The 7 Best El Yunque Rainforest Tours [2022 Reviews]

See the exotic beauty of the El Yunque rainforest with one of these guided tours

Clocking in at almost 29,000 acres large, El Yunque National Forest in San Juan, Puerto Rico manages to be one of the most compact, yet biologically-diverse forests in the world.

Native animals, villages, breathtaking scenery, and much more is what you’ll find here. If you’re looking to experience an authentic rainforest experience, then look no further.

We’ve taken it upon ourselves to do the “hard” work for you, discovering the best tours out there. Without further ado, we present to you the top El Yunque rain forest tours.

Best El Yunque Rainforest Tours

 El Yunque Rainforest Hiking Adventure From San JuanEl Yunque National Forest Tour from San JuanEl Yunque Rainforest Wilderness Adventure
editors-choice
From San Juan: El Yunque Rainforest Hiking AdventureEl Yunque National Forest Tour from San JuanEl Yunque Rainforest Wilderness Adventure
Departure Point:Hotel Pickup IncludedPickup availableCam. La Planta, Naguabo, 00718
Departure Time:7:30 am8 am8 am
Duration:8 hours8 hours8 hours
Includes:Hotel/port pickup and drop-off, certified tour guide, national park fees, bottled water, USCG certified life Complimentary jacketsPickup and drop-off in Old San Juan, Condado and Isla Verde locations and touristic zones, certified tour guide, live narration in English, bottled water, light snacks, life jacketsLocal guide, all safety equipment (helmet, life vest, gloves and knee pads), rappelling equipment

Quick Answer: The 7 Best Rated Tours of El Yunque Rain forest

  1. From San Juan: El Yunque Rainforest Hiking Adventure
  2. El Yunque National Forest Tour from San Juan
  3. El Yunque Rainforest Wilderness Adventure
  4. El Yunque National Forest Half Day Tour
  5. Bio Bay & El Yunque Rainforest Combo Tour
  6. Tinajas Hiking Adventure to El Yunque Rainforest
  7. Puerto Rico: El Yunque Rainforest & Waterfalls Half-Day Tour

Be sure to see our reviews of Bioluminescent Kayaking Tours, Puerto Rico ATV Tours and Puerto Rico Ziplining Adventures.


El Yunque Rainforest Tour Reviews

1. El Yunque Rainforest Hiking Adventure From San Juan

From San Juan: El Yunque Rainforest Hiking Adventure

Tour Highlights:

  • Duration: 8 hours
  • Departure: Hotel Pickup Included
  • Departure Time: 7:30 am
  • Includes: Hotel/port pickup and drop-off, certified tour guide, national park fees, bottled water, USCG certified life jackets

Let’s kick things off right with the From San Juan: El Yunque Rainforest Hiking Adventure. This 8-hour tour packs everything in, so be prepared for an all-day trip! No matter if you’re looking to travel alone, with your significant other, or the whole family, it’s an excellent choice!

You have hotel pickup and drop-off included, so you don’t have to worry about being on time to a specific meetup spot. Simply head to your hotel lobby and your knowledgeable, attentive guides will be there to meet you and provide you with life jackets and helmets. Bottled water is also included, so you’ll always stay well-hydrated.

During this hike, you’ll start off with an approximately 30-minute trip path where you’ll wade through the river and scale rocks. Not to worry, though, this doesn’t require you to be an athlete and is a ton of fun.

Surrounded by native plants such as bamboo trees, your lungs will love the fresh, cool air! The guides make sure everyone is safe, so you can just enjoy without worry.

Make a stop at the base of a small waterfall to check out a collecting pool. For a bit more adrenaline, you can opt for the rope swing or take a dip in the crystal-clear waters in these pools away from any crowds. As you can imagine, this area makes for some incredible photo-taking opportunities!

After some more hiking and rock climbing, you’ll get to a river where you can enjoy the crowd favorite: the natural water slides and splash into a deep waterhole! Zoom down the slides as many times as you want.

After all of the fun, you’re sure to need some fuel. You’ll head out for an authentic Puerto Rican lunch, before you are dropped off at your hotel.

