The El Yunque National Forest is one of the most popular spots in Puerto Rico. But sometimes it’s hard to fully grasp the magnificence of this natural wonder when you’re on the ground. Your sight lines are limited. The solution is to get to the top of the Yokahu Observation Tower, where the sights are simply spectacular. It’s open every day from 9 AM to 5 PM.
The name isn’t Spanish, however. The name is Taíno, and the Taínos were the inhabitants here well before the Westerners arrived. They weren’t the actual builders of the Yokahu Tower, though. In fact, the builders were the folks from Park Service themselves.
You do have an option as to which tower to climb in the El Yunque National Forest, but for several reasons Mount Britton Tower isn’t as good as the Yokahu Observation Tower.
A Better View
The Yokahu Observation Tower stands 1575 feet tall, so if the average height of a high-rise floor is 11 feet, Yokahu is about 143 stories high. The Mount Britton Tower is actually located at a much higher altitude, but that’s not always a good thing. In fact, in most ways Yokahu offers a better view because of its lower height.
The problem with Mount Britton is that because it’s so high, the view is often obscured by clouds. So you go to all that trouble to climb a much taller tower and then you end up not seeing much at all.
With Yokahu, the view is often crystal clear. It can be exhilarating, and somehow it can help clear your mind and thoughts of all your troubles. The open vista allows you to remember that beauty does exist in the world.
The range of your view can extend for up to 10 miles, and for some reason it can make you feel better about the future—perhaps open horizons remind you of open possibilities.
Yokahu is More Accessible
The other problem with Mount Britton is that it really is much more troublesome to get to. Once you leave the parking area, you need to go on an extended hike up through a forest to reach the tower. That takes a lot of effort especially when you factor in the climb and that makes the cloud-covered views doubly disappointing.
With Yokahu, it’s only a matter of walking 30 feet from the parking area to reach the tower. It’s that close. And then you just count the 98 steps you need to climb up a spiral staircase. That’s actually very easy compared to what awaits you in Mount Britton.
So if you’re going to the El Yunque National Forest, the Yokahu Observation Tower is a place you must visit. After all, it’s not really out of the way, since you’ll pass it on the way to the falls. Get a scenic view of the coast and the forest from up top, soak up the atmosphere, and take lots and lots of pictures!