20 Jan Puerto Rico Adventure: Waterfall Rappelling, River Hiking and Zip Lining
We were in Puerto Rico and only had one full day free. An adventure was necessary, but we were having trouble narrowing down our options. After much deliberation, a trek through the rainforest landed at the top of our list. But, this wasn’t just any trek. We were about to be climbing upriver over rocks and through waterfalls, zip lining through the trees and rappelling down an 80 ft waterfall, and we couldn’t wait.
We opted for the full day El Salto Tour with Rocaliza Adventure Tours, and the morning started with a hotel pick up and a bit of chit-chat with our guides, Mike and Ely. Once we picked up our tour companions, we had a 40 minute drive south towards the rainforest just outside of Caguas. After twisting and turning along the roads through the hills, we arrived at our base camp for the day.
Our hike began with us heading straight up a steep road. Just as our legs were really starting to feel the burn, we made it to the river, aka where the real fun was about to begin!
The initial step into the water was a jolt of refreshing coldness. After a few quick photos, we were on our way upriver.
We were led upstream through the river and over boulders as we tried our hardest to stay standing on slippery rocks. I only fell once, but thankfully this time it was just a slip into a deeper pool of water with no injuries to report!
For the next hour or so, we climbed up ropes, waded through water, scaled small waterfalls and stopped for photo breaks along the way. Hiking up the river was one of the most fun hikes we’ve done in a while–we had so much fun slipping and sliding our way towards the next obstacle we were about to encounter: rappelling down an 80 ft waterfall.
Once we could go no further up river, we made our way to a muddy path that led us to the El Salto waterfall. We received a lesson and refresher course in rappelling, and got ready to head over the side of the cliff. One by one we hooked up into the harness and descended the 80 ft waterfall into the canyon below.
From the top of the waterfall, you couldn’t really see into the canyon; however, the views were absolutely spectacular once you were about 10 ft down.
I love rappelling, and I think this was one of my favorite rappels to date. The first third of the drop is against a rocky cliff, but the remaining portion has you turn around to descend directly down the waterfall.
It was so refreshing, gorgeous and exhilarating–I didn’t want the rappel to end. But, the pile of fresh fruit and stunning views that were waiting for me at the bottom were more than enough to keep me satisfied.
Next up was another short hike as we made our way towards the zip lines. We reached the first platform and received gloves to use as a break just in case we needed to slow down. Then it was time for us to fly through the trees of the rainforest.
The views continued to be incredible and we cheered with excitement as we went soaring down the lines one by one. There were 5 zip lines in total, and we excitedly flew through the canopies as we zigzagged our way down the mountain back towards our van.
Even though we had plenty of time to play in the rainforest, we were sad to see the day was about to end. But, thankfully we had one more activity on the agenda for the afternoon. It was time for lunch!
Once we arrived back at the van, we changed into our dry clothes and walked across the street to “grandma’s house” to fill our bellies. Lunch was served on the back patio of a local’s house, and once again, the views overlooking the hills were amazing.
We dined on tree chicken, rice and beans, as well as flan for dessert. The food was delicious, and it was fun to get a taste of a real Puerto Rican meal. Coke and water were included refreshments, and a variety of alcoholic drinks were offered for sale, as well.
All too soon we were on our way back to San Juan. With full stomachs and tired bodies, we had trouble staying awake on the drive home!
We are so glad that we decided to head out on this adventure–it was a highlight of our trip and we really enjoyed getting out of the city to explore on a unique hiking adventure. Our only regret was that we didn’t bring our nicer camera along for the ride! It got pretty dark under the trees, so our GoPro didn’t always have enough light to capture the shots properly. Oh well, there’s always next time!
- The full day El Salto Tour costs $135 per person.
- It’s best to wear quick dry clothing and either old tennis shoes or closed toe hiking sandals with a good grip as the trail can get slippery.
- Bring along a change of clothes so you can drive home warm and cozy.
- Also bring a waterproof camera or phone if you can–there are so many opportunities for great photos!