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Puerto Rico Beaches - 2022 Guide - Best Beaches

Dreaming of a Caribbean Beach escape with fantastic beaches? Allow us to tell you why Puerto Rico is a wonderful choice. Unlike many Caribbean destinations where many beaches are closed off to visitors in resort property constraints, most of the coastline of Puerto Rico is free and open to be explored.  One of the best reasons to come to Puerto Rico is the diversity of beaches, from romantic quiet beaches with natural beauty free of development, vibrant city beaches with watersports and lively scenes, dreamy natural pools, to world-class surfing beaches… of course those dreamy gorgeous blues and emerald tones.

Proudly Presenting the Most Updated Puerto Rico Beach Guide

We know how valuable vacation is to you, to keep up with our reputation and trust from our readers, we just did it again, we spent weeks exploring the coastline of Puerto Rico in order to bring you the most updated 2022 beach guide.  

We often get asked “which are the best beaches in Puerto Rico…

we don’t mean to brag, but you’ve come to the right travel guide, we’ve explored the coastline and we’ve been writing about the island’s beaches since 2004.  We have a new list for 2022, most of the beaches on the list of previous years stayed, we are happy to include two new beaches relatively unknown to tourists on our 2022’s list, these have never been included in any other guide, locals have done a great job cleaning and beautifying the area earning these spots.  The coastline does change, and so do maintenance and services, making a difference in the experience of the visitor.  We encourage you to spend a little extra time reading through our beach guide, we spent a lot of time putting it together to help you plan the best experience in Puerto Rico.

1. Flamenco Beach – Culebra 

The Most Beautiful Beach in Puerto Rico & Consistently Ranked Among the Best in the World

Best beach for landscape, scenery, water clarity and quality, sand color and texture, cleanliness, facilities, family friendliness, easy access, camping facilities, inexpensive traditional food.

We don’t always agree with the “top beaches” lists we see online, but we certainly agree with Flamenco Beach ranking at the very top of the list.  Flamenco is located in Culebra, one of the islands of Puerto Rico.  Flamenco Beach is simply the best, in every way… The landscape is worthy of a magazine cover, with a lush green landscape as a backdrop.  The water… so clear, warm, like stained glass, and just the perfect salinity for a refreshing swim.  The sand is light inviting your feet for a walk along the beach, its color ranges from white to ivory, you should see it first thing in the morning when it has been naturally raked by the night breeze erasing every step from visitors the previous day.  Then… there’s the amazing snorkeling experiences you can have at Flamenco, the colorful reef underneath, and the beautiful sea turtles that love Flamenco Beach as much as you will once you visit.

Top Rated Catamaran tours to Flamenco Beach

2. Beach at Cayo Icacos (Icacos Cay)

Best beach for clarity of the water, seclusion, snorkeling, fun boat day trip for those staying in the San Juan / Metro and east coast regions.

Cayo Icacos / Icacos Cay, one of the prettiest cays in Puerto Rico, a very popular beach day trip with top-rated fun catamaran tours as well as sailing and private charters.  Icacos is part of Cordillera Keys Nature Reserve (Reserva Natural los Cayos de la Cordillera).  A few hours on the beach at Icacos will give you the pleasures of a secluded island surrounded by the Caribbean Sea.  Is likely you’ll be swimming along with friendly dolphins that frequently swim around Icacos.  During optimal weather, the water is very clear and turquoise, tours typically make a stop at a snorkeling spot with colorful schools of fish. 

Getting to Icacos Cay:  There is no ferry service to Icacos, but there are plenty of tours offering great day trips to the island, Icacos is among the most booked tours, so book as soon as possible to secure your date of preference.  See below for top-rated tours.

Top Rated Tours to Cayo Icacos 

3. Playa Sucia / La Playuela – Cabo Rojo, PR

Best beach for: its scenic views, nearby eco-attractions, and eco-activities right near the beach.

Cabo Rojo has many beaches, but if you’re traveling around the island and only have a day for a beach day trip, head to La Playuela, best known as Playa Sucia.  Visiting La Playuela gives you much more than a great beach day, bring a good pair of sneakers and plenty of storage with your camera, you’ll be enjoying some of the most scenic sights in Puerto Rico.   From your beach chair, you can enjoy views of limestone cliffs and the elegant Los Morrillos Lighthouse.  Just a few steps from the beach, you can hike to a trail along the edge of the cliffs which will feel as if you’re standing at the planet’s edge.  Playa Sucia is inside a wildlife nature reserve with salt flats (informally referred as pink beach), an informative welcome center, a bird sanctuary, a scenic walking trail along the nature reserve, and an observation tower.

4. Balneario Escambron – San Juan

Best beach for getting away from the busier beaches in the San Juan tourist area, best snorkeling in the capital city, clarity of the water, water activities, and accessibility.

Escambron Beach offers the most complete beach experience in San Juan, offering two unique beaches within the park.  Clear waters, tall coconut palm trees, but in addition you’re walking into a park packed with a scuba diving site, great snorkeling sites where many tours take place, scenic views of Old San Juan and the modern city, a walking trail along the water leading to a historic site, facilities, and plenty of sand and green spaces for children to play.  If and when you’ve had enough beach time you can walk across to the Luis Munoz Marin Park and continue down the scenic Paseo Puerta de Tierra with sweeping views of the Atlantic and Castillo San Cristobal.   Keep walking and you’ll end up in Old San Juan where you can enjoy UNESCO sites, and a colorful cultural experience the whole family will enjoy.

