Sometimes, those things that aren’t advertised are the best. When you visit El Yunque National Forest in Puerto Rico, you’ll definitely know about La Mina Falls and La Coca Falls. They’re very clearly marked on the maps, and La Coca Falls is almost impossible to miss. On the other hand, somebody made the executive decision to NOT include Juan Diego Falls on that map…and waterfall lovers are better off for that :).
I found out about Juan Diego Falls from a blog/website, Puerto Rico Day Trips, an invaluable resource for anyone visiting Puerto Rico. From their description, I thought that getting to the falls would be complicated or difficult…and it sort of was, but not as hard as I had EXPECTED. Around km 9.5 along Rte. 191, you’ll come along a few “parking areas” along the side of the road. They’re not very big. There, you may notice a sign about Juan Diego. This is not the area of interest. Head about 25 feet to your left to a larger, wider “waterfall”, though this is not Juan Diego Falls.
On the right side of this, you’ll see a trail. Start heading up that trail. In a very short distance, you’ll come to the lower part of Juan Diego Falls, which is about 15 feet high. From there, you’ll be able to see the much larger upper part just a short distance away. I noticed there was a worn path leading up the RIGHT side of the waterfall. It seems pretty steep, but it’s not too bad. It is slippery, though, so wear appropriate shoes. From there, you’ll have to do a little bit of leg work to get closer to your destination. After you’ve gone UP a ways, pay attention for the path that leads DOWN to the falls. It’s not very obvious, but if you look, you’ll find it. It’s not really a dangerous path, but be careful. With some effort, you’ll end up at Juan Diego Falls, a truly beautiful waterfall that is surprisingly secluded.
- Head into El Yunque National Forest on Rte 191 (which is not very obvious from Rte 3).
- At about km 9.5, you’ll find turnoffs on the side of the road. From there, you’ll have to walk along the road a short distance to get to the trail described above.
Accessibility: 4/10 (moderate/strenuous)
Length of Hike: 0.1 miles round-trip
Where in the World is Juan Diego Falls?