Tired of the usual tourist traps? Do you want to experience new surroundings in a way that removes the filters and gets you up close and personal with the world around you? Well if you are travelling to Puerto Rico (or even if you live there) try going for a hike. Hiking in Puerto Rico gives the hiker the opportunity to view this diverse Caribbean island in a way that tourists on the bus never will. There are numerous hiking trails on the island for you to get up close and personal with your natural surroundings. So pull your old hiking boots out of the closet, review the list below for the trails that interest you the most, and start walking!
• El Yunque National Forest: This National Forest boasts the only natural Rainforest on U.S. territory. The parks El Torro trail will actually pass through four different forest systems on the way to the top of El Torro Peak. At over 3000 feet it is the highest point in the park, an easier trail in the National Forest is the Big Tree Trail which leads to two beautiful waterfalls.
• Guánica State Forest: Completely different from the El Yunque National Forest, this National park offers over 36 miles of hiking trails. For bird watchers this park offers the best opportunity to spot rare species.
• Cueva Ventana (Window Cave): Located in the municipality of Aricebo, the hike to this cave is approximately 15 minutes along a marked trail. Once you arrive you will be delighted by stalactites and stalagmites as well as further in the cave an opening which gives you a window to the scenery below. On the way down, there is also another smaller cave that may delight the spelunker in you as well.
• Punta Ballena Nature Reserve: Located in Guanica Puerto Rico, if you enter the main gate of this nature reserve you will have about a 35 minute walk through a dry forest leading to a white crystalline sand beach perfect for a day of swimming.
• San Patricio Forest: Located in Guaynabo Puerto Rico, San Patrico is the rarest of commodities, an “urban forest”. All its trails are paved and it is suitable for more leisurely strolls than hard core hikes. Its natural surroundings provide a perfect place for those not wishing to get too far out of the city but still seeking natural surroundings.
• Other popular places for hiking while enjoying the natural beauty and historical sights of Puerto Rico are the Botanical Gardens, Old Spanish Forts and the miles upon miles of secluded beaches which Puerto Rico is famous for.
Whether a novice hiker or serious trailblazer, hiking in Puerto Rico is a delight. The miles of diverse trails delight the hiker with natural wonders, scenic vistas and historic places. With places like these to visit you have no reason at all not to get out of the car and off the tour bus. Get to know Puerto Rico a little better and in the process you may just get to know yourself.