Beaches, Exploration, Play & Adventure
A 45-minute drive west from the capital of San Juan, there are beautiful places for exploration on the coastline and up in the karst region of the verdant mountains. In the north region, you can enjoy a wonderful beach experience on some of the prettiest beaches in Puerto Rico such as Mar Chiquita, explore the impressive Camuy River Cave Park, play a round of golf at the luxurious Dorado Beach, go cave tubing, hike in lush forests, and more.
Following is a guide to the best hotels, things to do, tours, and places to visit on the north region.
The beaches on the north coast are quite unique, the landscape is very different than the Caribbean side. The north coast region of Puerto Rico faces the deep blue Atlantic Ocean. The landscape is dramatic with cliffs along the coastline framing beach coves and creating natural wading pools protected from the strong Atlantic surf. Many of the beaches along the north coast are popular for surfers during the winter months, but there are plenty of beaches with calmer water for swimming and snorkeling. If you dream of relaxing on a quiet beach, getting lost in the beauty of waves crashing, and being lulled by their melody, you may want to stay on the north coast, rent a car and explore.
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For beach lovers that love to take long walks on the beach without crowds, watch and listen to the surf will love the northern coast. We have been to most of the beaches along the north and we’ll show you our favorites.
The topography of the north coast is unlike any other part of the island. Most parts of the north are framed by rock cliffs protecting the land from the mighty ocean. Unlike many islands in the Caribbean where the Atlantic Ocean side is not good for swimming, the north coast of Puerto Rico has beautiful beaches, popular for a variety of water sports, the most popular are kitesurfing and surfing. The north coast has many natural pools protected by limestone walls, some very shallow, perfect for families with toddlers. There are miles of coastline to enjoy long walks on soft sand from light golden to sparkly black, many of the beaches are away from hotels and development giving you a more natural beach experience. The most popular beaches for locals are the Balnearios, which are government-managed beaches with facilities and water that’s regularly monitored for quality. The beaches on the north are typically quiet without crowds on weekdays from September to mid-March.
Visiting the following beaches are wonderful day trips to take to enhance your resort experience and see the coastal treasures of the island.
Mar Chiquita – Manati
+ Mar Chiquita
Best Highlights: 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 – mid-May. During the summer months when the water is calm, it is a good spot for snorkeling in shallow waters.
La Poza del Obispo – Arecibo
+ La Poza del Obispo
Head to Arecibo for a full morning and be sure to include La Poza del Obispo Beach in your itinerary, a small beach full of beauty and surprises. A rock wall creates a barrier from the beach creating a natural pool with an endless show… like fireworks but better… blue and refreshing from the sea.
Playa Sardinera – Hatillo
+ Playa Sardinera
Beach Highlights: beautiful large natural pool with safe shallow crystalline aquamarine water perfect for families with small children and romantics seeking a secluded romantic ambiance.
Playa Sardinera features the largest natural pool we’ve seen around the island. There’s another tidal pool that extends east, protected by a long coral rock wall, the clear water comes down gently like a stream, it is a quiet and romantic spot since most beachgoers stay close to the entrance for convenience. This beach is relatively unknown to tourists and is mostly enjoyed by local families that visit on the weekend. During the week is heavenly, you may be sharing the beach with a few couples. While is quiet and feels like you’re away, it is safe and near a restaurant by the entrance with free parking.
Playa Cueva Las Golondrinas, Manati
+ Playa Cueva Las Golondrinas
Beach Highlights: intimate setting, scenic landscape, unspoiled beauty, and beach cave.
Playa Cueva Las Golondrinas is a hidden gem in the town of Manati, requiring a short hike. The beach is framed by lush trees providing shade, and on the west side, a beautiful cave keeps the strong waves from coming in, creating a nice area for bathing on crystal clear water. To get there, you must take a 10-minute hike, you may have it all to yourself on weekdays. The water is prettiest from late spring to late summer when it is calmer. During the winter months, the water may be too rough for swimming, but still worth visiting to enjoy the romantic scene, sunshine, and relaxation.
Peñon Brusi – Camuy
+ Peñon Brusi
Beach Highlights: natural tidal pools, uncrowded scene, and beachside food.
Peñon Brusi is the best beach in the coastal town of Camuy offering a nice quiet beach with scenic views, perfect for long walks, searching for sea glass, and relaxing at shallow tidal pools from late Spring until late Fall.
Poza de las Mujeres – Manati
+ Pozo de las Mujeres
Beach Highlights: clear turquoise water, snorkeling during summer months, views of waves crashing, and nice and quiet during weekdays.
Pozo de las Mujeres is really pretty. The best water conditions are from late spring until early fall, water is the most beautiful and calm during the summer months. You can visit both Playa Cueva de las Golondrinas and Pozo de las Mujeres in one morning.