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A Weekend In and Around El Yunque National Forest

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Introduction
A Weekend In and Around El Yunque National Forest

Clouds wreathe the flat peak of "El Yunque," which means "The Anvil."

Photo © Zain Deane
Welcome to El Yunque National Forest! If you're thinking about spending a weekend here, you'll be happy to know that a tropical, verdant paradise awaits you ... and you might be just as happy to learn that, not far away, there is a whole lot more to do than commune with nature.

This itinerary will help you plan a weekend in and around the rainforest. You'll have plenty of opportunity to hike, swim, and relax beneath the lush canopy of El Yunque. But you'll also be visiting a lovely beach, a local culinary institution, and a historic site. Of course, you can easily extend this itinerary to a week, and many people who can't get enough of the vibrant, earthy magic of the rainforest do just that. For those of you with only three days to spare, here are a few tips to help you get started:

  1. Rent a car - I cannot stress this enough. To get to the inns and small hotels in the rainforest, and to explore the surrounding area, a car is an absolute necessity. Don't rely on taxis.
  2. Pack hiking shoes - seems like a no-brainer, but many of the trails in El Yunque are quite challenging, and sneakers can easily lead to sprained ankles.
  3. Forget the five-star resort experience - People who come to El Yunque don't love it for its pampering attentions; rather they come to enjoy a rustic and natural retreat. So should you.
  4. Do your groceries - In the rainforest, there are no restaurants, and I wouldn't recommend foraging for berries. As such, you'll want to pack a picnic lunch or two while you're here. Groceries are a good idea.
Let's get started.
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