For tour prices, transportation and availability:


2. El Yunque National Forest Tour from San Juan

El Yunque National Forest Tour from San Juan

Tour Highlights:

  • Duration: 8 hours
  • Departure: Pickup available
  • Departure Time: 8 am
  • Includes: Complimentary pickup and drop-off in Old San Juan, Condado and Isla Verde locations and touristic zones, certified tour guide, live narration in English, bottled water, light snacks, first aid equipment, life jackets

Next up is the El Yunque National Forest Tour from San Juan, which is another that clocks in at 8 hours. These 8 hours will go by quickly though, as you’ll be too distracted having a blast! You’ll follow your experienced, certified tour guide throughout exciting trails and across all kinds of terrain!

Once you’re picked up by your guide in San Juan, you’ll head out towards the forest. During the ride, you’ll be provided with bottled water and light snacks.

First aid equipment and lifejackets are also supplied, if needed. The guide does a great job at making sure you’re safe, though, it’s recommended that you are somewhat physically-fit as the trail is moderately-strenuous.

The tour starts off with a 30-minute trek on a river as you wade through the water and scale rocks. The sun is shielded by the shade of bamboo trees and complemented by all kinds of flora and fauna. During your journey, your guide will narrate and share all kinds of fascinating stories as well as interesting facts about the ecosystem and history of the area.

Make a stop at a collecting pool at the base of a compact waterfall, where you can choose to take a dip in the various shades of blue or even check out the rope swing! The waterfall is perfect for taking photos of, and after you hike and rock climb, you’ll get to a river where you can also swim and cliff jump.

Did we mention there are also natural water slides here?! After the tour, you’ll get a change to relax a bit by checking out the Luquillo Kiosks or a local restaurant to enjoy a flavorful Puerto Rican lunch.

For tour prices, transportation and availability:


#3 El Yunque Rainforest Wilderness Adventure

El Yunque Rainforest Wilderness Adventure

Tour Highlights:

  • Duration: 6 hours
  • Departure: Cam. La Planta, Naguabo, 00718
  • Departure Time: 8 am
  • Includes: Local guide, all safety equipment (helmet, life vest, gloves and knee pads), rappelling equipment

While our previous 2 tours are no-doubt a load of fun, if you want to crank the adrenaline level up a notch, we have just the tour for you. The El Yunque Rainforest Wilderness Adventure is also perfect if you’d like something slightly shorter as this one is 6 hours long. If you want to experience and the beauty and thrills Puerto Rico has to offer, sign up for this tour!

First off, you do need to be prepared ahead of time. Make sure that you already have a moderate fitness level and are okay to hike up mountains, because a large part of the tour involves hiking!

Taking place around Naguabo, you can expect breathtaking views of this centuries-old beach town just south of the Rio Grande and Ceiba. Meet up with your guide, where they’ll lead you through the lush, green forests. They’ll teach you all about the local environment, its history and how it was settled by the Spanish in the 1500’s, plants and animals from the area, and more.

As all safety equipment comes included, you just have to worry about dressing appropriately. You’ll walk under picture-perfect waterfalls, take a dip (or jump) into swimming holes, and catch sight of ancient petroglyphs along an indigenous trial. Rappelling, ziplining, cliff-jumping, and water slides are some other fun activities you will partake in on this exhilarating adventure!

Unfortunately, you do not have a hotel pickup/drop-off included so make sure to plan transportation ahead of time. The guides are incredibly helpful, so feel free to call ahead of time and ask any necessary questions with doing so.

For tour prices, transportation and availability:


#4 El Yunque National Forest Half Day Tour

El Yunque National Forest Half Day Tour

Tour Highlights:

  • Duration: 5 hours
  • Departure: Pickup offered
  • Departure Time: 8 hours
  • Includes: Complimentary pickup and drop-off in Old San Juan, Condado and Isla Verde locations and touristic zones, all taxes, fees and handling charges, certified tour guide, live narration in English, bottled water, light snacks, first aid gear

If you are excited to see all of the different kinds of native plants Puerto Rico has to offer, you have to check out our next tour. The El Yunque National Forest Half Day Tour is 5 hours long, taking you through hundreds of native plant species, waterfalls, and other fantastic views.

Your certified tour guide knows all about the area and offers a live narration in English for you to learn and explore at the same time.

