Away from the beach, the rugged mountainous interior of Puerto Rico has a history rooted in nature and agriculture. The Cordillera Central, Puerto Rico’s largest mountain range, runs from east to west through this region of 16 municipalities.
Its soil is rich, producing many of the island’s coffee plantations and, in Aibonito, a city so resplendent with flowers it’s known as the Garden of Puerto Rico.
Other towns in Porta Cordillera include Aguas Buenas, Cidra, Comerío, Corozal, Cayey, Naranjito, Barranquitas, Jayuya, Orocovis, Morovis, Ciales, Adjuntas, Florida, Lares, and Utuado.
Caguana Indigenous Ceremonial Center
This National Historic Landmark dates all the way back to 1,200 BC. It features several ball courts and a small museum of Taíno artifacts.
Dos Bocas Lake
This manmade lake between Utuado and Arecibo is surrounded with hilltop restaurants with a great view to the water and lush mountain vegetation. There’s a port where you can catch a free boat ride to any of the restaurants.
Doña Juana Falls at Toro Negro Forest
The lovely Doña Juana Falls in the Toro Negro Forest (located in Orocovis) are actually a chain of three falls that end in a clear, refreshing pool. This secluded spot attracts far fewer crowds than the more popular La Mina Falls in El Yunque.
San Cristóbal Canyon
A unique geological site, the San Cristóbal Canyon between Barranquitas and Aibonito is the only volcanic rift on the island, forming a deep ravine that measures 650 feet. This is a destination best reserved for serious, experienced adventurers. A reservation is required.
Many tour companies travel to Utuado’s Tanamá River, which winds its way through this mountainous region. Among the activities you can enjoy here are tubing, caving, and canyoneering. Several companies offer [Tanamá tours].
Toro Negro Forest
When you visit the second-highest peak in the Cordillera Central mountain range, you can expect your share of forest hikes. Stop by the ranger station on Route 143 and pick up a trail map. Among the highlights at Toro Negro are the challenging hike to the observation tower, the small but picturesque La Confesora falls and pool, and the spectacular Doña Juana waterfall. Route 143 is the main artery that runs through Toro Negro. This road is part of the Ruta Panorámica, or Panoramic Route, a scenic, winding network of roads through the central region of Puerto Rico.
Toro Verde Adventure Park
Come to Orocovis for its spectacular eco-park, Toro Verde, which boasts hanging rope bridges, rappelling, hiking, and one of the largest zip lines in the world.