10 Best Beaches in Puerto Rico
Puerto Rico is known for its beautiful beaches, and trust me, this island does not disappoint. Afterall, it’s not called “the Island of Enchantment” for no reason. Puerto Rico’s captivating culture and beautiful natural scenery is bound to draw you to its magic…just like it did me. Read more to find more about the best beaches in Puerto Rico.
If you’re looking for an island to explore that combines both a laid-back vibe with adventure, Puerto Rico is it. In addition to its hundreds of beaches, the island has a one-of-a-kind rainforest (El Yunque) with giant waterfalls and diverse animal and plant life. It’s also home to the coqui frog which is a species of frog endemic to Puerto Rico (and it’s loud!). Imagine this sound “coqui! coqui!” all night coming from the trees.
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Does Puerto Rico Have Nice Beaches?
Puerto Rico has some of the nicest beaches in all the Caribbean Islands. Imagine vast expanses of white sand joined by crystal blue waters and tons of marine life.
If you like busy party beaches, Puerto Rico has it. Check out Condado Beach in San Juan which has a Miami Beach type of vibe. Are you looking for a quiet, secluded beach where you might not see anyone for a mile in either direction? Hit up Survival Beach in Aguadilla where you’ll need to park your car and walk along a rocky trail until you land on its almost deserted shore.
What is the Most Beautiful Beach in Puerto Rico?
It’s impossible to choose just one of Puerto Rico’s beaches as the most beautiful! Even though the island is small, the vibes across the island are so very different from east coast to west coast.
Head east of San Juan to find beaches like Luquillo which are more family friendly and quiet. Head west to Jobos Beach which is a bit more like a big party on weekend nights. Farther west is Rincon which hosts one of the top surfing competitions in the world. One of my favorite beaches is Mar Chiquita in Manatí which is in the shape of a horseshoe and has a chill, locals feel to it.
What are the Best Areas to Stay in Puerto Rico?
The best areas to stay in Puerto Rico will depend on what you are looking for. If you would like to keep close to San Juan, you can stay in the hotels along Condado Beach or find a nice Airbnb near Ocean Park or Isla Verde. One of the best hotels to stay in San Juan is the Vanderbilt Hotel overlooking the Atlantic Ocean in the Condado District.
If you’re looking for luxury, head to Dorado’s Ritz Carlton which is just a bit west of San Juan. This hotel is located on eight acres of beachfront property and has all the upscale amenities you would expect from an upscale hotel.
One of my favorite areas to stay in Puerto Rico is in Isabella about 1.5 hours west of San Juan. You can find amazing, affordable Airbnb stays here with breathtaking ocean views and the most incredible sunsets.
When is the Best Time to Go to Puerto Rico?
The best time to go to Puerto Rico is from Mid-April to June, just after the busier winter season and just before the rainy, hot summer. Temperatures stay fairly consistent all year-around; however, summer gets quite humid.
If you’re looking for a party, you might want to visit Old San Juan in January which hosts a massive San Sabastian Festival. Thousands and thousands descend on the town during the festival with parties from morning to night.
Also, beware that Puerto Rico has a strong hurricane season. Hurricanes usually occur between August and October. Don’t let this deter you from traveling to Puerto Rico during this time, just be cautious and monitor the weather.
What is the Best Island in Puerto Rico?
Of course, Puerto Rico itself is an island, and you can’t go wrong whether you decide to stay in San Juan, head out to El Yunque rainforest for a visit, or relax at any one of its hundreds of beaches.
However, Puerto Rico has two unique islands to its east: Culebra and Vieques. You can get to either of these islands via ferry, private boat, or a small plane from San Juan’s Luis Munoz Marin airport.
Culebra is a small island surrounded by a group of cays off Puerto Rico’s east coast. Its Flamenco Beach is a famous for white sand and turquoise water and a popular destination point for catamaran tours. The island also has Tamarindo Beach full of marine life, sea turtle, and sea rays. If you’re looking for dramatic sunsets, head to Punta Melones on Culebra which is known for its perfect sunset views.
Vieques is another island off the coast of Puerto Rico made famous for its wild horses roaming the island and its unique bioluminescence. It’s one of those truly unspoiled, uncrowded islands that makes the Caribbean such a captivating place. Vieques is home to Mosquito Bay, known as the brightest bioluminescent bay in the world. The island also has one of the largest natural wildlife refuges in the Caribbean.
Are you ready to visit Puerto Rico? I’ve compiled some of the top beaches below for you to visit to help you plan your trip.
Best Beaches in Puerto Rico: #1 Playa Escondida
If you’re looking for a private, secluded beach during your trip to Puerto Rico, Playa Escondida is the place to visit. Located east of San Juan toward Fajardo, the beach’s name means “hidden” in Spanish. If you’re heading to this beach, you’ll walk awhile on a trail through mangroves until you find the beach and will likely have it all to yourself.
Beware that Playa Escondida isn’t a swimming beach as the waters can get quite rough. However, pack a lunch in your backpack and enjoy the solitude and views in quiet.
Best Beaches in Puerto Rico: #2 Playa Tres Palmas
On the west coast in Rincon, you’ll find Playa Tres Palmas with excellent surfing. The beach also goes by Playa Escalara or “Steps Beach” based on the concrete steps sitting on the sand. It’s known as a honeymooners beach because of its secluded, romantic vibe.
The beach is easily accessible from the main road with a narrow direct path that unfolds out to a beautiful beach. Thanks to the efforts of community groups wanting to keep major developments away from the beach, there are few builds on site, furthering the beach’s unspoiled beauty.
Best Beaches in Puerto Rico: #3 Luquillo Beach
Luquillo (about 45 minutes east of San Juan) is a great family beach. The waters are great for swimming, the beach has clean, fine sand, and in the backdrop you have the lush, green El Yunque rainforest. The beach is gated and charges a small fee at the entrance for parking, but it’s definitely worth the fee.
Near Luquillo Beach you can find vendors renting jet skis and paddle boards, if you’re up for an adventure. Otherwise, just kick back and relax, enjoy the sun, and pop up a cerveza.
When you head back to San Juan, you’ll find a strip of kiosks with every type of local Puerto Rican street food you can image (think mofongo, a hearty fried plantain dish, empanadillas, and pinchos). On weekend nights, this strip of kiosks attracts locals and tourists alike for one big fiesta.
4 Mar Chiquita Beach
Mar Chiquita is about 45 minutes west of the capital city of San Juan. The beach’s landscape in a large horseshoe shape with cliffy rocks on either side. An opening along the cliffs allows the ocean water to rush in creating a natural pool.
According to Islands of Puerto Rico, there is a legend on how this beach was formed:
“A beautiful Puerto Rican woman used to walk along near the edge of the cliff. One day as she was walking, an earthquake caused her to slip and fall into the ocean. Miraculously, part of the cliff breaks, the current that began to flow between the rocks pulled her back to the shore, saving her life. Mar Chiquita was formed and remains today for everyone to enjoy.”
When I visited Mar Chiquita, there was also a little food truck with a local abuela who served the most amazing fresh empanadas!
5 Playa Sucia (Cabo Rojo)
Playa Sucia means “Dirty Beach” but there’s nothing unclean about this beach destination. It can be found at the most southwest point of the island, and is a beautiful, popular beach worth the long drive to get there.
There are no oceanfront hotels here, so you get more of an unspoiled, secluded vibe. Getting to the beach can be a bit of an adventure with an unpaved dirt road with conditions depending on recent rainfall.
On the way to the beach, you’ll find an observatory tower with gorgeous view of the mountains, Caribbean Sea, and the Las Salinas (salt flats). You’ll also pass a wildlife refuge with various types of birds in a protected natural sanctuary. The trek to the beach is half the fun!
6 Condado Beach
Condado is probably the most popular beach in San Juan among those craving sun, sand, and resort experience. The beach has very easy access from the airport with a plethora of hotels and restaurants. Exciting night life is also just steps away along the beach’s strip, or head to La Placita where you’ll find a party just about every night of the week.
The beach attracts a diverse crowd of people and its vibe has been compared to famous Miami Beach. If you’re looking for an adventure, there’s plenty of vendors offering water sports. You’ll also find plenty of loungers and umbrellas for rent from the beach resorts.
7 Ocean Park
Keep heading east of Condado Beach, and you’ll find Ocean Park. It has a bit more of a laid-back feel since it’s located within a residential zone. However, the beach still has plenty of activity. This beach is especially a hot spot to kick back and watch the throng of windsurfers flying by. It’s a popular spot for windsurfing because of the consistent wind, and there are some nearby shops offering rentals and lessons.
One thing I learned while staying in San Juan is that Ocean Park is the place locals come on Sundays to relax. Side note – Every good Puerto Rican packs three essentials for the beach: their beach chair, their speaker, and their cooler. Bring all three to feel like a local. 😊
8 Isla Verde
Isla Verde was named as the #1 Urban Beach Destination by USA Travel Readers in 2016 and for good reason. The beach is popular with families and close to all types of restaurants, shops, and amenities. The beach is also located right next to the airport, so you can basically hop off the plane and head straight for the sand and water.
Isla Verde is known of an “all inclusive” destination with exciting nightlife, hotels for every budget, quiet beaches, and plenty of sports and shops within walking distance. You also have quick access to Old San Juan, El Yunque rainforest, and the highway if you’re looking to venture off to any other part of the island.
9 Jobos Beach
Head about 1.5 hours west of San Juan, and you’ll find a tiny town of Isabella with amazing cliffy views of the water along the drive. Near Isabella is Jobos Beach, a playa with a distinct island vibe and beautiful, crystal clear waters. This is by far one of my favorite beaches in Puerto Rico.
There are no high rises or fancy restaurants near Jobos Beach, and that’s part of the appeal. This is a beach destination for those who want to feel like they’re actually on an island. The shallow water areas are perfect for swimming and snorkeling, or just relax on the beach with a cerveza in hand.
Nearby there’s a strip of small restaurants and bars that can get pretty rowdy at night, but that’s part of the fun. You can take in the local Puerto Rican food, water surfers, and enjoy the view as the sun sets over the water.
If you’re looking for a place to stay near Jobos Beach, I recommend checking out Airbnb as they have some amazing stays that are very affordable in the area.
10 Piñones Beach
Hop in the car east of Isla Verde, and you’re going to find Piñones Beach which stretches all the way to the town of Loiza. This is definitely a local’s beach destination! It has endless options for local Puerto Rican food featured in small restaurants and street kiosks. Come hungry because you can try everything from empanadas to mofongo, arepas, and seafood dishes of every kind.
On weekend nights, Piñones is lit up with music, dancing, and plenty of flowing beers. If you’re looking for a fun, laid-back place where you can feel like a local, eat like a local, and party like a local, Piñones is for you.
Are you ready to visit Puerto Rico? What is your favorite Puerto Rican Beach? Do you have questions about Puerto Rico?
You can’t go wrong by visiting one of the hundreds of beaches found on the island of Puerto Rico. Whether you’re looking for a party vibe, a family vacation destination, or something quieter, you can find it here. I would love to hear about your travels to Puerto Rico (or future visits!) along with your favorite beach in the comments below.