We started out early in the morning (around 9 am) waiting for E&B tours for our El Yunque experience. We checked our bags at Hotel El Convento since we checked out today in order to take the ferry to Vieques.
We were met in a rather large, air-conditioned van by Edwin. He spoke good English and knew his way around San Jaun and the island of Puerto Rico. First stop was at El Portal Rain Forest Center.
This was an interesting building with lots of exhibits about the rainforest, a gift shop, and a snack bar. One cool thing about this place is that it's built high up so you're in the canopy of the trees. Neat for bird watching. Edie and I missed breakfast so split a chicken quesadilla around 11am. I asked for a brochure, but all they had was a photocopied black and white flyer. Still it was good because it provided an idea of where we were in the rainforest.
I'm glad we did too, because we didn't finish the tour until about 2 pm and we would have been starving!
Here we are at La Coca Falls. Picture taken by Bob, an interesting fellow we met on the tour who was in PR from Alaska, looking for places to relocate. You can check his photoblog at http://robertospuertorico.com/ This is the first stop in the park proper, and folks would stop their cars to let you take pictures and walk across the street to the falls.
On the other side of the street, you can see where these falls come out. There's a really pretty rocky stream there. Apparently as this was more low season, and as there hadn't been a whole lot of rain, the falls aren't as grand in this picture as they usually are. Still, really interesting.
Next, we headed to the Yakahu tower, an observation post built in the '60s that has 98 steps to the top. But way worth every one. It looks like an old castle, but the views are spectacular. You can see to the ocean.
Plus, climbing the tower gives one a really nice and cool breeze. I couldn't believe the views. After the tower, we headed to the start of our hike to La Mina Falls. 75 feet tall and freezing cold! I went for a swim. This was nice, although my feet were wet and this set me up for blisters for the rest of the hike back. Tip: bring a spare pair of shoes and socks!