Puerto Rico: El Yunque and La Mina

Monday, June 9, 2014

I hate to say this friends, but looking back on my pictures (and damn are they beautiful) I have to admit that I didn't end up doing a whooole lot in Puerto Rico. When I vacation it's usually my time to relax and kick back so some of the must haves (bio bay, ferry over to Cuelebra, etc.) just didn't get done. And I can't say I did anything wild and crazy instead either, since most of that extra time was probably spent either napping in my room, on the beach, or watching country music concerts on TV.

Do I regret it? Absolutely not. Do I want to go back to do the rest? Hell yes.

Either way I thought it'd be fun to go back over the couple things I did do (and loved) in case of you guys venture to Puerto Rico and need some help deciding. So on to the pictures!

Sunday morning my friend ventured up into El Yunque National Forest to take in the beautiful flora and fauna of Puerto Rico, which included a short hike to La Mina, one of PR's most famous waterfalls. Initially Google Maps had clocked the drive at about 40/50min depending on traffic, but what both our phones neglected to tell us is that there is only ONE real way to into the forest. When your phone or GPS unit shows you the short-ish route through the forest? Ignore it and curse to the heavens that there's no asterisk indicating that further information is available. The road that it's showing you doesn't actually go all the way through El Yunque anymore - it's been closed since the mid 70's and only leads to a rest stop.


You have to drive around the Eastern side of the forest, to the North entrance, to actually get to see anything like the Yokahu Tower above or the La Mina waterfall below. In other words, Makiko and I did a lot of unnecessary driving to get to our destination so learn from our mistake!

Still the trip was beautiful and La Mina was a joy to see. Yeah, it might not be the huge ridiculously  unreal waterfalls that you can see in other parts of the world but to my eyes it was just as good. Plus since we started our journey relatively early, there weren't a lot of other tourists around until when we were leaving.

Oh and one other note - instead of taking the true La Mina trail, we took Big Tree which met up with it at the waterfall. The map at the beginning indicated that it was a tiny bit longer but after reading some reviews that said the La Mina trail was a harder hike out, we were glad we stuck to the first one we came to. It was about 30min for us going in and 20min back out - with some stairs and hills along the way, so I'd agree with the 'moderate' rating it has on the sign. Perhaps also consider bringing a small backpack or fanny pack with you - my crossbody was fine but the strap got a bit hot in all the humidity.  AND SUNSCREEN IT UP MY FRIENDS. I kind of did it but wasn't as meticulous about it and ended up significantly pinker than I had anticipated. It wasn't a full-on painful burn, but it affected what I wore in Old San Juan the next day, so, you know - do as I say, not as I do.

Kiko said...

I lost my phone in NY so all my photos are gone. So much sadness! It's a good thing we sent a few of yours out while still there...

Dana said...

Oh that sucks! And I was going to ask you about our jumping ones at El Morro >.<.

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