Trip Number: 13404A
Staff: Linda Cooper
- Help preserve the Puerto Rican rainforest
- Hike to waterfalls, peaks, and beaches during time off
- Immerse yourself in Puerto Rico's tropical atmosphere
- All meals, from dinner on the first day through breakfast on the last
- Round-trip shuttle from the San Juan, PR airport
- Ocean-front accommodation with bunk beds, flush toilets, and showers
Unfortunately, this trip has been cancelled. If you
have questions, please
We will work with U.S.F.S. staff, helping them maintain trails and facilities
in this unique and popular forest. Projects vary but often include building,
maintaining, and cleaning up trails. We will help wherever the need is greatest.
On this trip you'll experience the rainforest in all its glory, including the
sounds, colors, light, and weather that comprise this mysterious ecological
system. As a special benefit, we will work with Forest Service staff to learn
about local flora and fauna.
As an added treat, local Sierra Club activists will show us the Northeast Corridor:
3,000 acres of wetlands, mangroves, coastal forest, and beaches that they are
working to preserve.
The only tropical rainforest in the U.S. National Forest system, El Yunque
is home to the Puerto Rican parrot, numerous palms, tiny orchids, and giant
ferns. There are four types of forest here; the highest is home to ancient dwarf
trees that survive, buried in the clouds, under extreme environmental conditions.
Hiking trails throughout the forest in the Luquillo Mountain Range provide access
to waterfalls, rugged peaks, and valleys of ferns and mosses. In addition, the
El Portal Tropical Forest Center boasts a visitor center, environmental education
programs, and a conference center for the study of the rainforest.
Photo: Doug Hindeman
This itinerary is subject to change due to weather and local conditions.
Day 1: We will meet in the San Juan Luis Munoz Marin International
Airport, at 2:00 p.m. on January 12. We will then transport you to our accommodation
in Luguillo. Our first group meal is dinner.
Day 2: Today we explore El Yunque, including a visit to El
Portal Visitors Center and a waterfall hike.
Days 3-5: We start working on our service project by building,
maintaining, and cleaning up trails, depending on what is needed most. After
work on day five, we’ll join local Sierra Club activists to explore the
Day 6: On our day off, we explore Old San Juan with its massive
Spanish fortifications and European ambiance, or visit an island beach. We'll
eat dinner in town.
Day 7: Today we'll continue working on our service project.
Day 8: On our last day, we depart after breakfast and arrive
at the airport by noon to say our good-byes.
In the eastern U.S. there are many same day travel options that will get you
to San Juan (San Juan Luis Munoz Marin International Airport) by our 2 p.m.
meeting time. Whether you're traveling from the west or east coast of the U.S.,
you may want to consider arriving a day or more early to explore Old San Juan
and other Puerto Rican destinations.
Accommodations and Food
Photo: Doug Hindeman
We will stay in apartments set up to accommodate groups. Located in the town
of Luquillo, our oceanfront apartments contain more than enough bunk beds so
we can spread out. Included also are flush toilets, hot showers, and all linen.
Proximity to the ocean and town provide us with many free-time options. On work
mornings we will travel 30-40 miles by van to our work sites.
The trip cost includes breakfast, a bag lunch, and dinner each day that we
will prepare. On one night, we'll eat dinner out. As with all Sierra Club trips,
assisting with kitchen duties is part of the experience.
This service trip will require stamina and a flexible attitude. There are
usually a variety of tasks, but be prepared to do whatever the Forest Service
deems necessary. Most trails have steep ascents, and mist or rain is common.
Although the highest peak stands at only 3,526 feet, the weather conditions
may be extreme. As a result, good conditioning, stamina, and a willingness to
work hard are necessary to fully enjoy this trip.
Safety on the job will be primary in all of our actions and decisions. We will
be using various tools each day. Explicit instructions in tool use and safety
will be provided.
Equipment and Clothing
You will need layers of clothing to include protection from rain and the vagaries
of mountain/rainforest weather. Broken-in hiking boots with ankle support are
the most critical piece of equipment you will be asked to bring, followed closely
by a full rainsuit -- top and bottoms. Bring a day pack that will hold extra
clothing, food, your raingear, a personal first-aid kit (Band-Aids, moleskin,
etc.), toiletry items, and of course any regular medicines. We will be happy
to discuss clothing and equipment details with applicants, and we will provide
a full list of items to bring closer to the date of the trip.
A detailed list of what to bring will be provided to confirmed participants.
We will also provide emergency phone numbers and trip planning information.
Photo: Doug Hindeman
Puerto Rico Tourism Co.
575 Fifth Avenue
New York, NY, 10017
The topographic map for the park is "El Yunque." Other maps of the
general area are "San Juan," "Rio Grande," "Carolina,"
You can order maps from:
U.S.G.S. Map Sales
Department of the Interior
Denver, CO, 80225
- Pariser, Harry S., The Adventure Guide to Puerto Rico.
- Kricher, John C., A Neotropical Companion: An Introduction to the Animals,
Plants, and Ecosystems of the New World Tropics.
- Wagenheim, Kal, and Olga Jimenez de Wagenheim (Eds.), The Puerto Ricans:
A Documentary History.
- Caribbean National Rainforest (El Yunque): http://www.fs.fed.us/r8/caribbean
- North East Corridor: http://www.sierraclub.org/corridor and http://www.elyunque.com/northeastcorridor.htm
We will be working in and for the Caribbean National Forest, and will have
frequent contact with staff. We’ll also join local Sierra Club activists
in exploring their Northeast Corridor project.
While working on the trails and during free time we will always follow Leave
No Trace protocol.
See the How to Apply for an Outing section for more details on registering for this trip and details
about our Reservation and Cancellation Policy.
The payment of a deposit does not confirm you as a member on the trip. Participants must be approved by the trip leader. After signing up for this trip, you will be sent a confirmation packet containing approval materials (Participant Approval Questionnaire, Medical Form, Liability Release Form). Each applicant (including those on the waitlist) must fill out these forms and promptly mail them to the trip leader. The leader will review the approval materials and notify you of your acceptance in a timely manner.
Linda Cooper has over 35 years experience as a counselor, social worker, university administrator and outdoor adventure guide. Certified in Wilderness First Aid and CPR, Linda is an environmentalist committed to inspiring others with the love and appreciation of our fragile world. She is now partially retired with more time to play in the outdoors and lead trips for Sierra Club. She moved to Vermont in 2007, fulfilling a lifelong dream.
Mary Alice Smith joined the Sierra Club in 2002, following a trip to Yosemite National Park. A service trip in 2009 sparked her interest in becoming a Sierra Club national leader to share her love of the outdoors. She assisted on trips in 2010 and led three trips in 2011.
Growing up in rural Georgia, she enjoyed roaming the woods and fields and developed a deep affinity for nature. Favorite activities include hiking in the White Mountains and her home state of Rhode Island. She also enjoys bird watching, biking, yoga, and listening to acoustic music.
General Notes About Sierra Club Trips