10 Best Beaches in Puerto Rico for Travelers to Visit
Craving a day at the beach? We have you covered.
Puerto Rico has a perfect beach for every type of traveler. This idyllic Caribbean island boasts over 300 miles of coastline between the main island and offshore isles like Culebra and Vieques. Whether you seek sun-soaked solitude or prefer socializing in the sand sipping on a piña colada, there’s a beach for you. Here are our 10 picks for the best beaches in Puerto Rico.
1. Piñones Beach, Carolina
Best Known For: Excellent spot for local food
Just a 20-minute drive east of lively San Juan, this slice of calm is an ideal place to recharge. The surf is kind, providing ample opportunities to swim and snorkel. Kayak around the lagoon and mangrove forest. Stroll or bike along the almost 7-mile-long boardwalk/nature trail.
Getting there: Take PR-127 from San Juan and you’ll be there in about 20 minutes. Expect a longer drive on the weekends due to traffic.
Where to eat: There’s a ton of great authentic Puerto Rican food available from the waterfront restaurants and local kiosks that flank the road.
Important tips: If you visit on the weekend, arrive early to secure a parking spot.
2. La Monserrate Beach, Luquillo
Best Known For: Strong family-friendly vibe
Situated near the entrance to El Yunque National Forest, this beach is a favorite for both locals and visitors. Families love it here thanks to amenities like bathrooms, showers and shaded gazebos. Lifeguards are a big plus, too. You’ll find a slew of activities like jet skiing, kayaking, windsurfing and snorkeling. Or, just chill out under one of the palm trees that edge the coast.
Getting there: La Monserrate Beach is just about an hour east of San Juan. Paid parking is available.
Where to eat: Luquillo’s food kiosks are well known and a must. Sample Puerto Rican dishes and frozen drinks. There’s also a variety of restaurants located within a mile of the beach.
Important tips: There’s a small fee to use the bathroom/locker room facilities.
3. Cayo Icacos, Fajardo
Best Known For: Great snorkeling
One of the 10 small islands that comprise the Cordillera Nature Reserve, this beach is only accessible by boat. A water taxi ride from the Fajardo Marina gets you here in about 25 minutes. The island is blissfully uninhabited, so plan ahead for your day. Bring your snorkeling gear—a reef off the leeward shore teems with a riot of vibrant fish.
Getting there: Fajardo is about an hour and a half drive from San Juan. Boats launch from the marina every 30 minutes to an hour.
Where to eat: Bring your own food, as there are no restaurants or food kiosks here.
Important tips: There are no stores, facilities or beach amenities. Pack the essentials you’ll need for your perfect beach day. There are no garbage cans, either. Take all your trash back with you.
4. Flamenco Beach, Culebra
Best Known For: Day trip for families
Culebra is a small picturesque island just off Puerto Rico’s eastern coast. The beach stretches along the shore like a ribbon of fresh powder. The aquamarine water is gin clear, gentle and shallow—a snorkeler’s paradise. Families with small kids will dig this beach for its swimability and the presence of lifeguards.
Getting there: Fly there from San Juan or hop a ferry from Ceiba, which is a little over an hour drive from San Juan.
Where to eat: Grab lunch at one of the food stands or enjoy a meal at one of the island’s restaurants.
Important tips: Transportation to and from Culebra requires pre-planning, and you’ll want to buy your ferry tickets in advance. Consider booking a group tour if you’d rather have someone else take care of the logistics. Make sure the tour includes the boat ride to and from the main island.
“This beautiful beach also carries some history with an abandoned tank sitting on shore from when the US military occupied the territory. The locals often paint over the tank to decorate this uniquely placed artifact.”
– Che Cimadevilla, San Juan, Puerto Rico
5. La Chiva Beach, Vieques
Best Known For: An off-the-beaten-path gem
Also called Blue Beach, this stretch of idyll garnered a spot on Condé Nast Traveler’s list of 25 Best Beaches in The World: 2020 Readers’ Choice Awards. It’s pristine and secluded. You have to navigate unpaved roads to get there, but it’s totally worth it. It’s quiet, the water’s varied hues of blue are otherworldly and snorkeling is fantastic. It’s managed by the Vieques National Wildlife Refuge, so there are gazebos, trash cans and restrooms.
Getting there: The island of Vieques lies 13 miles east of the main island of Puerto Rico. You can take a commuter flight from San Juan, Aguadilla and Ponce. Or, take a 30 minutes ferry from Ceiba to Vieques.
Where to eat: There are several restaurants on Vieques that offer dine-in or takeout.
Important tips: Stay alert while swimming as currents further off the shore can be strong.
