View of a highway on a mountain in Puerto Rico

11 Best Puerto Rico Mountains to Explore (By a Local)

Planning a day (or many) in the beautiful Puerto Rico mountains is guaranteed to be a highlight of your island trip. 

The central mountain range is home to the Cordillera Central region, a line of mountains that goes from west to east and encompasses over 15 towns. Of course, driving in the Puerto Rico mountains is not for the faint-hearted, but it’ll be a great adventure.

As a Puerto Rico local, I can ensure you that the central region boasts some of the best places to see in Puerto Rico. So, if you’re into breathtaking views, challenging hikes, and finding new places, then you can’t miss these 11 mountains in Puerto Rico.

Let’s dive in!

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11 Best Puerto Rico Mountains

Cerro de Punta 

Elevation: 4,389.7 ft

View of a hiking trail in Cerro de Punta

🥾 Moderate | 📍 Google Maps | Costs: Free

Cerro de Punta is Puerto Rico’s highest peak and is located in the municipality of Jayuya. The Jayuya town is also located in Cordillera Central where the roads are mostly thin and curvy, adapting to the geography of the place. 

If you try to reach the peak of Cerro Punta driving, then you’ll need a 4×4 vehicle as it’s steep and there are a lot of potholes. Most visitors decide to park on the main road and then hike for 45 minutes uphill but, to be honest, the road to Cerro de Punta is not for anxious and nervous people.

👉 Did you know? Jayuya and other cities in the central region are known for their coffee production. Coffee plantations became popular after the Spanish conquest, becoming part of the history and culture of Puerto Rico. If you’re visiting Jayuya, Lares, Ponce, or Adjuntas don’t miss the chance to get a taste of fresh ground coffee at a coffee farm. 

Cerro Mime

Elevation: 2,080.05 ft

View from the Cerro Mime and the clear blue sky over it

🥾 Difficult | 📍 Google Maps | Costs: $5 for parking

Cerro Mime is one of the more popular peaks in Orocovis, a city located in Cordillera Central. The first part of the trail is easy, but as you continue to advance, the grass is somewhat outgrown, there are a lot of insects, and you might find cows and bulls on the way. However, the view is a delight for photographers and outdoor enthusiasts.

The drive to the mountain is challenging as the roads are curvy and narrow – depending on the route you take, you might even need a 4×4. But the view of the Cordillera from this mountain is one of the popular attractions of Orocovis.

📚 Related Reading: 11 Best Towns in Puerto Rico

Cañon San Cristóbal

Elevation: 2,140 ft

🥾 Difficult/Expert | 📍 Google Maps | Website | Costs: Depends on the tour

Cañon San Cristobal, located between Aibonito and Barranquitas, is one of the most unique sights in Puerto Rico.  While the land is protected by a non-profit organization, it’s possible to visit with reservations and private tours. 

Once a dumpsite, the San Cristobal Canyon now boasts beautiful scenery with multiple waterfalls, a river, and forests with flora and fauna that nature lovers will love.

Keep in mind that the city of Aibonito holds the record for the lowest temperature in Puerto Rico. If you’re visiting in the winter, then prepare to experience a colder climate and limited visibility due to the fog. Rainfall in Cordillera Central is also common, so drive carefully through the curvy roads.

Cerro El Rodadero

Elevation: 2,864.17 ft

Overlooking view from the mountains of Yauco
The view from the mountains of Yauco

🥾 Difficult | 📍 Google Maps | Costs: free

Located in the mountain region of Yauco, Cerro El Rodadero is one of the most popular stops for Puerto Rico’s adventurous types. This famous mountain features a rock that thrill-seekers can climb to feel at the edge of the world. 

The view from the south coast, west coast, Caribbean sea, and the foothills of the mountains are picture-perfect. You can also see Lago Lucchetti from this spot. Although the hike is about 20 minutes, the route is strenuous because of the inclination and the heat. 

👉 Pro Tip: If you’re visiting Cerro El Rodadero, then keep in mind that once you exit PR-2, the mountainous roads are curvy, lack guardrails, have deep drop-offs, and are so small, you will have to stop sometimes to let other cars pass. Always pay attention to the road and drive with precaution. The reception is poor, so download your maps offline before visiting.

Monte Guilarte

Elevation: 3,950 ft

Aerial view from Monte Guilarte

🥾 Moderate | 📍 Google Maps | Costs: free

Monte Guilarte is located in Adjuntas, one of the coldest cities inside the Cordillera Central Mountains of Puerto Rico. Classified as one of the highest peaks on the island, Monte Guilarte, also known as Monte Guaraguo, takes its name after a Spanish conqueror. 

The hike to the peak from inside the Guilarte State Forest takes around an hour. The trail is of moderate difficulty, but it can get muddy and slippery with rain, which is not uncommon in Adjuntas for the altitude. You should bring along hiking poles such as the TrailBuddy trekking poles. They are lightweight, adjustable, and collapsible so you can fix them in your backpack.

🚗 How to Get There: There isn’t any direct public transportation from the San Juan airport to the towns in central Puerto Rico. The easiest way to visit any location in the mountains is by renting a car in Puerto Rico. You can use Discover Cars to find 4×4 vehicles that can conquest even the steepest streets in the region.

El Toro Peak

Elevation: 3,533 ft

View of the rainforest in El Toro Peak

🥾 Expert | 📍 Google Maps | Website | Costs: free

Located in El Yunque National Rainforest, El Toro Peak is the highest point of the rainforest. The hike to the peak is only for hardcore adventurers, as the round trip takes between 4 and 6 hours among trees, high grass, and knee-high mud. 

