Where is the Rainforest Inn ?
Approximate Driving Times to Nearby Points of Interest:
- San Juan Airport (45 mins)
- El Portal Visitor Center (20 mins)
- El Toro Hike (5 mins)
- El Yunque Entrance (20 mins)
- Ralph's Supermarket Warehouse (13 mins)
- Walmart (20 mins)
- Luquillo Beaches and Kioskos (20 mins)
- Fajardo Marinas and Culebra/Vieques Ferry (40 mins)
- Old San Juan (45 mins)
Why Stay in El Yunque?
Yes, the Rainforest Inn is undeniably picturesque, but what does one do when not relaxing? After all, one really wants to come away with as many unique, memorable, and representative experiences as possible while in Puerto Rico. Don't worry! There’s more to do in Northeast Puerto Rico than almost anywhere else on the island. Since people have lived on the Isla del Encanto, the El Yunque peak has occupied a central place in their minds, and the layout of the island reflects this; if Puerto Rico were a wheel, El Yunque would definitely be its hub. Please scroll down to explore Puerto Rico from the perspective of an El Yunquan.
El Yunque (5 mins or less)
Originally believed by the indigenous Taino to be the throne of male fertility deity Yúcahu, the peak of El Yunque, and its surrounding mist-shrouded forests have garnered a mythic significance on the Isla del Encanto for as long as people have lived here. While we now know much more about this sacred jungle, a veil of mystery still shades much of the some 20,000 acres that make up the El Yunque National Forest. El Yunque, by the way, is the only tropical rainforest in the U.S. forest system, and thusly the only tropical rainforest available to U.S. citizens without a passport. Communing with nature is easy up here in the foothills of the misty mountain, with more than a dozen unique hiking trails ending in spectacular perspective-shifting views, refreshing natural pools, and sky-high waterfalls. With an average temperature of 73° F (21° C), mountain breezes and passing showers keep it just about perfect up here. Fall asleep to the serenade of the dozen or so coqui varieties that call the jungle home, listen for the haunting monkey-call of the Puerto Rican screech owl, or the lizard cuckoo’s unforgettable guttural song.
Luquillo (About 20 Minutes)
With five distinct beaches ranging from the gentle lapping waves of Balneario to the surf-able crests of La Pared, we may suggest a visit to the quaint town of Luquillo more than anywhere else on the island. A throwback to the earlier days of the island, Luquillo features some five dozen restaurants, bars, and shops as a part of its famous row of kioskos. Whether you’re craving a juicy burger, a slice of thin crust New York pizza, or a fine-dining seafood scene, there’s something for you in this consummately unique part of the island.
When you’re done eating, boogie board the calories away at nearby La Pared. Or, sign up for surf lessons with local legend Bob Roberts. If that's not your style, put on your sunblock, lay out your towel, and take in the sun just behind the kioskos at scenic and peaceful Balneario. If you’re lucky you might even get to see one of the only places on earth that leatherback turtles hatch at La Selva beach.
Fajardo (About 40 minutes)
Visit this island hub, Fajardo, for aquatic tours, activities, and events, and spend your time exploring the wetter side of Puerto Rico. With a bevy of excursions at your disposal, whether you like swimming with fish or reeling them in, a boat in one of this town’s many docks is shipping off to your own unique paradise. While in Puerto Rico, you can’t miss the magic of the island’s bioluminescent bays, accessible by a starlit kayak ride out of Fajardo. Another choice is to stay shoreside on Seven Seas beach, with beautiful white sands, and a peaceful surf, after a demanding aquatic activity, this is the perfect spot for a relaxing afternoon.
Whatever option fits your mood, a day in Fajardo is a day well spent.
In less than an hour, you can find your land legs firmly planted on one of Puerto Rico’s most acclaimed locales. Take s brief sojourn at Culebra’s flamenco beach, rated the 4th best beach in the world. With gentle tides and a nearby reef popular with the local wildlife, most likely you'll find yourself swimming with huge friendly green sea turtles. Discover the beautiful and bizarre Sherman tanks left after sea to land testing during WWII—now the hulking artifacts are a popular canvas for some of Puerto Rico’s most talented street artists. Regular flights from a nearby airport to Culebra are only $45.
Vieques, Puerto Rico’s “little sister” is occupied largely by a nature reserve, but is surrounded on all sides by incredible beaches clear of people ready for you to stake a claim for a day. A ten minute, low-cost flight makes a day trip to this beautiful nearby island even more attractive.
Old San Juan (About 45 Minutes)
Books have been written about the story of this incredible little town, the second oldest colonial city in the western hemisphere. With a handful of museums, private galleries, and spontaneous live concerts, Old San Juan is undoubtedly a haven for the artistically-inclined. With so much history shared between the Spanish and the American, this little metropolis is rich with tradition, and a visit to the capital isn't complete without a visit Castillo San Felipe del Morro.
Though history and tradition certainly frame an experience of Old San Juan, under the high-colonial ceilings and within the stucco structures, there is something distinctly modern going on. From open-air restaurants that feature entrees with fresh, locally-sourced ingredients, to favorite local bars with cocktails that recall drink-fixing’s early years, but not without contemporary tweaks and adjustments. Old San Juan’s dining scene is consummately its own, but is right up with the vanguard of food and drink culture in the Caribbean or anywhere.
Whatever your indulgence of choice or passion, I have no doubt you’ll find something in the eminently-charming Old San Juan.