We've done the rain forest by tour bus but never by car. It is beautiful. With the bus driver acting as our tour guide, he explained everything; the flowers, the trees and all the statistics you need. This info you might miss by being in a car but you should still enjoy it. Keep your eye peeled for iguana in the area around the tower. They make great photos.
We took this trip by bus. Glad we did, the road is steep, winding, and narrow. On other occasions I've rented cars in Puerto Rico. I think the bus is a good idea, plus you get the narrated tour, and stops at several souvenir stands, too. It's not all bad, they sell beer along with the souvenirs, and yes, they have rest rooms.
WE RENTED A CAR. IT WAS FUN. YOU HAVE TIME TO DO WHAT YOU WANT AT YOUR OWN PACE. THE ROAD IS SOMEWHAT WINDING BUT NOT CALIFORNIA COAST ROAD WINDING. IT IS A VERY QUIET PLACE, NOTHING BIG AND EXCITING BUT THE EDUCATION CENTER IS REALLY GOOD. YOU CAN ALSO TAKE A DIP IN THE "FOUNTAIN OF YOUTH" (THOUGH I AM STILL WAITING FOR IT TO WORK!) AND THERE ARE MANY HIKING TRAILS SHORT AND LONG. WE ALSO LIKED THE LITTLE SNACK SHACKS DOTTED LONG THE ROAD. SOME AUTHENTIC PUERTO RICAN FAST FOOD AND CHEAP SOUVENIERS. THE DRIVE THERE AND BACK IS MOSTLY FREEWAY BUT YOU CAN SEE SOME OF THE NEIGHBORHOODS TOO. WHAT SURPRISED ME WAS HOW MUCH COOLER IT IS. I GUESS I EXPECTED HEAT AND STEAM? IT WAS AT LEAST 10-15 DEGREES COOLER THAN THE CITY AND I WISHED I HAD A SWEATER MORE THAN ONCE. THE ONLY CAUTION-LEAVE YOURSELF LOTS OF TIME TO GET BACK. WE LEFT AROUND 6, WE GOT STUCK IN A HUGE SUNDAY TRAFFIC JAM AND BY THE TIME WE DROPPED THE CAR AT THE HOTEL AND GOT A CAB WE BOARDED WITH 15 MINUTES TO SPARE!
Thanks for your help! My husband has quite the sense of adventure and hates paying for tours. We have rented jeeps and mopeds at many ports but felt unsure about travel to the rainforest. I'll make sure our group of 12 take jackets or sweaters and appropriate walking shoes. Thanks again!