Best beaches in puerto rico: 12 Best Beaches in Puerto Rico

24 Best Puerto Rico Beaches for 2022 (By a Local!)

There are hundreds of Puerto Rico beaches, so it’s understandable if you are finding it hard to decide which ones to visit.

With a coastline of almost 300 beaches, swimming on the paradisical beaches is one of the best things to do in Puerto Rico, and you shouldn’t miss it for the world.

As a Puerto Rico local and a huge beach lover, I know there is a beach for the family, the nature lover, and the businessman. But it’s hard to tell which is which just by looking at the pictures. 

To help you out, I’ve put together a list of the 24 best beaches in Puerto Rico so you can find the perfect beach for you!

Table of Contents

  • 24 Best Beaches in Puerto Rico
    • Sun Bay Beach
    • Playa Pelicano
    • Luquillo Beach
    • Jobos Beach
    • Combate Beach
    • Mar Chiquita
    • Playa Peña 
    • Playa Crash Boat 
    • Tortuga Beach
    • Flamenco Beach
    • Icacos
    • Playa Sucia
    • Cayo Aurora
    • Isla Verde
    • Condado Beach
    • Ocean Park Beach
    • Poza del Obispo
    • Escambrón Beach
    • Tamarindo Grande Beach
    • Playa Buyé
    • Domes Beach
    • Survival Beach
    • Seven Seas Beach
    • Caña Gorda 
  • FAQs About the Beaches in Puerto Rico
    • What is the prettiest beach in Puerto Rico?
    • What side of Puerto Rico has the best beaches?
    • Where is the clearest water in Puerto Rico?
    • What is the most beautiful part of Puerto Rico?
    • Is Puerto Rico Safe Right Now?

Disclosure: Travel Lemming is an independent reader-supported blog. You can support us by purchasing via the affiliate links on this page, which may earn us commissions. Thank you!

24 Best Beaches in Puerto Rico

Sun Bay Beach

Watch the horses while you sunbathe

📍 Google Maps | Website | 🅿️ Parking: In front of the beach, $4, free during low season | 🛎️ Where to Stay Nearby: El Blok

You’ll find plenty of incredible beaches in Vieques, but Sun Bay Beach offers the most amenities including showers, bathrooms, lifeguards, and a cafeteria. But, that doesn’t make it any less beautiful.

Sun Bay Beach has a relaxing landscape with soft white sand, blue waters, and beautiful wild horses that roam the parking lot. If you want to try beach camping in Puerto Rico, you can also camp on the beach for $10 a night.

👉 Want to Explore Puerto Rico like a Local? Check my local’s list of the 63 top things to do and see in Puerto Rico

Playa Pelicano

Discover this remote beach off Puerto Rico’s mainland

📍  Google Maps | 🛎️ Where to Stay Nearby: Hilton Ponce Golf & Casino Resort

Off Puerto Rico’s southern coast, on an island called Caja de Muerto, you’ll find Playa Pelicano to be one of the best beaches in Puerto Rico. This beach is ideal for hiking and nature enthusiasts that want to escape the city. 

You’ll find bathroom facilities and gazebos in Playa Pelicano, but you’ll have to bring everything else for your beach day.

⛴️ How to Get There: Since the 2020 earthquakes the ferry to Caja de Muerto leaves from Marina Salinas. You need to make a reservation on their site.

Luquillo Beach

Eat some of Puerto Rico’s best snacks by the sea

📍 Google Maps | 🅿️ Parking: In front of the beach, $4 cars, $8 buses | 🛎️ Where to Stay Nearby: Wyndham Grand Rio Mar Puerto Rico Golf & Beach Resort

Luquillo beach is one of the best beaches in Puerto Rico for more than one reason. Located next to El Yunque, Luquillo beach has warm waters, golden sand, and hundreds of palm trees that will shade anyone that doesn’t want a suntan. 

But, besides its beauty, Luquillo Beach is popular for its prime location next to a line of food stalls that sell traditional Puerto Rican cuisine. Get planning with my guide to the best things to do in Luquillo.

Jobos Beach

Catch waves or rest under coconut palms

Jobos is a popular surfing spot on the north coast

📍 Google Maps | 🅿️ Parking: On-street parking, free | 🛎️ Where to Stay Nearby: Parador Villas del Mar Hau

Jobos beach is one of the local popular beaches among surfers. The currents are strong though, so swimming at this beach isn’t recommended for inexperienced swimmers or kids. If you can’t swim, go kiosk hopping and enjoy local fritters and fresh seafood. 

Keep in mind that there aren’t any facilities on the beach and that it gets crowded during the weekends.

Combate Beach

Mingle with locals on this party beach 

(photo: Dora Ramirez / Shutterstock)

📍 Google Maps | 🅿️ Parking: On-street parking, free | 🛎️ Where to Stay Nearby: Combate Beach Resort

If you’re looking for a beach that offers both fun and great sunsets, then head straight to Combate Beach. It’s close to restaurants, snack bars, hotels, and other popular attractions in Cabo Rojo. Even if there aren’t any facilities, the beach features calm waters and it’s one of the popular beaches among young people, which means it’s always a party beach with a lively atmosphere during the weekends. 

