With lush forests and nature reserves, a mountainous interior region and stunning waterfalls, Puerto Rico is a fantastic place to explore the great outdoors. Venture through a variety of ecosystems within the island’s valleys, wet and dry forests, and cave systems.
Puerto Rico is also where you’ll find the only tropical rainforest in the United States, making it a unique place to enjoy hiking within the country.
Whether you’re interested in shorter walks or more challenging treks, there’s a trail for every fitness level. Channel your inner adventurer and discover some of the best hikes in Puerto Rico.
La Coca Falls, El Yunque National Forest
Just a 40-minute drive from the city of San Juan, El Yunque National Forest is a well-loved and biodiverse destination for outdoor enthusiasts.
The 29,000-acre forest is home to verdant flora and fauna such as massive ferns, as well as wildlife like the famous coqui frog and Puerto Rican parrot. One of the most popular trails leads hikers to a stunning waterfall, with a drop of 85 feet. Favored by photographers, La Coca Falls is a sight to behold first-hand.
One of the best outdoor vacations in the Caribbean, the three-and-a-half-mile round-trip trail is unique as it ventures downhill on the way to the waterfall, and requires an uphill climb for the return route.
The moderate to difficult trail has a little bit of everything, from river crossings to thick jungle, and diverse bird and plant life. Hike through massive philodendrons, manchineel trees, wild gingers, and banana plants.
The effort and slippery hiking conditions will be well worth it when you reach the gorgeous cascade, framed at the bottom by a rocky landscape.
Swimming is prohibited but it makes for a peaceful place to enjoy Mother Nature’s work and capture some photos of La Coca Falls’ sheer beauty. This is one of the best hiking trails in Puerto Rico.
Cueva Ventana, Arecibo
Translated to “window cave”, Cueva Ventana is a popular hike to a famous view, located an hour west of San Juan. An easy 15-minute walk will have you peering through the cave out towards a vista that includes the Rio Grande de Puerto Rico River and lush farming fields.
Learn about the history and ecological importance of the two caves through which you’ll venture while on a guided tour with a knowledgeable leader. View petroglyphs and impressive stalagmites and stalactites with the aid of your headlamps and flashlights inside the dark, cavernous space.
The cave is home to harmless fruit bats that you’ll hear throughout your adventure too. The window opening of Cueva Ventana is the main attraction and makes for many fantastic photo opportunities. For a quick hike in Puerto Rico with a big reward and bonus cave exploration, this trail ticks all the boxes.
Cabo Rojo Salt Flats, Cabo Rojo
On the island’s southwestern tip, a National Wildlife Refuge, La Playuela Beach, and a beautiful lighthouse await to be explored through a network of hiking trails. Accessible by a two-and-a-half-hour drive from San Juan, the 2,950-acre Cabo Rojo Salt Flats is a hiker’s and birdwatcher’s haven.
Begin your venture at the educational visitor center with interpretive exhibitions and the viewing deck. Then, embark on the trails which vary between one and two miles long, through the six ecological systems within the reserve: seagrass, marine lagoons, salt marshes, coral reefs, hypersaline lagoons, and mangroves.
Marvel at the vibrant contrast between the pink salt flats and turquoise sea. The salt flats offer great photo opportunities with the shades of color ever-changing with the sunlight.
Be sure to get a different vantage point from the top of the observation tower, located across from the nature center, too. Continue on to reach the historic Los Morrillos Lighthouse, which dates back to the late 1800s.
Cerro Mime, Orocovis
Hike in the exact center of Puerto Rico for sweeping views that are sure to take your breath away. The trail can be reached by an hour-and-a-half drive from San Juan. Get a high perspective of the island’s mountainous interior with a short but steep ascent up Cerro Mime peaks.
The in-and-out hike stretches a little less than a mile and leads hikers over three consecutive peaks, with the second summit being the tallest, and best for views. Test your endurance as you trek uphill on rocky terrain along the well-trodden path, where you’ll be rewarded with a stunning panorama.
This hike requires plenty of sunscreen and water as there is no shade and a lot of sun exposure is possible.
Charco Prieto Waterfalls, Bayamon
Less than an hour’s drive from San Juan will land you at the starting point for the trail to Charco Prieto Waterfalls in the Bayamon area. This one-mile out-and-back trek is considered moderate to difficult thanks to its steep sections, where fixed ropes are required for assistance.
With rock scrambling, mud, and river crossings, this trail is an exciting one and ideal for skilled hikers with proper footwear. All of the hard work will be forgotten when you reach the awe-inspiring natural wonder at the end; the 130-foot tall Charco Prieto cascade is one of the most beautiful on the island, surrounded by the lush, green tropical forest.
Charco Azul, Patillas
Only an hour from San Juan, the easy, one-mile paved nature walking trail to Charco Azul is ideal for all fitness levels. Hike through the Carite forest to this natural swimming hole and enjoy a refreshing dip in one of Puerto Rico’s most famous natural pools.
