El Yunque is a a popular tourist attraction in Puerto Rico that attracts a large amount of travellers every year. El Yunque was hit by Hurricane Maria and many key trails are still closed (La Mina is closed). If you are planning to visit El Yunque, you should read careful the following tips, they will help you experience the most of this amazing tourist attraction.
Do not do this one in rainy weather, river floods close the way back.
0-Study the roads – PR 66, PR-191, El Yunque trails, be prepared. Bring water and food and a backpack with some 1st aid and raincoat, bath suit, good boots.
1-Have your own car, arrive EARLY – Opens 7:30, closes 6 pm.
2-From SJ use Route 66 (toll – prepaid) – it’s much faster. But can return via Luquillo beach and then Loiza to Condado direct. Can make stops-food/sunset.
4-Jump quickly to La coca falls, now explore this place well. You are very close to La Coca Trail entrance. You may walk there too, leave the car in La Coca.
Entrance: PR-191, left side going up, Km 8.6 just after La Coca waterfall,
5-Soon after, there is the entrance to La Coca TRAIL. It has 2-4 parking spots. So if you came early park there. Else park in the La Coca falls parking and walk.
6-This is one hell of a trail and IS OPEN after Maria. It’s a whole day deal.
7-First you must be in good condition – this is not Mt Britton trail.
8-It will start going DOWN very, very fast after a Bamboo cluster at the entrance. But since you have good boots it will be much easier for you all.
9-It’s a complex trail, will cross some VERY muddy sections, then rivers, there is beautiful waterfall in the way, images are in Yunque.store and here. This is a 2nd growth forest – not the original one like you see in Tradewinds.
10-The difficult part is near the end – it goes next to a cliff, just FOCUS on the trail. If you suffer from fear of heights etc then relax and return slowly. Enjoy the 1st river. Maybe can try later.
11-You get then to some larger river and crossings. Explore them but do not leave far unless you leave some marking to find the way back. In rivers I just place small rocks on boulders to know the way.
12. Find a large pond and stay there for the day until about 3pm since there is a way back and its not easy. So have food, relax and return before 5 to the car.
13. Then go back via Loiza and if too tired or in a rush return via Route 66.
Here is the sequence of river crossings when going down:
La Coca stream
La Coca stream further down
La Mina River
Mameyes River – the largest in EYNF