Mar Chiquita

Admire the natural pool of Manatí

Watch your step, the rocks at the shore are slippery

📍 Google Maps | 🅿️ Parking: In front of the beach, free | 🛎️ Where to Stay Nearby: Hyatt Place Manati

If you ask any local, they will tell you Mar Chiquita is not only one of the most beautiful beaches but also one of the best beaches in Puerto Rico. Mar Chiquita is a natural pool in the form of a half-moon, formed by two giant limestone rock formations. 

While its scenery will dazzle any nature enthusiast, it doesn’t have many spots for shade so you should visit prepared with umbrellas and sunblock.

Playa Peña 

Retire to this sandy beach in Old San Juan

📍 Google Maps | 🅿️ Parking: On-street parking, free | 🛎️ Where to Stay Nearby:  352 Guest House

For many reasons, Old San Juan is our top choice for the best area to stay in San Juan – including having a beautiful secluded beach within walking distance. Playa Peña, also known as La Ocho Beach, is located across the Capitol and you can get there by using the stairs next to the statue. 

While Playa Peña doesn’t have any facilities, it’s perfect for people that want to escape San Juan’s heat.

👉Local Tip: Although it has a pond, Playa Peña can have strong currents during the winter. Always make sure the tide is safe before swimming.

Playa Crash Boat 

Dive into the waters of Aguadilla

You can jump from the pier at Crash Boat

📍 Google Maps | 🅿️ Parking: In front of the beach, $5 or free in low season | 🛎️ Where to Stay Nearby: Parador El Faro

Playa Crash Boat is definitely one of Aguadilla’s top things to do. This beach is a favorite among locals for its colorful landscape, its pier, and the availability of watersports like jet skiing.

This Puerto Rico beach has two parts. One has a paying parking lot and facilities like bathrooms and showers. The other free side doesn’t have facilities, but you’ll find kiosks and watersports equipment rentals. 

Tortuga Beach

Immerse in clear waters full of turtles

📍 Google Maps | 🛎️ Where to Stay Nearby: Club Seabourne Hotel

If you’re into hiking, historical ruins, and snorkeling, you will love Tortuga Beach. Located outside the west of Culebra in Culebrita island, Tortuga Beach offers a perfect destination to unwind and release all stress. 

You’ll find all kinds of marine life in the water including sea turtles and a beautiful old lighthouse on land, but you can only get there by water taxi or private boat. 

Flamenco Beach

Walk on the best beach in Puerto Rico 

📍 Google Maps | 🅿️ Parking: In front of the beach, $5 parking plus $2 per person admission | 🛎️ Where to Stay Nearby: Aleli Cottages

Once rated among the top ten beaches in the world, Flamenco Beach offers beach bums their dream tropical paradise, surrounded by crystal clear waters, palm trees, white sand, and an odd-looking military tank right on the shore.  

The beach offers facilities like picnic areas, showers, bathrooms, and umbrella rentals. Flamenco’s clear waters are shallow and safe for snorkeling with your kids.

Icacos

Sail to an uninhabited island

You can visit Icacos on a Day Trip from San Juan

📍 Google Maps | 🛎️ Where to Stay Nearby: El Conquistador Resort

Icacos is one of the many cays of Puerto Rico and is located on the east coast. This small cay offers one of the most beautiful shores in Puerto Rico, with shallow clear waters and fine sand perfect for beach bumming or snorkeling close to coral reefs. 

You can get to this Fajardo beach by water taxi or a private tour in a catamaran which can provide you with lunch and snorkeling equipment.

👉 Love Day Trips? Icacos makes for a great day trip if you are based in San Juan. Check out my full article on the best San Juan day trips to find other adventures!

Playa Sucia

Soak in the scenery of Cabo Rojo

📍 Google Maps | 🅿️ Parking: Close to the beach, free | 🛎️ Where to Stay Nearby: Combate Beach Resort

Don’t get confused by the name, which means “Dirty Beach” in Spanish. Playa Sucia is actually a top Puerto Rico beach. Located on Puerto Rico’s southwestern coast in Cabo Rojo, Playa Sucia offers visitors a natural landscape without any resorts (and no amenities whatsoever), and a picture-perfect beach to lie on all day. 

Many people use Playa Sucia and La Playuela as interchangeable names, but you’ll find the original Playuela on the east side of the bay.

Cayo Aurora

Snorkel in shallow crystal clear waters

📍 Google Maps | 🛎️ Where to Stay Nearby: Copamarina Beach Resort & Spa

Cayo Aurora, also known as Gilligan’s Island, doesn’t have a typical shoreline, but it’s often considered the best beach in Puerto Rico for its shallow and clear waters ideal for snorkeling. It’s definitely one of the best snorkeling spots in Puerto Rico.

