Stop in Palmer Before or After Visiting El Yunque
El Yunque National Forest is the most visited attraction in Puerto Rico, by locals and tourists alike. But there is another little gem that most people buzz right past on their way to the rain forest … the sector of Río Grande known as Palmer. If you’ve ever driven up Road 191 into El Yunque, you’ve driven through Palmer, and you probably didn’t even notice. More local businesses are opening up in the area, catering to day-trippers into El Yunque, making Palmer a great place to stop for souvenirs, a bite to eat, or information on the forest.
Palmer: Portal del Yunque
The sector of Palmer is bounded by Route 3 (on the north side) and Road 955 (on the south side) in the town of Río Grande. It’s a small, local area with some restaurants, souvenir shops, a US post office, a church, and ice cream shop. There is a little bit of on-street parking, and a couple gravel parking lots. But nothing is more than about a 10-minute walk from wherever you might park, so park where you can.
Food, Drinks, Snacks
Hiking in the forest and exploring the area is sure to make you hungry and thirsty. Stop in for sandwiches to go, sit down for a burger, or grab a smoothie or other drink. The Puertorrican Bakery has breakfast, sandwiches, and other goodies. Mi Vida Café has burgers, sandwiches, drinks, and coffee. Peccas Helado Artesanal has small-batch, home-made ice cream, in flavors you won’t find anywhere else. Piña Loka is a food truck that has piña coladas, açai bowls, smoothies, and frappés. Lluvia Deli Bar has breakfast and lunch menus, plus pizza, smoothies, and coffee. Degree 18 Juice Bar has a vegan menu with sandwiches, smoothies, açai and fruit bowls, juices, and a craft beer selection. La Caña has limbers and ice cream.
If you want to do a little souvenir shopping, pay a visit to Artisan Forest for tax-free artisan works, Caribbean Trading Company . You’ll be able to find T-shirts, hot sauces, local art and crafts, select local rums, jewelry, books, and lots of other beautiful and interesting items.
If you’re looking for some other things to do besides hiking in El Yunque National Forest, there are some other nearby options. Though not in the sector of Palmer itself, just a short drive up Road 191 you’ll find two zipline companies (Rainforest Zipline Park and Junglequí Zipline Park), and access to the Mameyes River which is a very popular spot for swimming and BBQ for “the locals”.
To get to Palmer from the San Juan area, take Route 66 east until it ends on Route 3 in Río Grande. Continue east on Route 3, and follow signs for El Yunque National Forest and Road 191.
It takes about 45-60 minutes to drive to Palmer from the San Juan area.
We are in the process of updating the maps we use on our web site. While we're working on that, you can click on the GPS coordinates below to view the location on Google Maps ...
- Palmer, Río Grande: (18.370773, -65.768622)
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!