Many people dream of visiting far-off destinations, rife with tropical forests and shy animal species. Whether you want to hike to witness the majesty of the towering tree line or take time to learn about the local fauna, your hopes of trekking to the rainforest are more achievable than you realize. Caribbean islands with rainforests are a huge draw for adventurers from all over the globe—why not make them your next travel destination?
Second on the list of Caribbean islands with rainforests is the El Yunque National Rainforest. It’s widely known as the only tropical rainforest in the United States and should be on everyone’s bucket list. Millennia ago, El Yunque was believed to house Yúcahu, the chief god of the pre-Columbian native Taíno people. This respect continues to be held by many Puerto Ricans today, evident in the country’s dedication to stewardship of the rainforest.
Tap into your inner code-breaker and visit the Taíno petroglyphs etched into the rocks at La Canoa and El Hippie Falls. Venture to Coca Falls, where rivulets of water stream down a steep cliffside, or head to El Yunque’s dwarf forest—an area where the trees experienced stunted growth despite the island’s significant amounts of rainfall.
Sharp-eyed visitors might be able to spot the critically endangered Puerto Rican Amazon, a bright, green-plumaged parrot native to the rainforest. There after dark? You might hear the eerie, but harmless, call of common coquí, a tree-dwelling frog that resides in the forest.
This is a trip well worth the trek from the cruise stop at Roseau, Dominica. The country’s only UNESCO World Heritage Site is a major draw for outdoor-lovers and animal enthusiasts. Almost 17,000 acres of luxuriant, tropical rainforest lies at the center of this popular island in the Lesser Antilles. The park includes an abundance of attractions, including five active volcanic centers and three mountains as the park’s name suggests. Another major draw is the natural hot spring Boiling Lake—its constantly rolling and bubbling waters were measured as high as 95° Celsius (a scalding 203° Fahrenheit).
Morne Trois Pitons National Park is Dominica’s first established national park, apparent from the dedication the population has to protect this ecological wonder. It’s best to hike or travel within the park with the help of an expert guide as there are no trail markers nor signage. As the park covers 9% of Dominica, it is too easy to lose your way within the jungle. Take the funicular for a sprawling view of Trois Pitons or brave an expansive suspension bridge over Breakfast River (not recommended for those with fears of heights).
Along with hundreds of species of birds, the endemic fauna of note in Morne Trois Pitons include the agouti and the manicou. The agouti greatly resembles a large, tan-colored guinea pig and the manicou is another name for the common opossum. Be sure to stay back and snap plenty of pics to remember these funny rodents before continuing on your rainforest adventures.
The Grand Etang National Park of Grenada is the stuff every hiker’s dreams are made of. This beautiful area protects Grand Etang Lake and the surrounding ecosystem. This volcanic island is mountainous and Grand Etang National Park contains four of the highest peaks in the country, daring avid climbers to summit for a breathtaking view of Grenada’s serene panorama. Upon your descent, head to the Concord Waterfalls for a photo op. Veils of water cascade down the Concord Waterfalls, giving the illusion of silk-thin sheets flowing gently downstream. Three falls make up the Concord Waterfalls—Concord, Au Coin and Fontainbleu—each accessible by hiking trails that escalate in difficulty the higher you climb.
Notable inhabitants of the park include the mona monkey, an Old World monkey species native to western Africa that flourished in Grenada after their transport to the island centuries ago. Between these small monkeys and the mermaid rumored to be living in the depths of Grand Etang Lake, you’ll be sure to return home with plenty of stories to tell.
Planning to visit these Caribbean islands with rainforests on your next vacation? There’s no better way to venture to these islands than by a cruise. In fact, many Southern Caribbean itineraries with Royal Caribbean have shore excursions to these rainforests. If you’re ready to see the spectacular beauty of this region, reach out to one of our travel specialists to begin planning your getaway.