The surrounding waters are so shallow that they’re safe for your children. Gilligan’s Island is located outside the coast of Guánica, you can only reach Gilligan’s island by renting a kayak or by private boat.  

Isla Verde

A beach within a few minutes of the airport

📍 Google Maps | 🅿️ Parking: On-street parking, free, or Carolina Beach, $4 | 🛎️ Where to Stay Nearby: Courtyard by Marriott Isla Verde Beach Resort

Isla Verde Beach is accessible and convenient for every traveler. It’s the perfect area to stay in Puerto Rico if you want to enjoy the blue waters of the Atlantic Ocean without leaving the metro area. 

Isla Verde splits into Pine Grove, Alambique, and Balneario de Carolina. Out of the three parts of Isla Verde, Balneario de Carolina is the safest for kids and has great facilities.

Condado Beach

Admire Puerto Rico’s north coast

📍 Google Maps | 🅿️ Parking: On-street parking, free, or private parking, $8-$10 | 🛎️ Where to Stay Nearby: La Concha Renaissance San Juan Resort

Stay Nearby: La Concha Renaissance San Juan Resort

Condado Beach is a great beach for first-time visitors to Puerto Rico. Located in a popular resort area of San Juan, this beach offers watersports, beach chairs, umbrellas rentals, and beachfront restaurants.

However, It is best to avoid swimming here, especially if you are inexperienced or young. Note that the currents are strong, particularly during the winter, and drownings have been reported. It’s a great place to relax on the sand, but if you want to swim, consider one of the other Puerto Rico beaches on this list.

👉 Headed to San Juan? Be sure to bookmark my list of the top things to do in the city!

Ocean Park Beach

Play beach volleyball on this urban beach

📍 Google Maps | 🅿️ Parking: In front of the beach, free | 🛎️ Where to Stay Nearby: Numero Uno Beach House

If you’re looking for a beach in San Juan that’s less crowded than Isla Verde, drive a little farther to Ocean Park Beach. Even if Ocean Park Beach is small and doesn’t have any facilities, this public beach sports a Miami Beach-style vibe and it offers adventurers sports like kite surfing and beach volleyball.

Poza del Obispo

Immerse in a spectacle of crashing waves

📍 Google Maps | 🅿️ Parking: In front of the beach, free | 🛎️ Where to Stay Nearby: Arecibo Inn

Another hidden gem beach lovers can’t miss is Poza del Obispo on the north coast of Arecibo. Considered one of the most beautiful beaches in Puerto Rico, this public beach is a natural shallow pool formed by rock formations and is home to turquoise blue waters and golden sand. The west side of Poza del Obispo has stronger waves perfect for surfing enthusiasts.

Escambrón Beach

Swim at the most popular beach in San Juan 

📍 Google Maps | Parking: In front of the beach, $5 | 🛎️ Where to Stay Nearby: Caribe Hilton

If you want a warm beach with golden sand and clear blue waters without having to go to the west coast, then visit Escambrón Beach in San Juan. This family friendly-beach has a Blue Flag award, and it offers swimmers the opportunity to snorkel or go scuba diving. You will also find bathrooms, showers and food stalls, and a nearby park for kids.

Tamarindo Grande Beach

Spot the turtles hiding between seagrass

📍 Google Maps | 🅿️ Parking: Flamenco Beach parking lot, $5 parking plus $2 per person admission | 🛎️ Where to Stay Nearby: Aleli Cottages

While Playa Flamenco and Zoni Beach are the most popular beaches in Culebra, you shouldn’t miss a stop at Tamarindo Beach. Tamarindo Beach boasts a unique rocky coastline and breathtaking scenery. 

Another reason Tamarindo Grande Beach is great? Sea turtles! Just make sure you bring everything necessary for your beach day, as you won’t find any rentals on this beach.

Playa Buyé

Explore this beach with a double atmosphere

📍 Google Maps | 🅿️ Parking: In front of the beach, $5 | 🛎️ Where to Stay Nearby: LaLolitaVilla

While Boquerón and Combate Beach are both party beaches, Playa Buyé features a more peaceful vibe, especially during weekdays and off-season. The beach usually has calm waves and it offers one of the best spots in Cabo Rojo to see the sunset. 

Buyé is often compared with Playa Flamenco for its beautiful hues of blue. The area close to the parking lot features amenities and if you walk towards the south you’ll often have the beach for yourself.

🚗 Driving to the west coast? Check out my full guide to how to drive in Puerto Rico if it’s your first time!

Domes Beach

Cath waves with Puerto Rico’s best surfers

📍 Google Maps | 🅿️ Parking: In front of the beach, free | 🛎️ Where to Stay Nearby: Casa Verde Hotel

Puerto Rico’s west coast offers the best beaches for surfing and, if you’re a surfing enthusiast, you can’t miss a visit to Domes Beach in Rincón. Domes beach gets its name from the huge white dome next to it and along with Maria’s Beach, it hosts yearly surfing competitions. 

