Hiking Puerto Rico's El Yunque National Forest photo by  Andrea Guthmann

Hiking Puerto Rico’s El Yunque National Forest
photo by Andrea Guthmann

Being city dwellers, my family and I love taking it outside on vacation. During our vacation to Puerto Rico, we couldn’t pass up the chance to enjoy the USA’s only subtropical national rainforest, El Yunque, just a half hour drive from the San Juan International Airport.

Plenty of visitors enjoy the waterfalls at El Yunque. photo by Andrea Guthmann

Plenty of visitors enjoy the waterfalls at El Yunque.
photo by Andrea Guthman

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El Yunque has well marked and paved trails, making a family hike easy. This is the place to live out your tropical rainforest fantasy, as you hike past waterfalls and swim in lush lagoons. Be forewarned though, you will not be alone. El Yunque is not an undiscovered treasure. When we visited on a Sunday, we were joined by crowds of nature lovers.

As much as I love the natural beauty of hiking through the forest, my teenage sons enjoy a little excitement. I got to release my inner Tarzan as I went flying through the forest at the JungleQui Rainforest Eco Adventure Park.

Seven zip lines are built throughout what once was a YMCA overnight camp. For $90 you get 1.5 hours of zip lining, then you get to grab an inner tube and relax in the park’s swimmable lagoons. My teenage sons would disagree, but I say the lagoons were as much fun as the zip lines!

Swimmable lagoons at JungleQui Eco Adventure Park photo by Andrea Guthmann

Swimmable lagoons at JungleQui Eco Adventure Park
photo by Andrea Guthmann

Luquillo Beach, Puerto Rico by Andrea Guthmann

Luquillo Beach, Puerto Rico
by Andrea Guthmann

The El Yunque area of Puerto Rico also has its share of postcard-perfect beaches. The nearby Luquillo Beach is a palm tree lined paradise with powdery sand and calm waters.

Happy trails at Hacienda Carabali Rainforest Park photo by Andrea Guthmann

Happy trails at Hacienda Carabali Rainforest Park
photo by Andrea Guthmann

Having kids that range in age from 5 to 15, sometimes it’s tough to find activities everyone can enjoy. Although my 5-year-old could have spent days playing in the sand, my sons need more adventure. So we had another high-adrenaline adventure at Carabali Rainforest Park. Easy horseback riding, meant happy trails for my daughter and me.

This is how we roll! ATV'ing at Hacienda Carabali Rainforest Park. photo by Andrea Guthmann

This is how we roll! ATV’ing at Hacienda Carabali Rainforest Park.
photo by Andrea Guthmann

My husband and sons got to have a more extreme adventure- riding ATV’s through the forest.

Rainforest & Ocean View Inn at Hacienda Carabali, Luquillo, Puerto Rico photo by Andrea Guthmann

Rainforest & Ocean View Inn at Hacienda Carabali, Luquillo, Puerto Rico
photo by Andrea Guthmann

Just up the hill from Carabali Rainforest Park is the Rainforest & Oceanview Inn. This small lodge was a wonderful home during our time exploring El Yunque.

The rooms in this hilltop jungle lodge aren’t high-end luxury, but you will find million dollar views.

Rainforest & Ocean Vieww Inn at Hacienda Carabali, Luquillo, Puerto Rico photo by Andrea Guthmann

Rainforest & Ocean View Inn at Hacienda Carabali, Luquillo, Puerto Rico
photo by Andrea Guthmann

You can choose either the jungle view or ocean view. I could have spent my entire vacation sitting on the balcony with a book. Of course my 5 year-old preferred hanging out at the pool. That was okay, since the view there was just as good. And since they didn’t have many guests, we pretty much had the pool to ourselves.

Rainforest & Ocean View Inn at Hacienda Carabali, Luquillo Beach, Puerto Rico photo by Andrea Guthmann

Rainforest & Ocean View Inn at Hacienda Carabali, Luquillo Beach, Puerto Rico
photo by Andrea Guthmann

It felt like our own private villa!

Rainforest & Oceanview Inn has invested heavily in its restaurant. There’s a hip vibe inside with its contemporary furnishings, while the outdoor patio, with its breathtaking views feels just as unique. Order lunch or dinner, or just a pina colada, and drink in the scenery. Cheers! While we visited, a talented acoustic guitarist serenaded guests in Spanish and English. Que bueno!