Tinajas Puerto Rico

Rio Tinajas is more of a place that’s “off the beaten path” – located south of Fajardo – this is a fun time if you want to hike, explore, jump off ropes & waterfalls and slide down a natural water slide.  In terms of her enchanting nature, Puerto Rico…en realidadlo hace mejor. Puerto Rico does it better. Tinajas Puerto Rico is a perfect example of this. See, there are tons of places in Hawaii that have a place with a cool little waterfalls and a ropes where you can jump off of and get that “thrill!” However, hands down, Tinajas Puerto Rico tops that by far.

This enchanting jewel is located in the backyard of this really nice older man’s backyard. Don’t worry. You’re not trespassing. In fact he’s quite cheerful and allows you to park in his home. He usually charges about $2 to park, but the times we’ve gone we give him about $7-$10 to park. I’m sure it’s some sort of good karma to pay him extra since he’s asking for so little in return for sharing this marvelous place. So give him more. Best money you will spend in Puerto Rico.

Drive all the way till you see the gate and ask for him so you can park. Now bear in mind the gate may be locked and there may be no one in sight. I once went with my family when they came to visit me and I took them here. The gate was locked and for a second there I thought I had just driven all the way here for nothing. Sure enough, there are local kids who live next door who if you ask they can guide you or show you the falls. That’s what we did even though the gate was locked. If the gate is locked head down into the 1 foot river and head west along the river rocks and water. It’s a longer and more arduous hike – but not that difficult.

One note about parking if you don’t get in the gate. Park along the grass but make sure you don’t park along the road where there are No Parking signs or you may get a ticket of $75. This is a great place. Positive vibrations estan aqui. Good times are had here. This hike, drive, and adventure is worth it while exploring Puerto Rico. The hike is only about 10 minutes – not too much of a load to bring a cooler. Also, just make sure to clean whatever garbage you make and clean after yourself. Unfortunately, I do love Puerto Rico, but you may see some littered beer cans and other garbage here and there. Remember to leave only your footprints.

Once there, set your bags down and explore the place. If the water looks cold, go in anyways. If you don’t feel like jumping in, jump in. You will feel better. Have fun here, yet remember to be safe. Use your common sense and do what you feel comfortable doing. It’s not about getting hurt. It’s about having fun, enjoying life, and finding the hidden gems in our lives. This is one of them. If you’re lucky enough to have it to yourselves – wow. However, even if there’s too many people here – it’s still one of my favorite spots on the island. It’s a fun and “stupendous” way (as my niece Gaby would say) to spend a few hours in a natural playground.




What To Do:

1. Jump off rope 2. Water Rappel 3. Slide down Natural Waterslide 4. Jump Off Waterfall 5. Have a Beer

After you jump from the rope, it’s time to put on your hiking shoes and climb some rocks to get to do the other fun stuff. Hike past the ropes on the right side all the way up and past the rope that leads to the natural waterslide (and platform to jump the waterfall).

There may be a rope there to assist you up the rock, if not go past it and hike upwards and climb the rocks till you’re on top of the falls. Ask the locals if not. If you’re by yourself use caution and common sense and follow the water – and enjoy the slide!

Don’t worry it doesn’t hurt. In fact it’s a blast! Last but not least is to jump off the waterfall if you’re up for it. It’s high up there, but quite an adrenaline rush once you jump. We can’t state this enough, but don’t do anything you don’t feel like doing. If you’re more of a spectator – it’s still entertaining to just sit in the pool and watch everyone jumping. Be aware of the rains – flash flooding can happen after heavy rains and river levels can rise instantly so be on the lookout always!

The whole Rio Tinajas adventure should take you between 2-3 hours – depending on how long you want to stay. Head back to the car and try to hit the road once again by 1-2:30PM at the latest so you can rest assured you have plenty of time to check out the other stops on this Day 1 Adventure.