6. Gilligan’s Island (Aurora’s Cay)
Best Known For: Perfect for nature lovers
Located about a mile off the coast of Guánica, this tiny island serves up giant rewards. The name is a bit deceiving. The popular mid-60s TV show “Gilligan’s Island” was not actually filmed here. However, if you want to play castaway for the day, this is your chance. It’s part of the Biosphere Reserve of Guánica and is managed by Puerto Rico’s Department of Natural Resources. Snorkeling is a must—thriving coral reefs are home to varied marine life.
Getting there: Guánica is located on the southwest coast of Puerto Rico, about a two-hour drive from San Juan along Highway 52. Take the small ferry by the Copamarina Beach Resort.
Where to eat: Pack snacks for your time on Gilligan’s Island, but hit up one of the restaurants in Guánica for great local fare.
Important tips: The island is closed on Mondays.
7. Buyé Beach, Cabo Rojo
Best Known For: Picturesque family-friendly spot
The water is calm and clear and a large area is roped off for swimming. The beach is dotted with brightly colored houses and shops and there’s a cool Instagram-worthy graffiti mural.
Getting there: Cabo Rojo is situated on the West coast of Puerto Rico, about three hours from San Juan.
Where to eat: There’s a restaurant/bar on the beach, as well as other eateries in Cabo Rojo.
Important tips: Park free on the street (get there early) or grab a spot at the Buyé Beach Resort lot for $3. Playa Buyé is a popular beach for locals, so it’s usually crowded on weekends.
8. Jobos Beach, Isabela
Best Known For: Perfect if you want to beach like a local
Local families have been creating memories here for years. It’s more of a sunbathing and surfing beach than a swimming one. Rent a beach chair, relax and watch the surfers. Explore the rocky coastline and look for Pozo de Jacinto (Jacinto’s Well), a natural opening made by the sea steeped in myth. The story involves the tragic end to a boy (or a farmer, depending on which version you go with) and his cow. When you visit Pozo de Jacinto, stand facing the well and yell “¡Jacinto, traeme la vaca!” (Jacinto, bring me the cow) three times. Jacinto will then show his anger with a crash of water splashing up into the well from the ocean.
Getting there: Isabela is just under a two-hour drive west of San Juan (depending on traffic).
Where to eat: Grab local fare at one of the beach restaurants or bars.
Important tips: High currents that make for great surfing aren’t ideal for swimming, so be vigilant if you’re visiting with younger ones. There are no lifeguards on duty.
9. Crash Boat Beach, Aguadilla
Best Known For: A popular spot for surfing and bodyboarding
Crash Boat Beach is known as one of the liveliest beaches in Puerto Rico. Here you can rent equipment for snorkeling, paddleboarding or kayaking, as well as beach umbrellas and chairs from local vendors. The pier, which is a remnant from when Crash Boat was a U.S. Air Force marina, holds a string of food and beverage kiosks. You can jump off it into the water or walk along it for a better view.
Getting there: Aguadilla is located in the northwest region of the island, about two hours from San Juan.
Where to eat: Cocoloba Beach Bar is located right in front of the beach and is perfect for brunch or lunch. The bar features live music events in the afternoons.
Important tips: Both free and paid parking ($3 to $5 depending on the season) are available. Arrive before 10am on the weekends to beat the crowds and snag a parking spot (or visit on a weekday).
“Crash Boat is my favorite beach in Puerto Rico. It has everything you need (parking, food and activities) AND crystal clear, calm water (this beach isn’t for surfing, just to relax). Snorkeling is a must! You can rent out the equipment right there on the beach. Also, I totally recommend staying overnight at the Airbnb’s that are steps away from the beach. My favorite are the Cocoloba casitas and The Nest.
– Adriana Serrano, San Juan, Puerto Rico
10. Mar Chiquita Beach, Manatí
Best Known For: One of Puerto Rico’s most photographed beaches
A rocky limestone wall protects this small cove of golden sand from the Atlantic Ocean. Though surf and tide conditions can limit safe swimming, it’s a great place to enjoy a picnic, work on your tan or just soak up the stunning beauty of the landscape. Mar Chiquita is extremely popular with island residents. There are no on-site facilities, but a collection of local food trucks show up on the weekends.
Getting there: Mar Chiquita Beach is on the north coast of Puerto Rico, about 45 minutes west of San Juan.
Where to eat: Some food vendors may be nearby during the week, but you’ll have more options on the weekends. There’s a grocery store a couple of minutes away on your way to the beach.
Important tips: Waves during the winter months can be choppy.
Need help choosing? We get it. These beaches are amazing and it’s hard to choose one, especially if you have limited time on the island. Use this map (and save it!) to find out which beach is closest to your stay. Blue marks are a drive away and black marks require a short flight or ferry ride.
If you’d prefer a stay at the beach to a day at the beach, consider booking a week at one of these 7 Best Beach Resorts in Puerto Rico!