Go East for El Yunque Rainforest and Marvelous Beaches
The Eastern region of Puerto is a microcosm of amazing tropical experiences. In a relatively small area you get the best of many Caribbean features; great beaches, lush tropical forests, bioluminescent bays, sailing and boating adventures, offshore islands and even mountain pools and rock slides, and lest we forget, amazing food.
The dominant feature of the East and visible from just about everywhere in the region is El Yunque. This mountain offers an amazing amount of biodiversity, waterfalls and hiking trails in the only tropical rainforest the National Park System. It’s a must visit destination.
Must see Beaches
Three beaches are top on the list, Luquillo Beach, Seven Seas in Fajardo and Playa Escondida also in Fajardo. Right next to Seven Seas is Las Croabas home to the Cabezas de San Juan Nature Reserve and Spanish lighthouse. It’s also where nighttime kayak excursions through the mangroves to the bio bay leave every night.
For sailing adventures East Island excursions and others offer daily catamaran snorkeling trips twice a day to Icacos Island that leave from Villa Marina in Fajardo. They even pick you up in San Juan for your trip. Hacienda Carabalí is also a great option for ATV or horseback adventures and La Estación and Smokey Joes are great for bbq lovers.
Puerto Rico’s Virgin Islands
Culebra and Vieques are the two main offshore islands in the East. These are the destinations locals go when they want to get away. The ferries to these islands leave from Ceiba, just south of Fajardo. If you play the schedule right you can make it there and back in one day. Check online for times and tickets.
There are many interesting forest lodging options close to El Yunque ranging from bed and breakfasts to off the beaten path jungle settings. On the South side of El Yunque there’s some more waterfalls and pools to visit that are outside the park.
The East is about 45 minutes away from San Juan, so if you want to get a taste of life outside the metro area and you have little time, this area should be first on your list.