El Portal Visitors Center Aspiring rainforest explorers should make this sprawling visitors center their first stop. Built in 1996, El Portal is an intelligently landscaped center that offers reams of information about both El Yunque and tropical rainforests in general. The facility has interactive exhibits, a short overview film (in English and Spanish), a walkway through the forest canopy and a gift shop. You also can pick up free basic maps and information on the forest. If you don’t feel like paying the admission fee or want to avoid crowds on weekends, head to the Palo Colorado info center further up the mountain, where you can pick up brochures and basic maps for no charge.
Palo Colorado Information Center It’s worth enduring the switchbacks and steep road to get to this info center, which is the starting point for short and spectacular hiking trails. The picnic area – which includes a series of sheltered concrete platforms hidden in the jungle, overlooking a ravine of rushing water – is hard to match anywhere on the island. The staff here offers first-aid service and free trail maps. There’s also a small gift shop selling knick-knacks, postcards and snacks. Look for the restrooms near the parking lot.