Tour the Foothills of El Yunque on an ATV at Carabali Rainforest Park

Carabali Rainforest Park ATVIf you like a little excitement while on your vacation, you can take a trip to Carabali Rainforest Park (formerly Hacienda Carabali). This 600 acre facility, located in the foothills of the El Yunque National Forest, offers a wide range of activities. They have horseback riding, ATV, mountain bikes and go carts to get your heart pumping. On this visit, we decided to go on a 2 hour ATV adventure. We have been ATV-ing before on a few other islands and really enjoyed it. We called a day ahead of time and reserved a 2-hour tour for 9:30am. When you check in, of course you have to sign the usual insurance waiver. We were greeted by our bi-lingual guide, Francisco. It turns out he lived in NJ and PA, pretty close to where we used to live, and he recently moved back to PR, so we had lots to talk about! He gave us our required helmets and a brief lesson on the operation of the ATVs. These are large vehicles (larger than any we had driven before). But they were easy to drive – as long as you have a strong right thumb! Really, to make it go, you press a lever with your right thumb and to brake, there was a lever on the left hand handle bar (like a bicycle brake). Now you are ready to go! As it turned out, we were the only ones on this tour, so we had the road all to ourselves. Here is an overview of our trip: You start off on the mostly flat lower area, where they also ride the horses. Here, you can get used to the throttle button and work out your driving skills. They tell you that you are always responsible to be in control. Throughout the tour, we got to go pretty fast on occasion, going up and down hills, through puddles and across fields. Our guide was always in the lead, but he drove almost standing up, constantly watching to make sure we were OK. We then left the low area and started uphill. We stopped a few times at scenic spots for pictures and some discussion about the land, the park, plant life in the area, etc. Depending on when the last rains were, there will probably be some puddles. It had rained the day before, so we had lots of muddy puddles to splash through! I always tried to kick up as much mud as I could, to try to get Ray (who was behind me) dirty, but he caught on pretty early and left a lot of space between us! We went through a few water areas that were deeper than the foot rests on the ATV. That is were you get the dirtiest – as the water splashes up and around the wheel wells. Mameyes RiverIn the hills, we passed a number of old structures that look like old “Jibaro” (which, loosely translated, means “hillbilly”) houses. As it turns out, they are going to be filming a movie on the property. So the movie company is making all sorts of movie sets, but these looked very old and authentic. I hope they leave them up after the movie – it was kind-of cool to see (a little PR history – even if it is fake!). Half way through the trip, you get to a nice section of the Mameyes river. They stop here for about 15 minutes to swim if you wanted (it is about 6 feet deep) or just play and explore in the river. There are fish and shrimp in this cool, clear water. Very refreshing! Then you start to head back. On the way back, we saw the halfway rest point for the 1 hour ATV and the horseback riding trips. This point had bathrooms, and another spot on the river that was only a few feet deep – just enough to splash around in. We saw the Coco Rio (the nice pool and building they have available for weddings or events). We also passed a few horseback riders on the trails. Everyone looked like they were having fun! We really enjoyed our trip. It was a lot of fun. We will be back – my niece and nephews would love it (and the go-carts and the horses, too!).

If you are going to do this, I would wear something you don’t mind getting dirty and/or wet. Long pants would be best since the engine compartment gets kind of hot and your left leg touches close to it. Wear closed-toe shoes that you don’t mind getting wet or dirty. I find Crocs or sneakers will do. Wear a bathing suit under your clothes so if you want to go in the water. Bring a towel to dry off and a bottle of water for the trip. I found you need to wear glasses – sun glasses and if you have one, maybe a bandana on your face – you will have mud, dirt and bugs flying into your face during the trip! There are bathrooms at the check-in office. There are also mens and womens shower/changing rooms available in each of the respective bathrooms so you can clean up after your trip. There is also a snack bar. They have 22 ATVs, so that is the maximum number of people that would be out on any tour. Francisco said that they have a number of tour guides, and they try to limit each group to 5 or so ATVs.

They offer 1 and 2 hour tours. The 1 hour tour is $45 per driver, and $25 per passenger. The 2 hour tour is $85 per driver, and $50 per passenger.

If you're happy, let them know it — Don't forget to tip your your bartender, tour guide or trip operator if you enjoyed yourself. Gratuities are appreciated and typically aren't included in the price they charge you.

ATV tours are at 9:30am, 12:30pm and 2:30pm. But if you have another time in mind, call and ask if they can set you up with a tour.

The ATV’s are 2-seaters. You must be at least 16 years old to drive(with drivers license), but passengers 12 years old and up. Bring drivers license (with photo ID) and credit card.

You can call 787-889-5820 or 787-889-4954 for more info. Open Monday – Fridays 9:00am- 4:00pm, Saturdays and most Holidays from 10:00am – 5:00pm. Website: www.CarabaliRainforestPark.com

They are located off of located just off Route 3 in Luquillo on Road 992, KM 4. They can provide transportation for an additional charge.

