Favorite photography destinations: El Yunque National Forest

June 15, 2021  •  Leave a Comment

From the USDA website:


"Located on the Caribbean Island of Puerto Rico in the Greater Antilles group, the El Yunque National Forest is the sole tropical rain forest in the U.S. National Forest System. The forest’s relatively small 28, 000 acre size belies its importance. It differs significantly from all the other U.S. National Forests because of its year-round tropical climate and immense biodiversity.

The rugged Luquillo Mountains that rise to 3,533 ft. above sea level comprise most of the forest land. Their steep slopes can sometimes receive rainfall of over 200 inches (508 centimeters) per year at higher elevations. Caressed by gentle easterly winds the forest has an average temperature of 73° F (21° C), and seasonal changes are almost imperceptible. It is the ideal climate for exuberant tropical vegetation. The rain forest is noted for its biodiversity; it is “home” to thousands of native plants including 150 fern species, 240 tree species (88 of these are endemic or rare and 23 are exclusively found in this forest). The El Yunque National Forest has no large wildlife species, but hundreds of smaller animals abound in this gentle forest, many of which exist nowhere else on the planet."


A visit to Puerto Rico is not complete without a visit to the forest.  Located approximately one hour from the San Juan, El Yunque offers many hiking, birdwatching, and swimming opportunities.  One of my favorite trails is the El Yunque Trail which starts from the Palo Colorado visitors center and climbs over 1500 feet to the summit of El Yunque peak, the highest point of the park.  The summit is usually shrouded in mist that feels quite refreshing after an uphill hike.


El Yunque can get very crowded, particularly during the main tourist season from November through March.  Arriving early is a must to secure a parking spot and avoiding the theme-park like crowds that occur on the more popular trails.


Here are a few of my memorable photographs of El Yunque National Forest:


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