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Puerto Rico North Coast Beaches Guide

Save a Spot on #1 Beach Tour - Snorkel with Sea Turtles at Escambron Beach

Receive a warm welcome, we invite you to take an online journey along the northern coast of Puerto Rico, we’ll show you the most special beaches, presented in a way that will make your planning and exploring easier.  We begin with the beaches of Isla Verde in Carolina and move west of the island in order of location.  We have been to ALL the beaches along the north, and travel the island often to check conditions.  

Introduction to the North Coast of Puerto Rico

Unlike many islands in the Caribbean where the Atlantic Ocean side is not good for swimming, in Puerto Rico, there are plenty of beautiful, fun beaches with breathtaking landscapes.

The topography of the north coast is unlike any other part of the island, with gorgeous cliffs, hidden caves, and tidal pools for bathing.  The sand colors range from white to honey gold to sparkly volcanic black.  Some of the best beaches are located in nature reserves without any development, for that lush tropical landscape one thinks of when dreaming of the Caribbean.

On the north beaches, you can enjoy activities such as snorkeling with sea turtles, scuba diving, surfing, kitesurfing, fun ATV / Can-Am beach tours, and jet skiing.  Families with children can drive to beaches with natural tidal pools protected by limestone walls, perfect for families with toddlers.  Beach lovers who seek quiet and relaxation can go beach combing and take long walks without crowds.

We invite you to rent a car for at least two days to enjoy Puerto Rico’s beaches and understand why so many visitors keep coming back to explore the other regions of the island and see it all.

The #1 Beach on the North Coast of Puerto Rico

Balneario Escambron

San Juan, Puerto Rico

Escambron, one of the best beaches to go snorkeling with sea turtles in Puerto Rico

Save a Spot on #1 Beach Tour - Snorkel with Sea Turtles at Escambron Beach

Escambron Beach is the best beach for getting away from the busier beaches in the San Juan tourist area, offering the best snorkeling in the capital city.  Escambron offers the most complete beach experience in San Juan, with two unique beaches within the park and many activities for a fun day under the sun.

What makes this beach the best on the north coast? 

  • Family-friendly – Children can swim at Escambron Beach, there is a lifeguard and bathroom facilities.
  • Two Beaches in One Location – There are two beaches at the park.  One beach offers an excellent snorkeling experience where you’ll see a variety of tropical fish and mesmerizing sea turtles.  The main beach is protected by a natural wall, keeping large waves out and turning the area into a giant shallow pool with clear water with turquoise hues; the wide beach area with tall palm trees creates that idyllic tropical ambiance.
  • Water Activities –  Escambron offers excellent snorkeling and scuba diving experiences.  We advise that you book a tour for your safety and best experience. Of course, you can bring your snorkel/scuba gear and explore the reef independently.
  • Romantic – A scenic path connects the two beaches, a perfect opportunity for romantics to take in the beauty of the city and the sweeping views of the ocean.   You can book a romantic private picnic and surprise your loved one.
  • Historic Site – Escambron also houses Bateria El Escambron, a fortification with sweeping views of the city.
  • Crowds – Although it is the best beach in the city, with so many beaches in San Juan and nearby towns for visitors and locals to enjoy, it rarely feels crowded.

After enjoying Escambron Beach, you may walk across to the Luis Munoz Marin Park and continue down the scenic Paseo Puerta de Tierra with sweeping views of the Atlantic, leading to Castillo San Cristobal.   Keep walking, and you’ll end up in Old San Juan, where you can enjoy UNESCO sites and cultural experiences.

Best Places to Stay Nearby:  Caribe Hilton, The Condado Plaza Hotel

+ See Top Rated Snorkeling Tours at Escambron Beach, San Juan

+ See Map of Balneario El Escambron - San Juan, Puerto Rico

The Most Popular City Beach in Puerto Rico

Isla Verde Beach

Carolina, Puerto Rico

Isla Verde Beach, Carolina - Puerto Rico North Coast Beaches

Top Rated Isla Verde Beach Experience

Isla Verde Beach, often misconceived as a singular stretch, is actually composed of three distinct beaches, each contributing its unique vibe to the coastal experience. Conveniently located just a 7-minute drive from San Juan Airport and a mere 15 minutes from the tourist districts of San Juan.  Isla Verde Beaches offers an enticing blend of relaxation and entertainment.  Opt to stay directly on the beach at one of the numerous beachfront resorts, providing immediate access to a plethora of restaurants, casinos, lounges, and nearby clubs to dance the night away.  Beyond its lively nightlife, Isla Verde is also a hub for watersports enthusiasts, offering a range of activities.  Delve into surfing lessons, embark on exhilarating jet skiing adventures, and explore neighboring beaches on a fun ATV / Can-Am experience.  The water at Isla Verde Beach is safer for swimming compared to the popular Condado Beach,  while being close to Old San Juan, and many attractions on the east coast of Puerto Rico.