Top Rated Escambron Beach Tours - San Juan

5. Gilligan’s Island – Guanica, Puerto Rico

Best beach…  the clearest water on the southwest coast, perfectly calm and shallow for swimming, floating, and snorkeling with children.  A very romantic spot for couples for its intimate spots along the edge of the mangrove island.

Like a giant natural pool with the clearest water on the entire west and southern coast of Puerto Rico.  Lovely place to take the whole family, where toddlers can play safely on the water and learn to snorkel.  You may take a private ferry/water taxi from a nearby restaurant.

Top Rated Tours to Gilligan's Island & Nearby Attractions

6. Tamarindo Grande Beach – Offshore Island of Culebra

Tamarindo Grande Beach - Culebra - Best Beaches in Puerto Rico

Best beach for snorkeling with turtles, scenic landscape without crowds, clear water, beautiful beach cobbles along the shore.

This is one special beach, where you can almost always find sea turtles swimming and playing over glass beds at the bottom of Tamarindo Grande.  This beach is the best place in Culebra to safely swim and watch sea turtles.  Tamarindo Grande is a photographer’s dream… with views of Cayo Luis Peña and golden sand adorned by smooth beach cobbles… naturally landscaped as nature intended.  This beach is a turtle nesting site, so please walk with care along the beach and do not disturb any nests you may find.  If you’re lucky to visit and swim with them, please do not touch them or disturb them.  Playa Tamarindo Grande is not far from Flamenco Beach on the sleepy offshore island of Culebra, so be sure to include it on your itinerary if you head to Culebra for a day trip.

7. Bahia de la Chiva – Vieques

Best beach for snorkeling, relaxation, clear water, with just about every shade of blue .. like a painting.

Playa La Chiva previously nicknamed Blue Beach is simply amazing.  If you’re only visiting for a day, we recommend you head to La Chiva, your eyes will wander through endless contrasting shades of blue, unlike any other beach on the island of Vieques.  Below the surface, you can explore a colorful world with diverse sea life and healthy coral so be sure to bring your snorkel gear, snorkeling is amazing for all ages and levels, one of the best snorkeling beaches on the island of Vieques and under the Puerto Rican flag.

+ read more

La Chiva is very long, giving romantics and serenity seekers their very own spot.  As you drive up, you’ll see numbered spots, is fun to stop at all of them and find your favorite.  If you manage to leave La Chiva, just keep driving to find your special beach cove along the wildlife reserve.  There’s plenty of sand and space to claim for the day so you can experience the feeling of having your own piece of paradise.

  • Getting to Bahia de la Chiva – Enter through the Vieques Wildlife Refuge (south) gate and head straight, follow signs, you’ll love the drive.  No need to book a tour, this beach is best enjoyed by exploring on your own.
  • Facilities: None
  • Lifeguards: No
  • Parking: Free off-street parking

+ Blue Beach / Bahia de la Chiva on the island of Vieques, Puerto Rico

8. Tortuga Beach – Culebra

Tortuga Beach is located in Culebrita, part of the archipelago of Culebra, is among one of the most gorgeous beaches of Puerto Rico.   The colors of the water are mesmerizing and so incredibly clear.  The best time to go is during the winter and spring months on weekdays.   During the summer month weekends and holiday weeks, Tortuga Beach gets uncomfortably crowded with boats and we don’t recommend it if you are seeking calm.

Top Rated Culebrita Tours

9. Balneario de Boqueron (Boqueron Beach) – Cabo Rojo, PR

Best Beach for… calm perfectly blue waters, amazing sunsets, nearby authentic cultural experiences in Poblado de Boqueron.

Ask any local about the best beaches in Puerto Rico, undoubtedly they’ll mention Boqueron Beach, during Easter and major holidays, it is the favorite beach and destination and you’ll have a hard time finding some room on the sand, the rest of the year is nice and relaxed.  for summertime beach fun.  This blue and turquoise water beach is framed by a grove of tall coconut palm trees, with ivory-colored sand.  Boqueron Beach is located in the Poblado de Boqueron, a quaint colorful fishing village popular among locals that flock on weekends from all over the island to eat fresh oysters, and clams are served fresh every night, and eat traditional delicious fritters at local / non-touristy trap prices and mingle with friends.

10. Cayo Caracoles – Lajas, Puerto Rico

Best beach for its shallow crystal clear water, natural feeling of escape with the added experience of the bioluminescent bay nearby.

Caracoles is a beloved stop for sailors, boaters, and kayakers known for its crystalline emerald green water.   You may rent a small boat to get there, take a water taxi or book a private tour boat that plans a wonderful La Parguera experience which typically includes the magical bioluminescent bay.

Being in Caracoles is a very different experience since in you’re in the open water away from the shore surrounded by a number of small keys, where the only colors you see are many shades of blue on the water, the sky above, and the green of the mangrove islands.   On a weekday, it is a peaceful ambiance, during the summer, Caracoles turns into party central from all the boaters playing loud music can drinking and dancing on the boats.

Caracoles is a mangrove island with no beach (sand) or land. to sit down and lounge, you’re in the water the entire time.

Top Rated Tours to Caracoles & La Parguera Bioluminescent Bay

11. Playa Crash Boat Beach – Aguadilla, PR

Crash Boat (Crashboat) is great for visitors who wish to experience a laid-back authentic Puerto Rican beach offering fun on the water, culture, and music.   Crash Boat took a huge hit with Hurricane Maria, but it has made a strong comeback with a new beachfront restaurant and great live music every weekend starting at sunset.

