There are breathtaking waterfalls in Puerto Rico waiting to be discovered deep in the island’s lush interior, often hidden in the tropical rainforest. Whether you’re interested in a hike to a beautiful cascade, or roadside natural wonders, the island has an impressive diversity of falls.
Exploring the pristine terrain is a great way to mix up the activities on your trip beyond the sights and sounds of historic San Juan, or the turquoise waters of the coast.
These are the top waterfalls in Puerto Rico to visit.
La Coca Waterfall, El Yunque Rainforest
Situated in the 29,000-acre El Yunque National Rainforest, La Coca Waterfall is a favorite cascade to visit while vacationing on the island of Puerto Rico.
A 40-minute drive from the heart of San Juan will land you amid the lush rainforest, where giant ferns cover the forest floor and the famous Puerto Rican parrot and coqui frogs, native to the island, reside. You could hear the frogs; their call is a high-pitched, chirping whistle.
The 85-foot waterfall can be reached on foot using the three-and-a-half-mile round-trip trail, an enjoyable hike that offers a wonderful taste of what the rainforest region has to offer.
The hike is a diverse one, with a downhill trek to reach the waterfall and a moderately challenging route back uphill on the return route. River crossings, bird life, and the wide array of trees such as manchineel and banana palms make this adventure one of the best hikes in Puerto Rico.
At the waterfall, photographers will be delighted by the picturesque setting against the rocky and verdant landscape.
Although swimming is prohibited, your efforts will be rewarded by the dramatic scene before you. La Coca waterfall is one natural attraction in the Caribbean that shouldn’t be missed.
Gozalandia Falls, San Sebastian
Located on the western side of Puerto Rico, Gozalandia Falls is another popular destination for waterfall chasers, made up of two impressive cascades.
Just under two hours of a scenic drive from San Juan, the cascade has a 60-foot drop and is a favorite swimming spot.
A short, sandy trail with sections of pavement and stairs leads to the waterfall, where you can enjoy different vantage points of the cascade, ideal for taking photographs.
Adventure seekers will find a thrill in the cave that’s partially underwater and accessible by swimming, as well as the cliff-jumping point from the main falls. Leap from the 30-foot drop into the pool at the base of the falls for an adrenaline-pumping experience.
The trail continues a quarter-mile from the main falls to the upper falls where boulder-jumping into the water and a rope swing await for more fun.
If taking it slow is more your style, this mesmerizing waterfall is great for wading, or a leisurely swim in the blue pool at the base, against a backdrop of green vegetation.
La Mina Falls, El Yunque Rainforest
Also located in El Yunque National Rainforest is La Mina Falls. Visiting here is one of the best things to do in Puerto Rico with kids as an easy hiking trail skirts the La Mina river and leads to the 35-foot cascade with a picturesque pool at the end.
The trail is one and a third miles round-trip with bridges crossing the river, which is lined with tropical trees such as mahogany, teak, and rosewood.
Once you make your way towards the end of the trail, you can reward yourself with a dip in the cool, refreshing water at the base of the falls which tumbles dramatically over the rocks.
Stand under the waterfall in this otherworldly jungle setting or simply relax around the edge of the pool and take in the scenery. It’s recommended to bring water shoes with traction to help navigate the sometimes slippery rocks.
La Canoa Falls & El Hippie Pool
Finding this waterfall will be an adventure in itself, made worthwhile once you set eyes on the El Hippie pool and La Canoa Falls above it.
Situated just outside the El Yunque National Forest in Naguabo, El Hippie is approximately an hour and 45 minutes’ drive from San Juan.
In addition to the waterfall and swimming hole, this destination has more treasure to discover. Pre-Columbian Indian petroglyphs and carvings are located nearby, making it possible to visit both amazing spots on your venture.
Check out the petroglyphs on your way to the waterfall as they are located downstream and require a bit of rock scrambling to reach. The petroglyphs are on two of the boulders and are interesting to observe before heading to the waterfall.
The El Hippie pool is a popular swimming spot, with a rocky approach and gradually deepening water, great for wading and a cooling dip. After, continue up to the top of the pool where a large rock on the right side is the marker for finding the falls.
The 70-foot cascade is tucked in the rocks and requires a bit of a climb to reach the viewpoint. The pool area is a fantastic spot to enjoy a picnic in the island’s subtropical forest after marveling at the falls.
Chorro de Doña Juana, Orocovis
In Puerto Rico’s interior mountain range, Chorro de Doña Juana is approximately two hours from San Juan, in the Orocovis municipality.