If you’re also into hiking, you can take the Domes trail song the beach until reaching the Spanish Wall Beach.  

Survival Beach

Hike through Aguadilla’s coastline

📍 Google Maps | 🅿️ Parking: In front of the beach, free | 🛎️ Where to Stay Nearby: Punta Borinquen Resort

While visiting Crash Boat Beach is the most popular thing to do in Aguadilla, Survival Beach is a hundred times better if you’re into beach hiking or surfing. This tropical paradise has huge boulders along the coastline which offer a great outdoor adventure with one of the best views of the Atlantic Ocean. Needless to say, Survival Beach, doesn’t have any amenities.

Seven Seas Beach

Snorkel in the waters of a nature reserve

📍 Google Maps | 🅿️ Parking: In front of the beach, $4 | 🛎️ Where to Stay Nearby: El Conquistador Resort

Seven Seas Beach is a vibrant beach located on Puerto Rico’s northeast coast and is one of the best beaches in Puerto Rico to add to your travel itinerary.  

Seven Seas Beach has bright blue waters and calm waves perfect for snorkeling and amenities like bathrooms, showers, and gazebos. It’s one of the most popular places to visit in Fajardo.

Caña Gorda 

Swim on a beach located next to a dry forest

📍 Google Maps |  🅿️ Parking: In front of the beach, $4 | 🛎️ Where to Stay Nearby: Copamarina Beach Resort and Spa

Located inside Guánica’s Dry Forest, Caña Gorda is without a doubt the best beach in Guánica. Besides its natural beauty and convenient amenities, Caña Gorda Beach has plenty of shade where you can rest on the white sand and watch the Caribbean Sea. 

This beach also has lifeguards which makes it the safest beach in the area to visit with kids.

FAQs About the Beaches in Puerto Rico

What is the prettiest beach in Puerto Rico?

The prettiest beaches in Puerto Rico include Playa Flamenco in Culebra island, Mar Chiquita in Manatí, La Poza del Obispo in Arecibo, Playa Tortuga in Culebrita Island and Playa Sucia in Cabo Rojo. These top beaches in Puerto Rico highlight the natural beauty of Puerto Rico.

What side of Puerto Rico has the best beaches?

The north of Puerto Rico offers the best urban beaches like Isla Verde, Condado Beach, and Ocean Park Beach. Aguadilla, Rincón, and Cabo Rojo on the west coast and southwest coast offer the best beaches for surfing, whale watching, and sightseeing. Vieques island and Culebra all sport secluded and clear water beaches.

Where is the clearest water in Puerto Rico?

The beaches with the clearest waters in Puerto Rico include Tortuga Beach in Culebrita, Playa Pelícano in Caja de Muerto, Playa Caracas in Vieques, Cayo Aurora, Icacos Beach, and Gilligan’s Island.

What is the most beautiful part of Puerto Rico?

The most beautiful destinations in Puerto Rico include Mosquito Bay in Vieques, Flamenco Beach in Culebra, Old San Juan, Playa Sucia in Cabo Rojo, and El Yunque National Forest in Rio Grande, Rincon, and Manatí, among other destinations.

Is Puerto Rico Safe Right Now?

Puerto Rico is generally safe for travel, although tourists should take reasonable precautions to protect against petty theft. Tourists should also monitor the ongoing public health situation and follow all local safety recommendations.

👉 Want More Local Tips? Check out my full article with tips for traveling Puerto Rico like a local!

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Best beaches in Puerto Rico – Lonely Planet

With over 300 miles of coastline, the greatest beaches in Puerto Rico offer an eclectic variety of sand and surf.  From crystalline pools to secluded coves, half-moon bays to mangrove keys, stunning snorkeling spots to epic waves for experienced surfers, there’s a stretch of sand to delight anyone’s fancy. It wasn’t easy picking the top locales, but we gave it a shot. Here are the 12 best beaches in Puerto Rico.

Just back from: Puerto Rico

Travel to remote paradise on Flamenco Beach, Culebra

Flamenco Beach is regularly ranked as one of the best beaches in the Caribbean and the island’s premier beach destination. Located on the smaller island of Culebra, part of the Puerto Rican archipelago, this long-time favorite attracts crowds willing to travel by car, plane or ferry to see its dazzling seaside.

Flamenco’s crescent-shaped bay is encircled by low, green hills and immaculately fine sand. The two brightly painted Sherman tanks that decorate the far end of the beach, a testament to the naval occupation of the island, have now become iconic landmarks.

Head to family-friendly La Monserrate, Balneario de Luquillo 

Just a stone’s throw from El Yunque National Rainforest lies the beloved La Monserrate Beach. Known as El Balneario de Luquillo by residents, this immensely popular beach is visited by both locals and tourists alike for its warm and shallow waters, family-friendly vibe and ample entertainment.

