giant tree ferns in the forests of puerto Rico

The Giant Tree Ferns of the mountains of Puerto Rico,

ROAD TRIP UP NORTH SIDE # 191 EL YUNQUE RAINFOREST. To the top of the road, through the US National Forest. Stop at La Coca falls for a selfie! Park at Yokahu tower and climb to the top for the view..Drive further up and patk at the top of 191 in the Mt. Britton parking and walk up to the Mt. Britton tower..walking (45 min.) through the sierra palms and then climb up the tower to an amazing experience! Standing in a cloud swirling around you! Or, if sunny, see forever!

Nice restaurants in the gateway town of Palmer on your way back down to hwy #3.
.. Drive 15 minutes to the Luquillo Balneario for a swim in placid waters ( parking and facilities).

view of the east peak of el yunque from the road

Pico Este, the Eastern Peak of the El Yunque rainforest.

ROAD TRIP UP THE SOUTH SIDE OF #191 EL YUNQUE. Take Hwy 53 from Fajardo south and get off on exit 22 ( not marked but next one after 20) Turn right on #31 and right on #191. Follow the river then left over the bridge. Drive up and up to the top of the road, a very scenic road. Take a picnic lunch with you and eat at the little gazebos in the National Forest. At the top, just before that bridge, there is a little path to a great swimming hole. Clean, cool water! Always be careful of the weather when in a mountain river, there are sudden rainstorms and flash floods.

Drive back down and go through Naguabo town, nice plaza. Take #192 to Naguabo Playa, lunch at Ikakos Restaurant on the water. Then get on road #3 south to the Humacao Nature Reserve. Lovely paths to the beach (a little dangerous to swim there, as too much current) .. Watch the giant Iguanas plop out of the trees into the lagoon! There are kayak rentals as well.


Faro punta tuna lighthouse in maunabo



From Fajardo or Humacao: Drive South on Expressway #53 to the end.  At the end turn right then left at next light and left again onto road # 901. A very scenic drive up and over the hill, near the sea. When you reach the tunnel turn in. Exiting the tunnel turn right, again on #901. (If you skip the tunnel and stay on #901, that is a very scenic section). The next turn left (after tunnel exit, road #7760)  takes you to the Punta Tuna lighthouse (1893) with its’ amazing views. You are requested to ‘sign in’ as you enter the lighthouse reserve ( operated  by the local municipality). Open 9-3 or 4 . Free. Closed Holy week.
Take a scenic walk on the beach just north of the lighthouse, alongside the nature reserve. Ecological diversity of beaches, mangroves & wetlands. More than 50 species of birds, reptiles and anfibians live in this small and protected area. Do NOT swim here. The currents are overwhelming and many have drowned here.  But the views from the beach are lovely.

As you return to the main road, just before 901, make a left down to another very scenic beach, Naguabo Playa. Small kiosk with local food. Walk along this beach to the marshes. Many birds live in this area as well! Again swimming is not safe and the river is contaminated.. but a truly beautiful.area.

Returning toward Humacao or Fajardo take the other route back across the mountains. Passing through the town of Maunabo take road #3 North. Up over the 'mountain' and down again. Get back on the expressway North.  This mountain part of road #3 should be only driven from South to North!  You would then be on the inside, next to the cliff, and not next to the edges, as the trucks pass you!.

Marshes at the mouth of the river in Maunabo, southern Puerto Rico
Playa maunabo marshes by the beach near the lighthouse



Above: A deserted beach at the right fork of the path from Seven Seas beach, Fajardo. Conditions here are often rough at 'Playa Colorada'.

SEVEN SEAS PUBLIC BEACH. Parking, gazebos and facilities. Safe, friendly beach.

BELOW: If you keep on the left fork of the path you will reach this beach. 'Governors Beach'. A little further down the beach is the Governors 'summer beach house'. Great view of the El Yunque mountains.

West of seven seas beach is the governors beach reached by a path from the balneario

Full days exploring by car:

1. El Yunque rainforestLuquillo Beach..

2. Seven Seas beach

3. Cordillera Islands including an Icacos Key beach picnic. Below: Icacos Water Taxi

Playa Los Lirios picnic reached by water taxi to Icacos

4. Petroglyphs and the south side of the rainforest, Humacao Nature Reserve.

5. The south east tip of Puerto Rico. Punta Tuna lighthouse and Maunabo.


6. Cayey and a trip up road # 15 to the famous roast pork restaurants.

7. The mangrove islands of Salinas ( not easy to get to them, no regular trips)

8. The Coamo Hot Springs. and Ponce. ( Side trip up to Adjuntas )

9. Gilligans Island off Guanica. The dry forest is interesting to walk on winter, coo,l days only.

10. The Cabo Rojo lighthouse and salt flats and beaches. ( Side trip up to Maricao Forest)

11. Heading up the west coast to Rincon, Rincon. Crash boats.

12. Isabella and the beaches just west of Isavella.

13. Arecibo area. The caves ( call first to be sure) and the Radio telescope.

14. Mar Chiquits, Tortuguero Lagoon.

Southern Explorations

From the lush El Yunque mountain rainforest to the dry hot Guanica forest only takes two hours on a scenic highway! The highest mountain peak is in the Toro Negro Forest Reserve, the road is lined with giant Eucalyptus trees. ..and clouds! Drive on the cliffs above the sea, between Yabucoa and Maunabo. The winding roads through the mogote valleys in karst country make you wonder if you're in China!

flamboyant tree east end puerto rico

Flamboyan Trees bloom in June, July and August!

You will need a good Road Map. PUERTO RICO ROAD MAP


See the rainforest lodging

Luquillo beach

From any location in or near Luquillo you can visit: Luquillo Beach, Seven Seas Beach, Las Croabas Fishing Village (Day trips to Cayo Icacos , Night trips to the bioluminescent lagoon) and visit the Cabezas de San Juan Nature Reserve (with prior reservations and a fee). Accommodations range from the most luxurious to a nice owner run Inn at the edge of the rainforest. Visit Las Croabas and Take a water taxi to the beautiful Sandy Key called Cayo Icacos

The scenic highway # 53 from Fajardo to Naguabo offers beautiful views of the mountains. Get off on the exit AFTER 20 for Naguabo. - exit 22'. Turn right a few miles on rd #31 then take a right onto road#191, just before crossing the metal suspension bridge. This very beautiful area is still unspoiled countryside and the road follows the Rio Blanco. Turn left over the next bridge and wind your way up to the top. (Two great places to stay there, see lodging page, Casa Cubuy Ecolodge and Casa Flamboyant.

Panoramic Roads East Continued on page 2


• Guanica (soon)


Nature Reserves PR