When in Puerto Rico, a visit to El Yunque National Forest is a must, especially for nature enthusiasts, families, or anyone that appreciates natural wonders. The La Mina Falls trail is one of the forest’s shortest hikes, but it’s quite possibly the one with the biggest payoff at your destination.
As you reach the trail head, take a moment to take bask in the light peaking through the trees. Starting your hike off so early in the morning means it’s unlikely that other visitors will join you at this popular Puerto Rico destination. You listen to sound of rushing water in the distance before stepping onto the clearly marked trail. The path can be narrow at times, so be sure to carefully watch your movements as you descend further into the lush forest. The paved path turns into moss-covered steps and you hear the waterfall roar even louder. When you reach the falls, a rocky shore, which is actually the easiest way to enter the falls if you plan on swimming, greets you. A small, cerulean pool sparkles below the falls, urging you to dip your foot in. The water is quite chilly, but you wade in closer to the cascading falls, knowing that this is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. After swimming for some time, you notice a small stairway built off of a foot bridge to the left of the pool and head toward it. There are a few large rocks and unexpected drops in the pool that make you glad you’re wearing water shoes. Once on the foot bridge, take in the beauty of the La Mina Falls once last time before starting your ascent back up to the trail head.
Your journey back feels like walking up a staircase as you gently place your foot on each paved step. After a half mile, you come across the trail’s last shelter area, complete with picnic tables and benches. The perfect place to relax, you place your backpack on an empty, wooden picnic table and take out your lunch. The large leaves of nearby trees shade you from the rising sun’s rays. You listen as a gentle breeze makes it’s way through the forest’s greenery, and you wonder why you ever have to leave.
As one of Puerto Rico’s natural wonders, La Mina Falls in El Yunque National Forest is a must-see for visitors of all ages. Although it’s a fairly short hike, it’s one well worth the effort, especially if your vacation goals are priceless memories and family time.