Today we went to El Yunque, a national forest and one of Puerto Rico’s most famous and visited site. It is a “cloud forest.” I put cloud forest in quotes because I find the title quite dubious. Sometimes I think that the term cloud forest ecosystem was invented by Costa Ricans trying to entice tourists to travel to their country. It is supposed to conjure up thoughts of lush green forests, shrouded in mist, and brightly colored tree frogs hopping on to your shoulders and croaking sub-tropical lullabies into your ears. But really, any rain forest in the mountains or that gets foggy seems to be called a cloud forest.
Maybe I am completely wrong and cloud forest is a bonafide ecological classification. Regardless, El Yunque is a tropical rain forest, and it is hilly and rises to a shrouded peak, so I can see why you would call it a cloud forest. It is lush and wet and green and covered in ferns and mosses and epiphytes. But the clouds make it difficult to take in the great views from the mountain. We also didn’t see any frogs, just some big snails. It is very peaceful and nice hiking though. The trails are inclined, but not too difficult.
After El Yunque we went to the northeastern tip of the island for nighttime kayaking in a bio-luminescent bay. I was expecting a turquoise glow, but they had a recent bio-die off and there has not been much luminescence. When we swooshed our hands through the water there were some sparkles, like little sparks being lit in the water. It was not what I expected, but still a nice little nighttime trip through the mangroves to the lagoon. While we didn’t see any frogs in the rain forest, we sure heard the famous coquí of Puerto Rico chirping while we were out on the water.
A parting question:
Anyone else into Calle 13? If not, I recommend looking up their music if you speak Spanish.