Puerto Rico Beaches You Should Visit at Least Once
Puerto Rico is known as the Isle of Enchantment, a nickname it truly deserves. Besides beautiful architecture, great food, thriving nightlife and a music scene that dominates the Latin American market, the island has gorgeous beaches.
Whether you’re a resort traveler looking for beaches with amenities or want a secluded beach next to a wildlife reserve, Puerto Rico has it all. The island also has three out of the five bioluminescent bays in the world. This means you can see water glow at night at any time of year.
So get ready for some of the most amazing experiences you can have in the world. These are the best Puerto Rico beaches.
15. El Escambron Beach
Location: San Juan
Known for: Easy access, facilities
What Makes El Escambron Beach Special
San Juan has many incredible beaches, and El Escambron is one of them. Easily accessible by taxi or public transportation, it’s hard to ever get bored here. Besides the sand and water, you have the Tercer Milenio Park, where there’s a jogging track, a baseball field and other facilities.
You’ll also have several restaurants, bars and shops full of local crafts nearby. To enjoy the water, you can participate in numerous sports like parasailing and jet skiing. For families, there are child-friendly facilities nearby.
And as an added bonus, the Peñon de San Jorge fort is visible from the beach.
Where to stay: Caribe Hilton
14. Isla Verde Beach
Known for: Facilities, calm waves
What Makes Isla Verde Beach Special
Another beach that is perfect for travelers who like to enjoy the sand in comfort, Isla Verde Beach is dotted with restaurants, shops and bars. It is located in Carolina, a suburb of San Juan, which makes it easy to get to but also guarantees a smaller crowd.
This beach is known for its calm waves and clear water. That's why it's a preferred option for families traveling with children. You can rent jet skis or banana boats to have fun in the water.
Where to stay: Royal Sonesta San Juan
13. Tamarindo Beach
Known for: Nature, reefs, solitude
What Makes Tamarindo Beach Special
Near Ponce, Puerto Rico’s second city, you’ll find Tamarindo Beach. Considered one of the island’s prettiest beaches, it is located within the Guanica State Forest, a protected biosphere reserve. It should not be confused with Playa Tamarindo on the Puerto Rican island of Culebra.
As a result, this southern beach is secluded, quiet and gorgeous. It’s protected from development around it, so you won’t get tall buildings blocking the sun. You also have to do a pleasant mild hike to get here, guaranteeing minimal crowds.
Besides swimming, this is a great spot to snorkel and dive in the reefs near the shore. There are also facilities where you can cook fish that you catch yourself.
Where to stay: Mimi’s Guest House
12. Crash Boat Beach
Known for: Snorkeling, diving
What Makes Crash Boat Beach Special
Besides having a very cool name, Crash Boat Beach offers the perfect balance between a busy cosmopolitan beach and a secluded beach. It has several kiosks, restaurants and facilities, but isn’t plagued by giant resorts or buildings right on its shores.
The water is calm and clear, which brings in people interested in snorkeling and enjoying water sports to the Aguadilla beach. There’s also a long dock, which is great for contemplating the movements of the water or for jumping right into the sea.
Where to stay: Dancing Tortugas
11. Boqueron Beach
Location: Cabo Rojo
Known for: Caves, wildlife, diving
What Makes Boqueron Beach Special
Part of the Balneario Boqueron National Park, Boqueron Beach is still fairly developed. But instead of high-rises catering to tourists, it has a chill beach town vibe that makes it friendly.
The beach was once used by actual pirates of the Caribbean, who are rumored to have hidden their bounty in the nearby caves.
Boqueron attracts travelers seeking wildlife and nature experiences, as there are plenty of opportunities for bird watching and diving.
Where to stay: Traditional Puerto Rican home
10. Playa Santa
Known for: Esplanade, nature
What Makes Playa Santa Special
Playa Santa is located in the southwestern coast of Puerto Rico’s main island. It is best for people who want a wilder experience away from the large resorts and beach chairs.
Facilities still exist, and there is an esplanade where you’ll find restaurants and shops. The difference is that these will be decidedly more indigenous, so you can eat some delicious traditional seafood dishes and buy local crafts.
The other reason Playa Santa is one of the top beaches in Puerto Rico is its proximity to La Parguera Nature Reserve. Here, you’ll find reefs, mangroves and abundant wildlife. But the true crown jewel happens at night, since this is one of the island’s bioluminescent bays.
If you’re not familiar with bioluminescence, let us tell you that it is one of the most magical experiences you can ever have. Anything that moves in the water (including you, if you decide to swim) glows brightly.
The glow can range from a faint yellowish to a strong electric blue like the one seen in "Life of Pi." Yeah, that whale scene was not imagined after all.
Where to stay: Rustic beach house
9. Seven Seas Beach
Known for: Solitude, snorkeling, diving
What Makes Seven Seas Beach Special
If you want to experience bioluminescence but are short on time, you can head to Fajardo. About an hour and a half away from San Juan, this area has the beautiful Seven Seas Beach, where you can spend the day.
The beach is tranquil and uncrowded, making it a preferred spot for snorkeling and diving. It’s also a Blue Flag beach, meaning that measurements are taken to protect the environment and biodiversity within it.
After spending the day at Seven Seas Beach, you can go on a night kayaking tour to the nearby Laguna Grande. You’ll get to see the water glowing every time you move your paddle. It’s truly a magical experience.
