The beaches are obviously surrounding this lovely isle. So you can find a place to go almost any town that you will find yourself in. Therefore, you must ask yourself what kind of water are you looking for? On the Northside of the island you will have lots of strong waves. You can surf or body board until your hearts content. Crash boat or Hobo's beaches are excellent places to even watch the locals surf. On the south side of the island, the water is calm. The snorkeling is excellent and the water is clear.
When you go to La Parguera it is a must to rent a boat for the day. The rates run you $20-35 an hr. There are tons of mangrove keys in the bay to explore. The locals anchor their boats at the keys and party all day. The snorkeling is really enjoyable around the mangroves. Be careful driving your boat because there is a lot of wild life like sea turtles and many sand bars!
Riding a horse on the beach is/was on my bucket list. What sounds more amazing to do on an island? I totally recommend Tropical Trail Rides in Isabela. 2.5hr ride for $45. They take you down the beach to a cave area, where you stop for about 20mins. You can explore the caves or watch the surf. The guides are bilingual and the owner of the farm is from Missouri. Elizabeth answers the phone and is very helpful at giving directions to the farm. The place sits back off the road, so I do recommend that you call or use GPS. They do two tours daily. The horse do fit all experience ranges. I liked this company because I am a more experienced rider and I didn't feel like it was boring where the horses followed without any help from the rider. The guide gets the horse to trot often so it keeps it interesting.
It is rather clustered in this area, even many years ago. Now it is more so with cruise ships docking. The old fort is okay to visit, and walk the area for the antiquity of it all. If you go south, get to the rain forest. It is a good area for relaxing. Beaches here at Palmas can be treacherous and rough, so watch out. A trip to Ponce in the west is worth the drive to see the geography.
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.
Condado beach was the first beach we stopped at on our tour of Puerto Rico. Very uncrowded this time of year and nice waves! Though there are signs all over that you are enjoying this beach at your own risk!
The Cabo Rojo light house is located where the Carribean meets the Atlantic. This is located on the South West corner of Puerto Rico. Beautiful waters of the ocean in many shades of blue and green. This was a little confusing to get to as there are no directions aside from a cartoony tourist map. The road to the light house was very poor and required some inventive driving to negotiate the road to the light house. Once at the light house there is a foot trail to take you down to the beach and up to the light house on the bluff. There are no facilities for food, beverages or other needs so go prepared. It is a nice place to visit and the water was warm and clear. The tidal swamp was a bit smelly if you were in the sheltered cove out of the wind.
I have not been to every beach in the world but so far this has been the most beautiful! There is fine, soft white sand and crystal clear turquoise water. In the summer the water is much more calm and in the winter apparently there are bigger waves for surfing. There is a large campgroun near Playa Flemenco complete with toilets and showers.
Luquillo is written up as numero uno for beaches in the Eastern half of PR. I can see this warranted if one never walks west and spots the mounds of litter vying for attention. Its sad to see such utter disrespect for something so beautiful nature has granted. To the east of the beach its a landfill away. Palms swoop all the way out on a pointed toungue strip of sand that licks the ocean 100's of yards out. The sand quality here was silty and hard-packed and not so white, kind of like my skin.
This beach was as east as you can go before being submerged. Recommended by the Villa owners, hear lye our introduction to tropical beaches. Postcard perfect palms stretching towards the sun, fine grit white sand, and crystalline waters, with a crowd an octupus can grab in one swoop. This is why I came to PR. This was PR's first kiss. To the left the u-shaped shoreline crescendoed into and explosion of rocky outcroppings and created a snorkeling stage.
I know this tip is misplaced. I know it should be in restaurants but the location and act is more of a must see and must do. Out there in the Piñones Forest do stop at one of the bombed out looking roadside food stands. This is local style, passerby's were stopping here and there to cure the fried food want. We sat here alone with just the owner and a huge machete. I know it's the way to cut open a coconut but a machete can also cut open a human quite easily too.
Recommended for its uniqueness and contrast to the San Juan area through the Caribe Mountain villas owner. The swervy road out cut through pine and palm forest's with ramshackle huts decaying away roadside. It was lonely out there on those deserted roads but we were on the hunt for some roadside fried foods. Shelter after shelter that was once a food stand was either shuttered for the day or shuttered forever, it was hard to tell by the state of disrepair. This was a road and forest I would have never thought of finding that close to a metropolitan area, deserted beaches just behind the palm grove. We came in search of feeding the Tape Worm that was living inside and instead got food plus an evening swim all alone. Yukijohn dissed the old adage of waiting out 30 minutes, in under two we were under water.
I had read about beautiful Luquillo beach in some travel books, so we decided on our last day to go there for a walk at sunset. While it is a pretty beach, the people who visit are terrible litterbugs. There is so much garbage it really takes away from the beauty of the beach. I picked up a bunch of plastic cups, they are very bad for sealife, the turtles eat them because they think they are jellyfish and then they die. But I felt it was rather futile, there were just so many of them. :( I tried to ignore it and enjoy the beach anyway, but it made me a little sad.
Entrance is $3 per car, but no charge if you go late enough to just catch the sunset.
This is a picturesque drive along a narrow paved road which includes glimpses of 6 miles of unspoiled beaches, large coconut plantations and the Pinones Forest. Australian Pines are common along here and the forest is named for them. It's hard to find places to park, though but is a beautiful drive. This photo is from a pamphlet.
Luquillo Beach is on the north coast east of San Juan. It's a beautiful white sand beach with coconut palms. From 9-5 (except on Mondays) there are lockers, showers, a refreshment stand, picnic tables and vendors selling snacks and drinks. It was very crowded when we went there in the afternoon but when we walked down there from our inn very early before breakfast the next morning, it was deserted and very peaceful. Walking along the shore is a joy this time of day.