From Route #3 take the exit for PR-195 into Fajardo. Make a right before you see the Subway Restaurant and get onto PR-976 heading South. Follow this road all the way down till it turns into PR-971. Drive on PR-971 till you cross a small bridge over the river – turn right onto an unnamed road. Follow that road all the way till you get to the gate of the owner of the house. The closer to the gate you park, the less time your hike to Rio Tinajas is.

“Charco Frío”
Naguabo, 00718, Puerto Rico

“People say that we are all seeking is a meaning for life. I don’t think this is what we’re really seeking. I think we’re seeking is an experience of being alive!”

-Joseph Campbell, “The Power of Myth”



Pinones Puerto Rico

Driving into Pińones you are instantly transported back in time to another era – almost as if the days of an iPad, high-end technology, and our fast paced lives have yet to come into existence.  The arresting contrast of arriving here presents the abrupt transition of culture from San Juan. It´s the perfect getaway and if you´re traveling from other parts of the world you will know this is when you´ve arrived to travel in Puerto Rico.

The two worlds are linked by Punta Cangrejos (Crab Point) a small bridge on PR-187. Once you cross over this bridge, the tourist traps become a distant memory and you are now well on your way to exploring the best of this island.
As you drive along PR-187, this is when you’re more than likely to experience the feeling of finally being on vacation and free en La Isla De Encanto.pinones-puerto-rico-2

History of Pinones Puerto Rico

The history of this place is interesting in that it has an ongoing story till this day in Puerto Rican lore. The town of Loiza, and the community of Piñones, reflects the richness of the island’s Afro-Spanish culture and traditions, especially in the form of music, food and crafts. It is considered by many locals “the soul of the island” celebrating Puerto Rico’s traditional Afro-Caribbean community and culture.

It is the home to many modest families making a living selling typical local food from kiosks along the beach. Their traditions span back 400 years and beyond that to the time when the Spanish conquered the land and brought in the first roots of African people to the island.  Most of this fertile low-lying coastal region was farmed by local people in the late 16th century.


In the 1720’s however the Spanish finally inched their way to this part of the land (the Spanish were mostly concentrated in Old San Juan) and turned them into sugarcane plantations. Obviously this caused quite a stir with the natives, and many were captured and forced into labor.

Unable to keep many locals who fled into the mountains, Spanish plantation owners were forced to ship in African workers – and sometimes even stole people from neighboring islands as well. Most of the over 30,000 residents of this town today are direct descendants of these Yoruba slaves.

The town of Loiza is named after Luissa, a powerful Taíno chief who ruled the area before the Spanish conquest. What makes her remarkable is that there are only two known female caciques (chiefs) known in the Caribbean.

Today, the region is proud of its Afro-Caribbean heritage even though it’s trying to hold on to our modern world’s rapid changes. If you’ll notice the coastline of Old San Juan, Condado, Ocean Park, and Isla Verde have their high-rises literally right on the beach which erases the view of the ocean from the road. In Pińones, there is nothing but coastline to look at as you drive through. Absolutely beautiful and pristine nature here. However, development projects in today’s world have been trying to get their hands on this region for years even though the efforts have been thwarted. In Puerto Rico, as throughout the Americas, community and environmental well-being remain on the defensive.

Piñones is a place to enjoy today…to remind us of yesterday. Hopefully it remains as we see it today (2015), tomorrow.


Stop in Pińones and stop at whichever kiosk you like and order some great authentic local street food. The smells here are incredible. Between the smells of the food, the ocean breezes and salty air and the whole general ambiance – you cannot but help to feel great as you begin your day.
Grab your food and your drinks and head towards the 1st natural and beautiful scenic beach to enjoy the views and tastes of the beginning of your first adventure day in Puerto Rico! After this, hit the road and keep truckin’!


