Exploring Puerto Rico - El Yunque Rainforest, Luquillo Beach and Bio-bay
On day 3 of our trip to Puerto Rico, we decided to visit three places (El Yunque Rainforest, Luquillo Beach and Bio-bay). Instead of spending about $90 per person on the tours to these places, we opted to rent a car that was only $75 for the entire day.
Our first stop was El Yunque National Rainforest, located in Sierra de Luquillo. This is the only tropical forest in the United States, covering about 28,000 acres. We arrived at the rainforest and unfortunately for us, the area had just experienced a major landslide due to heavy rains, causing a lot of trails including the popular waterfalls to be blocked off by debris. We managed to walk through one of smaller trails that was open to the public and later drove to another part of the forest that boasts of a smaller falls called La Coca Falls. I was feeling quite adventurous (surprisingly) so I climbed up the slippery rocks to get to the top of the cliff just to be immersed in the water cascading down. I just wanted to take a picture at the top.
After spending about two hours in El Yunque, hubby and I drove to Luquillo beach in Fajardo, which was about 45 minutes away. Luquilo beach is absolutely stunning with majestic palm trees, soothing brown sand and several warm streams of water that diverge from the ocean. At one end of the shore stands massive black rocks that delve into the ocean. We had such a wonderful time at this gorgeous beach. There was this girl who came to the beach with her tiny dog that she left behind while she was surfing and it kept following me around; I guess I’m a dog magnet.
After exhausting ourselves at the beach, we drove further into Fajardo to the bioluminescent bay – La Laguna Grande. A bio bay is a body of water that contains millions of micro-organisms, called “dinoflagellates” that glow in the dark when agitated. The bay is filled with different tour companies marked by vibrant colored life vests. We didn’t book a tour ahead of time but we were lucky to find two open spots with one tour company ($50 per person). The tours leave at 6:30 PM and 8 PM and they take about 2.5 hrs.
We had a brief meeting on safety and basic kayaking instruction then proceeded to get on the kayaks promptly at 6:30 PM. I’ve never kayaked a day in my life so this was quite an experience. I’ve heard that kayaking or canoeing is a sure way to start arguments with couples – I have never agreed more. After struggling for a bit to figure out this whole kayak thing, our group headed in a single straight line through the lagoon. The water was surprisingly warm. We kayaked for what seemed like an eternity until we came to the open bay area and lined up our boats. The tour guide gave a brief history about the micro-organisms (none of which I remember). We waited until the sun had completely gone down so we could see the small sparks of light in the water that occurred when we splashed our hands in the water.
I must say that I was a little disappointed because I was expecting a lot more glow than what I saw ( we should have gone to Mosquito Bay in Vieques). Heading back to the shore in total darkness was quite interesting; visibility was close to zero and all the kayaks were bumping into each other - it was a different kind of fun! Needless to say, we had such an awesome exhausting day and my hands would hurt for days thereafter from kayaking.
El Yunque and La Coca Falls
Disclaimer - the pictures of the biobay are not mine as I didn't have my camera with me on the water. I took these from google images to give you guys an idea of the place.
Stay stuned for the last part of my Puerto Rico trip, which will cover the gorgeous Vieques Island and The Camuy River Cave Park.
Until next time, stay blessed and thank you for stopping by!