Skip to primary navigation Skip to content Skip to footer
Back to Island Journeys Blog


kayak tour through puerto rico forest

The small island of Puerto Rico is home to the spectacular El Yunque National Rainforest. This region of lush greenery, magnificent waterfalls, and unique wildlife is a diverse ecosystem that is both vital to the island and wonderful to visit. And there is no better way to explore El Yunque than on a Puerto Rico rainforest tour.

Here’s a closer look at a few Puerto Rico rainforest tours that highlight the best things to do in El Yunque.

Why Should You Visit Puerto Rico’s Rainforest?

While you might not believe it, Puerto Rico’s El Yunque Rainforest is the only tropical rainforest in the entire United States National Forest System.

This vast landscape of dense tropical foliage boasts an array of flora, fauna, and wildlife unique to Puerto Rico. El Yunque is best known for its outstanding vistas and cascading waterfalls that are hidden amongst the forest’s greenery.

Besides its beauty, El Yunque Rainforest plays an important role in maintaining the climate and ecology of the whole island. El Yunque, is a strong contributor to reducing the effects of climate change through the absorption of carbon dioxide. The rainforest is also one of the most biodiverse locations in the United States National Forest System, and it maintains the island’s water quality, prevents soil erosion, and protects the island from storms.

el yunque rain forest

Puerto Rico’s rainforest holds great historical importance and is tightly intertwined with its spirituality and folklore. Today, it is also a treasure trove for medical and botanical research. Visiting El Yunque not only promises to be an unforgettable experience but also supports the local ecology and economy.

How to Get to El Yunque

While it’s most convenient to book El Yunque tours with transportation, getting to the rainforest on your own is simple.

Starting in San Juan, the journey to El Yunque will take you around 45 minutes. Start by taking the PR-66, followed by the PR-3 out of San Juan. Then, once you reach Rio Grande, take the PR-191 to the entrance of the forest.

If you have more time to spare, why not take the scenic route? While this route is a little longer, you’ll find many viewpoints and trailheads along the way. Simply take Route 186 from Carretera 3 and head towards Las Piedras.

Things to Do Near Puerto Rico’s Rainforest

jet skiing in Luquillo Beach

When planning your itinerary, make sure to allocate time to explore some of the worthwhile attractions nearby, on your way to El Yunque.

  1. Visit the Town of Luquillo

The coastal town of Luquillo is a popular attraction in Puerto Rico because of its stunning beaches. Head to Luquillo Beach to soak up some sun, kayak in the sea, and enjoy refreshing local fruits.

  1. Go Shopping in Canóvanas

The Outlet 66 Mall in Canóvanas is a great stop to do some shopping on your way to El Yunque from San Juan. The mall offers an array of international brands and many restaurants to grab a bite before or after your tour.

  1. Explore Fajardo

The Fajardo region is the perfect place to visit for thrilling water activities in Puerto Rico. Here, you’ll find activities like kayaking, parasailing, catamaran chartering, snorkeling, and more.

Fajardo also offers stunning shorelines that are ideal for relaxation. This region boasts many gorgeous marinas, including Puerto del Rey, the Carribean’s largest marina.

The Best El Yunque Rainforest Tours

Puerto Rico’s rainforest is one of the island’s top attractions, and it’s no surprise why. These are the best El Yunque National Forest tours to make the most of your visit to “La Isla del Encanto.”

El Yunque Rainforest Tour

Tour group enjoying fresh Puerto Rican fruit in El Yunque

Island Journeys Puerto Rico offers an unforgettable tour of El Yunque Rainforest with a natural waterslide experience from the town of Luquillo. You’ll meet your group and guides at Frutera Flores to indulge in some delicious local fruits, snacks, or a fruit smoothie for the journey before setting off on the incredible El Yunque tour.

You’ll follow your guide to El Yunque National Rainforest and begin the tour with a hike surrounded by Puerto Rico’s diverse flora and fauna. Hiking in Puerto Rico isn’t easy, but all trails are well worth it, leading to beautiful vistas and little pockets of paradise.

On this route, expect some tough terrain and river wading before you arrive at a hidden gem in the heart of the forest.

This natural wonderland, boasting dazzling natural pools and magnificent waterfalls, is the perfect place to catch your breath and have some refreshments after the hike. But, if you’re still seeking adventure, you can slide down the natural waterslide, rope swing into the pools, or take a refreshing swim.

How Long Is This Puerto Rico Rainforest Tour?

This is El Yunque guided tour is 4 – 5 hours long.

What Does This El Yunque Guided Tour Include?

Bilingual tour guides, refreshments, photographs, entry to El Yunque Rainforest, and safety equipment are all included in the tour.

El Yunque Rainforest Tour Requirements

For this tour, you’ll need your own transportation to El Yunque. It’s not possible to arrange an Uber from the forest, so it is advised that you have a rental car for this excursion. This tour also requires guests to have a moderate level of fitness due to the lengthy hike and water activities.

Check Rates and Availability

El Yunque Rainforest & Bio Bay Combo Tour

kayak tour through Laguna Grande in Puerto Rico

If you want to experience more than just a rainforest tour, Puerto Rico is also home to three incredible bioluminescent bays that you shouldn’t miss on your vacation. This combination tour of El Yunque Rainforest and Laguna Grande bioluminescent bay is a great way to make the most of your time in Puerto Rico.

What makes this one of the best El Yunque tours from San Juan is that it also includes transportation from various pickup points in the city. You’ll meet your guide in Puerto Rico’s capital, San Juan, and head to Frutera Flores in Luquillo to pick up some local fruits and refreshments before arriving at El Yunque.

At El Yunque, you’ll embark on an awe-inspiring hike, crossing rivers and navigating through dense greenery. Along the way, you can admire Puerto Rico’s range of flora, fauna, and unique wildlife.

After the hike, you can cool off in the forest’s natural pools, enjoy the thrilling natural waterslides, and have some refreshments before your time at El Yunque comes to an end.

Before traveling to Fajardo, fuel up on some delicious Puerto Rican cuisine at a local restaurant and get ready for an evening of fun. You’ll start the kayak tour at the Red Mangrove Forest and arrive in Laguna Grande to witness the spectacular bioluminescence.

How Long Is This Puerto Rico Rainforest Tour?

This guided tour of El Yunque and Laguna Grande bioluminescent bay is around 12 hours long.

What Does This Tour Include?

This tour includes transport to and from San Juan, as well as experienced bilingual tour guides, refreshments, photographs, entry to El Yunque Rainforest, and safety equipment.

El Yunque Rainforest & Bio Bay Tour Requirements

This tour requires guests to have a moderate level of fitness due to the lengthy hike and water activities.

Check Rates and Availability

Ready for an Unforgettable Puerto Rico Rainforest Tour?

There you have it: fantastic El Yunque National Forest tours and worthwhile attractions nearby. These tours are a great way to experience the very best of the island of Puerto Rico without missing out on any of the fun.

Island Journeys has you covered on your tropical vacation. Check out these guides on the Best Places to Stay in Puerto Rico and the Best Time to Visit Puerto Rico.