rewards program
70°f / 21°c

An All-Around Cool Adventure in a Hidden Forest

The Breeze, the Calm and the Excellence
Publication of Discovery: Dec. 31, 2016
Issue: December, 2016

Puerto Rico is one of the few places on Earth where you are able to depart beautiful sandy beaches for a rappel and zip line adventure in a tropical and moist forest in forty-five minutes or less. If you are in or nearby the city of San Juan, you may take advantage of this by visiting a private forest area in the city of Caguas while being guided by Rocaliza Adventure Tours. Even if you are staying on the western side of Puerto Rico, the road trip towards this forest may take no more than two hours.

We share with you our wonderful experience with Rocaliza’s tour guides, Mariely “Ely” Bonilla and Michael “Mike” Veillion. They ensured to make the most of our escape.

As we headed towards the countryside of the island, Ely and Mike mentioned the history regarding the central region of Puerto Rico and former sugarcane and tobacco plantations therein. Also, they talked about the different topography seen as we drove towards the mountains and hills. We drove on beautiful country roads to San Salvador neighborhood located on the southernmost region of the city of Caguas and nearby the Carite Forest.

Once we arrived to our destination, we geared up with expedition helmets and harnesses. To be ready to begin our adventure, Mike imparted safety instructions regarding proper use of the equipment.

We started by hiking up a narrow road among country homes and wild chickens freely running among banana trees. Just a couple hundred yards up the road, we found a river that flows into the Turabo River. From there, the hiking adventure on the river and up a hill led us to around 700 feet up in elevation, underneath a lush tropical and moist forest while listening to the persistent murmur of wind and rain.

We hiked mainly through the riverbed since no marked trails were closely available. This resulted in more excitement but also meant a more cautious pace while climbing up the volcanic rocks (some big enough as an automobile) scattered through the river. Sometimes, we even hiked underneath the rocks, immersing in the narrow paths carved by the river during a millennia.

Finally, we reached El Salto, an 80-foot-tall waterfall embedded in a deep black volcanic rock crevasse. The air in this spot was particularly humid and cool as the breeze and tiny droplets resulting from the waterfall surrounded us.

A short trail led us to the top of El Salto Waterfall where we were ready to launch for the rappel. Both guides prepared the ropes and safety systems for our descent. Ely rappelled ahead of the group to secure the landing area and assisted each of us on our rappel. On top of the waterfall, Mike gave a thorough explanation of proper rappel technique, body posture and descent control.

Before the actual rappel, each participant practiced the body postures techniques while being attached to a rope fixed to a tree around 7 feet above the ground. That way, the tour guides ensured that each one of us would feel safe while rappelling along the waterfall.

Once the safety equipment was in place, it was go time. The first step towards the edge of El Salto Waterfall was by far the hardest since the sensation of losing ground, the cool and humid wind and the roar of the waterfall overwhelmed our senses. Then we gradually let go.

As we descended, we felt as if we were entering another dimension. The light filtering from above through the trees transported us to the surrounding black volcanic rocks. Time seemed to stop, just for a while, until we finally reached the riverbed. There, we took a brief break to prepare ourselves for the next adventure: a series of five zip lines.

We walked to the first zip line launching platform where the guides gave us gloves and a system of pulleys to attach from our harnesses to the steel zip lines. They explained the proper posture and braking technique to be used while traversing the forest canopy. Mike made sure that we understood how the equipment works. Then, swoosh… –Ely departed and flew to the next platform. Once more, she was about to be our hostess at the end of the line.

Flying down by means of zip lines was an exhilarating experience. At times, we were over 50 feet above the forest’s ground. Other times, we were so close to the leaves and branches that we felt part of the forest.

One by one, we and our partners in this adventure progressed through the five different zip lines until reaching the river again. Just a short hike down towards the starting point was our pathway to the Puerto Rican lunch we were craving for. A local family welcomed us at the deck area of their home in Sal Salvador neighborhood, which this family informally refers to as Mai’s Cantina. We had the opportunity to savor local food traditionally served during Puerto Rico’s Christmas season: rice with pigeon peas, roasted pork shoulder, “pasteles”, dough-like mix usually made of plantain, green banana, yautia and pumpkin, and filled with pork, and a coconut dessert named “tembleque”. Best of all, the food was cooked in an open fire hearth known as “fogón”, resulting in flavors evoking the wood smell over the food. The food was delicious.

In addition to being able to taste Puerto Rican food, the fact that the tour involves the local community and plays a major role so that a local family generates its own economic activity, made our experience very special.

In sum, we had a lot of fun during our adventure experience in the city of Caguas. The professionalism of the tour guides, the beauty of the forest in San Salvador neighborhood and the amazing rappel and zip lines resulted in a one-of-a-kind experience that we suggest that you plan at least once in your lifetime. Go beyond, take the plunge.

For those interested to schedule El Salto full-day tour, you may contact Rocaliza at 787-268-0101 or by email to Plan accordingly since this tour and related transportation may last around seven to eight hours.

tour provider: Rocaliza Adventure Tours
book here
where the crew ate: Mai's Cantina
photograph by: Iván Aponte González

Note: This story was accurate when it was published. Please be sure to confirm all details with the pertinent businesses before planning your trip. Please be cautious. The company behind this publication assumes no responsibility for your safety when participating in the activities mentioned in this article. You are responsible for confirming whether you are capable of participating in any of these activities or tours, regardless of the effort level or any other information provided in this website.


Please log in or register to comment

story images

how to get there

A Meeting Spot: Condado Area

18.4574 -66.0755
see more

Text ads content is loaded here.

No review for this restaurant

what to bring

how to get there

A Meeting Spot: Condado Area

equipment used

mind speak!

Samuel Delgado, Texas, U.S.: “First time in El Salto tour. VIP treatment. Rocaliza rocks!”


see more

see more

see more

Note: Suggested attractions may be recommended by us, our allies or tourism businesses.