This tour does come with complimentary pickups and drop-offs in certain parts of San Juan, which is a big plus for many people as you don’t have to plan for your own transportation. Bottled water and light snacks, along with First Aid equipment is provided, though you probably won’t need to use the latter.

Your transfer will be either in an air-conditioned bus or van heading to El Yunque, passing through little pueblitos along the way.

Once you get to the first trailhead of the rainforest, your guide will show you all kinds of tropical flowers and fresh ginger that grows along here. Not only that, but you’ll learn about the native Tainos, who consider this a sacred place.

After, you’ll go to the reserve’s El Portal Visitor Center, which has various educational exhibits along with elevated forest walkways, trails, and more. Next, you’ll go over to La Coca Falls, which stand 85 feet tall. Yokahu Tower is next, which is almost 70 feet tall and offers unparalleled views of the rainforest.

For tour prices, transportation and availability:


#5 Bio Bay & El Yunque Rainforest Combo Tour

Bio Bay & El Yunque Rainforest Combo Tour

Tour Highlights:

  • Duration: 12 hours
  • Departure: Pickup inclued
  • Departure Time: Varies
  • Includes: Professional tour guides with lifeguard, CPR & first aid certification photos from Rainforest Adventure, Eco Interpretation throughout the Rainforest Trails, fresh local fruit, snacks & refreshments, round trip transportation from accommodation

If you’re the kind of person who wants to pack as much excitement as possible into your schedule, then you’re in for a real treat with this next one. The Bio Bay & El Yunque Rainforest Combo Tour is a 12-hour adventure takes you to not 1 but 2 of the most iconic natural attractions in the entire country. This full-day journey will take you kayaking, through the rainforest, and more!

With pickup included, you don’t have to worry about your own transportation. You’ll meet up with your local tour guides who all have their lifeguard, CPR, and First Aid certifications. Not only that, but they’re very knowledgeable and experienced.

Start off with a scenic drive towards the rainforest, but not before you make a stop at a local fruit stand to get fueled up before starting along a hike. This hike weaves and winds through all kinds of native plants and trees.

After you wade through the river and scale some rocks, you’ll get to a natural pool at the bottom of a waterfall! Here, you’ll be able to enjoy the rope swing, cliff jumping, and even a natural waterslide!

A well-deserved break is up next, where you’ll enjoy a delicious dinner at a local restaurant. Next, you’ll receive instructions and guidance on how to kayak.

After you feel comfortable, you’ll kayak around 30 minutes through the Red Mangrove Forest to the Bioluminescent Lagoon. This is one of the most phenomenal sights, where swirls of blue light appear with each movement of water, and glowing fish are present throughout the entire trip.

For tour prices, transportation and availability:


#6 Tinajas Hiking Adventure to El Yunque Rainforest

Tinajas Hiking Adventure to El Yunque Rainforest

Tour Highlights:

  • Duration: 7 hours
  • Departure: Pickup offered
  • Departure Time: Varies
  • Includes: Fresh local fruit

If you’re ready for a muddy, exciting adventure, look no further than the Tijanas Hiking Adventure to El Yunque Rainforest! This 7-hour tour is a bit shorter than some of the others, so if you want to pack more into your evening this is a nice option.

With a pickup and drop-off in San Juan, just make sure you’re dressed appropriately for rainforest hiking and meet your guide at your hotel or other pickup location!

This one is easily one of the best hiking trips in the world. First off, the tour guides are incredibly knowledgeable about the area. Not only the history of the rainforest, but first-hand accounts that make the experience much more interesting.

Just like the others, you’ll head straight into the hike where you’ll get to learn all about and see local flora and fauna. Be prepared for a lot of muddy areas and climbing rocks, so make sure your shoes have a nice amount of traction on the soles and won’t rip easily!

Once you get to the Tinajas waterfalls, you’ll get the chance to swim in the natural pools with the rest of your small group! After that hike, you’re sure to love taking a dip (and wash some of the mud off!) in these refreshing waters. Jump off the rocks, ride the smooth, natural waterslides, or simply enjoy Mother Nature’s beauty.

Meanwhile, your guides will prepare some fresh fruits for your group. You’ll also get to have a delicious lunch in a local restaurant by the beach in Luquillo.

