Edited by: Nick Ellis
& Keri Stooksbury
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Puerto Rico is a gorgeous island paradise. A U.S. territory that’s just a short flight away from much of the mainland, it’s easy to vacation there for some fun in the sun.
On such a beautiful island, you can expect plenty of beautiful beaches. Sure enough, thousands of the island’s tourists flock to the coast during their visits.
However, there are hundreds of beaches to choose from, which can make zeroing in on a beach to visit during your Puerto Rican vacation an overwhelming decision.
That’s exactly why we’re here today to help you choose the best beach in Puerto Rico for your ideal vacation.
Balneario de Boquerón in the Cabo Rojo region is one of the best beaches for people who want to feel like a local in Puerto Rico, as the beach is often frequented by families and groups of friends who live in the area.
You’ll occasionally run into tourists since it’s a highly recommended beach. However, it’s likely you won’t see too many visitors — even other beaches in Cabo Rojo are considered to be more “touristy” than Balneario de Boquerón. All this means you’ll likely deal with slightly thinner crowds, which is a win in our book. Even if you don’t pick Balneario de Boquerón, the Cabo Rojo area in general is thought to have some of the best beaches on the island, so you can’t go wrong with any of them.
If you want to spend your beach trip on long stretches of soft sand without being too far away from the city (the beach is about an hour away from Ponce), this is one of the best options to consider.
Cayo Aurora is also called Gilligan’s Island — and it’s not hard to see why. This cay is just off the southwestern coast of Puerto Rico and is only accessible by boat. Being there feels like you’re on an even more secluded vacation.
This is a highly recommended place for a beach getaway if you want to avoid other tourists or crowds in general. While there are other visitors on the island, its distance from the main Puerto Rican island tends to make it less convenient for travelers and gives it an “off-the-beaten-path” reputation.
The Department of Natural Resources manages the island due to its importance in sustaining the local flora and fauna. Due to that, the island has a wilder appearance. It’s still considered perfectly safe as long you’re careful, despite the fewer visitors. It may take more planning to visit, but it’s worth it.
If you’re on the lookout for someplace where you can take long walks on the beach in an island paradise, Playa El Pastillo in the Isabela region is perfect for you.
The beach offers something for everyone. Families can let their kids run around without worrying about too many crowds or dangerous changes in the landscape. People who want to relax can enjoy a walk or lounge by the water.
On the other hand, people looking to explore can make the short trek to Cuevas de las Golondrinas if their trip falls during the right time. Cuevas de las Golondrinas is a cave that’s only accessible from late July until early September when the tide is low enough.
The beach isn’t too far from the city (it’s about 25 minutes from Aguadilla), but it’s secluded enough to make you feel like you’re truly immersed in the splendor of nature.
If you’re in Rincón and you want to visit one of the area’s best beaches, here are a few names to remember: Playa Escalera, Steps Beach, and Tres Palmas. Don’t worry, all of those names refer to the same place.
Playa Escalera is known for its concrete steps that sit isolated on the beach. The beach was initially used as a military training site during World War II. So, the steps were likely part of some training activity and have become a landmark in the decades since.
The beach offers a different experience depending on when you visit. For example, there are a lot more waves from November through March which makes the vistas more dramatic but can make swimming difficult.
Calmer waters arrive from April through October. During this time, you can even snorkel in the shallow areas. The area is part of a nature reserve, so you’ll have plenty of local plants and wildlife to admire both above and below the water.
If you’re in Isabela and you want to stay close to bars, restaurants, and shops, Playa Jobos is a great option to consider.
Situated very close to town, Playa Jobos is also ideal for long walks on the soft sand, especially during sunrise and sunset. However, doing more than just dipping your toe in the water might be a problem.
The area has strong currents that can develop quickly — and without warning — so casual or young swimmers can easily be caught off guard. You’ll notice signs warning you about potentially dangerous swimming conditions along the beach, so keep that in mind. Even if you see other people in the water, it may still be dangerous to do anything other than admire its beauty.
Hot Tip: While the beach is popular and well worth visiting, you may want to save your swimming adventures for another location unless you’re a trained swimmer and are used to currents.
If you want to feel like you’re in a tropical postcard, head to Sandy Beach in Rincón. Many similar beaches in Puerto Rico are privately owned by the resorts on the island, but that’s not the case here.
You may also assume that since this is a free beach, you would be fighting crowds for a good spot on the sand. However, Sandy Beach tends to be pretty vacant since many visitors stay at the resorts in Rincón.
This means you’ll be sharing the sand with locals. But, they tend to head to the beach more in the late afternoon or evening hours. So, mornings — when the water is clearest — are usually pretty empty.
The beach also offers a little of everything. The shallow waters are great for swimming and don’t have particularly strong currents, so they’re safe for all swimmers. And where the water is deeper, it’s great for surfers.
La Cordillera Nature Reserve can be found in the northeast of Puerto Rico. This nature reserve is made up of a collection of small islands known as cays that are accessible only by boat. The largest and most scenic of which is Cayo Icaco.
Since the cay is part of a nature reserve, it’s largely untouched by civilization. You won’t find restaurants or busy streets spelling onto the sand here.
Instead, you’ll be able to enjoy the clear blue water and soft sand. Locals love the beach because it’s a way to get away from their day-to-day stresses without straying too far from home.
Since the water is so clear and stays shallow for a decent stretch, it’s the perfect place for you to try your hand at snorkeling. The water is home to a plethora of different sea creatures — we’re hard-pressed to think of a better place to see them all than right here.
Luquillo is a laid-back town on the eastern coast of the island. Though it might not have the thriving bustle of the city, it’s the perfect spot for people looking to get in touch with nature and relax.
The town, in fact, is perfectly situated to offer easy access to the mountains and the coast, so you’re never far from nature. However, its beaches are really what gives Luquillo fame.
Luquillo Beach is the main beach in town, but don’t be fooled into thinking that means it’s too commercialized. The beach somehow feels like it’s in the middle of a deserted paradise, even though it’s just a short distance from the town center.
It’s worth noting this isn’t a free beach. There is a small fee required to access the sand here in order to keep the stretch well-maintained and preserved for years to come. This fee also gives access to the beach’s amenities.
If you’re on the hunt for a secret spot to enjoy the sun and the waves, look no further than Playa Colora in Fajardo. With its tan sand, clear, bright blue water, and scattered boulders, being on this beach is like stepping into a painting.
The rocks are large enough to hide this stretch of beach from most people’s view, so you have to know it’s there in order to find it. Don’t worry, though. You don’t have to go trekking dangerously over a cliff to get to it. Once you know what to look for, the trail that leads down to the beach is easy to find.
It’s also just under 1 mile away from the more well-known Seven Seas Cove and Beach. If you’re an avid hiker, you’ll love the walk, but even casual beach-goers shouldn’t have trouble getting from one beach to the other.
A mere 25-minute hike from Seven Seas Cove and Beach is Playa Escondida. This beach is an island oasis that will make you feel like you’ve entered a whole new world.
The beach is hidden from the main view thanks to the rocky landscape that keeps it tucked away. Once you know the beach is there, the pathway isn’t hard to follow, and there are signs to direct you to the beach.
However, though Playa Escondida is one of the most picturesque beaches in Puerto Rico, it’s also one of the most potentially dangerous. The beach is known for its strong currents, and it can develop rip tides. There also aren’t any lifeguards on watch, which adds to the potential dangers.
Hot Tip: This beach is certainly worth visiting. However, if you do visit, consider staying on the sand or wading in the shallow waters rather than going for a swim.
Playa Rocosa is near Playa Colora, which we already mentioned on this list. If you’re visiting one, you might as well visit the other! The 2 beaches blend into one another, after all. Playa Rocosa is about 10 minutes away from Seven Seas Beach as well, making it a great spot to spend a day off the beaten path.
The beach is named after its rocky shore. Rather than soft sand, small, smooth pebbles lead you down to the water. Further away from the water, you’ll find sandy stretches where you can sit and relax.
Since the beach is rocky, if you plan to go swimming, be prepared to deal with the pebbles while barefoot. Otherwise, a pair of waterproof sandals should be more than enough to make walking comfortable. The beach might be small, but it’s picturesque and usually not too crowded since most tourists don’t know about it.
We’ve mentioned Seven Seas Cove and Beach a few times, and it deserves its own mention. This beach is the main expanse of coastline in the Seven Seas area that is made up of multiple stretches of beach.
This section of the coast is centrally located and offers easy access to the hidden areas that surround it. However, even if you’d prefer to keep your trekking to a minimum, you can still get your fix of beauty from this beach alone.
It’s the largest beach in the area, so while it might be the most crowded, there’s also the most space available. You won’t have to worry about chaos or being on top of your neighbors on the sand. It’s recommended to scope out a spot under one of the beach’s palm trees to relax, so you can enjoy the sun without getting burned.
Puerto Rico is paradise for beach lovers. It doesn’t matter if you’re on the west or the east coast of the island — you’ll have plenty of places to choose from to enjoy the sun, sand, and waves. You really can’t go wrong with any of the beaches we’ve mentioned on this list!
You can find beautiful beaches all over Puerto Rico. However, those on the island’s western side are the beaches most often presented in photos and promotional material. It all depends on your preferences for sand, water temperature, water clarity, and crowds.
Puerto Rico has hundreds of beaches along its coastline, many of which are completely swimmable. Some beaches may have “no swimming” signs if they are near shipyards, for example. However, in general, you won’t have trouble finding swimmable beaches anywhere on the island.
The best time to visit Puerto Rico will depend on what you want from your vacation. The island is near the equator, so the summers are hot, and the winters are rainy. However, April through June typically has warm temperatures without excessive heat or rain.
Puerto Rico is one of the best vacation destinations for people who want to visit a tropical place. It has beautiful landscapes that you can adventure in and beaches that allow for relaxation.
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