Crash Boat Beach is really picturesque, with colorful boats adorning the golden sand, you’ll see fishermen coming in the late afternoon with the catch of the day.  Crash Boat is very interesting in the wintertime, while most surfing beaches are not safe for swimming, there is a calm side for swimming and an active side for surfing, making this beach a favorite for families and surfers. Bring your snorkel gear, when the water is calm the snorkeling is great around the pier teeming with colorful fish.  Crash Boat is also very popular for scuba divers.  Ohhh… and those sunsets!!!

12. Mar Chiquita – Manati

Best beach for scenery, relaxed local island vibe, unique landscape, easy access.

Mar Chiquita is one of the most beloved beaches on the north coast by locals yet it remains nice and uncrowded during weekdays from September to mid May.  During the summer months when the water is calm, it is a good spot for snorkeling in shallow waters.  During the winter months, the water is more playful and more care should be taken when swimming.

Top Rated Tours to Mar Chiquita Beach & Nearby Attractions

13. Isla Verde Beach – Carolina, Puerto Rico

Best beach for the variety of hotels on the beach, clean sand, playful waves great for learning to surf, beachfront dining, and many restaurants within walking distance, water sports.

What is known as Isla Verde Beach is actually three beaches, each with its own vibe and allure.  Isla Verde Beach is located about a 7-minute drive from the airport and 15 minutes from the capital city of San Juan.  The water is better for swimming than popular Condado Beach yet still close enough to Old San Juan so visitors can enjoy the historic wonders and cultural excitement of Old San Juan.

Top-Rated Beach Tours in Isla Verde Beach & Nearby

14. Luquillo Beach / Balneario La Monserrate – Luquillo, Puerto Rico

Best beach near San Juan for landscape and views, its calm clear water, facilities, cultural food experience.

Balneario La Monserrate best known as “Luquillo Beach” & “Playa Luquillo”… is the most popular Balneario (bathing beach managed by the government) visited by tourists.  The water is calm, the beach is wide and the sand doesn’t sink making it really enjoyable and easy to take a walk along the entire beach.  From the beach, you can admire views of El Yunque Rainforest, the beach is framed by tall coconut palm trees that dance to the sea breeze.  One of the reasons Luquillo Beach is so popular is the food; just steps from the beach you can enjoy delicious Piña Coladas served right on the pineapple, delight in traditional frituras (traditional Puerto Rican fritters) and just outside of the beach park you can have a gastronomic cultural experience at the Luquillo Kiosks at non-tourist prices since locals go there daily.  While at the beach, listen for a bell coming from the ice cream cart,  be sure to scream for ice cream by saying “Quiero helado”!  He offers coconut, pineapple, passion fruit, mixed and maybe other tropical flavors.

Top Rated Tours to Luquillo Beach & El Yunque National Rainforest

15. Jobos Beach – Isabela, Puerto Rico

Best beach for surfing year-round, great beach to learn to surf, experiencing authentic casual island vibe, and beachfront casual dining.

Jobos is synonymous with the words summer, surfing, and good times with friends in Puerto Rico.  Jobos is among the top beaches for surfing all year round.   Surfers from all over the world head to Isabela and Rincon over the winter months to enjoy the waves.  During the surfing season, you’ll find a good mix of surfers coming from the United States happily mingling with friendly locals.  This is a great beach to surf, get a tan, do a little snorkeling, and make new friends.

The water is clear, with deep turquoise and emerald tones and a small protected area for those that just want to refresh in the water, watch surfers, and take in the scene.

Visitors that wish to immerse themselves in the beach culture of locals, really enjoy spending a day at this beach.  Puerto Ricans bring food, radios, and lots of laughter, so be ready to enjoy a lively family-friendly scene on weekends and summertime.  During the week the scene is more mellow and relaxed.

16. Playa Sardinera – Hatillo, Puerto Rico

Best beach for… solitude, its natural pools, and playful pelicans…

This is the first time this beach is featured on any travel guide and we are so happy to share it.  This is not a touristy beach, the crowd here is local, and it remains nice and quiet.  We are confident it will begin to see more visitors after happy beachgoers like you spread the word.  Playa Sardinera is like a bigger version of Pozo de Teodoro in Isabela, composed of one big natural pool and off to the right (looking east), a very long and narrow natural pool protected by a natural wall where pelicans love to play… perfect for those that want to feel more seclusion and have toddlers since the water is very shallow and clear.

17. Playa Negra / Black Sand Beach – Vieques

Playa Negra, is the most unique beach in Vieques with a beautifully rugged landscape.  This is not a swimming beach, water can get rough, but the experience begins on the way there.  You’ll have to take an easy hike through a dry river bed surrounded by lush landscape leading to black sand that sparkles with the sun.  The pictures you’ll take on this beach will be moved to your favorite vacation photo folder for sure.

  • Getting to Playa Negra – No need to book a tour, this beach is best enjoyed by exploring on your own.
  • Facilities: None
  • Lifeguards: No
  • Parking: Free off-street parking

18. Playa El Combate – Cabo Rojo, Puerto Rico

Best beach for its calm swimming waters, natural setting, hiking seaside trail, and local beachside restaurants.

Combate Beach is a favorite among locals for its family-friendly water and inexpensive traditional food nearby with fresh fish served daily.   The atmosphere is very quiet during weekdays and more lively during weekends when families flock to the beach.   During the summer months, Combate Beach gets quite busy with beachgoers and boats.  There is a roped-off swimming area for safe swimming.

