Covering 7000 acres and protecting Puerto Rico’s highest peaks, the Toro Negro Reserve provides a quieter, less-developed alternative to El Yunque. Bisected by some of the steepest, windiest parts of the Ruta Panorámica (Hwy 143 here), the area is often shrouded in mist and blanketed by dense jungle foliage. This is where you come to truly escape the tourist hotspots, but don’t expect El Yunque’s polish. Toro Negro’s facilities – which comprise a campground, a few trails and a recreation area as deserted as the Mary Celeste – are spartan and sporadically staffed, and signage is rough.
Properly prepared, you can carve out memorable DIY adventures here on some of Puerto Rico's most intoxicating hikes. This appeal is augmented as the forest has on its western flank one of the island's most interesting coffee haciendas.
Cerro de Punta, at 4389ft, is the tallest point in the reserve and Puerto Rico’s highest summit.