For tour prices, transportation and availability:


#7 Puerto Rico: El Yunque Rainforest & Waterfalls Half-Day Tour

Puerto Rico: El Yunque Rainforest & Waterfalls Half-Day Tour

Tour Highlights:

  • Duration: 4 hours
  • Departure: PR-3, Luquillo 00773, Puerto Rico
  • Departure Time: Varies
  • Includes: Professional tour guests with lifeguard, CPR & First Aid certification photos from Adventure, Eco Interpretation throughout rainforest trails, refresh in natural swimming pools and waterfalls, fresh local fruit, refreshments, all necessary equipment, training and safety instructions prior to tour, parking & rainforest entry fee

We couldn’t review the best El Yunque tours without adding this one in! Many people are interested in going to the rainforest to explore, but don’t have time or simply don’t want to be gone for the entire day. If that sounds like you, then check out the Puerto Rico: El Yunque Rainforest & Waterfalls Half-Day Tour.

Before anything, we do have to mention that you’ll need your own rental car to reach the meetup point in Luquillo. From here, you’ll follow your tour guide to the foothills of the rainforest where you’ll begin your hike. This hike starts out like the others, where you’ll trek through all kinds of native flowers, trees, and other plants.

In the heart of the rainforest, you’ll discover waterfalls that you can play around in. The waterslide and rope swing is a rush, along with rock jumping if you like to get the adrenaline pumping!

After all the excitement, you can take a breather and just relax with the fresh air in your lungs and the sound of water plunging into the pools below in the background. Here, you can enjoy fresh, local fruit that is genuinely some of the best-tasting fruit you’ll ever try.

For tour prices, transportation and availability:


Puerto Rico Travel Guide

best tours of El Yunque Rainforest

Getting There –

By far the easiest way to get to Puerto Rico is to fly, as it’s an island (rather, comprised of various). However, if you’re coming from the Dominican Republic or Virgin Islands, you can head over by ferry. PR’s main airport is Luis Muñoz International Airport/San Juan Airport (SJU), located in Carolina.

With various nonstop flights from the US every day, you’ll find the most affordable ones are those departing from gateway cities located in the south and east of the US. This makes sense, as it’s closer to the island. Miami and New York are the most common departure airports, though you’ll find flights through all major US carriers such as US Airways, JetBlue, and Continental.

Getting Around –

San Juan is a very easy city to move around in. The most “touristy” areas are perfect for walking, and we found it overall quite a safe city to do so in. In fact, you could realistically walk for the entirety of your stay in the city, depending on what you want to see.

Walking – If you really want to get to know the city, walking is the best way to do it. If you’re in Old San Juan, you’ll find the hottest attractions all within 5 or so blocks. Condado, Isla Verde, and Ocean Park are all great options as well, and here you can walk to beaches, restaurants, and some of the best shopping spots.

Rental Car – We personally recommend renting a car for at least a day, so you can check out beaches and other parts of the island not within walking distance. However, as you can see by the tours on our guide, there are many situations where transportation comes included in the tour price. Driving here is pretty intuitive and not much different from driving in most cities in the US.

Trolley – Another plus goes to Old San Juan, for having their free trolley service. This service will transport you with style, to and from the top attractions in this part of the city. Running from 7am to 7pm during the week and 9am to 7pm on the weekend, it’s a nice alternative if you don’t feel like walking.

Taxi – Taxis are of course an option, and a more convenient one if you don’t want to hassle with having to find parking with a rental car. You’ll find these taxis lined up outside the airport, near hotels, and most main tourist attractions.

Bike – With the amazing weather San Juan has the vast majority of the year, why not get some fresh air and bike? The city has created designated bike lanes which are really fun to use along the beach.

Where to Stay –

With so many great neighborhoods to stay in, it can be hard to decide which one is right for you.

Old San Juan – Old San Juan is our personal favorite, and is the top in terms of sightseeing. Almost all of the top tourist attractions are located here, such as the San Juan Bautista Catedral, Puerta de San Juan, La Fortaleza, Castillo de San Cristobal, El Morro, Paseo De La Princesa, and much more. Not only that, but you have one of the best beaches, upscale dining spots, and fun bars. Nightlife here is practically incomparable to anywhere else on the island.