You can visit this beach after visiting Los Morrillos Lighthouse and la Playuela or head over to Boqueron to visit the quaint colorful village and dine.

19. Steps Beach / Tres Palmas Marine Reserve – Rincon, PR

Best beach for a romantic walk and hidden spots to relax, watch and listen to the surf.  Challenging surfing during winter months, great snorkeling from late spring till early fall, best during the summer months.

Steps Beach, part of the Tres Palmas Marine Reserve boasts a healthy coral reef with abundant sea life including sea turtles and a healthy elkhorn garden.  The vibe is relaxed, there’s a food truck at the beach, easy access to the beach, and parking.

Top Rated Scuba Diving & Snorkeling Tours in Rincon

20. Domes Beach – Rincon, Puerto Rico

Best beach for great surfing all year round, family-friendly, easy access, golden sunsets, and great for lounging to watch surfers.

Whether you surf or love to watch, Domes Beach is a great beach to visit in Rincon.  Bring your board and ride the waves or bring your lounge chair to enjoy the show.  Beach access is easy and there’s plenty of parking.  Domes Beach is a great point of interest, after soaking the sun, head next door to Rincon Lighthouse Park for great views, whale watching during winter months, and food.  If you love sunsets, be sure to stay awhile, is worth the wait every day of the year.  While at Domes, you can quickly visit Spanish Wall by taking a short hike along a dirt trail north of Domes.

Top Rated Surfing Lessons in Puerto Rico

21. Playita del Condado – San Juan

Best beach for: clear, turquoise calm water safe for swimming, family/kid-friendly, snorkeling.

La Playita del Condado, just as the name describes (Small Beach of Condado), is the smallest beach in San Juan tucked in the corner of Dos Hermanos Bridge which connects Condado and the entrance to Old San Juan crossing the Condado Lagoon.  For visitors and cruisers that have little time to spend at the beach, this may be the best option in San Juan due to its convenient location, services, tours available, and nearby attractions you can visit through the scenic bike route. The waters at Playita del Condado range from clear to turquoise to deeper blues where is safe to swim and snorkel.  From the beach, you can enjoy views of the modern city and one of the fortifications sitting on the sea.  In contrast with Condado Beach which is best for lounging, you can safely swim at La Playita del Condado.  There are a few trees offering shade, lounge and umbrella rentals to relax, restaurants nearby along Ashford Drive and the hotels nearby as well as drink stands offering delicious Piña Coladas.  From La Playita. you can enjoy wonderful activities right at this beach and next door at Laguna del Condado (Condado Lagoon).  From this beach, you can take a break, rent a bike and ride to Old San Juan.

Top Rated Activities at La Playita del Condado & Nearby

22. Survival Beach – Aguadilla

Best Beaches in Puerto Rico - Survival Beach - Aguadilla

Best beach for best beach hike with scenic postcard-perfect pictures reward. 

As a bonus, we added Survival Beach because the scenery is spectacular, there’s no other beach in Puerto Rico that resembles its landscape.   This beach is NOT for swimming, and it requires a hike to get there that’s a bit challenging for the average person but totally worth the effort.  You get three gorgeous beaches on your way there, your hike begins at Surfer’s Beach, you’ll first arrive at Tabletop after the main hike and finally arrive at Survival where you’ll take the best vacation photos. 

Map of Best Beaches in Puerto Rico 2022

Frequently Asked Questions

Tourist Beach Guide - Puerto Rico

Best Beaches in Puerto Rico - 2022

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.

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.

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, 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.

Who are we? Why should you trust our beach guides?

We are travelers just like you and we are blessed to have the opportunity to live most of the year in Puerto Rico to enjoy all its treasures and create real guides with travelers in mind with the wisdom of a local.  We are not affiliated with any hotels or businesses on the island, what we write is independent of any advertisements. 

Back in 2004, we began to create travel guides about our favorite places in Puerto Rico because there was not much information online.  We have introduced the world to the unbeaten paths and the most beautiful beaches of Puerto Rico that even locals didn’t know about.  Unlike many guides who use stock photos and paraphrase other guides from their desks, everything we write about, we have experienced ourselves.  We are not professional photographers, we take our own photos with passion and love, we use a few stock photos when it has not been possible to photograph a beach without people in order to respect their privacy.  If you find our guide useful please share it and please respect our work by not copying, instead provide a link, we will be happy to provide a link to your posts if we find them useful to our readers. 

As far as our taste in beaches, we prefer beaches without crowds, romantic, with clear water and clean of course.  At times we love the vibe of the city beaches offering activities and resort services.  We love to snorkel and although we don’t surf we enjoy watching surfers.

We are constantly speaking with visitors at beaches, and we also do some research for reviews to see what everyone else is saying in order to get a more collective list.

Does Puerto Rico have clear blue water?
Does Puerto Rico have good beaches?
Travel to Puerto Rico

Most likely you’ll fly into the main international airport near San Juan.  You may also want to consider flying into the Aguadilla Airport (west coast) if you live in the New York area or Florida.   If you fly into San Juan, we advise that you stay in or around the city for a few days to enjoy the top sights, then head to the west coast to enjoy the best beaches on the island.

If you’re unable to travel to the beach towns covered on our list, don’t worry, just check our Full Guide about Beaches in Puerto Rico, covering all the best beaches in each region making it easier to plan your vacation from your hotel location.