One of a handful of Blue Flag beaches on the island, the calm waves and low tides attract many families whose children play on the beach or picnic areas. Best of all, there are dozens of budget-friendly food kiosks that line the beach entrance.

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There’s nothing dirty about the scenic Playa Sucia in the southern part of Puerto Rico © Mia2you / Shutterstock

Enjoy the peaceful isolation of La Playuela, Playa Sucia

Playa Sucia literally translates to dirty beach but don’t let the name fool you: this beach is anything but dirty. The wild and isolated beach is one of the most pristine on the island and a favorite among those searching for an off-the-beaten-path adventure.

A rocky drive down dirt roads through the pink Corozo salt flats and the Cabo Rojo wildlife refuge eventually lead to a wide crescent of sand, flanked by incredible views. The Cabo Rojo Lighthouse, limestone cliffs and turquoise blue waters of the Caribbean Sea all provide for an incredible backdrop.

Take a boat ride to Aurora’s Key, Gilligan’s Island

Aurora’s Key, commonly called Gilligan’s Island – after the famous ’60s TV show – is part of the Guanicas’ Dry Forest Reserve in Puerto Rico’s semi-arid south. There is only one way to get to Aurora’s Key, and that is by boat.  Although technically not a beach, the cay affords some of the clearest and most unique swims in the island. Channels fenced in by mangrove systems allow you to float effortlessly with the current all around this tiny island.

Get active on Playa Isla Verde, San Juan 

With countless tanned bodies lounging or flexing their biceps around the volleyball net, this urban beach basks in its reputation as the Copacabana of Puerto Rico. Serenity seekers may prefer to head west to Ocean Park but despite the crowds, this broad, mile-long swath of sand lying between Punta Las Marías and Piñones in San Juan is an undeniable beauty, especially at sunset. Jet skis, flyboards, beach chairs and umbrellas are all available to rent; banana boats and parasailing are on offer too.

Take some great photos of grounded fishing boats at Crash Boat © Mikol Hoffman / Lonely Planet

Get your Instagram shots at Crash Boat, Aguadilla

Crash Boat Beach in Aguadilla is one of the most popular and oft-photographed beaches on Puerto Rico’s west coast. Fishing skids park on the sands making for picture-perfect postcard images. The facilities include parking, restrooms, showers and food vendors.

Snorkeling and diving are also good here, especially north of the beach’s iconic storm-battered pier. This lovely spot is well-known for its incredible sunsets and many visitors stay well into the evening hours to admire them.

Grab some shade under the palm trees of Sun Bay, Esperanza 

Part of Puerto Rico’s national park system, this half-moon-shaped bay, less than a half-mile east of Esperanza, is Vieques’ balneario (public beach), with all the amenities you could hope for, including lifeguards and a cafe serving criollo treats. Measuring a mile in length, it rarely appears busy – even with 100 people sunning and playing on it, it will still seem almost deserted. The surf is gentle.

Head to the eastern end for shady parking places amid the palms and few other sunbathers. For even more solitude, keep heading east on the beach road to Playas Media Luna & Navio. In the evening, kayak companies often begin their tours in the parking lot, taking Sun Bay’s dirt roads to access Bahía Mosquito.

Ricón is a true surfer’s paradise © James McGraghan / 500px

Ride the waves of Rincón

One of the most popular surfing destinations on the island is the beach municipality of Rincón, a true surfer’s paradise – surf shops abound and boards strapped to car roofs are a common sight.

Beaches like Domes, located between a lighthouse and Puerto Rico’s inactive nuclear reactor, provide consistent waves with a combination of beach and coral reef breaks that make for a mellow ride. Maria’s, another favorite Rincón reef break, is suitable for all levels of surfing with its excellent shape and long rides.

Enjoy world-class surfing at Punta Borinquen, Aguadilla

In 2018 Punta Borinquen was named the Caribbean’s first World Surfing Reserve. This designation by the Save the Waves Coalition will now protect over a dozen world-class surfing spots spread over a nearly 5-mile stretch of coastline from Crash Boat to Surfer’s Beach in Aguadilla. Some of the more famous breaks include Wilderness, Survival Beach and Gas Chambers.

Experience the popular waves of Aviones, San Juan

Named for its proximity to the San Juan International Airport, Aviones (airplanes) is one of the most consistent beaches for great waves close to the San Juan area. Waves break left and right at this often-crowded break that’s best for intermediate riders or above. The popular spot is visited by thousands of riders throughout the year and can get crowded during the season, but don’t let that deter you – it’s popular for a reason.

Follow the lighthouse trail to Playa Santa, Guanica

Playa Santa is touted as one of western Puerto Rico’s best beaches. Follow the trail by the lighthouse out to an immaculate crescent beach, where a protected bay makes excellent swimming for both humans and manatees.

Avoid the crowds at Balneario El Escambrón, San Juan

Often considered San Juan’s finest beach, this sheltered arc of sand offers decent surf breaks, local action and a 17th-century Spanish fort shimmering in the distance. Best of all, it’s often uncrowded.

