Friday, May 3, 2013

El Yunque Rainforest

El Yunque visitors’ center

Having friends visit got us away from boat jobs and out seeing the sights in Puerto Rico.  Located in northeastern Puerto Rico, El Yunque forest is the only tropical rain forest in the United States National Forest System. 

 View from the visitors’ center

With over 200 inches of rainfall per year, the forest is home to lush foliage.

There are also numerous waterfalls in the forest.

Yokahu Tower

The best view of the forest is from Yokahu Tower.

Michele at the top

Constructed in 1939, the tower provides an unobstructed view of El Toro, the highest mountain peak in the forest at 3,494 feet above sea level.

Because Puerto Rico is south of the Tropic of Cancer, it has a tropical climate with no distinct wet or dry season and the length of daylight remains fairly constant throughout the year.  These factors create an environment that allows over 200 species of trees and plants, 23 of which are found nowhere else, to thrive in the forest.  It is also home to the critically endangered Puerto Rican Amazon.

Our visit to El Yunque included a hike to this waterfall that has pools of reportedly very cold water.  After what seemed like a fairly ambitious hike, we were surprised to see that many people at the falls.  Of course, most were younger than us.

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