Waterfalls in Puerto Rico – Explore Hidden Paradise


It is so true what they say, there is nothing like a great waterfall, and one destination with plenty of them is Puerto Rico! I think this country has so much to offer, from its festivals to its scenic hiking trails, but my ultimate is the beautiful waterfalls in Puerto Rico.

Falls and pool below La Mina Falls in the El Yunque rain forest in the Caribbean National Forest, Puerto Rico

It’s the best feeling when walking through what feels like an ancient rainforest, hearing the rushing water as you get closer, then suddenly spotting a magical waterfall through the trees.

There are so many natural pools and beautiful waterfalls in Puerto Rico that are perfect for cooling off in the tropical heat.

And now, I want to share 10 of the best waterfalls in Puerto Rico so that you, too, can share this magical experience.

Breathtaking Waterfalls In Puerto Rico

Puerto Rico, El Yunque National Forest, lush vegetation and waterfall

What I’ve learned from visiting Puerto Rico and searching for waterfalls – Always be prepared with the correct clothing and footwear! This would include bringing a pair of water shoes along to avoid any slipping in the natural pools.

Wear a good pair of hiking shoes. So many of the most impressive waterfalls are at the very end of muddy hiking trails. Often these are the best and won’t be crowded.

I would encourage you to carry a few extra dollars, just in case there are unexpected parking fees, or if you stop somewhere and only cash is accepted.

Don’t forget snacks and your water to keep you hydrated.

And avoid waterfalls if there’s already rain in the area or it’s on the way. These areas can become very dangerous.

1. Catarata La Coca Falls, El Yunque

El Yunque National Forest, tree fern and waterfall, tropical rainforest

La Coca Falls is in the El Yunque National Forest, just off Road PR-191. It is by far the easiest to get to. Parking is available right there, so there’s no hiking involved, and it is not far from the main entry point of the National Park.

Catarata La Coca is a majestic 26m (85ft) waterfall surrounded by stunning rainforest.

Water cascades down the smooth rock surface and comes crashing onto the boulders at the bottom. The rocks here are slippery, and it’s not ideal for swimming, but it is a perfect spot to stop and take pictures.

My advice would be to get here early to capture the beauty while there are fewer tourists around.


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2. Juan Diego Falls, El Yunque

Juan Diego Falls El Yunque Rain Forest Puerto Rico

Juan Diego Falls is literally about a minute drive from La Coca Falls and is also located in the El Yunque National Forest. A very easily missed trail leads you to a pair of the most beautiful, secluded waterfalls. In my opinion, this is a hidden gem. There isn’t much info out there, and there doesn’t seem to be many tours to this particular waterfall, which is lovely because you practically get it all to yourself.

There are marked parking areas right near the entrance, along the road. Try arriving early, and you’ll have no problem finding parking; otherwise, you might have to keep driving further up the road. There is designated parking every few kilometers.

The entrance to Juan Diego Falls is labeled Juan Diego Creek, and the creek is visible from the road.
Follow the path to the first of the two waterfalls. There are a few steps to climb, and it only takes a few minutes to arrive at the first waterfall. This lower waterfall has a natural pool and is about 4.5m (15ft) high.

If you continue on to the second waterfall, which should only take around 15-20mins, be careful as it gets very steep and muddy and can get quite dangerous. So make sure you stay on the trail, and you’ll soon reach the 12m (40ft) waterfall. This part of the trail might not be safe enough for kids or beginners.

There is a lovely swimming area, so be sure to sit under the falls.

Don’t forget your swimsuit and I would suggest wearing water shoes because the rocks in the pools are very slippery.


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3. La Mina Falls

Falls and pool below La Mina Falls

There’s nothing quite like taking a dip in refreshing (and by this, I mean COLD) clear rainforest water at the base of one of the beautiful waterfalls in Puerto Rico. La Mina Falls is a spectacular 10.6m (35ft) drop surrounded by a scenic pool and jungle.

It is the most popular in El Yunque National Forest and can get rather busy with families, tours, and groups.

La Mina Falls can be reached by either Big Tree Trail or La Mina Trail.

The Two Trails

La Mina Trail

First, I want to discuss the La Mina trail, which is the shorter of the two trails (0.7 miles) and seems to be the most popular. The La Mina trail starts directly behind the Palo Colorado visitors center at KM 12 on Road 191. The route takes you through the most beautiful flowers and lush tropical trees, following the river and leads you to the falls.

It’s not the easiest trail; it’s pretty steep and narrow and takes around half an hour to climb down. There are concrete stairs, so the hike back up can be quite tough and take a little longer, depending on how well you climb the stairs.

There are picnic shelters with tables along the way, which are usually available. But tend to be popular with the locals over the weekends and Summer holidays.

Big Tree Trail

Big Tree Trail

Big Tree Trail is a little longer. It’ll take around 45 minutes to go down. Though, it is an easier, more gradual trail and isn’t as steep.

Both trails are beautiful and well worth the hike. I highly recommend taking the time to go along both while you marvel at the natural beauty.


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4. Doña Juana Waterfall

Another waterfall in Puerto Rico that’s on my list as a “Must See” is Doña Juana Waterfall. This picturesque waterfall is commonly known by locals as Chorro / Salto / Cascada. Made up of a series of three waterfalls, together, they total around 30m (100ft) in height.

Located near Villalba, in Orocovis, in Puerto Rico’s Central Mountain Range, along Route 149, this tranquil destination is like no other. And the bonus is that there’s no hiking involved. We could park and walk right up to the falls.

The natural pool at the waterfall base is great for swimming, but be warned; it’s one of the coldest waterfall pools in Puerto Rico.

Even though it’s located right by the road, it’s not a very busy waterfall.

