Caribbean National Forest

El Portal Visitor Center

Welcome to El Portal Rain Forest Center: A Gateway to Your Tropical Rain Forest

Your entry ticket enables you to return to the center at any time between the hours of 9:00 am to 4:30 pm during the day of purchase.

As you approach the Center complex you will see El Portalito, a small open building with the forest?s Parrot symbol on it. It has a map of the forest on the inner wall for your convenience, and is the entrance to the elevated walkway which transports you across the forest canopy at treetop level, sixty feet above the ground to El Portal, the Rain Forest Center. Along the walkway you will discover signs which describe what you are viewing.

You will experience the sights and sounds of birds and other forest animals as you stroll toward the Center. Below the walkway at ground level there is a short interpretive nature trail where you can explore the under story of the canopy and get some spectacular views of the lower forest and the coastal plain.

The Rain Forest Center?s building complex was designed to blend into the surrounding forest. The soaring tree canopy and winding rivers of the forest are constantly repeated in the overall architectural theme. Construction of the Center was begun in 1994 and it was opened to the public in June 1996.

You will see a visitor orientation area just inside the Center. It is staffed by knowledgeable U.S. Forest Service personnel who will help you plan your day in the forest by providing you with information about trails and other interesting attractions, free maps and brochures. On the main level of the Center you can view displays describing the El Yunque National Forest?s history, topography and its flora and fauna. Rest-rooms and public telephones are located at the rear of this level.

The Theater
An air-conditioned 102 seat theater is located at the rear of the main level between the stairways to the upper level. You can watch a short film about the wonders of the El Yunque National Forest. The film also describes some of our ongoing archeological, wildlife conservation and recreation projects and programs. It is shown every 15 minutes alternating between Spanish and English narration.

Exhibits
Two stairways and an accessible ramp for the physically impaired lead you to the upper or ?Pavilion? level of the Center. You can stroll through three separate theme pavilions: ?Understanding the Forest?, ?Connections? and ?Managing for the Future? that are arranged around a central plaza.

The ?Understanding the Forest? pavilion has a large selection of ?hands-on? displays that will help you understand the flora and fauna of the rain forest. It will prepare you for your visit to the many trails and interpretive sites in the forest, and if you have any students in your family who are studying tropical forest ecosystems, they can take notes and photos to help with their reports!

The ?Connections? pavilion contains fascinating displays which describe connections between our everyday lives and the world?s rain forests.
You can view interesting displays that show connections such as how raw materials from the forest are used to produce commonly used household items and how ongoing research is performed on tropical plants to find and develop new medicines and commercial products.

The ?Managing for the Future? pavilion includes displays that show how rain forests worldwide are currently being destroyed, but more importantly you can observe how modern methods of conservation management must be implemented to save these irreplaceable resources.

On the benches surrounding the pavilions you can enjoy views of the surrounding forest, while you relax and plan the rest of your day in the El Yunque National Forest.

You can visit the El Portal Rain Forest Center from 9:00 am to 4:30 pm every day of the year except Christmas Day when we are closed.

El Portal's Book Store
We encourage you to visit the book store and gift shop on the main floor. You can find a great selection of books, local arts and crafts, videos, educational items and souvenirs appealing to adults and children.

Evening Rental of El Portal Rain Forest Center Facilities
The El Portal Rain Forest Center?s world-class facilities are now available for rental to the general public for evening events. You can rent El Portal?s facilities any day of the week from 5:00 PM to 12:00 AM. El Portal offers the superb nighttime ambiance of the rain forest which makes it an ideal location for a wedding, a theme party or an exciting corporate activity. El Portal's 102 seat theater is also available for evening lectures, meetings or other types of events.

If you are looking for a unique location to host an evening activity, El Portal is the best alternative! For more information about rental opportunities please contact José Ortega at (787) 888-5613, Fax: 787-888-5622 or send him an e-mail message. CLICK HERE to download and print out an El Portal Special Event Request Proposal.

Directions

As you enter the El Yunque National Forest at Km 4.0, PR 191, you will see the main entrance to the El Portal Rain Forest Center. The entrance road will lead you to a booth where the attendant will tell you about the Center and ask you to pay an entry fee of $3.00 for adults and $1.50 for senior citizens age 65 and over. Children age 15 and under and education groups will not be asked to pay an entrance fee. The attendant will give you directions on how to find convenient parking and directions to the center from the parking area.