is the only rainforest in the United States.
Since 1876, it has been a reserve. Its highest point stands 11482 feet (3500 m) tall. According to the legend, this is the habitat of the Indian god Yukiyi. It's divided into 4 zones. Above 8202 feet (2500 m), there is a cloud forest. There are many trees that are 1000 years old! (in total, there are over 240 varieties), about 1,000 different types of plants, 50 types of orchids, etc. Yes, El Yunque was one of 28 finalists to the New 7 Wonders of the World.
I don't want to compare it to the rain or cloud forests of Costa Rica, for example. Of course, the last one is more interesting because there are more varieties of animals and birds.
But . . .
It was impossible to steer from the path since there were snakes and other threats lurking in the wilderness.
Although there are usually less snakes (and other dangerous creatures) in the cloud forest compared to the rainforest, it was still dangerous to walk into the bushes. Especially in the evenings.
you can walk wherever you want and whenever you want. There's no danger!
In the evening, the forest just sings! Their local frogs, called coqui, sing loudly. This is the national animal of Puerto Rico - they are very small and can only be found on this island. They live throughout the island, not just in the rainforest or on the coast, but also in parks and gardens,where they have been replaced by local people who love their own singing frog very much. The islanders say that the frogs only stop singing when they leave the island! By the way, when there are a lot of them, they make a very loud noise.
Some tourists do not like it, but I loved it! :)
Here are pictures of the forest.
They are not very good because we always tried to go there in the evenings, when there was absolutely no one around, so it was a bit dark.
In general, it was usually too dark to take decent photos, even during the day because it was often raining or cloudy.
And here is the surrounding rainforest . . .
We found a local restaurant that we loved. It was called Naguabo.
This dish is called empanadilla - it was filled with meat, plantains, and yucca dough.
And here are more pictures of the surrounding area . . .
This was our car.
What do you think about this license plate?
Here are photos of the Luquillo neighborhoods, where there was a beach with secured parking and a great many people! Especially on the weekend. There were also plenty of wild beaches though, where you can just park by the side of the road and go for a swim :)
I really liked one local church from the Luquillo neighborhoods.
It was so merry inside!
There were also local kiosks - rows of shops and restaurants serving local food.
So, here's some information about the food.
The food there was not bad, but it wasn't great either (in my opinion).
If you just want to snack, you can stop at a repostelria and have a cup of good 'cafe con leche'. Or eat a light pan criollo - it's similar to a French baguette, with local cheese, queso de papa. Or a sweet bun - mallorca.
We liked all this :)
But the main local dishes were almost all greasy and heavily fried. It would be impossible to eat it every day (IMHO).
Once, we had sandwiches for breakfast called medianoche - in the middle of the night? I didn't manage to find out why they are called this, but they are eaten in the morning :)
Here's what it looks like . . .
And here are some more pictures of the surrounding area . . .