“The forest makes your heart gentle. You become one with it. No place for greed or anger there.” ~ Pha Pachak
El Yunque National Forest is at the beautiful island of Puerto Rico. It’s the only tropical rain forest in the United States national forest system. It’s 28,000 acres (43.75 square miles) of lush land, wonderful landscape scenery of over 240 species of plants, and wildlife sits atop the Luquillo mountains. Its highest peak is 3,494 feet (1,064 meters) above sea level.
Driving through the rainforest on an extremely hot Monday was a great idea. The Yunque’s temperature ranges between 70-80 degrees. Therefore, walking around in nature and through the Yunque trails was very relaxing and refreshing. The breeze was cool and the aroma of tropical flowers filled the air. The singing of birds, crickets chirping, the sound of coqui’s song, and the cascading water falls and streams drowned the city noises. It is a place to get away, meditate, walk or relax – whatever you choose to do.
The Yunque has various trails that lead to rivers and gazebos. Growing up, I remember visiting “Puente Roto” often with my family. It’s a popular river among the trails. The Yunque is home of many waterfalls too such as La Coca fall which is quite well known.
Then there are the views. Oh, what magnificent views. We climbed the Yokahu Tower observation point (1575 feet) to take in all the beauty of the island. From here you can see views of over 10 miles – Luquillo Beach, Fajardo Lighthouse, Seven Seas Beach, Bahia Las Cabezas de San Juan, Laguna Gardens and beyond.
There is another tower that is at a higher peak of 3,088 feet high – Mt. Britton. To reach it you must hike up the paved trail for 45-minutes. There are three rest stations to refuel your energy. Once you arrive the views are breathtaking if it’s a clear day. Or you can walk within the clouds on a cloudy day. Either day it is beautiful and well worth the hike up.
I would not have minded staying there the entire day just soaking in the golden sun, luscious greenery, vibrant flowers, cool breeze and the singing of the birds. Yes indeed, it was a lovely day.