While visiting El Yunque National Forest you should be sure to visit the Palo Colorado Recreation Area. This area is home to more things to do than any other area in El Yunque. Palo Colorado acts as the hub to multiple trailheads, picnic areas, restrooms, lots of parking, a visitor center with guided tours available, rivers, waterfalls, and historic pools.
Check out our map below for a detailed GPS location of the Palo Colorado Recreation Area. In addition to the Recreation Area we have the trailheads, parking, and other points of interest marked. In addition to the map we have pictures that should give you a good idea of the Palo Colorado Recreation Area layout.
Parking is plentiful and available to both the south and the north of the Visitor Center. Parking on the north side will put you right next to the visitor center and the restrooms. The parking lot on the south side offers more spaces and a sunnier area.
A short walk down from the parking lots you will find the Palo Colorado Picnic Areas. They are extremely well built and make for good shelters from the weather. The structures themselves are made from concrete with wood and metal roofs. Inside the structures you will find both picnic tables and grills. In addition, there are trash cans at each location to make it easy to clean up after your visit.
If hiking and exploring is more of your thing then you can head out on one of the many trails that originate from the Palo Colorado Recreation Area. Down by the picnic areas is where you will find the La Mina Trail that leads down to La Mina Waterfall. Across from the parking areas on the opposite side of PR 191 you will find the El Yunque Trail which connects to both the Caimitillo Trail and Bano de Oro Trail. In addition you will find the Bano Grande Pool at the location of the El Yunque Trailhead.
In addition to all the self guided options at Polo Colorado you can go to the Visitor Center which is located between the two parking lots. The Visitor Center has the option of guided tours as well as information on the El Yunque National Forest.
*A note from the National Forest Website is that you should close windows, lock doors, and place valuables in your trunk.