It’s hard for some visitors to wrap their heads around the idea of spending time in Puerto Rico  not on the beaches but in the mountains. That’s what makes the Cordillera Central, Puerto Rico’s central mountain region, one of the island’s greatest hidden gems. Thousands of acres of undeveloped land thick with tropical jungle, high mountain peaks, waterfalls, rivers, intricate cave systems, and a canyon comprise the interior of the island, making it one of the most beautiful regions of Puerto Rico.
But the natural beauty isn’t the only reason to visit Cordillera Central. This is where adventurous travelers go to escape any semblance of mainland American influence and experience authentic traditional Puerto Rican culture and explore its Taíno Indian roots.
Although tourism is a fairly new concept in the Cordillera Central, efforts are being made to attract more visitors. To that end, a fantastic scenic route called La Ruta Panorámica has been established that runs the length of the region from east to west along several well-marked highways, starting on the southeast coast in Maunabo  and ending on the west coast in Mayagüez. Along the way, travelers pass through the Toro Negro Forest  and the highest peaks on the island. It’s also centrally located, making it ideal for branching off the route to explore other nearby sights and towns.