Introducing Puerto Rico

Puerto Rico’s best beaches. Telephone codes and communication

Puerto Rico is located in the northeastern part of the Caribbean on a large island of the same name and several nearby islands from the Greater Antilles group in the Caribbean Sea. The nearest neighboring states are the American and British Virgin Islands in the east and the Dominican Republic in the west.

Puerto Rico is a Freely Associated or Freely Associated State that is partly dependent on, but not an integral part of, the United States. While sharing citizenship, currency, and defense with the United States, Puerto Rico also has its own constitution, legislative, executive, and judicial branches. The capital of the state, the city of San Juan, is located in the north of the island, in one of the best natural harbors in the Caribbean region.
Most of Puerto Rico’s islands are uninhabited or sparsely populated, the most populous being the main island, approximately 170 km long and 60 km wide, with a coastline of about 500 km. In the center of the main island is the so-called Central mountain range Cordillera Central, where the highest point of Puerto Rico is located — Mount Cerro de Punta (Cerro de Punta) with a height of 1338 m above sea level. The southern coast of the island is washed by the Caribbean Sea, and the northern coast by the Atlantic Ocean. There are more than fifty large and shallow rivers in Puerto Rico, most of which originate in the mountains of the central range. There are also seventeen lakes on the island, all of them of artificial origin. The northeastern part of the main island is occupied by the Rio Camai National Cave Park, the largest underground river flows in it and 200 caves with unusual limestone karst formations are hidden.

Nature and climate

Located almost in the heart of the Caribbean, Puerto Rico has a maritime tropical climate, with almost even temperatures throughout the year in the range of + 26-28 °C. At the same time, the temperature on the coast is always several degrees higher than in the central mountainous part of the island. On the south coast, washed by the Caribbean Sea, it is usually a little warmer than on the north. When buying a tour in Puerto Rico, it is important to remember that from June to November, the Atlantic hurricane season comes to the islands, which is characterized by heat and high humidity, as well as strong hurricane-force winds that periodically hit the island.

The peak tourist season in Puerto Rico is from December to April, but July and August can also be called the high season.

Puerto Rico is an island of vibrant life! Reserves and national parks with the wild nature of the country attract here connoisseurs of eco-tourism from all over the world. The diversity of flora and fauna is great and includes almost 20 species of birds, about 250 species of plants, including orchids, many mammals and fish. As well as almost five dozen amphibians, among which there are endemic species that are found only here, for example, the Puerto Rican boa constrictor and the Coqui frog, which lives in the El Yunque rainforest.
In the western part of the southern coast of Puerto Rico, washed by the Caribbean Sea, there is a dry tropical forest of Guanica. A great variety of bird species, including endemics, live in the wilds of this forest. The climatic features of this area contribute to the growth of cacti. The dry forest of Guanica is completely different from the humid tropical forest of El Yunque, located in the east of the northern coast of the island. The reason for the local dry climate is the Central Mountain Range, which separates Guanica from the northeastern part of the island, where about 2500 mm of precipitation falls annually, while in Guanica it is less than 750 mm, and in some places even less than 150 mm.

Currency exchange and banks

Although the US dollar is the official currency of Puerto Rico, sometimes you will see price tags in stores that show prices in «pesos», the Puerto Rican dollar. If you’re planning a trip to Puerto Rico, it’s best to bring some US dollars in cash to buy souvenirs from the little shops and tips, as well as a dollar bank card. Just like in the USA, cards and traveler’s checks are universally accepted in Puerto Rico.

Customs and Immigration

Puerto Rico follows US laws and regulations. Import and export of foreign currency without a declaration is allowed in the amount of up to 10,000 US dollars or its equivalent. This also applies to travelers checks. If you are carrying gold, do not forget to declare it. Items for personal use are not subject to customs duties. In addition, you can import a block of cigarettes and up to 1 liter of hard alcohol into the country duty-free. Care must be taken when importing food products and any items of organic origin. We recommend that you check before importing whether they are allowed to be imported into the territory of Puerto Rico.

Customs control can be quite quick and hassle-free, but due to the global trend of tightening inspection rules, it may take longer. As in many countries around the world, Puerto Rico practices a random selection of passengers for more thorough screening. Anyone who arrives may be one of them, then your luggage will be subject to a closer inspection, and the officer may ask additional questions. This is usually done to curb illegal migration, so the questions will be about your plans for staying in the country and perhaps having sufficient funds to cover your expenses while traveling to Puerto Rico.

Time

Time in Puerto Rico does not change between summer and winter. It always remains in the same time zone: UTC-04:00 or AST. Moscow time is 7 hours ahead of Puerto Rico.

Visa and Consular Information

As with customs regulations, Puerto Rico’s visa regulations are similar to those in the United States. If you intend to travel to Puerto Rico, make sure you get a US visa. Our experts will help in this matter — they will fill out a questionnaire, and also sign up for an interview at the US Embassy.

