Puerto Rico Day Six: El Yunque And The Rain Forest Inn

Puerto Rico Day Six: El Yunque And The Rain Forest Inn

Puerto Rico Day Six Drive Rain forest Inn February 13 18 (4 of 22)
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 After breakfast I left the splendid seclusion of the Copamarina resort and the unique beauty of Puerto Rico’s dry forest. I was on my way  to the other side of the island to visit El Yunque, the famous rain forest. It is the only sub-tropical rain forest on United States territory. highway in southern Puerto Rico

I decided to drive the same route I took to get to Guanica.  There was a lot more traffic on weekday  than on a Saturday when I drove down from San Juan. highway 52 Puerto Rico

Once again I ran into some rain in the mountains. I decided, because of time constraints ,to not  leave the highway and explore the remote cities and villages. I headed straight for the rain forest.statue in mountains

I had planned my route and was going to take Highway 66 when I was near San Juan. The navigation system in my car advised me to use Route 3 instead. And I did. I thought it might  be a shortcut. traffic route 3 Puerto Rico

Well, it might have been, if there wasn’t any traffic but there was. I learned a lot about driving in Puerto Rican traffic that day. torrential rain on highway

And than came the rain. Torrential downpours. You would think these folks would be used to it but many slowed down to an almost stop.  And some stopped, on the side of the busy highway, with their cars blocking the road. It was an experience. downed electrical lines

I  soon made it to rural Route 186 which would take me to the rain forest and my hotel. As soon as I was a few miles on this narrow winding road I saw some of the devastation left by Hurricane Maria. Many of the electrical poles were still severed. downed electrical lines

I crossed a fast running river and passed through some tiny villages as I climbed upward toward the rain forest.

I made it to the entrance of  a private road and  I still had a long steep  climb to the gate of  the Rainforest Inn, a truly lovely bed and breakfast situated on the slopes of the mountains of El Yunque rain forest. Here is a link to some more photographs from my drive to the rain forest. Puerto Rico Day Six: Drive To Rain Forest. February 13 2018. road to rainforest Inn

I meet Bill and his lovely wife Rene who gave me a tour of this charming hide-away. It was the perfect place to experience the beauty of the rain forest. 

More about the Inn later but after my quick  tour, I quickly unpacked and decided to hike the private Machete trail that  led into the rain forest.  lush green trees at rain forest

I was unprepared for the hike. I had only low hiking shoes. Bill and Rene told me to take a hiking stick but I didn’t. They told me the trail was slippery because of the thin mountain soil and I would be covered in mud. muddy shoes in rain forest

After hiking a few yards I realized they were right. The soil was muddy and extremely slippery. But it was a rain forest. This is a video I uploaded to my YouTube page showing the muddy conditions on my hike. trail in rain forest

I didn’t mind the mud, but it was hard walking with my camera. I was constantly slipping and sliding and trying to protect my camera.downed trees in rain forest

The efforts were sure worth the experience. The forest was  green, lush and wet. It smelled earthy. Again it was like something from the movie Avatar. red fern leaf in rain forest

I marveled at the many different trees and plants along the narrow, muddy trail. I had to cross a few small streams with slippery rocks. Again my camera was the biggest hurdle. boulders in stream in rain forest

I also saw a few lizards scamper through the forest. lizard on rock

I heard many birds in the trees but I could not locate them in the thick foliage.  trees and ferns in rain forest

I  also saw a few of these snail like creatures.green snail on tree

came across many fallen trees. This was from the winds of hurricane Maria.  Some were cut and cleared off the trail. Bill told me that no other trail was yet cleared in the El Yunque National Park. I can see why. It would not be an easy task. cut tree in rain forest

I was worried about the torrential rain I had experienced earlier. I was watching the skies and hoping it would hold off. I had not taken a cover for my camera.  I walked past another larger stream and saw a sign that led to a waterfall. I decided to turn back since  it looked like some rain was coming and I had enough of the muddy trail. I did get to see some beautiful views  of the distant ocean from the trail. view of ocean

I wish I hadn’t since I learned there was a beautiful pool at the end of the trail not far from where I turned around. I hope to return and finish the trail someday. fallen trees in El Yunque rain forest

I walked back toward the Inn. The rain held off but  I was covered in mud. I rinsed off my shoes with a hose and washed my shirt and shorts in the shower. My camera still has mud on it. But it was a wonderful experience. Here is a link to some more photographs from my hike. Puerto Rico Day Six: El Yunque hike. flower in rain forest

I sat down to edit some photos and enjoy a delicious tuna salad sandwich Rene had prepared for me, As I was resting  when the rains came. 

It would rain off and on for the next hour.  I enjoyed listening to the sounds of the  rain and winds  blowing through the many trees surrounding the Inn.trees in rain forest

After the rains have stopped, I was still hungry and wanted to do some exploring so I decided to take Bill and Rene’s advice and visit the local kiosks at beautiful Luquillo Beach. View of Luquillo beach

It was about a 15 minute drive to Luquillo. The rain had stopped and puffy tropical cumulus clouds floated in the easterly trade winds. I found the first series of kiosks, parked and  explored the many shops, most selling food.

Some offered other products, and some were closed after the damage they sustained in the hurricane. I took Bill and Rene’s advice and headed to La Parrilla . They told me they served the best lobster in Puerto Rico. restaurant in kiosk

Unfortunately, they were sold out of lobsters. I settled for a seafood mofongo combination.  It was very good and well presented.

I wanted to get back to the Inn before dark so I drove back after finishing my meal. I drove the winding road as the sun set in the west, with the mountains of El Yunque towering in front of me to the south and east. Here is a link to some more photographs from my drive to Luquillo. Puerto Rico Day Six. Evening Drive to Luquillo.trees and mountains el Yunque

I was soon in my room and I immediately was in awe of the chorus of frogs in the rain forest surrounding the Inn.It was enchanting. I had heard a few of the coquis at my stay in Guanica.  I learned only the males call out from dusk to dawn. Here is sounded like their were thousands of them.I am sure there were other species of frogs joining in the chorus.  I tried to find them in the trees and bushes but was unsuccessful. Bill told me they are easy to find with a flashlight. I hope to see one on my next visit. clouds at sunset rain forest

It was a beautiful night. Large billowing cumulus clouds reflected the distant sunset. The air was humid and smelled of lush life of the rain forest. I took in the beauty of the evening for a while and was soon in my bed listening to the calming cacophony of the frogs.  Here is a video of the frogs heard in my room I uploaded to my YouTube page. They sang throughout the night. And the torrents of rain and gusts of winds that swept inland from the ocean only added to the experience. 

“Destroying rainforest for economic gain is like burning a Renaissance painting to cook a meal.”ferns on tree
E. O. Wilson