Translated to “Blue Pool”, it’ll be easy to see how this gorgeous place received its name with vibrant blue waters, formed by the river.
Pack a picnic to enjoy at the nearby table and grill facilities in between dips in the cool, invigorating water. This relaxing spot surrounded by lush rainforest is a great way to spend a few hours, especially on a hot day.
Cerro de los Cielos, Salinas
Translated to “Hill of the Heavens”, this stunning trail leads to a mountain peak with an extra picturesque surprise on the summit.
The 3.2-mile round trip, out-and-back steep hike ends at the summit, where the famous Arbol Solitario (lonely tree) awaits, with a swing attached to it. The giant mango tree sits perched at 2,000 feet above sea level and overlooks amazing scenery.
Marvel at the 360-degree panorama of green hills, small villages, and the sparkling coast. Due to the steepness and difficulty of this trail, it’s recommended for skilled hikers with good physical fitness.
El Angelito Trail, El Yunque National Forest
Hailed as one of the best hiking trails in Puerto Rico, the El Angelito Trail features a little bit of everything that the El Yunque National Forest has to offer.
Tropical plants, birdlife, waterfalls, and a natural swimming pool are some of the amazing highlights along this short, half-mile hike through tabonuco trees, large ferns and other lush vegetation, and the Rio Mameyes.
Along the way, you’ll pass a couple of small natural pools; keep going until you reach the Las Damas pool, where you can jump in and cool off in crystal clear water. The water is approximately eight feet deep and a rope swing on the edge provides endless fun.
Laze on the rocks, swim in the water, and catch a thrill for a blissful afternoon in one of the best national parks in the world.
El Bolo, Toro Negro State Forest
Head two hours outside of San Juan for some hiking in Toro Negro State Forest, a 7,000-acre natural playground with myriad hiking trails.
Home to the three highest peaks in Puerto Rico, the lush region has four types of forest within its boundaries; cloud forest, tabonuco, palm, and micropholis buchenavia.
Trek along the mountain ridge and soak in spectacular views. To reach the stone observation tower, venture the Camino El Bolo trail which will eventually intersect with the El Torre trail for the extra climb, a total of two-and-a-half miles of hiking.
This steeper section leads to a tower that sits at 3,537 feet above sea level. Here, you can gaze in wonder at the panoramic views as the mountain breeze cools you off from your efforts.
Gozalandia Falls, San Sebastian
This local favorite can be found in the western region of the island, about a two-hour drive from San Juan. A short sandy trail and a series of steps lead to a stunning waterfall with a 60-foot drop and an idyllic natural pool at the base.
There are various stopping points along the path to admire the waterfall before taking a dip yourself. The first area is the main falls, with a wide cascade, and even a small underwater cave.
Adventure seekers will want to try cliff-jumping the 30 feet plunge from this area too. Once you’ve had your fill of that section, a quarter-mile jaunt back on the riverside trail will land you at the upper falls, where a rope swing and more swimming await.
Although this natural treasure doesn’t require a long hike, it’s one of the best outdoor adventures in Puerto Rico.
Tres Picachos, Jayuya
Meaning “Three Peaks”, the Tres Picachos trail is located two-and-a-half hours from San Juan, in the island’s interior mountainous region. This challenging, almost three-mile out-and-back trail will challenge you to push your limits as you climb one of the tallest peaks in Puerto Rico.
Navigate through rope-assisted sections on a steep incline, occasional mud, and technical areas. The summit stands at 3,937 feet above sea level with some of the most awe-inspiring panoramic views of the lush surroundings.
It’s advised to only embark on this hike on a dry day as the rains can make the conditions nearly impossible. Hiking Tres Picachos is for the adventurous soul craving mind-blowing views.
El Toro Peak, Luquillo Mountains
Tackle the highest peak in the Luquillo Mountains, located in the eastern region of the island. This strenuous, 4.9-mile round-trip trek in the El Yunque National Forest is one of Puerto Rico’s lesser-known trails that will have you traversing into a “cloud forest” of trees.
Venture along the mostly dirt and gravel path through three varieties of forest; tabonuco forest, sierra palms, and finally, the cloud forest which features stunted growth trees and shrubs.
Hike through the mist as you ascend the mountain, the air cooling down as you gain elevation. On a clear day, views from the top sprawl over the north and east coasts from 3,533 feet above sea level.
Take to the trails on the lush Caribbean island of Puerto Rico and discover the island’s diverse natural wonders. A luxury cruise is a fantastic way to experience some of the best hikes in Puerto Rico.
From tropical rainforest to gorgeous waterfalls, to the unique salt flats and serious mountain summits, Puerto Rico has a hike that appeals to all interests. Browse our luxury cruises to and from San Juan and book your island escape today.