El Yunque
Caribbean National Forest


It's 45 minutes and a world away
from San Juan.

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El Yunque, Puerto Rico
America's Only Tropical Rain Forest

El Yunque was set aside as a reserve by the Spanish in 1876, making it one of the hemisphere's oldest protected forests.

It became part of the USDA Forest Service System in 1903 but wasn't named the Caribbean National Forest until 1935. It was declared a United Nations Biosphere Reserve in the 1970s.

El Yunque is the smallest forest and the only tropical rain forest in the U.S. National Forest System. In its highest and most inaccessible altitudes, the virgin forest remains much as it was more than 500 years ago.

This is rare, because over the centuries Puerto Rico has been subject to such intensive agricultural development that only 1 percent of the land is considered virgin.

Located in the rugged Luquillo mountain range, El Yunque receives an incredible amount of rain. This is one rain forest you can count on living up to its name.

The higher peaks annually receive as much as 240 inches, and the forest overall averages 120 inches.

That comes to about 160 billion gallons of water every 12 months, enough to provide water to San Juan for 2.5 years or the entire island for 8 months. March is usually the driest month.

This has become a very popular cruise ship excursion. Land vacationers might want to avoid it on those days or come early. Cruise ships often arrive in the afternoon.

Everyone should bring a rain jacket. Even in March.

El Yunque Fast Facts
How to get there, when it opens. . .

Hikes of El Yunque
Descriptions of all the trails

Animals of El Yunque:
The Coquis

The Puerto Rican Parrot

Lizards, Snakes & Shrimp

Forest Zones of El Yunque
The Rain Forest
High Altitude Forests

 

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