El Yunque Rainforest (aka Caribbean National Forest) is an authentic indication of what ‘Mother Nature’ had in mind to flora and fauna. All of this is alive and living in the backyard of the U.S.
Listed as the only rainforest in the U.S. Forest Service, El Yunque envelops the island of Puerto Rico and offers a break away from the island’s pristine beaches. Each visitor has picture perfect opportunities to capture as a remembrance nature at its best.
In comparison to other tropical forests found in Central and South America, the Caribbean National Forest is probably the smallest of the grouping. However, because of it relatively balanced terrain and sheer size; it is an ideal jaunt for bike and mountain riders. It is visually a plus with its certainly being chocked-full with nature’s bounty.
Start at one of the highest points on paved paths that are exclusive only for walking or bike riding. An easy to moderate incline will most likely take up half of the journey. The ride showcases many native tropical flowers, birds and even some freshwater streams.
Once you reach the summit, you can head down on a different path among the rolling peaks and the dwarf forest. This ride promises you a glimpse at the rare and endangered Puerto Rican parrot. A more common sight that echoes its call in the backgrounds are the tiny Coqui frogs. The sounds they chirp are pertinent to their name. They are unofficially the mascot of Puerto Rico and exist nowhere in the world but on the island. Pause for a brief period, and stop off at the Rio Camuy Caves and explore its 10 miles of caverns.
The Caribbean National Forest is also ‘experimental national park,’ as it is a work-in-process study effort for visiting and island scientists on environmentally based subjects such as botany and the climate. You can join up with a bike tour or obtain a personal guide. Perhaps just renting a bike and going it alone will appease you. Lastly, you can always bring your own.
El Yunque National Forest comprises over 28,000 impressive acres of wildlife and lush tropical vegetation, so it is well worth it to head out in for a spin with nature.