Composed of three small cascades, this waterfall is a favorite with photographers and visitors looking to dip in the crisp but invigorating pool of water at its base.
Easily accessed from the wonderfully scenic panoramic Route 149, this set of chutes doesn’t require a major effort to enjoy and is one of the main natural attractions along this popular drive.
Parking is located on the west side of the waterfall and is very limited, but if you luck out and get a spot, venturing down for a swim or to just to get spritzed by the multi-tiered cascade is well worth the stop.
Juan Diego Falls, El Yunque Rainforest
Another one of El Yunque Rainforest’s exquisite cascades, Juan Diego Falls is accessed by the trail near the PR-191 bridge on the Juan Diego Creek. A series of smaller waterfalls lead to the main, two-tiered waterfall.
The entire sight is a beautiful place to explore, with the lower falls easier to reach than the upper portion of the cascade, which is suited for more experienced hikers. At the lower falls, it’s possible to enjoy a picnic lunch and a leisurely swim in paradise.
If you venture to the upper falls, you’ll get to feast your eyes on the larger of the two cascades. The trail to the upper falls can often be slippery due to muddy conditions.
Although there is a rope to assist hikers in the scrambling, it’s a good idea to be prepared with proper hiking footwear. Whichever section you visit, a dip will be your reward in the cool waters at the base of the Juan Diego Falls.
Charco Prieto Waterfalls, Bayamón
Head to northern Puerto Rico’s biggest waterfall, found in the Bayamon municipality, just 45 minutes from downtown San Juan.
A somewhat challenging one-mile out-and-back hike with steep sections containing fixed ropes to help with the climb, this waterfall expedition is best tackled by more experienced hikers with proper shoes.
Trekkers can expect river crossings, mud, and portions that require rock scrambling for the exciting endeavor to reach the 130-foot-tall Charco Prieto waterfall.
Flora and fauna like the banana tree and giant ferns line the trail in a primeval backdrop as you make your way along the stream. The sight will take your breath away; encircled by the lush tropical forest, Charco Prieto is regarded as one of the most gorgeous Puerto Rico waterfalls.
Las Delicias Falls, Tres Picachos State Forest
Get a glimpse of the awe-inspiring Las Delicias Falls from the road before venturing on the short walk to view it up close.
Located in the Tres Picachos State Forest near the towns of Ciales and Jayuya, the area around the falls is known as a haven for hikers and is home to the eponymous mountain with three peaks.
With a scenic drive through a portion of Puerto Rico’s interior region, this cascade can be reached in less than two hours’ drive from San Juan.
The first tier in this multi-level waterfall is easily accessed from the small parking area by a set of stairs. Venture a bit further across the creek and over some rock scrambling sections, and you’ll be rewarded with views of the main falls, which tumble down over a backdrop of rocks with moss and ferns.
You’ll quickly see why the waterfall’s name translates to “the delights” and will want to have your camera with you to capture the scene.
Chorros la Planta, Arecibo
Although this is a man-made waterfall, Chorros la Planta in the Arecibo municipality is a great place for a swim in a greeny-blue pool at the base of a cascade, where the Rio Hondo tumbles over a high concrete wall.
The set of falls were originally part of an old hydroelectric plant that is no longer in use. The falls now provide a fun day trip spot for hikers and swimmers in just an hour’s drive from San Juan.
Choose your own adventure with a visit to the first, easily accessible falls, or hike a bit further up to the second and enjoy a picnic lunch on the sandy edges of the pools. The second, larger cascade has a small cavern that allows adventurers to stand behind the falls for a different perspective too.
Las Tinajas, Ciebo
Also referred to as Charco Frio, Las Tinajas is a popular waterfall and swimming hole located along the Fajardo River on the eastern side of the island. It can be accessed by an hour and a quarter’s drive from downtown San Juan and a short but somewhat challenging hike.
If you’re just looking to cool off, a dip in the Charco Frio swimming hole is a quick fix and easy to reach with minimal effort from the parking area. If it’s crowded in one of the swimming holes, you can just venture up the river a bit to the next one where vibrant blue and clear waters will invite you for a refreshing dip.
If you’re feeling adventurous and enjoy hiking, make sure to embark on the trek to Las Tinajas, a dual-tiered waterfall in the rainforest. The partially unmarked route includes river wading and overland trekking and takes approximately 20 to 25 minutes.
Reward yourself with a turn on the rope swing on the lower section of the falls where you can plunge into the deepest part of the invigoratingly cold pool, a welcome refreshment after your hike.
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