2021 - Best Beaches in Puerto Rico

Puerto Rico Beaches 2021 - The Best Beaches Guide

See the list of best beaches of 2021
  • Flamenco Beach – Culebra, Puerto Rico

Best Beaches in Puerto Rico

  • Beach at Icacos Cay – Fajardo, Puerto Rico

Cayo Icacos - Best beaches in Puerto Rico - East

  • Gilligan’s Island / Cayo Aurora – Guanica, Puerto Rico

Gilligan's Island - Best Puerto Rico Beaches

  • Bahia de la Chiva aka “Blue Beach” – Vieques, Puerto Rico

Best Beaches in Vieques

  • Playa Tamarindo Grande – Culebra, Puerto Rico

Tamarindo Grande - Best beach in Culebra, Puerto Rico

  • Balneario El Escambron – San Juan, Puerto Rico

Escambron Beach - Best beaches in Puerto Rico

  • Isla Verde Beach – Carolina, Puerto Rico

Isla Verde Beach - Best beaches in Puerto Rico

  • La Playuela “Playa Sucia” – Cabo Rojo, Puerto Rico

La Playuela / Playa Sucia - Best beaches on the west coast of Puerto Rico

  • Playa Escalera aka Steps Beach – Rincon, Puerto Rico

Best Beaches - West Coast - Puerto Rico

  • Crashboat Beach – Aguadilla, Puerto Rico

Crash Boat Beach - Aguadilla, Puerto Rico

  • Jobos Beach – Isabela, Puerto Rico

Jobos Beach - Best Surfing Beaches in Puerto Rico

  • Mar Chiquita – Manati, Puerto Rico

Puerto Rico's Best Beaches - Mar Chiquita - Manati

  • Beach at Dorado Beach Ritz Carlton – Dorado, Puerto Rico

    Dorado Beach @ Dorado Beach, A Ritz Carlton Reserve

    In Dorado, you’ll find the most beautiful and pristine beach on the north coast, located inside the luxurious Dorado Beach, a Ritz Carlton Reserve is for the enjoyment of guests.   From this location, you’ll have easy access to Old San Juan attractions, world-class natural attractions, and more beaches along the north.  + Dorado Beach, A Ritz Carlton Reserve

  • Luquillo Beach – Luquillo, Puerto Rico

Luquillo Beach - Best beaches in Puerto Rico - East Coast

  • Playa Pelicano / Pelican Beach – Caja de Muertos Island – Ponce, Puerto Rico –

    Puerto Rico

    Playa Pelicano is located in Caja de Muertos, an island on the southern coast of Puerto Rico, part of the municipality of Ponce.  The allure of Pelican Beach is the feeling of being away on a secluded island, there are no hotels or food kiosks and that’s part of the magic, being on a beach untouched by development.  The water is perfect, warm, with shades of blue and green that change constantly with the rays of the sun.  Sand is soft and white.  Book a ferry ride from Ponce, you may purchase food, drinks and rent chairs and umbrellas for your comfort.  If you can pull yourself away from the beach, go for a hike to the lighthouse, there’s a great reward at the top.

    Puerto Rico Beaches

2020 - Best Beaches in Puerto Rico

See the List of Best Beaches in Puerto Rico 2020

Due to the earthquakes and seismic activity, mostly affecting the southern towns of the island, we have updated our list and added more great beaches you can enjoy that will not disappoint.

Flamenco Beach

Beach at Icacos Cay

Isla Verde Beach

Gilligan’s Island

Update: Due to the earthquakes on the southern part of island, Gilligan’s Island is off the list until further notice.  

La Chiva, Vieques, Puerto Rico

Playa Sucia / La Playuela, Cabo Rojo, Puerto Rico

Domes Beach, Rincon, Puerto Rico

Playa Jobos, Isabela, Puerto Rico

Playa Tamarindo, Guanica, Puerto Rico

Playa Tamarindo - Beaches of Guanica, Puerto Rico

Our guide is the first to list Playa Tamarindo on the Best beaches of Puerto Rico list, others will surely follow after this article.

Update:  Playa Tamarindo is located in the town of Guanica, where most earthquakes are occurring, we advise our readers to NOT visit this beach or Guanica until the seismic activity ceases.

 

2019 - Best Beaches in Puerto Rico

It’s been two years since Hurricane Maria, so many things have changed, including our beaches.  We’ve received many letters from kind visitors wishing to support the island with their visit, this Best Beaches in Puerto Rico article was created with those visitors in mind. 

Top Beaches in Puerto Rico where your visit can make a difference in the community

Playa Tamarindo – Guanica

Gilligan’s Island – Guanica

Beach at Copamarina Beach Resort – Guanica

La Playuela (Playa Sucia) – Cabo Rojo

Driving up the west coast, we’ll send you to the beach town of Rincon, popular among surfers worldwide.  Rincon is very tourist-friendly, the town has recovered well from Hurricane Maria.  There are plenty of great local restaurants and small shops that endured the challenges that Hurricane Maria brought.  Your visit will lift their spirits.

Domes Beach – Rincon

Balneario de Rincon – Rincon

La Chiva – Vieques

Playa Caracas – Vieques

Playa Negra – Vieques

Flamenco Beach – Culebra

Best Beaches in Puerto Rico After Hurricane Maria 2018

You’ve asked for it, so we came up with a list of the top 10 best beaches in Puerto Rico.  We’ve received many inquiries from explorer type of visitors (like we are) asking us personally for our favorite beaches, which is no easy task.  Puerto Rico is a small island just 100 x 35 miles, making it possible for visitors to visit the best beaches at a relaxed pace.

