Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Beat the Rush to La Mina Falls

La Mina Falls El Yunque National Forrest
A quick image search of La Mina Falls shows why it is one of Puerto Rico's most popular tourist destinations. It doesn't get much better than a waterfall in the middle of a tropical rainforest that is also safe enough to swim! However, most images also show a crowded pool full of people all waiting to get their picture taken in the falls. My wife and I were not interested in fighting crowds or taking part in the group tours of the falls. Our solution was simple; rent a car and arrive early! 

What to Expect
We left our condo in San Juan at 7am and followed Rt 3 until turning right onto PR-191 to the El Yunque National Forrest. There are signs on Rt 3 and PR-191 clearly marking El Yunque National Forest. The visitors center did not open until 9 am, cost $4, and didn't interest us so we skipped it. We instead drove straight up the steep and curvy mountain road to the La Mina Trail parking lot. The entire drive from San Juan to the La Mina parking lot took about an hour.

The 30 minute walk to La Mina Falls was not overly difficult, but I would recommend wearing sturdy shoes. The .7 mile trail has some steep up and downs and was slick with water. It rained off and on the entire time we were there (which is normal considering it is a rainforest). We arrived at La Mina Falls at 8:30am and had the entire area all to ourselves--our own little tropical hideaway! We spend 30 minutes swimming in the pool, snapping photos, and enjoying the falls without another soul in sight. On the hike back we encountered a couple of tour groups headed toward the falls. We had beat the rush!

Trail to La Mina Falls
Just the Basics 
  • Location: El Yunque National Forest, Puerto Rico
  • Website: http://www.fs.usda.gov/main/elyunque/home
  • Cost: Free ($4 if you go to the visitor's center)
  • Advice: Arrive early to avoid the crowds. Wear sturdy footwear for the falls to avoid cutting your foot on a rock in the water.