Aug 2, 7 years ago

Discover this secluded Puerto Rican swimming hole

Discover this secluded Puerto Rican swimming hole

From the pristine waters that flow from El Yunque National Forest, one of the oldest reserves in the Western Hemisphere, is series of pools and swimming holes known locally as either Charco Frio or Las Tinajas. Situated in the tropical rainforest of northeastern Puerto Rico, this is a magical spot to spend the day relaxing, playing, and exploring.

There are waterfalls, deep pools, cliff ledges to jump from, and rope swings to play on. Adventure seekers can hike upriver to the highest, deepest pool where a pair of waterfalls, 30 foot cliff ledge, and 25 foot natural slide offer plenty of fun for those with a wild side. There is plenty of forest to explore and wildlife to see when you tire of the water, but be careful when hiking along the river because the rocks become very slippery when wet.

To get there, follow signs for Río Arriba and get onto Road 976. Follow PR-976 for a while and then turn right onto PR-971. Follow Road 971 until you cross a small bridge over the river and just after that, turn right onto an un-named road. Drive nearly until the end and you’ll see a pinkish house to your right with an improvised parking area. Call for the owner, Mr. Basilio, and ask him to let you through. If you have a car, he will let you park in the lot near his house. This route is the best shortcut for reaching the main trail, but it will cost you $2 USD per person. Trust me – this is worth it. If you return at the right time, you may have the treat of eating a home cooked meal from Mr. Basilio’s wife.

The good news is that Charco Frio isn’t on the tourist track, so it’s free and not overrun. The bad news is that there are no facilities or bathrooms, so plan ahead.

Lead Image: CC Image used courtesy of anaivette64 on Flickr


Ryan is a writer, photographer, and teacher living and volunteering throughout Latin America.

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