Popular El Yunque / Luquillo Beach Tour
Balneario La Monserrate, best known as Luquillo Beach, is the most popular beach on the east coast of Puerto Rico, loved by local families and frequently visited by tourists staying in the San Juan/ Metro area since is often included in some of the most popular tours. The landscape of Luquillo Beach is one of the most unique, with lush flora framing the beach and the enchanting El Yunque National Rainforest as a backdrop.
Content – Luquillo Beach Guide
We put together the most complete beach guide, we’ll tell you the reasons so many love this beach and some facts to consider when planning a visit to Luquillo Beach.
- Need to Know Facts / Unbiased Travel Advice
- The Beach & The Water at Luquillo Beach
- Activities / Things to Do at Luquillo Beach
- The Landscape at Luquillo Beach
- Food & Cultural Experiences at Luquillo Beach
- Luquillo Kiosks
- Entry Fees & Facilities Information
- Weather Facts – Planning your Visit
- Map – Luquillo Beach
- Photo Gallery of the Beach
Top Rated Tours to Luquillo Beach & El Yunque National Rainforest
Before we go on, let’s be honest about whether you will like this beach or not, if you were to speak to a variety of tourists and locals you’ll hear mixed reviews.
Luquillo Beach is Best for…
Traveler/explorer type that will focus on the natural beauty and wishes to be more culturally immersed, you’ll love Luquillo Beach.
Couples: Couples seeking a romantic beach experience can take a nice long walk on the beach and stop at more intimate spots away from the crowds for romantic conversation, relaxation, and taking in the views.
Families: Luquillo Beach is one of the most family-friendly beaches on the east coast with calmer water for swimming and playful waves for a little fun and lifeguards on duty (please check before swimming). Locals love the convenient parking, and budget-friendly food just steps from the beach.
Travelers seeking a cultural experience: More than a beach experience, Luquillo Beach offers visitors an authentic Puerto Rican casual food experience. Just down the entrance from Luquillo Beach, you can park and take a walk along Kioskos de Luquillo (Luquillo Food Kiosks) where you can eat traditional Puerto Rican food and drinks at local prices, shop for artisan crafts, souvenirs, beachwear, and more.
You may not like Luquillo Beach if…
If you’re a tourist expecting perfection you’ll find flaws because there are, mainly in the facilities, which need a full overhaul.
If you can bypass the conditions of the buildings (which we discuss under facilities below) and focus on the beach, you’ll enjoy it. We highly recommend a day trip to Icacos Cay, a fantastic beach experience with private charters and catamarans, some serving delicious food and drinks. If you want a more pristine beach experience on the main island in the San Juan / Metro area with resort-style services and activities we recommend you go to La Playita del Condado in San Juan where the water is safe for swimming or Pine Grove – Isla Verde Beach.
If you’re looking to enjoy your day in a fun relaxing way head out to Luquillo beach. The earlier the better. Walks on the beach line as amazing and you can rent umbrellas and chairs for some good downtime in the sun. The pineapple piña coladas are a must on the beach.
Luquillo Beach is a protected crescent-shaped bay, making the waters calmer, safer for swimming with playful waves for a little fun, and shallow spots for the little ones.
The sand varies in color from light ivory to golden, the north side is a bit darker due to the trees and flora that settle on the sand changing its color. Luquillo Beach is unique, the color of the water and sand change to the eye due to the clouds passing, due to the proximity of the rainforest, you’ll see it in the photos of this page, they’re not changed with filters.
The best thing about this beach is how nice it is to walk on, very light on your feet, allowing you to walk effortlessly the entire length of the beach or go for a run.
As you walk you’ll pass various shaded spots, we invite. you to sit down for 10 minutes and just take in the views and enjoy each other’s company, these are the moments we truly enjoy on the island. You’ll also have some wonderful vacation photos.
As you continue walking north, the beach is quieter with fewer crowds, you’ll enjoy shallow spots with very clear water to refresh before continuing your walk. Be mindful that the lifeguards are on the main beach near the entrance, so you swim at your own risk in this area.
By the time you get to the curve, you’ll enjoy views of the coastline facing north, walking back you’ll enjoy and a full view of Luquillo Beach and the El Yunque Rainforest in the distance.
- Horseback Riding – Luquillo Beach is one of the best beaches to go horseback riding, Carabali, a reputable tour company offers a wonderful tour, reserve your spot.
- Flyboarding – Take the challenge and go flyboarding at Luquillo Beach.
- Rentals – You may find local vendors, especially during the summer months renting kayaks and paddleboards.
- Learn how to surf – Nearby at La Pared Beach, you can take surfing lessons, a great activity the whole family can enjoy.
