San Cristobal Canyon is located between the towns of Aibonito and Barranquitas,  in the Central Cordillera Mountains. This is Puerto Rico’s only canyon and is a very popular hiking destination. The canyon is approximately six miles (9 kms) in length, with its deepest point being around 492 feet (150 meters).  The Usabon River flows through  the canyon and diverse vegetation clings to the cliff sides of the canyon and several fast flowing waterfalls and crystal clear pools add to its awesome beauty.

The San Cristobal Canyon is somewhat off the beaten track and not that easy to locate, but locals will be able to guide you. If you are traveling  Aibonito to Barranquitas, you will most likely enter the canyon along the trail at Barrio Llanos. The trail is steep, and depending on weather conditions, may be wet and slippery, but well worth the effort. Hikers are permitted to explore the canyon without a guide, but less experienced hikers may want to make use of a local guide who is familiar with the routes and will point out interesting flora and fauna along the way.

The Neblina waterfall (Cascada la Nablina) is Puerto Rico’s highest waterfall and is a breath-taking sight as it tumbles in a series of narrow streams over a cliff into a pool below. Be sure to take some time to enjoy a swim in the clean water where you can watch the streams of water hitting the crags above and spraying out in all directions. It is possible to hike  downstream where you will come across a second waterfall, a bit smaller than the first, but just as beautiful. The river bed is very rocky in places and the fast flowing water is an awesome sight as it rushes over the rocks. Once you reach the third waterfall, it’s impossible to go any further and you’ll have to turn back.

Depending on your level of fitness and how much time you want to spend splashing around in the pool below the Neblina waterfall, the hike takes around four hours. Less energetic explorers can still get a great view of the canyon and its waterfalls from the top. If you decide to  hike the canyon, don’t rush,  just allow yourself to enjoy the tranquility, along with the extraordinary beauty of  San Cristobal Canyon – one of Puerto Rico’s most beautiful natural treasures.