El Yunque National Forest Warnings and Dangers
Visiting El Yunque National Forest is one of the best things to do in Puerto Rico. But like all areas of natural beauty, it’s not without its risks. Here are the top El Yunque warnings and dangers you need to know about before you visit.
Bring a Poncho, Not an Umbrella
It may be nice and sunny in San Juan or on the Puerto Rico beaches, but conditions can change quickly in the rainforest. El Yunque National Forest receives an average annual rainfall of 120 inches, so don’t be surprised if you experience everything from a torrential downpour to sun showers during your visit.
Ponchos are sold at the information center when you enter El Yunque National Forest, so be sure to pick one up there if you didn’t already have it on your Puerto Rico packing list.
Many people enjoy swimming in El Yunque’s waterfall pools, so pack or wear your bathing suit while you hike. Don’t forget to bring a towel, too. One thing not to bring? An umbrella. These are impractical because they can get caught in branches, poke other hikers, and are generally a nuisance on the trail.
Stay on the Trail in El Yunque
You may be tempted to see more of the rainforest wildlife by venturing off the beaten path. This is inadvisable. It’s easy to get lost in the rainforest, and many people do. It may the forest service hours, or longer, to find you, and if you were to have an accident you may not be able to receive help in time.
If you do find yourself off the trails, however, don’t eat any of the vegetation. There are a number of poisonous plants in El Yunque which should be avoided. You’ll also want to make sure you’re back by 6:00 p.m., as this is when the access control gate to El Yunque is shut.
Slippery Trails, Flooded Roads
The trails in El Yunque National Forest are narrow paved walkways which become slippery when wet. The frequent rain also makes the steep forest roads very slippery as well. Additionally, the waterfalls and rivers may flood the road, making it even more difficult to access the forest.
Rocks and wet mossy areas around the waterfalls are slippery, so you’ll want to watch your step all the time. You’ll notice the pace of all the hikers on the trail will slow during and after the rainfall. Those who don’t take care often find themselves on the ground.
More from SmarterTravel:
- Puerto Rico Things To Do – Attractions & Must See
- Puerto Rico Nightlife – Clubs, Bars & Nightlife Tips
- Puerto Rico Passport Requirements: Do I Need a Passport to Go to Puerto Rico?
Editor’s Note: The information contained on this page was compiled using real traveler reviews about El Yunque National Forest warnings and dangers.