Something to keep in mind is that it’s not a developed tourist attraction, so there are no toilets or anything.

5. La Canoa Falls

It’s hard to imagine that there are so many waterfalls to visit in Puerto Rico, and most visitors will only get to see the North Side of El Yunque, but on the South Side, there’s Rio Blanco, where there are some real hidden gems.

One exciting area that needs to be explored is the El Hippie pool, where you’ll find caves and pre-Columbian petroglyphs.

Above El Hippie pool is where you’ll find La Canoa Falls. A 21.3m (70ft) drop down a narrow gorge between massive rocks. I discovered that the river and waterfall are part of the only subtropical forest in the US Forest System.

This area can be quite challenging on your own, so I would suggest having a local tour guide with you.

There are some lovely natural water slides here too. This is one of my favorite Puerto Rico Waterfalls. But I wouldn’t suggest taking small children with you.


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6. Salto Collazo

Beautiful Gozalandia Waterfall in San Sebastian Puerto Rico at daylight

Located in the Central/West Region in San Sebastian, Salto Collazo is another magnificent waterfall. It’s super easy to find, and it’s on the main road, along a bridge, as you drive East out of town. You can not miss it! It is beautiful.

The waterfall is about 9m (30ft) high on one side of the bridge and drops into a lovely pool at the bottom. Perfect for a swim. There are rocks by the falls, which is a lovely area to picnic, but it is close to the road.

I was told that this fall is not much to look at when there hasn’t been much rain, so it’s best to visit after it has rained to get the best flow.

Take a peek over on the other side of the bridge; there’s a beautiful 30m (100ft) waterfall. Stick to taking in the beauty from above, as this one is not easy to get to.

7. Gozalandia Falls, San Sebastian

Located on the Western side of Puerto Rico, in San Sebastian, is Gozalandia Falls. This 15m (50ft) high, 9m (30ft) wide waterfall draws crowds all summer, so arrive early, as it has ideal swimming areas for the whole family to enjoy.

It’s a short walk along a paved trail and down some steep stairs that lead straight to the falls, but it’s not too challenging.

Path Leading to water fall in Gozalandia San sebastian, Puerto rico

Our efforts resulted in a magnificent waterfall, with a few smaller ones. We were spoilt for choice with the natural pools and submerged cave used for swimming.

If you’re feeling brave enough to join the adrenaline junkies, there’s a cliff jump point – about a 9m (30ft) fall, which the locals love.

Continue further along to the upper falls, where there’s a smaller waterfall with a rope swing and more natural pools.

Although it’s so popular, it’s not that easy to find. There is no signage for Gozalandia Falls on the Highway, so we had to rely on Google Maps to get us there.


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8. La Niebla Waterfall

Next one my list is La Niebla Waterfall, located in the San Cristóbal Canyon, Barranquitas. The San Cristóbal Canyon was listed as one of the Top 10 Natural Wonders of Puerto Rico and is about an hour’s drive from San Juan to Aibonito.

La Niebla Waterfall is the tallest and prettiest of the Puerto Rico waterfalls, cascading down the side of the canyon, with a height of around 92m (300ft).

 

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It is most certainly not the easiest place to find, but it is well worth the effort once there. It is challenging, slippery, and very steep in places, so I would recommend taking a local tour guide because it’s not a hike you can do on your own. It can be quite physically demanding, and I would say that it’s not a trip suitable for young kids.

The hike itself is about 6.5km (4 miles) from end-to-end, and expect to be hiking for a good 4-5 hours. The trail is all well marked, but it isn’t well maintained. There are many fire ants along the way, so be sure to wear long pants and a good pair of shoes!

The pool at the base of the falls is cool. But warmer than the rivers in El Yunque National Forest.

9. Salto Curet

Another great example of an off-the-beaten-track waterfall is Salto Curet in Maricao. Maricao is a small town known as “Town of the Indian Villages,” located in the Western Central Mountains.
A short but challenging hike upstream is necessary once you’ve driven about half an hour along a twisty mountain road to get to the falls. To get here, it’s best to go with a 4×4 to avoid getting stuck in the mud after it has rained.

The landscape is beautiful and unspoiled. If it has been raining, expect the waterfall to be gushing muddy orange water, so not ideal for swimming. Otherwise, it’s usually quite clear and not deep.
The waterfall is about 12m (40ft) tall, with another two sets of falls above that, making it around 30.5m (100ft) in total.

I wouldn’t recommend this attraction for young kids. And before making your way to Selto Curet, consider whether or not you’re physically fit enough to take on the challenge.

10. Las Delicias Falls

This slice of heaven is a popular waterfall. Located in the Bosque Estatal de Tres Picachos in Ciales. In the Central part of the island, about an hour’s drive from Ponce or an hour and a half from San Juan.

Las Delicias is magical and can be seen from the road. The water is crystal clear, rather cold but not very deep, making it a perfect spot for a dip with the family.

Climbing over a few rocks is required to get to the main waterfall, but it’s mesmerizing. The sound of water cascading down curved rocks, all covered in plants and moss, give off such a refreshing feel.

It is a superb location for photos.

Best Time To Visit Puerto Rico

As Puerto Rico is a tropical destination, it’s warm all year round. The rainy season lasts all summer. So the most popular time for tourists is from December to April. This time of year, the temperatures are still enjoyable with the least rain. The downside to this is that it gets very crowded.

It might be worth visiting just before or just after the busy season.


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Final Thoughts

So there you have it, 10 Waterfalls in Puerto Rico you must visit. For such a small island, there is still so much more natural beauty to discover.

Now, it’s your turn, comment below and let us know which waterfalls you have been too, and your favourite ones both in Puerto Rico and worldwide.

Thank you for reading!

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