Opening hours for institutions, shops and museums

The standard opening hours for shops are 9 am to 7 pm, but some shops are open until 9 pm before weekends. On Saturday — a shortened working day, and on Sunday only the shops of the port area, where cruise ships call, as well as souvenir shops and small shops, are open.

Transport

Unfortunately, there is no direct flight between Russia and Puerto Rico. To get to Puerto Rico from Moscow, we recommend taking flights via New York. Puerto Rico International Airport — Luis Munoz Marin (Aeropuerto Internacional Luis Munoz Marin) receives daily flights from the United States, and also connects with Caribbean countries such as Dominican Republic, Haiti, Jamaica, Bahamas, Trinidad and Tobago, Guadeloupe, Saint Martin.

Intercity bus service is virtually non-existent in Puerto Rico. Local residents use mostly private vehicles. As a result, the island has a well-developed network of roads and expressways. Tourists can use a taxi service in San Juan or rent a car.
Puerto Rico Seaport receives the largest cruise liners every day and is one of the largest ports in the world.

Calling codes and communications

The Freely Associated State of Puerto Rico is located in the Caribbean Sea on the island of Puerto Rico from the Greater Antilles group and a number of adjoining small islands.

Puerto Rico consists of the main island of Puerto Rico and many smaller islands and cays, including Mona, Vieques, Culebra, Deseceo and Caja de Muertos.

State

Government

Puerto Rico is a US dependency and has the status of an «unincorporated organized territory», which means that the territory is under US administration (and not an integral part of them).

The head of state is the President of the United States. The head of government is the governor. The cabinet is appointed by the governor after consultation with the Legislative Assembly of Puerto Rico.

Language

Official language: Spanish, English

Spanish is the main language in public institutions, although English is a compulsory subject. Although a relatively small proportion of the islanders consider English their primary language, the majority of the population in the larger cities speaks both languages, or at least understands English and uses it in certain situations.

Religion

About 85% of the population are Catholics, about 10% are Protestants, but for the majority of believers, Christianity is combined with spiritualism, voodoo and Indian folklore and religious traditions.

Currency

International name: USD

The US dollar is often referred to as the «peso» on Puerto Rican price tags. Foreign currency can be exchanged at banks and specialized exchange offices.

Credit cards have virtually unlimited uses. There are many cash machines (ATMs) in all major cities. In the province, the use of credit cards is somewhat limited.

Traveler’s checks can be cashed at almost any bank office.

Puerto Rico Map

Popular Attractions

Puerto Rico Tourism

Featured Hotels

Tips

A service charge of 10-15% is added to most bills at upscale hotels and restaurants, so tipping is optional. However, in most mid-level establishments, tips are not included in the bills, in which case you can leave them to the attendants within 10% (directly in the hands when calculating), in bars and street restaurants you can limit yourself to 5%. Porters, attendants and taxi drivers expect a $0.50 tip.

Office hours

Banks are open Monday to Friday from 8.30-09.00 to 14.30-15.30 (working hours may vary).

Shopping

All accounts at casino hotels are subject to an additional 11% tax, non-gaming hotels are subject to an additional 9% tax, and smaller hotels are subject to a 7% tax. The sales tax is 1.5% and on the purchase of jewelry it is 5%. There are no stores with a refund of sales tax (tax free) in the country.

Shops are usually open from Monday to Wednesday from 09.00 to 19.00, from Thursday to Friday — from 09.00 to 21.00. On Saturdays, most shops are open from 11.00 to 17.00-18.00.

Bargaining is possible in the markets and in private shops; prices in large shops are usually fixed.

Medical

The island’s natural hazards include hepatitis B (in the northern Caribbean coast), dengue fever, bilharzia (schistosomiasis), rabies (vaccination recommended), and occasional stomach ailments. In some cases, immunization against typhoid, diphtheria, tuberculosis and poliomyelitis is recommended.

Security

The poor areas of most large cities are markedly criminalized and pose a certain danger to foreign tourists. There is a risk of fraud and theft.

Tap water is usually chlorinated and relatively safe, but bottled water is recommended.

Emergency numbers

Unified Rescue Service — 911.
Police — 787/343-2020
Ambulance — 787/343-2222.
Fire Department — 787/343-2330
Coast Guard — 787/729-6770.

Puerto Rico is a small but very picturesque country, a trip to which will give a lot of impressions to all vacationers. Moreover, tourists here are waiting not only for a relaxed beach holiday, but also for exciting excursions to historical and cultural attractions. This is an island nation in the Caribbean Sea, under the jurisdiction of the United States. Some even call it the 51 states. Here you will find a developed infrastructure, excellent service and many options for recreation. Independent travel to Puerto Rico is relatively inexpensive and very diverse. However, to enter the country you will need a US visa, which makes it difficult for tourists to travel here.