After Hurricane Maria, many visitors have questions about which beaches are ready for visitors, so we hopped in our SUV and made the trips to check out our favorite spots to bring you the first updated list after Hurricane Maria 2018.

Read more about best beaches in Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria.

We found many changes along the shore, some beaches that actually got prettier and better, and some shorelines almost disappeared.  Due to time constraints, not all of the photos were taken post-Maria, but we used them because there were no major changes.

 

See the List of Best Beaches in Puerto Rico After Hurricane Maria

Isla Verde Beach – Carolina 

Isla Verde is one of the top beach destinations in Puerto Rico, the beach and great beachfront hotels are the main reasons.  Isla Verde is ready for visitors, most of the hotels, restaurants, and water sport activities are open and operational.  Like many beaches around the island, the water of Isla Verde Beach is even clearer and more beautiful.  Right after the last beachfront resort on the east side of Isla Verde (Courtyard Marriott in Isla Verde), you’ll find Carolina Beach, formally named “Balneario de Carolina”, the public beach of Carolina, which recently received the Blue Flag Award in November after Hurricane Maria.  You can drive to Carolina Beach or walk if you’re staying in the nearby hotels.

Condado Beach San Juan

San Juan is the most tourist-ready vacation destination in Puerto Rico since Hurricane Maria, there are plenty of attractions open and operational for visitors’ enjoyment.  Condado Beach is like the Miami Beach of the Caribbean.  City lovers seeking a quick weekend escape will enjoy staying at Condado Beach.  Although not the best beach for swimming, the entertainment, beachfront resorts, dining, shopping, and nearby attractions make Condado Beach a favorite for our family when we crave the perfect mix of city life and beach time.

What we love about Condado Beach:  Amazing hotels to choose from right on the beach.  Great places to eat and shop within walking distance.  Lounge and umbrella rentals and drinks are served on the beach.  Taxis are everywhere for easy transport to Old San Juan and events in the city.  More about Condado Beach, Condado, San Juan, Puerto Rico

Flamenco Beach – Culebra

What best beaches list could possibly be without Flamenco?  Although this list is in no particular order, Flamenco is surely the first beach that comes to mind when listing the best beaches in Puerto Rico.  This place is simply mesmerizing, if you happen to visit Culebra for a few days, you’ll find a few more amazing beaches untouched by development.

Flamenco Beach is ready for visitors after Hurricane Maria, and was just recently re-awarded a Blue Flag post the hurricane.  We do recommend you fly instead of taking the ferry; ferry service has been very unreliable since the hurricane.  At this time we recommend you vacation in San Juan and either take a day trip to Culebra by flying from SJU or spend a night or two in Culebra.

What we love about Flamenco Beach:  Everything…the softest sand, the most beautiful jeweled tones colors on the water, the rolling hills in the background.  Beneath…sea turtles, coral reefs teeming with fish.  More about Flamenco Beach in Culebra, Puerto Rico

Pozo de Teodoro – Isabela

We absolutely hate to tell you about this beach, because…we feel selfish and don’t want to share it with crowds.  We go during the week on “winter” months and we typically have it to ourselves or share with a few beachgoers.   Pozo de Teodoro is located in the town of Isabela, which has become our favorite beach town.

Isabela is gaining popularity as a surfing destination but for those seeking calm waters, Isabela offers the best natural pools on the island.

During the winter the natural pool is typically fuller, during summer months when the tide is low the pool may be empty.  If the pool is too shallow, be sure to visit another beach in Isabela.

What we love about Pozo de Teodoro:  uncrowded, wide beach area, calm water (normal weather conditions), snorkeling in shallow water, natural unending show of waves crashing onto rock wall, easy access from road.  More about Pozo de Teodoro in Isabela, Puerto Rico.

La Playuela (Playa Sucia) – Cabo Rojo

We were concerned about La Playuela (also known as Playa Sucia) after Hurricane Maria.  We were there the same day the road was cleared, we anxiously headed to the beach to find it was still there.   We’ve visited some beaches where the shorelines were cut in half, La Playuela is not very wide and behind it are the salt flats, so it has the potential of disappearing.

We are happy to report the beloved Playuela is still gorgeous, although not officially stated, we noticed the sand area is not as wide as it used to be. We describe La Playuela as “all-inclusive beach” for nature lovers.  Set aside a full morning for this location, be sure to bring: walking / hiking shoes, plenty of water, sunblock, snacks and a little cash just in case an ice cream / drinks vendor is on the beach. Please visit our full article on Playa Sucia.

What we love about La Playuela:  breathtaking location, clear water, playful waves, romantic shaded spots, all the additional attractions within the refuge.

Domes Beach – Rincon

Domes has always been a favorite beach among surfers.  Although the beach is not good for swimming, it is a fun beach to watch surfers, relax and enjoy the sunset.  Nearby there are various beachfront restaurants for dinner.  While you’re in Rincon, be sure to book a horseback riding tour, which typically passes through Domes Beach.

The sand at Domes was the first beach we stepped on after Hurricane Maria, I can’t even describe the feeling of putting our feet on the sand after experiencing such a catastrophic event.  To our surprise, there were surfers enjoying the waves, kids playing on the sand, families relaxing…and at that moment we realized things would be ok.  While the news were focusing on the chaos on the island, many islanders found joy and hope on the sand and water.

What we love about Domes Beach: sunsets, lounging to watch surfers, horseback riding tours along the Rincon coastline.

