Despite its many woes over the past couple of years, Puerto Rico is one of the most stunning islands in the Caribbean. With its 500kms of coastline, it boasts some of the nicest beaches in the world, from wild, untamed ones, to urban ones within walking distance of its capital San Juan. Below is a list of 11 of the beaches in Puerto Rico.
Less than an hour drive from San Juan, Luquillo Beach is one of the city’s most beloved family beaches. This crescent shaped beach boasts calm, shallow and warm waters as well as lifeguards on duty. You’ll also find facilities such as bathrooms, showers, snack and drink vendors and water sports rentals like kayaks. Luquillo is one of Puerto Rico’s Blue Flag public beaches, which means that it’s guaranteed to be clean and safe.
Dorado Beach is located on the north coast of Puerto Rico. Once a sugar plantation, today the pristine beach is a private one that local hotel guests can enjoy. The most beautiful part of the beach belongs to the luxury retreat Dorado Beach, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve. The white sand beach is flanked by a golf course and dotted with tall palm trees.
Jobos Beach is very popular among locals who come to spend a quiet, family-friendly day in the sun. What it lacks in glamour it makes up for in authenticity. It’s a great beach to relax like a local and enjoy some Puerto Rican cuisine at one of the beachside restaurants. Jobos is also popular with surfers since the waves are great year round.
Guilligan Island is an idyllic corner of Puerto Rico that’s off the beaten path and only reachable by kayak or ferry! The crystal clear and perfectly calm water feels like swimming in an oversized natural pool surrounded by lush mangroves. Guilligan Island is a snorkeling and bird watching paradise. You’ll find barbecue pits, toilets and picnic areas here and you can order food from the restaurant across the ferry stop to be delivered to you by boat.
Rincon is one of the best beach towns in Puerto Rico and Sandy Beach is the best beach in Rincon. It’s an ideal spot for surfers no matter what your level of expertise is. It’s also the best place to watch the sun set and the humpback whales break the waves.
Within walking distance of Old San Juan, El Escambrón Beach is one of the quietest beaches in the city. Clear crystal waters, surfing, snorkelling, a diving site, great food and facilities can be found here, along with beautiful vistas of San Juan.
Ocean Park Beach
More relaxed than nearby Condado Beach, Ocean Park Beach is a beautiful stretch of white sand a few activities such as kite-surf, play paddle tennis or beach volleyball. There are a few food vendors around, especially on weekends.
Condado Beach is Puerto Rico’s most famous stretch of sand with celebrities and families flocking here for a fun day in the sun. The ambiance has been compared to that of Miami Beach and is definitely not quiet and laidback but rather buzzing with activities and people. Watersports and complete facilities are available here, including a beachside bar service so you don’t even have to get up to order your paper umbrella-clad tropical cocktail.
Located on the west coast of Puerto Rico, Boqueron Beach is a quiet beach popular with the locals but far from the touristy path. The family friendly beach is equipped with bathrooms, restaurants, watersports, shady areas, gazebos, lifeguards, basketball courts, snorkelling and more. Please note that Boqueron Beach was affected by Hurricane Maria and although it’s still open, its many facilities are not currently available.
Peña Blanca Beach
If you enjoy snorkeling with sea turtles, and really–who doesn’t?–then head to Peña Blanca Beach on the west coast of the mainland. The beach is only open during the summer months because the sea is otherwise too rough to swim in.
Isla Verde Beach
One of the most popular beaches in San Juan, Isla Verde is lined up with beachside hotels, condominiums, restaurants and bars. If you enjoy people watching or being able to walk from the beach to great restaurants and bars, then Isla Verde Beach is the spot for you. Often voted the #1 urban beach in the Caribbean, Isla Verde has all the facilities one needs and more!
Punta Tuna is a very unique looking beach. For starters, it’s a nesting site for the Leatherback and Hawsbill sea turtles (nesting season is from March to July). It’s also not a swimming beach as the current is too strong. It’s a beautiful, wild beach to take a walk on and admire the surrounding nature. It’s flanked by rock formations on one side, which make a great viewpoint. The sand is a winding display of two tones of sand from white to a deep gold that create a beautiful pattern along the beach. Don’t forget to visit the Punta Tuna lighthouse while you’re there!
While visiting Puerto Rico’s main island, you may want to plan on visiting the smaller islands surrounding it. Vieques and Culebra are both located east of the main island and can be reached by plane or by ferry from the mainland. There are several affordable daily ferry trips to both islands. Culebra’s Flamenco Beach has been named one of the most beautiful beaches in the world. On Vieques, visit Playa Caracas (or Red Beach), Blue Beach (Bahía de la Chiva) for snorkelling, Navio Beach for exploring sea caves or Playa Negra, a stunning black sand beach. Vieques also counts two stunning bioluminescent bays.
Book your direct Air Transat flight to San Juan, Puerto Rico.
Cover photo credits: © Mararie