Condado – If you’re going with the entire family, Condado is probably the best spot. It’s very close to some of the best beaches in the country, with plenty of outdoor activities, restaurants, and more. A good portion of the hotels found here are more “luxurious” with rooftop terraces, pools, spas, and an ocean view from your room.

Ocean Park – If your main reason for going to San Juan is the tropical vibes and beaches, then Ocean Park may be where you want to stay. The beach is within walking distance and very close to Condado and Isla Verde. However, you’ll definitely need to get a taxi or other form of transporation to get to Old San Juan. This is a “younger” area with plenty of nightlife and exciting bars to explore.

Isla Verde – Are you looking to get away to San Juan for a romantic vacation? If so, then Isla Verde is a great option. There are plenty of charming hotels, fine dining restaurants, bustling nightclubs, and more. We recommend starting off the morning with a romantic stroll down the beach!

Restaurants and Eating Out –

You can find just about any type of cuisine in San Juan, as it is a cosmopolitan city. It all depends on what you’re looking for.

Fine Dining – Marmalade is a top option if you want to go upscale. French, Caribbean, and Spanish flavors are all combined here. With modern trends and interesting visions, you’re sure to try something new here. 1919 is sophisticated seafood, from passionfruit curd to coconut ganache, this beachfront restaurant is supremely romantic and high-class.

Local – You simply can’t visit San Juan without trying the local cuisine. Hecho en Casa or “homemade” is definitely aptly-named. The family-owned spot prides themselves on their comida criolla that the country is known for. As everything is sourced locally, the flavors are rich and pure.

La Casita Blanca is another authentic, traditional restaurant that has a menu which changes every day with 10-12 dishes posted on a whiteboard. However, you can’t get more authentic than a chinchorro. These are little food “kiosks” that simply offer the best-tasting, traditional dishes in the city.

International – We love the way they’ve managed to combine Asian and Creole flavors in the restaurant, Shibo. We love their sushi bar as well, with ultra-fresh fish and fusion cocktails like the sake sangria! If you’re in the mood for some tacos, head on over to Acapulco Taqueria Mexicana. The tacos de pollo al pastor and the chilaquiles are our favorites!

Nightlife and Entertainment –

The vibrant nightlife found here is never-ending, between casinos, nightclubs, lounges, and more.

Old San Juan – As we mentioned previously, Old San Juan is an idyllic spot for nightlife. Just walking around at night is full of music, smiling faces, and a general liveliness. The wrought iron lanterns illuminate the cobblestone streets, offering a more romantic vibe. Salsa, flamenco, and the smells of delicious food fill the air.

Try heading to South Fortaleza, San Sebastian, or Calle del Cristo for the best bar and food options. However, you’ll also find local artists, live music, and kiosks dotting this area.

New City – This area consists of Condado, Ocean Park, and Isla Verde/Carolina. While Old San Juan tends to be a bit more “old-school” and laidback with their nightlife, these districts are filled with trendy hotspots, casinos, nightclubs, and generally more flashiness. Isla Verde Avenue is lined with fun places, such as the upbeat Brava nightclub or Chico Cabaret at Fairmont El San Juan Hotel.

West Coast – Perhaps you’re the kind of person who wants to keep their swimsuit and flipflops on the entire trip. If so, then the west coast is the place for you. Rincon features some of the best beachfront bars in the country. Tamboo Bar offers unmatched beach views and everyone is so nice here.

Bonus – Try out kayaking at night in the Laguna del Condado! If you prefer you can also paddleboard! With LED lights attached, you’ll have fun with the rest of your small group and see the bright city lights reflecting off the blue waters as you paddle the night away.

Weather –

San Juan’s climate really doesn’t vary a whole lot throughout the year. For example, the temperatures tend to always stay between 72 degrees and 89 degrees Fahrenheit. You won’t often find it hotter or colder than that.

As they are a bunch of islands, it can be pretty humid throughout almost the entire year. From the beginning of June to the end of August, it can also get relatively windy, too. The wetter season is from April 24th to December 2nd, which isn’t really the best time to go. In fact, the best time to visit San Juan is from early December to mid-April. The weather during this time of year is sunny, warm, and not windy or rainy.

