The famous El Yunque rainforest is located about an hour by car from San Juan. One of Shirin’s friends from medical school joined us for our afternoon excursion out to the rainforest. Upon arriving, we stopped by the visitor center to look at the information about the different animals and plants of the rainforest and pick up a map which told us how to reach the trail to La Mina, a beautiful waterfall within the rainforest.
There are a variety of hikes once can take through El Yunque, ranging from short, fully accessible strolls to multiple day treks. La Mina falls is an easy down and back hike for anyone in good physical condition. There are many steep stairs but the path is pretty short, and we made it to the falls in about 40 minutes or so. Along the way, the creek bed dips and bends, forming many other small waterfalls before finally pooling and falling a good 2 or 3 stories into the largest of the falls, La Mina.
Along the hike, there was plenty of greenery, but much less color than I had expected. There was the sound of many birds and of frogs, the coqui. The sound that the coqui makes is quite distinguishable, but hard to describe… You will simply know when you hear it!
Rather than writing too much about the colors and sights of the rainforest, I have decided in this post instead to show the beauty with many photos, I hope you enjoy! They might somewhat change your perception of the rainforest, as they did mine. During this trip I learned that the rainforest has many layers, each slightly different from the other. Here are some of the things I most enjoyed during the hike: