El Yunque Forest Fast Facts
Everything you need to know about visiting the Caribbean National Forest.
Whether you visit El Yunque, the Caribbean National Forest, on a guided excursion or drive there on your own (easy to do), this is the essential information you need to know.
Hours of Operation
Access to the forest is available daily from 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays, until 6 p.m. on weekends.
Reach El Yunque from San Juan by Route 3, connecting with Route 191, which leads directly into and through the forest.
El Yunque Camping
There aren't any designated campsites but you're allowed to camp in the forest. You must get a free camping permit from the El Portal visitor center on Route 191 before 3 p.m.
Keep cars locked. Do not carry valuables. Women should not hike alone. Some residents consider this a high crime area.
El Yunque Rainfall
Come prepared for it. Generally, the most concentrated rains fall in May, June, August, September and October. July tends to be drier , but no guarantees. Summer and early fall are when one tropical wave after another brings humidity and rain to the forest. March typically is the driest month.
El Yunque Forest Adventure Tours
One-hour guided tours are offered from February through August starting at 10:30 a.m. (Other months depend on the availability of guides).
A tour highlights the forest's history, geology and biodiversity. Maximum group size.
El Yunque Temperatures
El Yunque, so much cooler than the coastal areas , is like a refreshing water fountain in the mountains on even the hottest days. The Forest Service gauges the temperature range according to altitude .
If it is 80-85 degrees at the beaches, it may be:
*75 degrees between 500-1800
Clothing for El Yunque
Since it does get remarkably cool at the higher elevations, bring a jacket (with hood) for rain, a sweater for the wind . Good hiking shoes are essential. None of the trails should be attempted barefoot.
Located in the Sierra Palm, Caimitillo and Palo Colorado picnic areas. They are all located between km. marker 11.6 through 12.1 on Route 191.
El Yunque Waterproof Map
Consider the trails map published by National Geographic on recycled plastic paper. It's for sale at the visitor centers.
More El Yunque Information
The El Portal Tropical Forest Center is an air-conditioned, cathedral-like building at the foot of the forest. A video on the forest is shown in English and Spanish. Also a gift shop. The fee is $3 to enter El Portal but entrance to the forest is free.
Contact USDA Forest Service, Caribbean National Forest, P.O. Box 490, Palmer, PR 00721; 787/888-1810.