El Yunque National Forest, Puerto Rico
The only tropical rainforest on U.S. soil, El Yunque receives more than 1 billion gallons of rainfall annually. Visitors can choose from several hiking trails, some leading to natural wonders, or drive through by car. -- Photos by Justine Damiano
Street signs marking the way from Old San Juan east to El Yunque National Forest.
The trail to La Mina Falls through the El Yunque National forest, the only tropical rainforest on U.S. soil.
The view from the observation tower at the El Yunque rainforest.
One of many scenic views at the El Yunque rainforest in Puerto Rico.
Flora in the El Yunque rainforest.
A thick canopy of palm trees overhead on the trail to La Mina Falls in the El Yunque rainforest.
A fallen leaf, measuring a foot in length, on the rainforest floor at El Yunque National Forest.
The trees in El Yunque National forest compensate for the nearly 2 billion gallons of annual rainfall by growing above-ground roots to better anchor themselves into the soggy soil.
Rainforest graffit at El Yunque National Forest.
A waterfall in the El Yunque rainforest in Puerto Rico.
Trees that look like they're on stilts are actually compensating for the more than 1 billion gallons of annual rainfall in the El Yunque rainforest by growing roots above the soil line that help them stay put in the soggy soil.
After hiking through the El Yunque rainforest, visitors relax with a dip in La Mina Falls.
La Mina Falls in the El Yunque rainforest.
Visitors climb to the La Mina waterfall at the end of one of the many hiking trails through the El Yunque rainforest.
The crescent-shaped Luquillo Beach, reputedly the most scenic on Puerto Rico, is a popular stop en route to or from El Yunque.
The food counter at the public Luqillo Beach serves empanaditos, tacos and other deep-fried local favorites for $1 apiece.