Discover The Natural Wonders of Puerto Rico
Don't let our relatively modest proportions (100 miles long, 35 miles wide) fool you: Puerto Rico boasts a diverse topography made for exploring. Set yourself to "adventure mode" and discover the island's natural wonders.
El Yunque National Forest
El Yunque National Rainforest is one of Puerto Rico’s and the Caribbean’s most precious natural resources—a thick emerald green forest covering 28,000 acres with peaks that ascend to 3000 ft. The only rainforest in the U.S. Forest Service system, El Yunque has numerous trails winding through its tropical setting. An average of 120 inches of rain falls here every year, making it home to thousands of plant species, small animals and cascading waterfalls. The La Mina trek is a popular trail that leads hikers along La Mina River and is alive with plants, flowers, birds, lizards, and insects. Before the return-climb, hikers have the chance to swim in a pool created by a 35-foot waterfall.
Cueva Ventana translates literally to “Window Cave.” It's part of a natural formation of limestone, known as karst, in the north region of the island. There you’ll find hiking trails, pre-Columbian petroglyphs and stone engravings, and the cave’s iconic window-like opening that looks out over the Río Grande de Arecibo valley below. The breathtaking view at Cueva Ventana makes this one of the most popular destinations on the island for both locals and visitors alike.
Mosquito Bay is considered the brightest bioluminescent bay in the world. The bay has a very narrow opening to the sea, which offers excellent protection from winds and tides and lets the dinoflagellates thrive in a calm environment. There are over 700,000 organisms per gallon of water; no other bio bay comes close to this concentration. There are only about six or seven bio bays in the world, and three of them are in Puerto Rico. A bio bay is named for its phosphorescence, which is caused by a concentration of tiny creatures called dinoflagellates and emit light whenever they are agitated.
Guánica Dry Forest
Much less famous than El Yunque, the Guánica Dry Forest is nonetheless a natural treasure in its own right. El Yunque, a subtropical dry forest, is one of the best-preserved dry forests in the Caribbean.t is home to a United Nations Biosphere Reserve. Within its 10,000 acres of arid land are more than 600 uncommon types of flora and fauna, as well as 48 endangered species, 16 of which are unique to Puerto Rico. Hikers who visit Guánica find a totally different experience from EL Yunque, but one that is just as spectacular.