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Common question - What can I do in El Yunque - Option#3


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el yunque rain forest puerto rico forest nature vacation hiking caribbean eynf
Raul in Rio Sabana Trail - Naguabo
el yunque rain forest puerto rico forest nature vacation hiking caribbean eynf
A view of El Yunque from Luquillo Beach
...

These are Raul hints to make the best of a whole day in EYNF - Option 3.

We assume you have done Option 1 and maybe 2 - great. But now we are going in an AWESOME adventure - up to the highest EYNF peak - El Toro. I have taken my whole family there - just one step at a time...

We are going up and down El Toro Trail, and this is not accessible directly via PR-191, but via a smaller side road PR 186. It's a good road too. It depends where you come from, so study the roads and decide on a good route. El Toro takes about 3 hrs to go up and 2 to go down, 2 to rest.

So be there before 9 pm to have time to explore, you will NEED to relax at the top! Be sure - this is not an easy trail... be warned.

El Toro has less rain, less fog, a vew to the east - Naguabo.

 

The peaks altitude is 3,543 feet or 1,080 meters.  

0-Study the roads - PR-186 and possibly PR-3 and PR-185, be prepared. Bring water and food and a light backpack with some 1st aid and raincoat, good boots.

1-You are going up/down PR-186 until you reach a large wood sign of entering/leaving the park depends on the direction you take - but the entrance may not be obvious and is close to the EYNF sign. Before very few used this trail - but since it's one of the few OPEN trails it has become more popular. Also the hurricane cleared up a lot and then the loggers to open the trail...

2-The trail starts crossing a private farm - there are houses there.

3-Then you will find a park shelter and a sign of the trail. A gravel path starts then. The gravel will be for about half of the trail, then grass, rocks and mud.

el yunque rain forest puerto rico forest nature vacation hiking caribbean eynf

4-Soon it will start a VERY STEEP path, close to 45 degrees, so this is the 1st bad part - about 1 hr going straight up. May need to massage the knees...

5-Eventually you hit a shelter, I don't know after Maria, but its depressing really. You believe you have arrived and the sign tells you the hard truth - you are HALF way to el Toro Peak - awful. They should kill the guy that did that...

6-Eventually you get to step 2 of the ordeal. There is a transition and the trail levels up, it is open forest and brush (maleza), so rain hits direct and many, many, many MUD pools are on the way now.

7-Avoid getting mud inside the shoe - the fine sand can peel your skin...

8-Bring cheap clothing - it will possibly get wasted with MUD MUD MUD...

9-Learn to maneuver around the mud pools.

10-Then you get to the final accent - the Everest? Sorry - El Toro.

11-Now a staircase (kind of) boulders become the way. Focus - no accidents.

12.Then it really is up there (after 30 min more) and pass a few peaks with views. El Toro peak is the peak of the iceberg, it's a huge long mountain range...

13. Finally you get to the peak, see the view, take selfies, videos etc and go to sleep for a while. You are so tired you can sleep on the boulder.

el yunque rain forest puerto rico forest nature vacation hiking caribbean eynf

14. Explore and find the trails keeps going - you did NOT finish?

15. You did - It's the end game of the 14km Tradewinds. Do not go far, it has storm damage, it's a zig-zag cliff, and you still need to get back.

So technically El Toro Trail and Tradewinds are the same trails!

We used to cross them both (before Maria) in a day, leaving a car in the other side. It's non stop 6 hrs.. You really are wasted at the end - so much detail...

Warning: There is a new small plant growing all over the place on these trails now after Maria - it can cut your flesh (see my 3 day blog across the park). If you get into some sections you need good clothing - large pants and long shirts, even gloves! This is because NOW sunlight reaches the ground and a new balance is forming... If you are in such a place and are not ready turn back. The two worst places are Tradewinds and Rio Sabana trail

16. Go back carefully - going down is easy but faster, the rocks are slippery.

17. Back to the road.

Option 3b - another day: EL VERDE

 

The picture is of Jose in one the rivers there. The holy spirt rivers comes that way and has some hidden pools. There are many places to take a bath after the hike - excellent way to start/end the day, and relax the hurt muscles?

We call this EL VERDE. It means the green, it's the lower part of El Yunque, rivers are coming down here and the road has a lot of damage.

The other side crossing PR 191 is Puente Roto and Mameyes river - the largest in EYNF - the one La Coca trail leads to.

el yunque rain forest puerto rico forest nature vacation hiking caribbean eynf

That can be another day, there is ANGEL trail, great ponds and one can go walking up the in the river (with shoes) for about 1-2 hours until a huge waterfall.

el yunque rain forest puerto rico forest nature vacation hiking caribbean eynf

There are a lot of explorations going up some of the easier rivers - but that is another story and another day...

el yunque rain forest puerto rico forest nature vacation hiking caribbean eynf

18. Back home, try to clean up clothes or throw them?

Have some food on the way back - you have earned it:

food

 Reference:

Rainforest Inn El Toro is Open

 


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