El Yunque National Rainforest - Puerto Rico Guide & Tours

Reserve your Spot - El Yunque National Rainforest Top Tour (Official Park)

El Yunque National Rainforest, located on the northeast side of Puerto Rico, just 45 minutes from San Juan, is one of the world’s natural wonders you can’t miss.  El Yunque is the only rainforest in the United States National Forest System, comprised of 29,000 acres tinted in mesmerizing greens with peaks that rise up to 3000 ft.   Visitors can take a drive under green canopies of giant ferns and see sights of mesmerizing waterfalls, and hike trails that lead to waterfalls that Ponce de Leon thought were the fountain of youth.

How much time do you need to see El Yunque National Rainforest?

Most visitors and locals visit El Yunque as a morning/afternoon trip.  To really appreciate this amazing ecosystem, you’ll need a full week to explore the trails, but if you only have a day, the experience will enchant you so much, you’ll most definitely want to come back.

About El Yunque National Rainforest

Puerto Rico

El Yunque National Rainforest - Rio Grande, Puerto Rico

While El Yunque may be the smallest forest under the US Flag, it is the most biologically diverse, housing about 250 species of trees among its flora and about 42 species of birds year-round.  El Yunque is an adventure park for the senses… an enchanting forest that feels liek a world away.  Enjoy the serenading sounds of coquis, the singing of endemic birds, and the soothing sounds of water moving through streams, culminating down waterfalls with basins of water that refresh the soul.

Following is a list of the long list of living creatures across the land and waters of the rainforest.

Amphibians

  • Antillean Coqui 
  • Common Coqui 
  • Cricket Coqui 
  • Dwarf Coqui 
  • Forest Coqui 
  • Giant Toad 
  • Grass Coqui 
  • Hedrick’s Coqui 
  • Locust Coqui 
  • Mottled Coqui 
  • North American Bull Frog 
  • Richmond’s Coqui 
  • Web-footed Coqui 
  • Whistling Coqui 
  • White-lipped Frog 
  • Wrinkled Coqui 

Aquatic Species

Fish

  • American Eel 
  • Big-mouth Sleeper 
  • Fathead Minnow 
  • Guppy
  • Green Swordtail 
  • Mountain Mullet 
  • Sirajo Goby 
  • Spinycheek Sleeper 
  • Yellow River Goby 

Aquatic Invertebrates

  • Big-clawed Shrimp 
  • Caribbean Dwarf Filter Shrimp
  • Freshwater Crab 
  • Yellow-nosed Shrimp 

Birds

  • Adelaide’s Warbler 
  • American Redstart
  • Antillean Euphonia 
  • Bananaquit 
  • Black Swift 
  • Black-throated Blue Warbler
  • Black-whiskered Vireo 
  • Broad-winged Hawk 
  • Elfin Woods Warbler 
  • Gray Kingbird 
  • Green Mango 
  • Green-backed Heron 
  • Merlin 
  • Northern Parula
  • Orange-fronted Parakeet 
  • Pearly-eyed Thrasher 
  • Puerto Rican Bullfinch 
  • Puerto Rican Emerald 
  • Puerto Rican Flycatcher 
  • Puerto Rican Lizard Cuckoo 
  • Puerto Rican Parrot
  • Puerto Rican Screech-Owl 
  • Puerto Rican Tanager
  • Puerto Rican Tody 
  • Puerto Rican Vireo 
  • Puerto Rican Woodpecker 
  • Red-legged Thrush 
  • Red-tailed Hawk 
  • Ruddy Quail-Dove
  • Scaly-naped Pigeon 
  • Sharp-shinned Hawk 
  • Spotted Sandpiper 
  • Stripe-headed Tanager 
  • Yellow-bellied Sapsucker 
  • Yellow-crowned Night Heron 
  • Zenaida Dove 