If you want to have an even more unique experience, camp for the night at Seven Seas Beach.
Where to stay: Balneario Seven Seas Campground
8. Condado Beach
Location: San Juan
Known for: Resorts, easy access, beach facilities
What Makes Condado Beach Special
Located in San Juan, the capital of Puerto Rico, Condado Beach is one of the territory’s most frequented beaches. The beach is very easily accessible and caters to travelers and locals who like a glitzier seaside experience.
You’ll find numerous resorts along the beach, so you can rent a beach chair and order cocktails as you lay in the sun. There are also plenty of opportunities to rent gear for water sports like wind sailing and sea kayaking.
Celebrities like Christina Milian have been spotted enjoying this beach.
Where to stay: Condado Ocean Club
7. La Monserrate Beach
Known for: Water sports, seafood
What Makes La Monserrate Beach Special
As the gateway to El Yunque National Forest, Luquillo is one of Puerto Rico’s most popular destinations. When you’re done exploring the tropical forest — where you can zipline, rappel down waterfalls and hike — you’ll probably want to relax on the beach.
The best place to do this is La Monserrate Beach. Another Blue Flag beach, this destination is laid-back but offers watersports like jet skiing, windsurfing, pedal boats and flyboarding. It is also known for the numerous local shacks and small restaurants that line the shoreline.
Try a mofongo with shrimp or a delicious grilled octopus. While at the beach, enjoy a refreshing piña colada, Puerto Rico’s national drink.
Where to stay: Luquillo Sunrise Beach Inn
6. Playa Sucia
Location: Cabo Rojo
Known for: Shallow waters, a lighthouse, calm waves
What Makes Playa Sucia Special
Although its name literally translates to "Dirty Beach," rest assured it is far from that. On the contrary, Playa Sucia — also known as Playuela — is famous for its turquoise and deep blue waters, which contrast beautifully with its soft white sand.
The half-moon-shaped beach is also near a lighthouse from 1882, the Faro Los Morrillos de Cabo Rojo. Families love this beach because of its shallow waters and calm waves, which make it safe for children to swim in.
Where to stay: Oceanfront condo
5. Carlos Rosario Beach
Location: Culebra Island
Known for: Tranquility
What Makes Carlos Rosario Beach Special
Though definitely not the most famous beach on the Puerto Rican island of Culebra, Carlos Rosario is tranquil and quiet. In fact, the beach is one of the best secluded beaches in the world.
Don’t expect facilities, stores or restaurants. There is nothing here but sand, trees and water. That’s what makes it perfect for anyone who likes peacefulness at the beach and who doesn’t want to fight for sand space with anyone.
Carlos Rosario Beach is also near the more popular Flamenco Beach and Tamarindo Beach.
Where to stay: Playa Flamenco Area de Acampar
4. Icacos Cay
Known for: Seclusion, water sports
What Makes Icacos Cay Special
A small island off the coast of Fajardo, Icacos Cay is a popular day trip for those staying in the northeast of Puerto Rico. You can get there by boat and enjoy a deserted island which has little else besides an abandoned dock.
Snorkeling is a popular activity, though plenty of people spend the day in the white sand. The water is crystal clear and warm. Overnight stays aren’t possible, since the cay isn’t developed, but you can decide between half a day or an entire day here.
Where to stay: Townhouse with private pool
3. Flamenco Beach
Location: Culebra Island
Known for: Soft white sand, abandoned tanks, seclusion
What Makes Flamenco Beach So Special
The most popular beach on the island of Culebra is Flamenco. With white sand and clear water, it has all the makings of a beautiful beach. But there's a twist. Right on the sand are abandoned U.S. military tanks.
These tanks are a reminder of Culebra’s dark past as a military weapons testing site and have become the main draw of Flamenco Beach. The rusting iron contrasts the tranquility of the beach itself, as well as the verdant forest that surrounds it.
Where to stay: Villa Flamenco Beach
2. Gilligan's Island
Known for: Seclusion, mangroves, aquatic life
What Makes Gilligan's Island Special
Also known as Aurora Cay, Gilligan's Island (we know, let the jokes begin) is off the southwestern coast of Puerto Rico. You can get from the mainland to the small island by water taxi. The ride only takes about five minutes.
The island has deep, crystalline waters and its shores are protected by mighty mangroves. Kayaking, swimming and snorkeling are the main activities to do. There are no facilities on the island, which is one of the reasons that marine life is so rich around it.
Only 200 people are allowed to visit each day, which keeps this paradisiacal island intact.
Where to stay: Copamarina Beach Resort & Spa
1. Mosquito Bay Beach
Location: Vieques Island
Known for: Bioluminescence
What Makes Mosquito Bay Beach So Special
Mosquito Bay isn’t just one of the most amazing beaches in Puerto Rico. It's one of the best in the world. The beach holds the Guinness World Record for being the brightest bioluminescent bay on the planet — a feat that should be celebrated.
While it is not as easy to reach as other beaches in Puerto Rico, the effort to make it to Vieques Island and stay overnight is rewarded with an experience that will seem like a surrealist dream once you’re back home.
The bioluminescence here is so bright, you can see it as the waves crash on the shore. In an alternate world where Puerto Rico had nothing except this beach, the Caribbean island would still deserve to be called the Isle of Enchantment.
Where to stay: Villa Coral Guesthouse