Best Places to Stay on Isla Verde Beach:  Royal Sonesta ⎮  Fairmont El San Juan  ⎮ Courtyard by Marriott Isla Verde Beach Resort

+ See Tours & Experiences in Isla Verde, Puerto Rico

+ See Map of Isla Verde Beach - Carolina, Puerto Rico

More Great Beaches on the North Coast

We begin your online coastal tour in San Juan and move west

Ocean Park

San Juan, Puerto Rico

Ocean Park - San Juan - Best Beaches on the North of Puerto Rico

Ocean Park Beach stands as the cherished haven for locals, drawing them with its inviting shores ideal for beach runs, spirited games of volleyball, and laid-back gatherings with friends.  Nestled near the beachfront resorts in the Condado Beach tourist district, Ocean Park maintains a more tranquil ambiance.  This residential community, dotted with a few vacation rentals and budget-friendly beachfront inns, offers a refreshing escape from the bustling Condado.  Kite surfing takes center stage as the most popular activity at Ocean Park Beach, with lessons available for those eager to delve into this thrilling water sport.  Engage in friendly competition with locals through a beach volleyball game, or unwind by bringing a hammock or lounge chair to watch the lively atmosphere or find serene shaded spots along the shoreline.  Ocean Park encapsulates the essence of island living, providing a blend of active pursuits and peaceful moments by the sea. 

Learn to Windsurf in San Juan

Best Places to Stay near Ocean Park Beach – San Juan:  Tropical Beach HouseDream Inn PRCozy Beach Apartment

+ See Map - Ocean Park - San Juan, Puerto Rico

Playita del Condado

San Juan, Puerto Rico

Playita del Condado, San Juan - Puerto Rico North Coast Beaches

Don't Miss Kayaking at Condado Lagoon

Nestled in the corner of Dos Hermanos Bridge, overlooking the historic Fortin San Geronimo, La Playita del Condado stands as the smallest beach in San Juan.   La Playita del Condado is a gem for visitors and cruisers pressed for time, offering a prime option in San Juan with its convenient location, essential services, available tours, and seamless access to nearby attractions in Old San Juan through the most scenic bike route in the city.  This family-friendly beach boasts calm waters, perfect for swimming and snorkeling.  Take in the panoramic views of the modern cityscape and Fortín de San Jerónimo del Boquerón, one of the fortifications of the city.  The The Condado Plaza Hotel provides lounge and umbrella rentals, complemented by nearby restaurants and drink stands offering delightful Piña Coladas and snacks.  La Playita is an oasis for beach activities and a gateway to the adjacent Laguna del Condado (Condado Lagoon), promising a wealth of enjoyable experiences right at your fingertips.

Best Places to Stay near La Playita del Condado:  The Condado Plaza HotelCondado Ocean ClubCondado Vanderbilt

+ See Great Tours at Condado Lagoon - San Juan, Puerto Rico

+ See Map - Playita del Condado - San Juan, Puerto Rico

Mar Chiquita

Manati, Puerto Rico

Mar Chiquita Beach, Manati - Puerto Rico North Coast

Exciting Excursion to Mar Chiquita & Waterfall

Mar Chiquita stands as one of the most cherished beaches along the north coast, celebrated not only for its captivating shape and picturesque landscape but also as a favorite subject for photographers.  Despite its popularity, this beach transforms into a serene escape from crowds on weekdays, especially between September and mid-May.  On weekends and holiday weeks, Mar Chiquita takes on a lively, festive ambiance adorned with an array of food vendors and artisans.  The summer months beckon with calm waters, creating an ideal setting for leisurely snorkeling in the shallows.  However, during the winter months, when the seas become more dynamic, swimmers should exercise extra caution and care.  Walk two minutes east and enjoy an expansive beach great for a romantic walk. 

Best Places to Stay near Mar Chiquita:  Hyatt Manati

+ See Map - Mar Chiquita - Manati, Puerto Rico

Poza de Las Mujeres

Manati, Puerto Rico

Poza de Las Mujeres, Manati, Puerto Rico - North Coast

Award Winning Tour to Arenales Caves, River & Waterfalls

Poza de las Mujeres is an intimate beach spot located at the western rocky corner of Las Palmas Beach. In the summertime, the water unveils its shallow depth with stunning turquoise tones, resembling crystal-clear glass. Natural rock formations serve as protective barriers, shielding this small beach from the vigorous surf.  Due to its petite size, we recommend visiting during the week to fully appreciate the tranquility it offers.  During the summer, this coastal gem transforms into a mesmerizing natural pool, inviting you to immerse yourself in serene waters, with normal weather.  As winter arrives, Poza de las Mujeres becomes a serene retreat, providing a peaceful space to sit, observe the rhythmic surf, and let the soothing melody of the ocean create a calming backdrop for relaxation.

Best Places to Stay near Poza de Las Mujeres:  Hyatt Manati

Best Times to Visit:  The best water conditions are from late spring until early fall; water is the most beautiful and calm during summer.  Bathing not advised during the winter months.

Beach Hopping Itinerary Suggestion:  You can visit both Playa Cueva de las Golondrinas and Poza de las Mujeres in one morning.

