20 Animals That Are Only Found In The Philippines Discovering El Yunque Rain Forest

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Discovering El Yunque Rain Forest

Just 40 kilometers northeast of San Juan lies a large piece of paradise known as El Yunque National Forest. Located in the eastern region of Puerto Rico, this natural reserve covers 28,000 hectares of tropical forest and surrounds the provinces of Canóvanas, Las Piedras, Luquillo, Fajardo, Ceiba, Naguabo, and Rio Grande.

El Yunque plays host to an abundant and diverse area of ​​flora and fauna. About 240 species of native trees (23 of which are limited to El Yunque), 50 species of orchids, 150 species of ferns, 68 species of birds including the endangered Puerto Rican parrot, such as 11 bats, and eight types of lizards. The rainforest is also home to the little coqui frog, a singing tree frog that is native to the area. The frog population in El Yunque is one of the densest in the world. There are a few species of snakes in the area but it is very rare to find one. As a natural reserve, El Yunque is a protected area and hunting is prohibited.

El Yunque is named after the Yuquiyu Indian spirit which means Forest of Clouds. As the old story goes, Yuquiyu resides on the highest mountain of forest and protection for all of Puerto Rico and its people. Living up to the gentle nature of its guardian spirit, the El Yunque Rain Forest also features a cool, natural climate and unspoiled atmosphere.

It may be quiet in El Yunque but it is still very cold. This rainforest receives the highest amount of precipitation of all the rainforests in the country with up to 240 inches per year, which is over 100 billion gallons of rainwater. Rain showers only occur in short periods though and there are plenty of shelters available so there’s no need to worry about getting completely wet during a nature walk.

The National Forest is divided into four according to the types of trees that grow in each area. The four different forests in El Yunque are Tabonuco Forest, Palo Colorado Forest, Bosque En Las Nube (Forest in the Clouds), and Palma Sierra Forest. The Tabonuco forest can be found at altitudes of up to 2,000 feet. It is named after one of the most abundant trees, Tabonuco, although other species such as Yagrumo, Guaraguao, Laurel Sabino, and many large ferns can also be found there. The trees in Tabonuco Forest can grow up to 115-1125 feet tall.

The Palo Colorado Forest is located at high altitude at 1,970-2,950 feet. Caimitillo, Caimitillo Verde, and Palo Colorado are the most abundant tree species here. The Sierra Palm tree on the other hand is dominated by the Sierra Palm species. This forest is usually found at altitudes above 1,958 feet. Located on the highest mountain slopes is the appropriate name Bosque En Las Nube or Forest in the Clouds. At an altitude of 2,500 feet, this forest experiences strong winds and a lot of water. The common tree species here, Némoco, Roble de Sierra, Limoncillo Guayabota, and Camasey, do not normally grow taller than twelve feet.

You don’t have to go on a long hike to enjoy the great views of El Yunque. A beautiful waterfall can be visited less than a mile down the paved trails of the forest. A good elevation that allows for a panoramic view of the landscape can also be reached with a few minutes’ walk. You also don’t have to worry about dangerous animals hiding behind the green foliage. The biggest dangers will be the nasty mosquitoes and slippery rocks so at least bring mosquito repellant and wear shoes with good traction.

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