Our last full day in Puerto Rico was mostly made up of a car ride, in all honesty. The drive from La Parguera to El Yunque rainforest was a little under 4 hours, so we hit the road relatively early after our donuts. We had the Switch and tablets along, so the kids were entertained well enough. We left soon enough that we made it to El Yunque close enough to lunchtime, so we didn’t have to stop.
A note on El Yunque: it’s the only rainforest under the US National Forest Service’s purview, so it presented a unique opportunity for us to check out a different environment than we’ve seen elsewhere in the country. We hit the visitor center first, which is in a temporary building outside of the forest because the old building still needs repairs after Hurricane Maria came through. Benicio del Toro narrated the 18 minute video we watched. It was glorious.
Stepping back a minute, we drove in through the western part of the park and stopped at a few waterfalls, all of which were right along the road and frankly weren’t all that impressive relative to what we’d seen elsewhere on the island. We found a small grocery store on the way in and picked up Lunchables, so the kids were plenty satisfied.
After we visited the aforementioned visitor center, we drove into the eastern part of the park where all the other tourists were. First, we stopped at a waterfall that had tons of people at it, so we didn’t stay all that long. Second, we climbed up a watchtower that was built in the 1960s, so while it wasn’t particularly old compared with other things we’d seen, it was still cool to look out over the island.
Other than that, we didn’t do all that much in the park. There were more hiking trails to visit, but as it was our last day on the island, we weren’t in the mood for a 1.5 hr hike up a mountain. It was cool, but we figure we probably would have done more in the rainforest had we visited it sooner. Next time, maybe!
We drove another 30 minutes or so to our last Airbnb of the trip, dropped off our stuff, then headed off to a nice seafood restaurant within walking distance. The night was beautiful, we were seated next to the ocean, and we got to watch the sunset from the boardwalk. You couldn’t ask for a better evening!
The next day, we picked up pancakes a mile or so away from where we needed to drop off the rental car, took the shuttle to the airport, and waited for the plane to get there! We had 6 hrs of flights that day that the kids handled as well as they did the first day. Returning to St. Louis, we found ourselves in a hailstorm, so that was fun…
It was a great vacation! We’d definitely go back, but will probably wait a few years to check a few more boxes off the vacation list!