+ See Map - Poza de Las Mujeres - Manati, Puerto Rico

Playa Cueva Las Golondrinas

Manati, Puerto Rico

Playa Las Golondrinas - Manati - Puerto Rico North Coast Beaches

Playa Cueva Las Golondrinas, named after the birds that nest on this beach cave, emerges as a clandestine haven in the town of Manati.  Accessing this idyllic retreat demands an easy 10-minute stroll on a lush path through the woods and cliff overlooking the Manati shores.  On weekdays, the ethereal tranquility might be exclusively yours to relish.  Adorned by luxuriant trees casting dappled shadows, this beach unfolds its beauty like a secret whisper.  On the western edge, a captivating cave gracefully shields the shoreline, creating a sanctuary for Golondrinas (shallow birds).  Visitors can bathe in the embrace of crystal-clear waters, and when the tide is low and calm during summer, visitors carefully enter the cave or pose at the entry for the perfect vacation photo op.  The ambiance is intimate and romantic and you’ll never find crowds.  During winter, when the ocean’s dance becomes more impassioned, the beach remains an irresistible invitation to partake in a dreamy scene of sunshine, romance, and ultimate relaxation.

Go River Caving & Amazing Cueva del Indio (Cave)

Best Places to Stay near Playa Cueva Las Golondrinas:  Hyatt Manati

+ See Map - Playa Cueva Golondrinas - Manati, Puerto Rico

Poza del Obispo

Arecibo, Puerto Rico

Poza del Obispo - Arecibo - North Coast of Puerto Rico

Poza del Obispo emerges as one of the smallest natural pools (pozos in Spanish), yet one of the most stunning beaches, captivating visitors with an unceasing, mesmerizing wave display.  Here, a protective coral wall shapes a tranquil pool, where the water remains shallow, inviting you to immerse yourself in the sensory symphony of crashing waves.  Perched on the water’s edge, your gaze will be entranced by the perpetual dance of waves colliding with towering rocks, some ascending to impressive heights.  Beyond its visual spectacle, this beach offers an ideal setting for a leisurely stroll and a front-row seat to observe the skillful surfers riding the waves.  Adjacent to this coastal paradise, the Arecibo Lighthouse Park welcomes visitors and entertains children, rounding out the perfect beach day in Arecibo.

Cueva del Indio & Poza del Obispo Beach Tour

Best Places to Stay near Pozo del Obispo:  Hyatt Manati

Fun Beach Day Itinerary:  This 5 Star rated tour offers a wonderful itinerary with a visit to Cueva del Indio and Poza del Obispo, with transport from San Juan.

+ See Map - Pozo del Obispo - Arecibo, Puerto Rico

Playa Sardinera

Hatillo, Puerto Rico

Playa Sardinera, Hatillo, Puerto Rico

Our guide proudly introduced this beauty to travelers; we’re thrilled to share this hidden gem with you.   Among the island’s beaches, Playa Sardinera  boasts the grandeur of the largest natural pools we’ve encountered during our travels around the island.  This beach is mostly frequented by locals, maintaining a serene ambiance.  Weekdays unveil tranquility, allowing you to revel in the beauty of this coastal gem alongside just a few other couples and families.  As delighted beachgoers like you spread the word, we anticipate Playa Sardinera will rightfully become a cherished destination for many more.  Resembling a larger counterpart to Pozo de Teodoro in Isabela, it features a vast natural pool and, looking eastward, an extended, narrow pool shielded by a natural wall where pelicans gracefully frolic.  This setting is ideal for those seeking seclusion, especially for families with toddlers, due to its shallow waters. Despite its peaceful aura, Playa Sardinera is conveniently located near many restaurants and shopping centers on the main road and a restaurant at the entrance, offering parking at a fee and ensuring a sense of safety while providing the perfect blend of quiet and accessibility.  There’s also free parking a little farther out. 

Best Places to Stay near Playa Sardinera:  Royal Isabela ⎮  Hyatt Manati

+ See Map - Playa Sardinera - Hatillo, Puerto Rico

Peñon Brusi

Hatillo, Puerto Rico

Peñon Brusi, Camuy, Puerto Rico - North Coast

Top Rated Camuy River Cave Park from San Juan

Peñon Brusi is the best beach in the coastal town of Camuy, home to the stunning Camuy River Cave Park.   This beach offers a relaxed vibe yet steps away from casual local restaurants and food stands serving traditional fritters, seafood, and delicious drinks at local budget-friendly prices.  If you like beachcombing, you’ll enjoy walking the shore in search of treasures like sea glass and seashells.  Families with little ones can play safely at small tidal pools.  A standout feature is the giant beach chair, serving as the perfect backdrop for a memorable family vacation photo—one you’ll undoubtedly want to print and proudly frame on your wall, forever capturing the essence of your adventures in Puerto Rico and guaranteed to evoke a heartfelt smile.

Best Places to Stay near Peñon Brusi:  Royal Isabela ⎮  Hyatt Manati

+ See Map - Peñon Brusi - Hatillo, Puerto Rico

Photos of Beaches - North Coast of Puerto Rico

Balneario El Escambron - San Juan - Puerto Rico North Coast