I never knew rain forests could be so breathtakingly beautiful before I stepped into El Yunque rain forest (pronounced el-ZHUN-kay) in Puerto Rico. I have never been on a hike that was more rewarding than the hike to the peak of El Yunque rain forest. I never realized how magical an experience a rain forest could create with its own climate until we took the El Yunque trail to the Peak.
Puerto Rico may have the world's best beaches or bio luminescent bays or World Heritage sites, but it was its rain forest that pulled at my heart strings. I gasped with excitement when I saw it play hide-and-seek, jumped with joy when we made it to the Peak, and couldn't believe my eyes when we saw the entire island from the top in all its blues and greens.
I can't recommend enough the El Yunque trail which takes you to the Peak through tall palm trees, short fern trees, and several other flora and fauna the names of which I do not know, but each play their role in creating the rain forest that it is.
A few minutes before reaching the Peak, we stopped at a point to take in the beauty and gasped with excitement when we saw the mist totally cover the area in a few seconds and open up again like it was playing hide-and-seek. We found a rock nearby and stood there facing the cool blowing mist covering the rain forest. It was so exhilarating that we probably would have stayed there the rest of the evening if the gate to exit did not close by 6 PM.
|Covered in mist - On the way to the Peak|
|The same spot few seconds later!!! Isn't it magical|
A few more minutes of hiking brought us to the end of the trail where we found a small sign pointing us to the Peak.
And then, we were at the top of the world, or so it felt for the longest time ever.
From here, we could see almost the entire island and its several miles of coast in hues of blues and greens. We had our (packed) lunch with a grand view of the rain forest and spent a lot of time trying to capture the unlimited beauty of the island in our tiny phones and failed miserably, had fun nevertheless.
|I don't think I can top this venue for a lunch|
Have I convinced you enough to take the El Yunque trail to the Peak? Happy hiking :)
P.S: Make sure you get to the North Entrance of the Park to be able to access the trails. Do make a stop at the visitor center to get the latest updates and alternatives for the trail as parts of it may be closed at times.
P.P.S: Since we stayed at Fajardo, our GPS took us to the South Entrance of the Park, actually there was no Entrance, it brought us to a hilly road in a forest and simply said, 'You have arrived.' We looked at each other, laughed a lot and had to stop a few locals to find someone who spoke English who then pointed us in the right direction to the North Entrance which is an hour away from where we were.