderful scenery. The trail can be steep and muddy in certain spots, so be careful and choose appropriate footwear.
No Reservation Required!
El Yunque is a very popular place to visit, and as of August 2023 you won't need to make a reservation to visit.
Note: Make sure to check the El Yunque U.S. Forest website for the latest info about weather, park closures, and safety protocols.
Ziplining Through the Rainforest
Experience an exhilarating adrenaline rush when you step off the platform and fly through the lush canopy of El Yunque. With Rainforest Zipline Park, adventures include access to eight ziplines offering eight different experiences, plus safety gear and guided instruction. The facility also has climbing walls and an aerial course with hanging bridges, rappelling points, and a Tarzan swing.
Between Río Grande and Luquillo is the Río Espíritu Santo, the only navigable river in Puerto Rico. Enjoy La Paseadora del Río Espíritu Santo, 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 are woven into the fabric of the region.
Carabalí Rainforest Adventure Park
Nested in the foothills of El Yunque is the Carabalí Rainforest Adventure Park, an action-packed ranch where the whole family is invited to join the fun. Choose from riding horses along a peaceful Puerto Rican beach, racing along ATV trails, competing in crazy go-kart races, enjoying a side-by-side UTV adventure, and taking smaller children on a fun hayride.