El Yunque

by Garrett Burnham and Sami Kinnunen

Mountain summit in El Yunque

Mountain summit in El Yunque

Before heading to our host family’s home, we took a quick trip to the nearby rain forest, El Yunque just southeast of San Juan. The park is situated on a mountain and the surrounding foothills and is accessed by a public road that leads to the top. As we drove up the mountain, there were dozens of overlooks and trail heads to stop at along the way. However, most of these were closed due to trail damage sustained by hurricane Maria over a year ago. Other amenities like shelters, information pavilions, and cafes were also closed and appeared unused for some time. Despite the closures, the park was stunning, boasting natural water slides, waterfalls, and vistas overlooking both the forest and the sea. We spent our morning scrambling over the dense rocks below the falls experiencing the area’s beauty up close, as you can see in the photo below. Sadly, we ran out of time before getting to explore all the area had to offer.

 
classmates sitting under waterfall

classmates sitting under waterfall

 

We can’t wait for the Puerto Rican Forestry Service to open more trails as we are sure to come back.