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Reservations no longer needed to visit El Yunque rainforest

Starting Aug. 23, visitors to El Yunque National Rainforest will no longer need a reservation to visit the main recreational facilities of the iconic site in Río Grande.

“There’s no one happier than me that the reservation system is suspended. This system helped us open El Yunque during the pandemic and later helped us manage traffic congestion due to complex roadwork. We’ve always tried to manage traffic congestion in this part of El Yunque, and it has been a problem for 80 years,” forest Supervisor Keenan Adams said.

The elimination of the reservation system is the result of a memorandum of understanding between the federal government that runs the facility and the Puerto Rico Department of Public Safety, which will assign police officers to manage vehicular traffic and illegal parking along the PR-191 north corridor, officials said.

PR-191 is the route leading to the rainforest’s most attractive tourist points such as the La Coca waterfall, the Yokahú Tower, the Mt. Britton trail and tower, the Juan Diego ravine and the La Mina trail.

“The federal government is prevented from using the funds allocated to manage traffic on a state highway,” Adams explained.

The Puerto Rico Police will provide three officers to manage traffic on the state road and address illegal parking along PR-191. The entrance for visitors to the recreational corridor will operate on a first-come, first-served basis daily, starting at 8 a.m. Once the capacity of 200 cars has been reached, the gate will shut. It will only reopen to let in 20 vehicles after 20 have exited.

Visitors will be able to remain in the area until 5 p.m., when operations in the recreational corridor end. Meanwhile, hikers and tour guides will continue to operate under the commercial permit system, and school trips or educational groups must continue to prearrange their visits through a special permit.

The public will also no longer have to pay the $2 fee that the Recreation.gov reservation platform required for ticket processing, and whose proceeds were not destined for El Yunque.

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This story was written by our staff based on a press release.

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