Once at the top, you’ll see both the north and east coastline. In comparison with other mountainous areas in Puerto Rico, it’s easier to drive to this area of El Yunque, but PR 189 road is still narrow and curvy, so you should take precautions while driving.

👉 Pro Tip: Whenever you visit El Yunque or any of the mountains in the Cordillera Central region, Sierra de Cayey, or Sierra de Luquillo, start your visit early to avoid getting caught in the afternoon showers.

Cerro de Los Cielos

Elevation: 1,860 ft

The Salinas mountains in Puerto Rico
View of Salinas mountains

🥾 Difficult | 📍 Google Maps | Costs: $5 for parking

Cerro de Los Cielos is located on the mountainous side of Salinas and it boasts a picturesque view of the highway and the mountains of Salinas and Cayey. The trail is known as El Arbol Solitario for the lonely tree with a Puerto Rico flag next to the trail.

Although short, getting to the peak of Cerro de Los Cielos is challenging as it has a steep incline and there isn’t much shade along the way. Since the trailhead is difficult to find, park at Hacienda Los Maldonado and ask for directions.

📚 Related Reading: Puerto Rico’s 15 Best Hiking Trails

Cerro Las Tetas 

Elevation: 2,759 ft

The Cerro Las Tetas and the clear blue sky over it
(photo: Euri Rivera / Shutterstock)

🥾 Easy | 📍 Google Maps | Costs: free

Cerro Las Tetas de Cayey is a popular two-peak mountain located in the Sierra de Cayey in Salinas. These mountains are popular for their unique shape and they have multiple attractions around them including rock climbing companies, fincas, and restaurants. 

While you don’t have to walk more than 5 minutes from the main road to Cerro Las Tetas, and so the trail is family-friendly, you will have to transit many small and curvy roads to get there.  

📚 Related Reading: My Guide to Driving in Puerto Rico

Cerro Doña Juana

Elevation: 3,471 ft

Aerial view from the Toro Negro State Forest
Toro Negro State Forest

🥾 Moderate | 📍 Google Maps | Costs: free

The city of Orocovis is home to a beautiful forest, waterfalls, and rivers, but it’s also difficult to explore if you’re driving in the central mountains for the first time. If you’re up to the challenge and like the peace of remote nature locations, then I recommend driving to Cerro Doña Juan inside the Toro Negro State Forest. 

The hike to Cerro Doña Juana takes about 2 hours at a slow pace and, while the journey itself doesn’t feature much scenery, it’s great for seeing birds and enjoying the quiet solitude. At the top, visitors will find a viewing tower with a view of the surrounding towns and valley.

👉 Pro Tip: After visiting Cerro Doña Juana and exiting the Toro Negro State Forest, make a stop at Doña Juana Waterfall, one of Puerto Rico’s top waterfalls.

Tres Picachos

Elevation: 3,894 ft

View from the Tres Picachos  in Puerto Rico

🥾 Expert | 📍 Google Maps | Costs: free

If you’re an experienced hiker looking for something more challenging, then Tres Picachos in Ciales is for you. Like many of the mountains in Cordillera Central, Tres Picachos boasts a hiking trail, except this one feels more like climbing. 

The route is so steep and muddy that there are ropes installed on the trail to get through it, but you’ll have the best view of Puerto Rico’s natural beauty in the region.

While Tres Picachos is in Ciales, you’ll have to access the trailhead through the city of Jayuya, which is one of the most difficult central Puerto Rican cities to move around in. The streets are steep, curvy, and can easily make anyone car sick.

👉 Pro Tip: If you’re climbing Tres Picachos, make sure to bring along gloves. These Vinsguir gloves will protect your hands from calluses, and they have a breathable fabric with a strong grip.

Cerro Morales

Elevation: 3,214 feet

View from the mountains of Utuado
Mountains of Utuado

🥾 Difficult | 📍 Google Maps | Costs: free

Hiking Cerro Morales is one of the most fun things to do in Utuado and is the highest peak of the city. Known for coffee, agriculture, rivers, and nature, Utuado is one of the top cities for people seeking to connect with nature in a remote location. 

The hike to Cerro Morales takes about one hour but the natural beauty and the mix of curves and colors seen from the top is the perfect reward for hiking lovers.

👉 Pro Tip: Finding the trail to Cerro Morales is hard for people that’s never been there before. If you have a hard time asking for directions, then it’s best to book a tour with Puerto Rico Natura.

FAQs About Mountains in Puerto Rico

What are the major mountains in Puerto Rico?

The Cordillera Central mountain range is home to the five major mountains of Puerto Rico including Cerro de Punta, Monte Jayuya, Cerro Rosa, Cerro Maravilla, and Los Tres Picachos.

What part of Puerto Rico has mountains?

The center of Puerto Rico is home to a limestone mountain range known as Cordillera Central that encompasses 15 municipalities out of the 78 cities of Puerto Rico. These include Cidra, Comerío, Corozal, Naranjito, Orocovis, Barranquitas, Cayey, Ciales, Adjuntas, Aguas Buenas, Aibonito, Florida, Jayuya, Morovis, and Utuado.

Is Puerto Rico an underwater mountain?

Puerto Rico is the result of millions of years of volcanic eruptions and activity. By definition, it’s a volcanic island that is now extinct. 

***

Thanks for reading my guide to Puerto Rico’s best mountains! The Cordillera Central in particular is home to the best, as has many things on offer.

For more great things to do, check out this epic list of fun activities in Puerto Rico.

Enjoy the Puerto Rico mountains!

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