Gilligan’s Island – Guanica

We absolutely LOVE going to little Gilligan’s Island…not the actual place where the Gilligan’s Island show was filmed but once there you’ll see it surely be a nice place to be lost.  Officially it is not a beach, the body of water surrounds a cay (formal name Cayo Aurora), the sandy area is very small, but if you get there early you can claim one of the few gazebos or mangrove trees over the water providing shade where you can place your lounge chairs.  Gilligan’s Island has the clearest water on the entire main island of Puerto Rico.  After Hurricane Maria we were terrified our little island would be gone or partly destroyed, we are happy it is still there for the enjoyment of all.

What we love about Gilligan’s Island / Cayo Aurora:  clarity and calmness of the water, scenery, snorkeling, the journey there.  Best Hotels to Stay near Gilligan’s Island:  Stay at Copamarina Beach Resort, they have their own private ferry ready to take you anytime during the day.  It is a small intimate hotel with a nice pool facing the water, on-site restaurants and friendly staff.More about Gilligan’s Island – Guanica, Puerto Rico

Combate Beach – Cabo Rojo

This was one of the first beaches to get cleaned up and ready after Hurricane Maria.  It is the longest beach in Puerto Rico, a wonderful place to take a walk on the beach.  The water is clear, the perfect depth for playing, floating, swimming and relaxing.

It is a very popular beach for locals on weekends and summer months, but during weekdays the vibe is nice and relaxed.  We encourage you to take a walk all the way to the end, bring only the necessities to the beach, so you can take a long walk on the beach and not worry about carrying or leaving valuables while you explore.   There are plenty of spots on the sand to claim your own, most people tend to congregate close to the restaurants for easy dining access, but farther south, the beach gets even prettier. There’s plenty of free parking on the shoulder of the street.

What we love about Combate Beach: clear water, restaurants nearby, depth of the water, hiking to Punta Aguila from Combate.Best places to stay near Combate Beach:  Combate Beach Resort – not a resort, it is really a small inn, charming, clean comfortable guest rooms and within walking distance to Combate Beach.  More about Combate Beach – Cabo Rojo, Puerto Rico.

Sun Bay Beach – Vieques

Sun Bay Beach is still in recovery mode from Hurricane Maria, there was much damage to the infastructure, homes, and businesses. The coastline lost many palm trees but the beauty that bewitches visitors, still abound.   Just recently Sun Bay was also the recipient of the Blue Flag Beach Award.  Sun Bay is the most beautiful Balneario under the Puerto Rican Flag, a Balneario is a “public beach” managed by the government.   Sun Bay is ready for visitors, and gorgeous.  If you have more a day in Vieques be sure to explore more beaches.

What we love about Sun Bay Beach: calm water, great for swimming, plenty of palm trees for shade and to hang a hammock, gorgeous turquoise water, on-site facilities, ample convenient parking.  More about Sun Bay Beach – Vieques Island, Puerto Rico.

Crash Boat Beach – Aguadilla, Puerto Rico

This one may come as a surprise, since we never included Crash Boat Beach in our Best Beaches in Puerto Rico Guide in prior years.  Although a favorite for locals, we didn’t feel it was good for the average tourist.  The entire shoreline at Crashboat Beach needed work, the cafeteria and shops needed a lot of “TLC”, facilities were non-existent and the sand was dirty most times we visited.

Crashboat as everyone knew it virtually does not exist anymore after the devastation of Hurricane Maria.  So why include Crashboat in this list?  It is one of the best beaches in Puerto Rico to see the effects of Hurricane Maria on the shores.   Although we were in shock from the damage and changes, we took a pause, took a look around, and found hope and beauty in the mid of destruction.  The water is clearer than ever, the beach got a brand new thick carpet of soft light golden sand.  All the buildings that now sit on the sand will certainly become an attraction to those that wish to see the effects of a hurricane.  We all know that disasters and negativity get attention, so if you wish to see how Hurricane Maria affected some of our beaches, this perhaps is one beach to visit.  This marks the end of Crashboat as a generation enjoyed it, but it is also a sight of how the island will recover and rebuild a better Puerto Rico.

What we love about Crashboat Beach: crystal clear water, scuba diving at the pier, a great place to see the effects of a hurricane on the coastline.

Best Beaches in Puerto Rico 2016

See the List of Best Beaches in Puerto Rico 2016

Flamenco Beach – Culebra

The Best Beach under the Puerto Rican flag & one of the Top Beaches in the World.

Not only is Flamenco Beach the best beach under the Puerto Rican Flag, but this gem has also been consistently ranked as one of the best beaches around the planet.  Adjectives that are meant to be used to describe beaches such as Flamenco, have been overused, words simply can’t describe this special place.  The landscape is unique and perfectly designed by the Master Hand, the waters are like glass tinted in tones of cerulean and turquoise blues.  The waves are very gentle making them perfect for swimming, playing, floating, and snorkeling.  Flamenco offers a great camping site with million-dollar views and beach access, the food kiosks offer traditional Puerto Rican food sure to satisfy every palette, the sand is light and pure white, and the water quality has won the Blue Flag award for many years. Once you get here, you’ll become a Culebra lover for life.  More about Flamenco Beach, Culebra, Puerto Rico. 

La Playuela / Playa Sucia – Cabo Rojo – The Most Scenic Location on the main island of Puerto Rico.

Palomino Island – Fajardo  – Secluded island charm, water sports, snorkeling & foodservice right on the beach.