Monkey See, Monkey Do In Puerto Rico

So this article is a little homage to my experiences to my former job when I worked at Jungle Island in Miami, Florida where we had a ton of exotic animals as well crazy fun orangutans and various monkeys running around the place.  However, finding a place like that in Puerto Rico is next to impossible.  However, there’s a secret “real island” that’s pretty much unknown on the east coast of the island.  No, it is not Vieques or Culebra.  It’s a small island adjacent to Humacao called Cayo Santiago that makes for a perfect day trip to experience wild animals (monkeys) in their natural habitat.

Cayo Santiago is a tiny island that is home over 800 rhesus monkeys and is run by the Caribbean Primate Research Center. What in the world are over 800 monkeys doing on an island? That’s a great question that makes for a memorable kayak adventure today, and some interesting history. In 1938, hundreds of monkeys were imported from India to this natural habitat in order to begin scientific research on a range of topics – including testing for cures of diseases from what we understand. The island is not open to the public or tourists, however you can have quite the glimpses if you kayak off the shores waters about 30 feet out to check out these fascinating monkeys.

There’s a couple of local outfitters that can take you out there, however one of them is a highly rated and fun experience!  The company runs and owns  3 different corporations that serve the following services under its umbrella:

1 – Barefoot Travelers Rooms Beach Guesthouse, 2- Team Hang-Gliding, and 3-   & Barefoot Travelers Kayak Adventure To Monkey Island run a company where they provide room & board near Humacao,  hang-gliding adventures, and ocean kayak tours to Monkey Jungle Island (as I call it) which includes a snorkeling expedition off the coast of Cayo Santiago.

While in your trip to Puerto Rico you will see some wild animals here and there (horses, goats, cows, roosters, etc.) that you may not be used to from the place where you’re visiting from.  Seeing monkeys swinging from branch to branch and checking YOU out is one of the best experiences you can have in our opinion. It’s much better than going to a zoo and just seeing them caged and far away from their natural world and habitat.



Kayaking Puerto Rico

In order to do this tour, you must be in somewhat good physical shape and fitness because the trip requires a 15-20 minute kayak row to the island that easily be under choppy ocean conditions depending on the weather. You get pretty near the island and kayak parallel to the trees, and be as quiet as you can so you can observe the hundreds of monkeys that happen to want to make an appearance for you. The guides of the tour provide you with valuable information about the monkeys and the purpose of the island more in-depth than this article possibly can.

After this excursion, you’re led to a snorkeling area that features exotic fish and a sunken barge to snorkel around in. Another highlight is the kayak trip back, with splendid views of El Yunque off in the backdrop which makes for this adventure pretty unforgettable and a must experience!


NOTE:  Sometimes visibility can be iffy and you can easily get sea sickness as well – so if you’re the type make sure to drink drowsy pills before you row out.  Can be cancelled day of due to weather conditions.  Keep that in mind as Puerto Rico weather can be unpredictable.

Bring your own snorkel gear, as well as water and snacks for this trip. The company typically likes to keep the groups only 8 people at once AM or PM.   Call ahead and see if you can pre-arrange if your group is larger to coordinate back-to-back private trips by talking to the owners.



Barefoot Travelers Adventures: 787-850-0508.
Price: $55.00 per person for kayak rentals. Tips also welcome.
Time: 2-3 hours for the adventure

Directions: (Click On Google Maps Link)


“Swing in this tree
I’m bouncing around so well
Branch to branch,
limb to limb you see
All in a day’s dream
I’ m stuck
Like the other monkeys here
I am a humble monkey
Sitting up in my tree again
But then came the day…
When I climbed out of these safe limbs
Ventured away
Walking tall, head high up and singing
I went to the city
Car horns, corners and the gritty
But now I am the proudest monkey you’ve ever seen
Monkey see, monkey do…yeah

Then comes the day
Staring at myself
I turn to question me
I wonder do I want the simple, simple life that I once lived in a way?
You know things they were so quiet then…
In a way those were my better days
But now I am the proudest monkey you’ve ever seen…
Monkey see, monkey do…yeah”

Dave Matthews – Proudest Monkey

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