Endemic Plants

  • Alchorneopsis portoricensis 
  • Sintenis’ Guava (Eng.), Hoja Menuda (Sp.)
  • Puerto Rico Zephyr Lily, Rain Lily, Water Crocus (Eng.), (no known common Sp. name), Zephyranthes puertoricensis(Sci.)
  • Puerto Rico Raintree (Eng.), (no Spanish common name), Brunfelsia portoricensis (Sci.)
  • Guasábara, Guayabacón (Sp.), (no English common name), Eugenia eggersii (Sci.)
  • Palo de Cera (Sp.), (no English common name), Myrica holdrigeana(Sci.)
  • Tortugo Prieto (Sp.), (no English common name), Ravenia urbanii (Sci.)
  • Sintenis Holly (Eng.), Ilex sintenisii, Urban (Britton). (Sci.)
  • Luquillo Mountain Lidflower (Eng.), Calyptranthes luquillensis (Sci.)
  • Palo de Jazmín (Sp.), Styrax portoricensis (Sci.)
  • Maga Tree (Eng.), Flor de Maga, Maga Colorada (Sp.), Thespesia grandiflora (Sci.)
  • Palo Colorado (Sp.), (no common English name), Ternstroemia luquillensis (Sci.)
  • Capá Rosa, Capá Rosado (Sp.), (no English name), Callicarpa ampla (Sci.)
  • El Yunque Colorado (Sp.), (no English common name), Ternstroemia subsessilis (Sci.)
  • Puerto Rico Royal Palm, Mountain Cabbage (Eng.), Palma Real Puertoriqueña, Palma de Yagua (Sp.), Roystonea borinquena (Sci.)
  • Guerrero (Sp.), Critonia portoricense (Sci.)

Land Invertebrates

  • Flannel Moth 
  • Flower Fly 
  • Ground Beetle 
  • Little Fire Ant 
  • Puerto Rican Tarantula 
  • Sawfly 
  • Tarantula Hawk
  • Theotima minutissimus 
  • Tree Snail 
  • Velvet Worm 
  • Walking Stick 
  • Whip-scorpion 

Mammals

  • Antillean Fruit Bat
  • Antillean Ghost-faced Bat
  • Big Brown Bat
  • Black Rat
  • Brazilian Free-tailed Bat
  • Brown Flower Bat
  • Feral Cat
  • Feral Dog
  • Greater Antillean Long-tongued Bat
  • House Mouse
  • Jamaican Fruit-eating Bat
  • Norway Rat
  • Red Bat
  • Red Fig-eating Bat
  • Small Indian Mongoose
  • Sooty Mustached Bat
  • Velvety Free-tailed Bat

Poisonous Plants, Shrubs and Trees

While there are many poisonous plants, shrubs, and trees in Puerto Rico, there are only a few in the recreational areas of El Yunque National Rainforest.  Visit this page for more detailed information with photos so you can identify them and avoid them. 

  • Palo Bronco, Malpighia fucata
  • Stinging Nettle, Ortiga, Urera chlorocarpa
  • Ortiga Brava, Urera braccifera
  • Tabaiba, Hinchahuevos, Sapium laurocerasus
  • Carrasco, Comocladia glabra
  • Cabbage angelin, Andira enermis
  • Dumcane, Rábano, Dieffenbachia seguine
  • Cabbage angelin, Andira enermis
  • Dumcane, Rábano, Dieffenbachia seguine
  • Frangipani, Plumeria rubra
  • Guinea Grass, Yerba pegajosa, Homolepis glutinosa
  • Cow Itch, Mucuna pruriens
  • Elephant Ear, Xanthosoma sagittifolium
  • Giant Philodendron, Calabazón, Philodendron giganteum

Reptiles

  • Barred Anole 
  • Brook’s House Gecko
  • Common Blind Snake 
  • Common Dwarf Gecko 
  • Common Worm Snake 
  • Emerald Anole 
  • Giant Anole 
  • Puerto Rican Boa 
  • Puerto Rican Crested Anole
  • Puerto Rican Galliwasp 
  • Puerto Rican Garden Snake 
  • Puerto Rican Ground Lizard 
  • Puerto Rican Racer 
  • Puerto Rico Upland Gecko 
  • Puerto Rican Wetlands Blindsnake 
  • Pygmy Anole 
  • Sharp-mouthed Lizard 
  • Upland Grass Anole 
  • Yellow-chinned Anole 

Visiting El Yunque with a Tour

Need to Know Facts & Top Rated Tours

Please Note Before Booking a Tour

Please take some time to read through this El Yunque Tours Guide so you can make an informed choice, save money, and avoid frustrations.   We take pride in offering information so that you can plan a vacation that suits YOUR needs.  While there are many tours to choose from, only a FEW take visitors to the official El Yunque National Rainforest maintained by the Forest Service.  We have taken the time to divide the tours to make your search easier.

