Beach, San Juan
Like on many other islands, beaches here are quite beautiful and a big drawn to visitors. There are three main beaches in the San Juan area which are Isla Verde Beach, Condado Beach and Ocean Beach.
For convenience, Isla Verde is my favorite beach as it's located on the strip where the luxury hotels are and where my favorite hotel, The Ritz Carlton is located. The beach has wonderful tan colored sand with crystal clear calm waters.
All of these beaches are within short distance to many of the hotels located in San Juan.
This area is east of the Condado, en route to the airport..AND IT IS CONSIDERED AMONG THE BEST BEACHES IN Puerto Rico and we were fortunate to have it right across our Marriott Hotel!
There are lots of luxury condos and apartments, and even the glitzy Ritz is located here which we also took advantage of. Restaurants are aplenty, and mostly the prices are a bit high for the tourists. There is however affordable food near the Pueblo shopping center (including a Denny’s) and then you have above-average prices at the Marriott restaurants, and then if you want to go way up at $50 per plate – try the Ritz’s “Steak” which is also very good and classy I must say.
So, if you’re going to Puerto Rico for luxury and for the beach and still want to be close to the airport, this is the area you want to stay at.
Marian drove us out to El Yunque past a suburb that was on a beach, and we also saw beaches on our way back into the city. I don't know the names of any of these beaches, nor anything about swimming at them.
Although not the best beaches in the island, San Juan offers few decent options for spending some time swimming and sunbathing. Of the three municipal beaches in Condado, Ocean Park and Isla Verde, I have spent some time at the beaches in Condado and Ocean Park. They are just ok (in my view Ocean Park slightly better than Condado), do not expect the Caribbean paradise, peace, white sand and palm trees; those are city-beaches, long strips of sand lined up with high-rise condos, hotels and residential communities, and with traffic and noise one block away. Moreover, at the time I visited in November, the ocean was quite rough and there were not many people around.
If you are after a beach vacation, I think there are better destinations in Puerto Rico than San Juan. If instead you are planning to stay in San Juan (for instance to visit the Old City and/or to enjoy the city's party life), those beaches are a still worth, convenient solutions to relax and enjoy on a minor but still-decent tone the Caribbean sun and the ocean.
The beaches of Puerto Rico are stunning both in looks and feel, experiencing a beach in Puerto Rico is like stepping inside of a post card! The palm trees, sand, and water are all picture perfect! The fell of the beach however is the best part of all. The soft brown sugar sand melts between your toes and is still firm enough to build a giant sand castle if your so inclined. The water is warm, wavy , and still gentle enough to spend all day wallowing in the ocean. There are endless amounts of small seashells in the water and the beach! So bring some sunscreen, a towel, and your camera because the beaches of Puerto Rico are there for the taking!
Unfortunatley, L'habitation Beach Guest House, once operated by a polite and vibrant French Canadian woman is no longer in operation.
However, when I think of my first journey off the American continent I will remember San Juan and Puerto Rico so fondly it brings tears. For it was my birthday; I'd won the trip to begin with; and then through sheer happenstance, was bumped to an earlier flight and into the seat of a first class passenger who hadn't shown up!
So imagine: My birthday. I'd never flown First-class, and I was sipping champagne as the plane gently glided towards the bluest water I'd seen. Wait scratch that! I was in Hawaii in my 20s, but I digress.
This seemed to be the bluest (I'd have to hold pictures up side by side).
I am not sure now where I'd stay, but it would not be down near all the tourists, it would be back by Ocean beach and its sweet shopkeepers, brown surfers and amazing food for dirt-cheap prices.
I would take a cheap cab ride into town for $12 (it's in the US so it's on the USD, too) and wander about Old Town for hours. Get some great Mexican food for great prices and delight the locals who will be thrilled for your business and enchanted when you speak your bits of Spanish to them.
I didn't see the fort, but the next day I did get to ...
Take a special car or van rather, out to the rainforest, with some fellow travelers from New York.
I was disappointed that there was a souveneir shop at the rainforest, but blown away by the bounty of foliage, the flora and peace of the place. I hiked up a tower for the 360-degree view. This predated my owning a digital camera so I will have to upload pictures later.
I have to admit that I spent way too small a portion of my time in Puerto Rico at the beach. It is definately a great thing to do on days when you don't want to rush around site seeing. The water is warm, the sun is hot and the beaches are full of "eye candy" for both the ladies and the gents. One of my favorite things about the beaches here is that vendors roam up and down the beaches selling corona's, beer, water and pop (soda for those of you who don't know). Be sure to wear your sunblock and bring it along to reapply often. The rays here are strong and you will burn.
If you're on the shore in Condado, you probably think you're on Condado beach (that's what I thought!). Try the public beach at the end of Ashford Avenue (away from the Marriott). What you get instead of crashing surf, sandy bottoms, and strong currents is a peaceful inlet protected by a rock formation of some kind. The water is warm, the fish (very visible and beautiful) are tropical, and the outside showers are helpful. Suggestion: take a walk (or the bus) to Playa de Condado, sit chest high in the calm water, and take in paradise!
The beach runs all along Condado and are crowded with local residents. These pictures were taken while most people were at dinner. Candado beaches accessible by the local populace are not safe after dark.
There are plenty of beaches surrounding the island of Puerto Rico. If you get a hotel in Isla Verde, you can spend the mornings relaxing on the beach, and then take the bus (25 cents) into the city and visit the sights all afternoon.
You can not possibly go to San Juan without going to the beach. I am pretty lazy so my ideal holiday is waking up late, going to the beach and having nothing in this world to worry about.
The beaches in San Juan offer good surf and the ocean is clean!
There are usually locals on the beach renting out bodyboards and sunbaking chairs.
It was a funny momment in San Juan when the tide come in and there were people asleep on their sunbaking chairs: to wake up and see they were surrounded by water and their books soaked. One of those "you had to be there" momments.
Old San Juan really doesn't have any public beaches. So you must travel eastward to see the best beaches. Closest to San Juan are the beaches in Condado and Isla Verde which are the next towns immediately east.
For better ones, take a daytrip futher eastward to Luquillo.
One day tour - board the boat and sail to a small island on the caribbean side of the island. Snorkel, swim, walk on the beach....just relax and enjoy the sea.
They include a wonderful lunch on the boat, cocktails and sodas. After lunch you motor over to a reef for additional snorkeling and the thena leisurely sail back to Puerto Rico. The whole day goes from 10am-4pm and it is great. Avergae costs: $50 per person. The boats are available in Fajardo, you can find a selection in "Que Pasa " magazine in your hotel.
By far my favorite activity in San Juan is playing in the waves on Candado Beach.
The waves on Candado range from gentle to downright scary! They are a body-surfer's or boogey-boarder's delight. The white sand and green water add up to a lot of fun!
walk on the beach (the sand is wonderful, so white and warm) , swim in the sea (sea water is clear and warm), walk in the refreshing forest and see falls(EL Yunque).
you could try all the other activities in the sea (boats, canoé, sea motor-bike, etc...)