Camping & Lodging for Hikers
Hiking is far more popular among visitors than locals, so the few operations that do exist cater to tourists. For a guide to El Yunque, contact Robin at firstname.lastname@example.org .
To find out about the annual 14-day hike from one end of the island to the other (a distance of 165 miles or 238.3 km) contact Fondo de Mejoramiento, P.O. Box 364746, San Juan, PR 00936-4746; 787/759-8366. More details later in this chapter.
Near El Yunque: Casa Cubuy Eco Lodge , 10 rooms, a non-smoking inn, Rates are $80-$100 for a double with breakfast. Call 787/874-6221. Casa Flamboyant , three rooms and a separate villa; heated pool. Rates range from $110 to $185 for the villa. Call 787/874-6074. Phillips Forest Cabins : tent sites and economy cabins on a fruit farm. Cabins start at $35, reduced for longer stays. A guide to the rain forest and nearby Taino petroglyphs is available; located on Rt. 191 above Naguabo. Call 787/874-2138.
In the countryside, the least expensive places to stay are the Paradores, a chain of inns located in some of the most historic and scenic places, including the national forests. However, sometimes not all the staff speaks English but communication is always achieved somehow.
The Paradores are operated by the Puerto Rico Tourism Company, charged with promoting the island. For information about Paradores and small inns, call 800/866-STAR.
Unlike most Caribbean islands, camping is widely available, including El Yunque and many of the state forest reserves . To camp in El Yunque, obtain a camping permit at the El Portal visitor center (see El Yunque hiking section for full details). To camp at the forest reserves it is necessary to obtain a camping permit in San Juan at the office next to the Club Nautico marina by the bridges.
It's possible to request an open reservation and travel at your own pace; otherwise you will need to establish a schedule and stick to it. For more information, phone 787/724-3647, 787/724-3724 or fax 787/721-5984. Or write the Dept. of Natural Resources, P.O. Box 9066600, Pta. De Tierra, San Juan , PR 00906-6600.
This office also handles the permits for Mona Island. Since Puerto Rico is part of the United States, those living in the States can use priority mail at no extra charge.
On the island of Culebra, the government also operates a campground fronting scenic Flamenco Beach. Divided into 5 sections, it can accommodate up to 500 tents. The charge is $10 per night for up to six people with a two-night minimum. Culebra is reached by a ferry from Fajardo. For reservations, call 787/742-0700.