You can visit on your own, or book a tour with one of Puerto Rico’s enthusiastic guides.  Whether you prefer to keep your walking light or wish to have a more thrilling adventure, there is a variety of tours to choose from.  Some trails are best to explore with an experienced guide for your safety with the addition of learning about the ecosystems of the rainforest.

Cruise visitors that are short on time and those who don’t wish to rent a car can benefit from an organized tour to take care of all the details.  Private tours are excellent for those wishing for a more personalized experience with fewer crowds.

  • We first list tours to the OFFICIAL El Yunque National Rainforest.
  • Next are tours to a popular trail that leads to natural swimming pools, waterfalls, and natural rock waterslides, that are within the rainforest but not part of the official trails maintained by the Forest Service.
  • There are a few tours available that combine El Yunque National Rainforest with Laguna Grande Bioluminescent Lagoon in Fajardo and some with Luquillo Beach and Food Kiosks.

Tours to Official El Yunque National Rainforest

Award Winning Tour

Tours FROM San Juan

El Yunque National Rainforest Only

El Yunque National Rainforest, Old San Juan, Food at Piñones, Folklore Music

El Yunque National Rainforest, Angelito Trail & Luquillo Beach & Kiosks

El Yunque National Rainforest, Ziplining & Natural Pools

Tours to Popular Waterfall / Natural Waterslide

Award Winning Tour

Tours FROM San Juan

Yunque Rainforest Waterfall Only - Top Rated Tours

Combo - El Yunque Waterfall & Laguna Grande Bioluminescent Bay Kayaking

Combo - El Yunque Waterfall, Luquillo Beach & Food Kiosks

Combo - El Yunque Waterfall & Luquillo Kiosks Lunch

Combo - El Yunque Waterfall & Old San Juan

Combo - El Yunque Waterfall & Ziplining

Private Tours

Tours from Fajardo & Luquilllo

From Fajardo

 

From Luquillo

If you’re staying on the west coast of Puerto Rico, but don’t wish to take the drive to El Yunque, Cascadas Gozalandia (Waterfalls) in San Sebastian, is an easy and enjoyable day trip.

Visitor Center Information

El Yunque National Rainforest - Puerto Rico

Visiting Hours

  • El Yunque is open 7 days a week and it closes at 6 pm.
  • El Portal Tropical Forest Center on Rte. 191 is open daily from 9 am – 5 pm.  Tel. (787) 888-1880
  • El Yunque Catalina Field Office along the highway on the north side of the forest offers hiking information and will help you plan tours of El Yunque including overnight ones. Tel. (787) 888-1880
  • For up-to-date information, please visit the official website.

Contact Information

What to Bring

Bring some snacks, water bottles, non-slip shoes, swimsuits if you want to bathe in the falls, bug repellent (for afternoons), hiking shoes or comfortable sneakers.

Driving through the rainforest

All individuals can enjoy a visit to El Yunque, including those who may have physical limitations.  If you’re not able to walk or you’re short on time, you can drive and see a few waterfalls along the way and enjoy the sights.  There is a lookout tower with an open observation patio at the top with breathtaking views that extend all the way to the east coast shores on a clear day.

Directions from San Juan to El Yunque National Rainforest, Rio Grande, Puerto Rico

From San Juan take Rte. 26 / Baldorioty de Castro Expressway east to Carolina, from where you will get on Rte. 66 / Roberto Sanchez Vilella Expressway. Go east to the right on Rte. 3, and follow east to the intersection of Rte 191, a 2-lane highway that leads south into the rainforest. Then take 191 for about 3 miles. As the road goes uphill you will be entering El Yunque Rainforest.

Videos - El Yunque National Rainforest

Puerto Rico

Map - El Yunque National Rainforest - Puerto Rico

Rio Grande, Puerto Rico

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Best Nearby Hotels & Resorts

El Yunque National Rainforest - Puerto Rico

If you would like to enjoy El Yunque to the max, take a look at the best resorts and hotels on the east region of Puerto Rico.