Directions to El Verde Field Station from the airport
(updated on January 10, 2012)
1) Exit the airport – only one road for exit, keep to center lane.
Note - as you leave the airport you drive under an underpass (subway) and almost immediately there is a turn to the right for San Juan - Do not exit.
2) Take second road on the right for Route 26 towards Carolina.
Note - this road curves to the right 270 degrees to head east and joins to the edge of route 26, also known as Baldorioty de Castro.
Note - if you miss this right turn you go over the Moscoso Bridge and have to pay a toll at the other end then find a way to turn around to go back over the bridge and pay the toll again.
3) As you join Route 26 beware traffic trying to leave Route 26 at this same junction, so move as soon as possible to middle or left lane to avoid exiting and returning to the airport.
For 100 m or so keep in left lane - to avoid exiting right to Ave. Los Angeles - and you will join the main Route 26 (3-4 lane highway).
4) Stay on Route 26 for about 4.5 miles. Then you have a choice: either use the business road Route 3 that crosses the busy Carolina area with many stoplights, or bypass the entire area using highway Route 66 (highly recommended).
Using Route 66:
5a) Stay on the left on route 26 for about 4.5 miles. You will see signs pointing to Route 66 to the left. Stay left (Exit 0) and Route 26 becomes Route 66, which has two tolls ($1.50 and $1.00, respectively).
6a) Drive to the end of Route 66 (about 15 minutes after the toll) which dumps you out on Route 3 in Rio Grande. Turn right off the exit onto Route 3 east.
6c) Go about 1/4 mile and you will come to a light where Route 186 joins Route 3. You will see "El Verde BBQ" on the right.
Go to 9 below ...
Using Route 3:
5b) Stay on Route 26 for about 4.5 miles. You will see signs pointing to Route 66 at the left and Route 3 at the right. Move to the right and take the exit toward Carolina.
6b) Stay on Route 3 traveling east for about 8 miles along a straight road with many lights that passes through Carolina and Canovanas until you reach Rio Grande.
7a) After the welcome sign for Rio Grande (with large parrots) you pass under a footbridge at traffic lights with “Advance Auto Parts” on your left.
8a) Go through the footbridge and traffic lights, and you will see Ralph's supermarket come up on your right. Go through one set of traffic lights at an underpass just after Ralph's, and 200m ahead you will see another traffic light and signs for Route 186 to the right.
Go to 9 below ...
9) Turn right onto Route 186 at the "El Verde BBQ" (El Verde Field Station is about 4 miles along 186 from Route 3).
10) Route 186 winds its way along the foothills. After 3/4 mile it bends sharply to the right (DON'T go left toward Jimenez), and then 1/4 mile later it makes a sharp curve left. Pass the white picket fence of Siesta Alegre ranch on your right and follow the road downhill into El Verde village (where you'll pass Colmado Rodriguez). Stay on 186 and cross the bridge over a river and go uphill towards the forest.
11) 1/4 mile after the bridge you will enter the El Yunque National Forest. There will be no more buildings and you will see a sign announcing that you are entering the forest.
12) After entering, travel uphill for 2 miles of sharp curves and cross over the Quebrada Sonadora (river) bridge.
Approx. 150 m after the bridge you will see a driveway on your left with a one bar yellow metal gate (This is the first left turn possible after passing the El Yunque National Forest welcome sign). This is the entrance to El Verde Field Station - there is no sign until 75m up the driveway.
Note - if the gate is locked, (4 pm – 7 am, all day on weekends and holidays) park (without blocking the gate), lock your car, and walk the 5 minutes up the drive to the field station to find somebody who can open the gate for you.