Map to Carabali Rainforest Park

Here’s some info on the other activities available at Carabali Rainforest Park …

Horseback Riding: minimum age is 3 years old; 1-hour tours – $30 adult, $20 child – no reservations necessary. 2-hour tours are also available by reservation – $60 adult, $40 child.

Go Karts: weekends only – 11:00am – 5:30pm – $7 for 5 minutes – around a little paved track.

Mountain Biking: 2 hour tour – by reservation – $40 per person. (we haven’t done this yet)

Other ATV places in Puerto Rico

Campo Rico Trail Rides

    Located in San Juan
  • The ranch in San Juan is about 10 minutes from the SJU airport.
  • They offer rides through the forest and fields.
  • Their 2 hour tour in San Juan is $75/person driver, $45 for rider.
  • Open 7 days a week, tour times- 9am, 12 noon, 3pm
  • Call 787-629-0222 for reservations, or visit their web site for more info

PuertoRicoDayTrips.com assumes no responsibility regarding your safety when participating in the activities described in this article. Please use common sense! If your mother or that little voice in your head tells you that you are about to do something stupid … then don't do it! Read more about Safety →

Comments & Discussion Leave a Comment »

There are 13 comments on this article. Add to the Discussion »

No, I don't think any of the ATV places allow younger kids on the vehicles. But they can do the go-carts or horseback riding at Carabali. But check out Hacienda Campo Rico- they have a dunebuggy ATV thing and an aquatic vehicle that the whole family can go on . Or check here for more ideas: http://www.puertoricodaytrips.com/category/with-kids/

Comment by Gwenn on 19 Mar 2015

We are having a hard time finding things that my kids can do (ages 8 and 6). Are there any ATV trails that they can go on here Thanks.

Comment by Kelli on 17 Mar 2015

This is a MUST do while you are in PR! Manny was a great guide, and the ATVs were high quality which made handling the terrain easy. The prices are affordable and a solid value. We did the TWO-hour tour and loved it. Stay after for lunch as well, great food!

Comment by Jim on 21 Aug 2012

Did this a few days ago. Was a nice way to see some jungle without hiking. The swim spot was refreshing so bring your swimsuit. Not for the ATV purists - you are escorted throughout and rarely go faster than 10mph. Guide was knowledgeable and friendly. Was disappointed that our 2 hour tour was only 1 hour and 15 min. Glad we did it but this wouldn't be for everybody.

Comment by Kris on 13 Oct 2011

TOUR WAS THE BEST, MY TOUR GUIDE JOEY WAS VERY NICE AND GIVE ALOT OF INFO ABOUT THE RAINFOREST HE IS ALSO HANDSOME LOOKING GUY WHOOHOO! LADIES SHOULD REQUEST JOEY AS A TOUR GUIDE YOU WOULD NOT REGRET IT........

Comment by ANGELA BOURNE on 11 Feb 2010

Just came back from the 2 hour ATV trip, which was amazing! We had a blast. Our guide, Angel, was great. I highly recommend it.

Comment by Karen on 24 Oct 2009

My family and I really enjoy a lot this trip, our guide Jose, was really funny and friendly, we are a group about 20 people and was a lot of fun!!!

Comment by Linda Irizarry on 18 Jul 2009

We just got back from Puerto Rico and we took the 2 hour long ATV trip. It was so much fun!! My teenagers loved and and me and my husband loved it even more! What a great time and well worth the money.

Comment by Lisa on 06 Jul 2009

I WAS ONE OF THE TOUR GUIDE IN THE HACIENDA AND I USE TO LOVE TO WORK THERE.I HAD THE CHANCE TO MEET PEOPLE FROM AROUND THE WORLD IT WAS FUN. "JUNIOR"

Comment by Francisco Sanchez on 11 Nov 2008

They _do_ speak English there ... it's probably just the phone message that's Spanish. Leave a message and a phone number. They may call you back. Try these 2 numbers ... 787-889-7828 or 787-690-3781 ... they should get you directly to the ATV people. You could try emailing haciendacarabali@hotmail.com , but many people here are not "plugged into" their email like people from the States. Even when a place advertises their email address, it often goes unanswered. Hope this helps

Comment by Ray on 22 Jan 2008

I have tried to contact them by phone and I only get a spanish message. Is there an email contact or a way of speaking with someone in English?

Comment by Windee on 22 Jan 2008

The tour guy Robin refers to, I believe, is Sammy. He was one of the tour guides from my tour last week, and he was very helpful, as were all of the guides. I wish I had found your article before I went so I would have known to bring my bathing suit...the swimming spot was just breath taking! All the tour guides were great, and I am dying to go back there and try out the other thing Hacienda Carabali has to offer!

Comment by Kim Simpson on 07 Dec 2007

I just wanted to say that I took this tour and it was amazing. There was a young gentleman (I never did get his name, but he has braids) who was an awesome tour guide. He was very attentive and explained a lot about the rain forest. He made the trip more fun!! I only wish I got his name. Any way, this is an excursion well worth it!!!!

Comment by Robin Stephens on 22 Oct 2007

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Coqui's Hideaway Rainforest Villa in Rio Grande Located in the Foothills of El Yunque
San Juan Bus Map - learn about public transportation in the San Juan metro area