Fun Activities at Luquillo Beach & Nearby
The landscape of Luquillo Beach is unique, yes you can see palm trees on other beaches around the island, but Luquillo has a nice mix of trees found nowhere else on the island (that we know of or have seen). Nature lovers that love to immerse themselves into a place and explore will enjoy taking a walk along the beach to admire the flora.
Those palm trees against a blue sky you daydream of on a cold day, where you hang a hammock, Luquillo has those and plenty of them, get to the beach early to claim a spot. Management removes the coconuts for your safety.
As you walk north you’ll pass a beautiful line of Emajagüilla (Thespesia populnea / Malvaceae, a yellow flowering tree you see on the beaches of Puerto Rico with heart-shaped leaves. Under the trees is the most romantic spot on the beach… be sure to make a stop, sit on the shade and embrace each other while taking in the view.
Take a flower, place it on your hair, and take a leaf with you as a memory, they make great bookmarks. These trees are often used by artisans for crafts, for musical instruments and fishermen use it for their boats.
We always walk the entire beach to bring you the best beach guide, and no one has pointed out, the pine trees along the beach… giving Luquillo Beach an elegant and exotic look we’ve seen no other place on the island.
The commanding tree trunk, and soft and sunburned needles on the soft sand makes a striking contrast, in our opinion… the best spot on the beach.
We hope you enjoy your walk as much as we did.
Don’t Miss the Yummy Piña Coladas
There is a small cafeteria-style shop selling the famous Luquillo Piña Colada, served on the pineapple, with the added pineapple circles on a container to take along to the beach. We have to have one every time we visit. You may also buy some Puerto Rican fritters sure to fill you up. Two fritters may cost you $5 per person and you’ll be very satisfied.
Visitors wishing to mingle with locals and see how Puerto Ricans like to pass the time near the beach should head to Luquillo Kiosks. Most of the popular tours to El Yunque include a stop at the food kiosks to give visitors an authentic food cultural experience. Locals love the Kioskos de Luquillo, basically what in the States would look like an outdoor shopping strip, but with very casual places to eat, and shops for beachwear, artisan crafts, and souvenirs. The staff is known to be very friendly, most speak English very well. These are not fancy restaurants, they’re very simple, the crowd is festive and they go there to meet with friends to enjoy the foods they love that won’t break the budget. At Luquillo Kiosks you can enjoy traditional Puerto Rican fritters, good seafood at full-service restaurants, and low-cost drinks made with Puerto Rican rums, that rival some of the best bars at a fraction of the cost. Some of the restaurants such as Jibaro’s offer seating facing the water and fresh local seafood. If you wish to have pizza head to Revolution Pizza. Those wishing to taste Puerto Rican rum will enjoy bar-hopping along the street.
Most of the kiosks are open during the day, but the locals like to head there on weekends after a day at the beach or to simply meet friends. The ambiance is more of a party and drinking scene on weekend nights with loud music, those wishing for a more fancy dining experience should head back to their hotel, the San Juan Metro Area, or one of the many restaurant chains that tourists are accustomed to in the states in the Luquillo area.
Top Rated Food Cultural Tours in Puerto Rico
Luquillo Beach is managed by the Puerto Rico Department of Natural Resources. This beach used to be one of the best-managed public beaches years ago, but sadly it has not been properly maintained for years, the beach is still wonderful but the facilities are in terrible shape. After Hurricane Maria, the facilities suffered even more damage, to date, some of the buildings and facilities remain closed and the open ones, again are not properly maintained or cleaned. We don’t recommend tourists or visitors use them.
- Hours / Beach Park Days: The beach is open from Wednesdays to Sundays. Closed Mondays and Tuesdays. What is closed are the facilities and parking lot, and there are no lifeguards on duty. You may walk in and enjoy the beach, it is always open.
- Entry Fees: Entrance by foot or bike.
- Vehicle Parking Fees: $3.00 for cars, $4.00 for minivans, $5.00 for buses, $2.00 for motorcycles. (Cash only).
- Restrooms – There are public restrooms, but they are not maintained properly, so we advise that you stop at a restaurant before or after going to the beach. If you need to use the beach restrooms, bring wipes/toilet paper, and soap/ hand sanitizer.
- Outdoor shower stations: We tried them but none were working when we tested them.
- Beach Chair and umbrella rentals: Pricey at $35 when we asked the vendors. Cash only.
We’ve traveled numerous times around the entire coastline of Puerto Rico visiting every beach and Luquillo Beach was the most challenging to photograph. Rain clouds pass constantly, and quite often during rain season.
We encourage you to check the weather radar before going to Luquillo Beach, it is pretty accurate and it helps us plan our beach day on the east coast. We found that one minute is very sunny with bright blue skies, 10 minutes later, rain clouds turning the colors into silver blues and grays… but it quickly passes. So, what we are saying is, don’t give up a beach day in Luquillo if you see rain clouds, they quickly pass.
The best time to visit Luquillo Beach is early in the morning or mid-afternoon.