El Yunque

Coordinates: 18°19′0″N 65°47′0″O

El Yunque, named after the taíno god: Yuquiyu, was part of the 28 finalists selected for the consideration of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World title. The New Seven Wonders organization announced the winners in November 2011.  The Amazon Rainforest was selected, because of its size, it covers nine countries in South America, it was followed by the Halong Bay in Vietnam, the Iguazu Falls on the border between Brazil and Argentina, the Jeju volcanic island in Korea; Komodo National Park in Indonesia, the Puerto Princesa underground river in the Philippines, and Table Mountain in South Africa.

  A photo in La Coca waterfall is a must. Photo: Pamy Rojas

A photo in La Coca waterfall is a must. Photo: Pamy Rojas

New 7 Wonders

The Caribbean National Forest, commonly known as El Yunque, was the only place in the Caribbean Sea region to be elected in the list of the 28 finalists. Only seven places in the area comprising the Americas were included in this list. From North America the finalists were the Bay of Fundy in Canada and the Grand Canyon, in the United States. From South America the 28 finalists were the Angel Falls in Venezuela, Galapagos Islands near Ecuador, the Amazon and the Iguazu Falls, these last places became the winners in the final round. According to New7wonders.com, the official website page of the New 7 Wonders, the criteria considered by the panel of experts to choose the 28 finalists were: the unique beauty of the place, his historical legacy, the ecological relevance, diversity and distribution, and geographic location.

  The water in La Mina pond is really cold. Photo: Pamy Rojas

The water in La Mina pond is really cold. Photo: Pamy Rojas

Relevance of the forest

Besides its natural beauty and wealth of the fresh water, El Yunque Rainforest is the home of thousands of native plants and endemic trees. The fern species reach 150 and there are 240 different species of trees, over 23 types of these trees can only be found in this forest, among them: the palo colorado, palma de sierra, laurel sabino, tabonuco and yagrumo. The fauna is represented by 100 vertebrate species and eleven species of bats, eight species of lizards, snakes such as the Puerto Rican boa, twelve species of amphibians, among the coquí, and 66 species of birds, including the Puerto Rican parrot.

  There are short trails that are completed in minutes, and there are longer ones that are achieved in several hours. Photo: Pamy Rojas

There are short trails that are completed in minutes, and there are longer ones that are achieved in several hours. Photo: Pamy Rojas

World Biosphere Reserve

The highest part of the rainforest can receive over 500 centimeters of rain each year. This sub tropical forest is a cool place, the average temperature reach 21° C. In the water of rivers and ponds can be lowered to 19 ° C, even more during the winter and spring. It consists of 28,000 acres of pure vegetation.  Located in the eastern side of the Luquillo Mountain, thousand meters above sea level, the Caribbean National Forest was proclaimed in 1976 a World Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO.

  La Mina waterfall. Photo: Pamy Rojas

La Mina waterfall. Photo: Pamy Rojas

Visit El Yunque

Each year about 600,000 people around the world visit this tropical paradise. It is important to get the map of the trails and to follow the recommendations of the tour guides before the walking.  Once you get into the forest, there is the visitor center named El Portal, which displays a short film, sell souvenirs, and you can find maps of the place and restrooms.

  The green landscape of El Yunque is fascinating. Photo: Pamy Rojas

The green landscape of El Yunque is fascinating. Photo: Pamy Rojas

Hiking at El Yunque

There is a parking lot near La Coca; this waterfall is 85 feet high. You can continue to drive to the Palo Colorado area, because there is access to the trails Caminillo, La Mina, El Yunque and Baño de Oro.  The trail that drives you to La Mina leads to the waterfall of the same name, it takes about half an hour to reach this pond. The Arboles Grandes trail, where you can see the huge trees of tabonuco, also leads to La Mina waterfall. In El Yunque you can find trails that leads you to the peak, and to the Observation Tower Monte Britton y los Picachos; this hike can take several hours. Another place of interest is the observation tower Yokahu, 69 feet high and has a spectacular view from the coast to the peaks.

  Some of the trees species: yagrumo, giant tree fern and palma de sierra. Photo: Pamy Rojas

Some of the trees species: yagrumo, giant tree fern and palma de sierra. Photo: Pamy Rojas

 Just live the experience

Walking the trails of El Yunque is a masterly adventure. Going around the flora and the fauna is the closest thing to paradise. The beauty of El Yunque is unique, from its ancient trees to their unique species. It is an overview for all the senses: the smell of fresh rain and wet soil, the colorful flowers and the different tones of green, the moist and the breeze that wraps the skin, the melody of the Elfin-woods Warbler, the sound of the coquí, the sweet taste and a tropical feel of an island; this is the sense of Puerto Rico... you have to just live it!

Conscious Travel Practices:

1. Enjoy natural beauty without leaving trash.

2. Learn about the ecological relevance of El Yunque. 

3. Be in contact with natura at its best.


Dining:

La Parilla 2
Calle Fernández García 1
Luquillo, PR
Teléfono: 787-889-0590 

Vejigante
Kiosko #31
Carretera #3
Luquillo, PR
Teléfono: 787-315-1832

Manjar Tropical
Kiosko #56
Carretera #3
Luquillo, PR
Teléfono: 787-355-7676


Places to Stay:

Luquillo Sunrise Beach Inn
a-2 Ocean Blvd Luquillo
Luquillo, PR
Teléfono: (787) 889-1713

Playa Azul Condo Apartments
VRBO Vacation Rentals By Owner
Luquillo, PR
http://www.vrbo.com/318921


 

SIGHTS:

-Hacienda Carabalí
-Monumento al Cacique Loquillo
-Plaza de La Paz
-Plaza de Recreo Rosendo Matienzo Cintrón
-Paseo Parque de pelota Joaquín Robles
-Ocean View Boulevard
-Sierra de Luquillo


BEACHES:

-Balneario La Monserrate
-Balneario de Luquillo
-La Bandera
-La Pared
-Las Pailas
-Mameyes