I was searching Google Maps looking for cool activities to do while in Puerto Rico. Las Tinajas Falls came up, and it looked like a good time.
There were talks of a rope swing and even a natural water slide! There’s nothing like a good rope swing at the end of a hike.
Maybe I didn’t get far in the reviews but this is a very popular, and I mean very popular, location for tour groups. If I had known, we might have not visited.
In this blog, I will go over everything you need to know about Las Tinajas Falls and whether it’s worth visiting without a tour.
What is Las Tinajas Falls?
Las Tinajas Falls is a place full of adventure. It takes a few river crossings, some willingness to walk through tons of mud, and some strength.
This is one of the best hikes in Puerto Rico and could be better if there weren’t so many tours coming through here daily.
At the end of the trail, you’ll be greeted by a rope swing, waterfalls, and natural water slides.
Where is Las Tinajas Falls?
Part of the Fajardo River is Charco Frio. This is a fantastic place to hang out with family and friends. You’ll see lots of locals cooking out and having a good time.
It’s located fairly close to the popular Infinity Pool hike in Naguabo.
Once at the Charco Frio parking lot, you can follow a trail that leads you to Las Tinajas Falls.
Fajardo to Las Tinajas Falls
Fajardo is the most common place you’ll base yourself when visiting this landmark. We actually came from Las Paylas but our route would be very similar to yours.
We rented a car and unless you’re on a tour, it’s the only way to make it here. Make your way to downtown Fajardo until you see PR-976. Take a right here and drive for a while.
You’ll be getting close once you have to keep left onto PR-971. Once you cross the bridge, take a right and keep driving until you see a parking lot.
Things to Know Before Hiking to Las Tinajas Falls
This area of Puerto Rico is slightly different than parts of El Yunque National Forest. I’m not kidding when I say it’s extremely muddy.
Things to Bring
Las Tinajas Falls is one of those hikes you don’t want to come ill-prepared for. Embrace the mud and enjoy yourself. Below are some items to bring to help you do just that.
Charco Frio is the hangout spot on the river before you head to the trail. It’s usually packed with locals (especially on the weekends).
You’ll start to see cars parked on the side of the road almost immediately. These are all people hanging out on the river. The water is pretty clear too!
When we got back to our car, there were so many people bumping music and cooking out. Looked like a good time if you ask me.
Las Tinajas Falls Parking
When pulling up, the parking lot will be on your right. The money to pay for parking can vary. It’ll be between $5 and $10.
It’s around the normal price for parking on someone’s property in Puerto Rico. Not a big deal. The parking lot seemed pretty safe as well.
Here it is. The part that ruined our experience completely. We were hiking alone for most of the trail until the end.
Once we arrived at Las Tinajas Falls, it was completely full of tour groups. There must have been 100s of people here.
No one was directly mean to us but it felt like we were unwelcomed there by the tour guides. It sucked. But it is what it is I suppose.
Las Tinajas Falls Hiking Details
- Distance: This hike is a 1.4-mile out & back trail.
- Duration: On average it will take people 1 – 2 hours to finish. This depends on fitness level and time at the swimming hole.
- Difficulty: I’d rank this hike as moderate because of the wet terrain and river crossings.
- Incline: The elevation for this hike is around 234 feet or 71 meters.
- Hiking Guide: A guide is not needed for this hike and is easily accessible by the public.
Las Tinajas Falls Rope Swing and Water Slide
The rope swing is the most popular activity and most likely a driving factor for you coming here. It has the iconic Puerto Rican flag that we saw at half of the hikes.
I did the swing once and while it was fun, I had to wait a long time because of the line from the tours.
At the rope swing section, you can keep climbing back and there’s another swimming hole. A natural water slide goes right into it. It’s pretty fun!
Best Places to Stay in Fajardo
Fajardo is an excellent location to stay if you’re looking to get away from San Juan. It’s close to El Yunque and a lot of other attractions. Below are some of the best places to stay in Fajardo!
- El Conquistador Resort: Looking to soak up some sun while staying in the most beautiful location in Fajardo? Then I highly suggest checking out this resort!
- Relaxing Beach Apartment: If you want a medium-priced accommodation but not a hotel, then this is your place. This relaxing beach apartment is perfect for families!
- The International Hostel El Collage: Traveling on a budget? El Collage is only $25 a night! This is a hard deal to find when visiting Puerto Rico.
Similar Activities in Puerto Rico
Las Tinajas Falls is a crazy adventure but there are so many different activities that you can do during your visit. Below are some of my favorites, which are free or extremely budget-friendly!
- Charco Prieto Waterfall
- Gozalandia Waterfall
- Charco El Pilon
- Cabo Rojo Lighthouse Hike
- Cerro de los Cielos
My Experience Hiking to Las Tinajas Falls
Our experience started off great to be honest! The trail wasn’t too bad and the river crossings were actually quite fun. It’s an easy trail to follow for the most part.
After the first river crossing, we stayed to the right and kept going up when we probably should have crossed again.
This trail became so muddy, we almost turned around to go another way. Little did we know at the time but the other way was just as muddy.
We crossed over and ran into the first tour group. Didn’t think much of it. We got to Las Tinajas Falls and ran into hundreds of people. We almost didn’t do anything but leave.
But after hanging around a bit, we swam and went on the rope jump. It was fun, don’t get me wrong. I’m just not sure if I’d recommend it to many people.
Final Thoughts on Las Tinajas Falls
If you want an iconic picture in the jungle of Puerto Rico, I’d still suggest visiting Las Tinajas Falls. Either visit here really early in the morning or during the week (or both). I could tell that if we went early that it would’ve been one of our favorite spots on the island. Maybe next time we’ll try this out. But if you don’t like crowds at any sort of nature spot, then stay away!
Thanks for reading my guide on Las Tinajas Falls! Hopefully, this gave you an idea of what to expect when visiting here.