A perfect private island, for the blissful enjoyment of El Conquistador guests.  Palomino Island is what tropical vacation dreams are made of…lounge chairs, crystal clear waters, white sand, small natural pools with schools of colorful tropical fish, water sports, horseback riding, delicious healthy food, and Piña Coladas served right on the beach.  Be a guest at Waldorf Astoria – El Conquistador Resort.  From there, you can hop on the ferry and spend glorious days at Palomino Island.

Blue Beach – Vieques – Excellent beach for swimming, uncrowded, turquoise clear waters, and excellent snorkeling.  Bahia de la Chiva was previously known as “Blue Beach”.

Caracas Beach – Vieques – Just gorgeous…Amazing enough to be the main shooting location for Victoria’s Secret Swim 2014

This beach is one of the local favorites, it offers gorgeous scenery, perfect waters for swimming and playing, a wide beach with plenty of white sand for relaxing and playing beach volleyball, and gazebos for family picnics.  If you don’t have much time on the island, Playa Caracas previously known as Red Beach is the most easily accessible on Vieques National Wildlife Refuge (Camp Garcia).  Caracas Beach is one of the main locations featured on the Victoria’s Secret Swim 2014.  More about Caracas Beach (Red Beach) on the island of Vieques, Puerto Rico. 

Balneario de Escambron – San Juan – Best City Beach

Escambron Beach is much more than a great beach experience.  Clear waters, tall coconut palm trees, but in addition you’re walking into a park packed with a scuba diving site, snorkeling spots, scenic views of Old San Juan and the modern city, great food, a walking trail along the water leading to a historic site, facilities, and plenty of sand and green spaces for children to play.  If and when you’ve had enough beach time you can walk across to the beautiful Luis Munoz Marin Park and then head over to Old San Juan where you can enjoy an endless list of world-class attractions.  More about Escambron Beach in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

La Posita Beach – Loiza, Puerto Rico

While the city offers some good beaches, some visitors wish to experience a beach that’s quiet with a casual island style.  We often choose to have a staycation in San Juan, and when we crave crystal clear waters, we head to the neighboring town of Loiza, a short half-hour drive from Old San Juan / Condado area, right next to Isla Verde.   La Posita is a long beach on the Atlantic side with a rock wall creating a safe shallow natural pool protected from the strong surf, making it a great beach for families with small children.  Right across the street, there are food kiosks serving traditional fried food.  Keep driving towards Loiza and you’ll end up at the famous Pinones area featured on the Travel Channel.  Pinones is a foodies paradise serving all kinds of traditional food that focus on flavor and keep the decor and ambiance simple and casual unique to the town of Loiza.  La Posita is a great stop for travelers who love to experience a more authentic island vibe.  You can get here by bike, there’s a bicycle trail from Isla Verde to La Posita Beach all the way to Pinones.  This is the first guide to include La Posita on the top ten list.

Sandy Beach – Rincon, Puerto Rico – Best beach for learning to surf, best for swimming in Rincon, and home to one of the best beach bars in the world. 

Rincon is one of the top beach towns in Puerto Rico.  Rincon became famous for its world-class surfing and there are plenty of beaches to keep you exploring for days.  Sandy Beach is the best overall beach in Rincon for surfing with the great surf breaks.   Here you’ll find beginners getting surfing lessons, it’s a fun place to park your lounge chair and watch surfers.  Sandy Beach is long, a romantic place for long walks.  When you get hungry, you can stop by Tamboo Tavern, an open wooden deck along the water, which has made it to the list of top beach bars in the world (CNNTravel & Leisure), where you can enjoy a great lunch or dinner to the glow of a romantic sunset.

Steps Beach / Playa Tres Palmas – Rincon, Puerto Rico – Great Surfing in the Winter & Excellent Snorkeling in the Summer Months

Located on the surfing town of Rincon, this is a world-class surfing beach in the winter months.  During the summer months, the surf is down, the waters are calm, and this beach becomes a favorite for snorkeling on the west side of the island.  Swim over beautiful elkhorn gardens with a variety of sea life including sea turtles.  More about Steps Beach / Tres Palmas, Rincon, Puerto Rico.

Boqueron Beach – Cabo Rojo, Puerto Rico – Calm Turquoise Waters, Beautiful Sunsets, Great Food & Best Beach Town Experience

Last but not least is the Balnerio de Boqueron (Boqueron Bay Beach), one of the most beloved beaches in Puerto Rico.     Boqueron has always been known as a favorite family beach vacation spot for Puerto Ricans.  Balneario de Boqueron (formal name), is a public beach managed by Parques Nacionales consistently awarded the Blue Flag. Here you can rent a cabana right or a villa right on the water for very affordable rates.  The waters are calm, great for swimming, jet skiing, kayaking, and stand-up paddleboarding.  The summer months are the most fun at this beach, the waters are clearest and the nightlife is the most festive in the village of Boqueron. Boqueron is a small poblado (village) in the town of Cabo Rojo, a beach town located on the southwest tip of the island.  At night the narrow one-way street of Boqueron closes to vehicles and opens to happy people wanting to laugh with friends and family.   Enjoy fresh oysters and clams with lemon, local drinks, and great food at restaurants to the sounds of salsa, jazz, and rock and roll.  Boqueron is a great beach destination for travelers who want to experience a more authentic beach town vibe with very affordable hotel/apartment rates. Boqueron is a very family-friendly village with easy access to more great beaches and attractions in nearby beach towns of Guanica and Lajas.  More about Boqueron Beach in Cabo Rojo, Puerto Rico. 

 

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