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Puerto Rico Beaches Guide - Best of 2023

Top Rated Beach Tour to Icacos Cay

Puerto Rico is truly a beach lover’s destination, offering hundreds of beaches to choose from, each with its unique qualities.  We know the island of Puerto Rico very well. We’ve been sharing the beauty of the coastline since 2004. 

This beach guide is created with the needs of travelers in mind, and we present them by region in order to make your beach exploration easier.

Best Beaches in Puerto Rico by Region

Type of Beaches Included in this Guide

The beaches included on our list represent what Caribbean dreams are made of.  Many of these beaches were never listed on “best lists,” and we are proudly put them in the spotlight.  Some of the beaches on our list are located in uncrowded, quiet places, some are near all the action with services many tourists prefer, and some are the location of amazing hotels and resorts.  Some beaches we struggle to share, and we wish they stayed unspoiled and uncrowded, but we’ll share since our goal is to share the Puerto Rico we love.

Using this Guide & How do we come up with a "Best Beaches in Puerto Rico List"

We do not number the beaches, because those lists are subjective, what some may think is a great beach, may not be perfect for YOU.  Please go through our list, each beach has a link to a more detailed article so you can get a sneak peek before driving there.

The beaches we include are beautiful, and any facilities or services lacking onsite can be easily overlooked.  About me/us:  I am a travel professional, and my family and I love to travel.   We are now living in Puerto Rico, giving us the opportunity to travel around the island constantly to find those hidden treasures along the coast.  As far as our taste in beaches, we prefer those that you see in postcards and Corona commercials, at times we want a beach to ourselves without crowds, and at times we love the vibe of the beaches in the city with the many activities and attractions nearby.  We love to snorkel, do offshore fishing, a few water sports, although we don’t surf, we sure enjoy a good show.

Most of the beaches on this list were included in previous years.  At times we remove some and add new ones to this list, due to changes in municipality management, or when a dreaded hurricane comes, some beaches are drastically changed, we update our list to reflect those changes.

Disclosure:  We are not affiliated with any hotels or businesses on the island, what we write is independent of any advertisements.  We come up with our own list, we are constantly speaking with visitors at beaches, and we also research reviews to see what everyone else is saying to get a more collective list.  The following beaches were chosen because they all met the following guidelines: they’re naturally gorgeous, the beaches are clean with beautiful blue clear waters, great sand, and unique scenery, and the location is considered safe.  If you have to make a drive from your hotel, we think it will be worthwhile.  We keep finding new treasures along the coast, so be sure to come back so we can share them with you.

How are the roads to the beaches around the island of Puerto Rico?

Roads in Puerto Rico are much like the states on the mainland of the United States.  To explore the beaches in Puerto Rico a regular car is enough, with the exception of some beaches in more remote areas such as Wilderness in Rincon, when it rains you’ll need a 4×4.  Many of the beaches have many natural VIP parking spots where you can park right at a dreamy entry point, driving around the coastline of Puerto Rico is a lot of fun, with free parking on all beaches except Balnearios (managed beach parks by the government) which charge a minimal parking fee, typically under $5 per car, be sure to have cash.   Be sure to pack light so you don’t have to carry much to the beach from the car.

Puerto Rico Beach Roads

The road to La Playuela aka Playa Sucia, (photo below) is a bumpy dirt road, it will be muddy when it rains but most locals get to it without any problems.

Puerto Rico Beaches Travel Guide

In Vieques and Culebra jeep rentals are very popular and the recommended vehicle to explore the beaches.

Can you swim in Puerto Rico beaches?

Yes, there are plenty of beaches in Puerto Rico where you can safely swim.  The best beaches for swimming are the following divided by town/ island.

Culebra

San Juan / Metro Area

East Coast

West Coast

North Coast

Vieques

Should I book a tour or explore the beaches on my own?

To make the most of your time in Puerto Rico, we recommend you mix it up by booking a few fun catamaran tours to offshore islands and keys to experience the most pristine beaches and that you rent a car to explore the rest of the beaches you wish to see on your own.

When is the best time of the year to enjoy the beaches of Puerto Rico?

Be aware that not all beaches can be enjoyed all year, we’ve seen “Best beaches in Puerto Rico” articles by “trusted guides” including beaches that literally disappear for months, wasting precious visitors’ time.  Some are only accessible during the summer months, some are only great during the winter months.  We live in Puerto Rico, and we have been to every beach through all the seasons of the year in order to give our readers the most accurate visitor’s guide with great beaches travelers can enjoy any month of the year.

Which side of Puerto Rico has the best beaches?

To answer this question, we would have to speak to you in order to find out what activities you like to do at the beach, and whether you’re a tourist who prefers to have amenities right on the beach or a traveler who prefers to experience a more local and authentic island vibe.

Overall, if you were to ask a local this question, they would undoubtedly say, the west coast on the main island of Puerto Rico and the offshore islands of Vieques, and Culebra has the best beaches.

If you close your eyes and dream of the lost untouched Caribbean free of crowds and completely natural and untouched by commercial development, you’ll adore Culebra and Vieques.

If you don’t necessarily like to get in the water and prefer quiet, romantic walks, watching the surf, and relaxing to the sights and sounds… the north and northwest side of Puerto Rico has the best beaches.

If you love the city life, watersports and don’t wish to rent a car, you’ll love the beaches of San Juan.

How long would I need to vacation in Puerto Rico to see the best beaches?

The average tourist can book a few tours to explore the most popular beaches, some opt to rent a car for a few days.  The traveler that prefers to explore the coastline and get to know the island better, rents a car and spends at least a week beach hopping.  Vieques and Culebra, offshore islands of Puerto Rico are beach destinations on their own and one week on each island is needed to fully enjoy the best beaches around the coastline.

Which beaches in Puerto Rico are closed?

The beaches of Puerto Rico are always open and open to the public.

What is the number one beach in Puerto Rico?

The Number One Beach in Puerto Rico… The Best of the Best:  Undoubtedly, Flamenco Beach is the most beautiful beach under the Puerto Rican flag, consistently ranked among the best in the world.

What is the most beautiful beach in San Juan Puerto Rico?

The most beautiful beach in San Juan is Balneario El Escambron, a park that offers two beaches where you can find the best snorkeling in San Juan and the best-rated snorkeling tours.  The views are outstanding, visitors can walk to a historic site right on the beach park, find cozy and find intimate romantic spots.

Visiting Beaches after Covid & Beach Culture

Puerto Rico may be a small island, but there’s no shortage of beaches to explore, with so many of them, you won’t find crowds so you’ll have plenty of space on the sand and water to enjoy the warmth of the island and joys of a tropical vacation.

If you’re wondering about the beach culture after covid-19, locals are very good at staying within their group, so the vibe is relaxed yet feels secure for those that carefully follow social distancing.  All the beaches are open.