Discover Puerto Rico's pristine natural beauty during this scenic and memorable hike through the El Yunque rainforest.
Depart from the pier for the transfer to the Yunque Caribbean National Forest, a 28,000-acre rainforest and bird sanctuary that comprises 75% of the virgin forests left in Puerto Rico, and is the only tropical rainforest in the U.S. National Forest System. The region's substantial annual rainfall helps sustain 50 types of ferns, 20 varieties of wild orchids and 250 species of trees, some over 1,000 years old and 100 feet tall. El Yunque, named for its 3,500-foot anvil-shaped peak, is situated within the forest.
Upon arrival, you and your step-aboard guide will visit the beautiful El Portal Visitor's Center. This modern and airy 12,000-square-foot facility was constructed to blend into the natural surroundings, and features large, open plazas and patios overlooking the forest and Atlantic Ocean. During your visit, sounds of the nearby stream and jungle play over the audio system, and mood lighting appears on the foliage. Here, you'll learn about the needs, complexities, management and preservation of tropical forests. Inside El Portal, you'll see interactive exhibits and bilingual displays, and view a 12-minute film about the tropical forest. Before you leave, a brief stop will be made at El Portal's gift shop.
Next, you will discover El Yunque's diverse wildlife, including birds, lizards and other small creatures. A photo stop will be made at the 69-foot Yokahu Lookout Tower for expansive views of the lush foliage, mountain peaks and distant ocean. You will then take a 45-minute downhill hike to the Big Tree Trail, a 0.75-mile descent from 2,132 to 1,640 feet. This trail has several sets of winding concrete stairs that can make the return trip somewhat arduous. Along the way, you will pass the La Mina River and lush tropical trees, shrubs and flowers until the trail ends at La Mina Falls, or Cascada La Mina. This lovely waterfall drops 35 feet over huge rocks into a lovely pool. Upon arrival, you may take a swim, or relax and observe the stunning natural vistas before the 1-hour return hike uphill.
At the conclusion of your tour, you will be served a complimentary beverage and snack before re-boarding your coach for the return drive to the pier.
Please note: This tour involves extensive walking, with many steps to negotiate. This tour is only recommended for active guests in good physical condition. This tour is not recommended for guests with limited mobility or guests who utilize a wheelchair. Guests are advised to wear comfortable clothing and sturdy, closed-toe walking shoes. Guests wishing to swim should wear a swimsuit under their clothing, and bring a towel from the ship. Guests are also advised to bring a poncho, light rain jacket or umbrella from the ship.