Attractions –

 San Juan has a very interesting history, and it’s something that we highly recommend exploring. There are various castles and forts that are not only impressive visually, but inside as well. Castillo San Cristobal is over 500 years old, and is actually the biggest Spanish fort in the “New World”. Castillo San Felipe del Morro or “El Morro” is a whopping 6 levels tall!

Make sure to check out El Cuartel de Ballaja, after trekking through El Morro. Built between 1854 and 1864 as a way to house Spanish soldiers and their families, it’s a museum, café, restaurant, dance school, and offices today.

If you happen to be staying in Condado, stop by Fortin Geronimo which is a small yet very interesting fort located inside of Caribe Hilton. Built in the 17th century, it now risks falling into the ocean so this may be the only chance you get to see it.

Other Notable Pieces of Architecture – La Fortaleza/Palacio Santa Catalina and Casa Blanca were the first buildings built in the city, which are obviously very important and very beautiful. Today, the country’s governor resides in the Palacio Santa Catalina. Casa Blanca was originally created to be the home of Ponce de Leon, the first governor of Puerto Rico. Today, we recommend taking a self-guided tour of the gorgeous gardens and inside the mansion.

You don’t have to be religious to appreciate Cathedral San Juan Bautista. As the second-oldest church in all of the Americas, it’s quite the sight to see. Not only that, but the remains of explorer Juan Ponce de Leon rest inside the cathedral.

Paseo de La Princesa – If you have some time and are looking to take a low-key stroll by yourself or with your significant other, this is an excellent option. The 19th-century promenade goes all throughout Old San Juan, with colonial architecture, fountains, street food, and cobblestone streets and trees with views of the bay in the background.

Hang Out on The Beach – There are various beaches to choose from, and no matter where you stay, you’ll likely have a beach within walking distance. Condado Beach is very popular with families, and draws some parallels with Miami with its luxury high-rise resorts surrounding it.

Balneario del Escambron is another solid option, with clean sand, relatively calm waters, and is oftentimes easy to find a spot on the beach.

Museums – San Juan is a very artistic city, and their museums are some of the best places to see some of it firsthand! The Museo de Arte de Puerto Rico is the most popular, with a massive 24 exhibition galleries to see. The Puerto Rico Museum of Contemporary Art is a fine alternative, though is much newer than the Museo de Arte de Puerto Rico.

For more of a history lesson, you need to see the Museo de Las Americas. Here, you’ll learn all about the history of the Americas, with 4 galleries. It’s obviously a smaller museum, but is definitely worth checking out their Indigenous America section.

Tips –

  1. Make sure you keep mosquito repellent handy. You’re going to be on a tropical island in the Caribbean. As you can probably imagine, there are going to be quite a few mosquitos flying around.
  2. If you’re only going to San Juan for a short period of time (like a weekend), we recommend hanging out mainly in Old San Juan. You can get around by walking everywhere in this zone, and is home to most of the notable tourist spots and general points of interest.
  3. If you can leave San Juan, do check out the surrounding areas and the rain forests. For a great way to see the beaches and forests, go by horseback. There a lots of tours by horseback in Puerto Rico that you can see areas that few visitors get to see. Be sure to see Puerto Rico from the water and take a sunset cruise at sunset. See old San Juan Bay from the water. Speaking of water, be sure to check out the coral reefs with a snorkeling tour.
  1. Try to keep an umbrella with you when in the city. While almost every month is sunny, it tends to rain quite frequently. From April to November is the rainy season, and from June to November there is a hurricane season.
  1. Puerto Rico uses the US dollar, and you don’t need your US passport. That’s right, with PR’s political status, if you’re a US citizen you can travel to and from PR with just your license! If you’re not a US citizen, it’ll be just like you’re traveling to the US – whatever you need to enter the United States is what you’ll need in Puerto Rico.
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The El Yunque Rainforest Hiking Adventure is our Editor's Choice for the best El Yunque tour

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Robert Baker

Robert is a content writer and editor at World Guides to Travel where he shares his love for the great outdoors. He also writes in-depth travel blogs for other websites around the world. Robert is passionate about the environment and uses his writing to educate people about the advantages and importance of sustainable living. Robert enjoys creative writing. In 2009, his children’s novel Sally Hemings & the Good Associates won the Children’s Fiction section of the You Write On Book of the Year Award.
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