Cultural characteristics

The state bears the imprint of several cultures — Spanish, Caribbean and American. This is a great example of how different ethnic groups coexist harmoniously on a small land. In addition, the fate of this state is inextricably linked with the long struggle for the independence of the country, so here one can feel the desire for freedom and emancipation. The central cities and streets gravitate toward the American way of life, while in the countryside you will encounter a mixed and distinct Creole culture.

Top 3 interesting cities and attractions

The capital of Puerto Rico is . Here are recommended to visit the old town with the castle Castillo de San Felipe del Morro
,
San Jose Square, pigeon park and incredibly picturesque waterfront. The next destination is the island. Here you can see the most beautiful bioluminescent bay. If you are interested in the cultural heritage of the country, visit the port city — its center is literally dotted with old churches and other architectural monuments. For example, here is one of the oldest fire stations in the world and the amazing beauty of the Cathedral of Mary the Virgin of Guadalupe.

To get a complete picture of the country, a trip to the coral island Coolerbrita is recommended
— White sandy beaches with crystal clear waters will immerse you in a tropical paradise. Another idea for a trip is the caves of Kamuy
. They occupy the third line in the ranking of the largest cave systems on Earth — the length of the complex reaches 16 kilometers. And if you want to get acquainted with the unique nature of Puerto Rico, be sure to visit El Unco National Reserve
. Here you will find the pristine and untouched by civilization natural beauty of this island nation.

When is the best time to rest

The most favorable time for traveling to this country is from December to April. It is during these months that the water and air temperatures are as comfortable as possible, and the amount of rain is minimal. However, it is at this time that the peak of the tourist season falls, which leads to a sharp jump in prices for tours, hotels and an abundance of vacationers. Book hotels in advance. And trips in the low season are no less bright and intense — the average temperature throughout the year ranges from +22 to +28C.

Safety regulations

Puerto Rico is a safe and low crime destination. Attacks on tourists here are very rare, so safety advice is standard — to remain vigilant and prudent, especially at night. The only recommendation for those who rent a car is not to leave valuables in the car when getting out of it. They can attract the attention of intruders who will take advantage of the opportunity to break into the machine.

Standard of living

Puerto Rico has a fairly high standard of living compared to most other Caribbean islands, but it is still significantly lower than even the poorest US states. Unemployment is quite high, so many Puerto Ricans try to find work in the United States, while the rest are most often engaged in various types of temporary earnings.

Security

The security situation here is rather ambiguous. On the one hand, the overall level of violent crime here is quite low, and the areas frequented by tourists are quite safe and are under the protection of special police units. However, the poor areas of most large cities are noticeably criminalized and pose a certain danger to foreign tourists.

Jewelry, expensive photo and video equipment, and the thickness of a wallet should not be displayed openly. Crowded areas should be avoided, as such places usually have a huge number of pickpockets. It is also not recommended to exchange money on the streets — the risk of facing fraud or outright robbery is extremely high. You should avoid visiting deserted shores alone and especially at night.

If you ask a Puerto Rican how to get to a particular place, the most common response is «follow me.» In most cases, such an escort has sincere intentions to take the tourist to the place he needs, but it should be borne in mind that in some cases this way you can get to the wrong place at all, or even be robbed. You should be especially careful with such guides at night and it is highly undesirable for women and individual travelers. When traveling by car, you should park in well-lit areas and take all valuables from the car with you.

Nudism

Nudism in public places is prohibited in Puerto Rico.

Electricity

Mains voltage is 110 V, 60 Hz (some hotels provide 220 V). Plugs are usually American style with two flat pins.

Units of measurement

The system of measures and weights is metric, but in many retail outlets in tourist areas, elements of the imperial system of measurements are often used on a par with it.

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September 2014

Best beaches in Puerto Rico

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Published: 09/05/2018

Which Puerto Rico beach is best for you? Puerto Rico’s large coastline stretches for more than 270 miles and is replete with a variety of beaches and water activities. But which beach is the best for snorkeling? Which beach is the cleanest? Which beach is the best for walking? Which beach is best for water sports?

A private beach in Puerto Rico for a secluded getaway

Puerto Rico’s coastline has many secluded beaches where you can find yourself completely alone. On the island of Culebra, this is Resaca Beach, remote from tourist routes and usually deserted.

To the west of San Juan, in Manati, is the beach Mar Chiquita (Mar Chiquita or Little Sea) . Situated in the shape of a crescent, this picturesque beach is protected by rocks from strong winds and ocean currents.

Not far from the Guánica Dry Forest Biosphere Reserve is a two-mile stretch of beach called Ballenas Bay , which is visited more often by sea turtles than by humans. Not far from it is an isolated rocky beach Caña Gorda .

If you are sailing from Fajardo, then you can visit the beach on the idyllic Icacos sandbar.

Best Surfing Beaches

San Juan’s Best Surfing Offers Punta Las Marias beach at Ocean Park . At nearby Manati , Los Tubos beach and La Pared beach in Luquilla are the most popular among surfers. However, Puerto Rico’s best surfing beaches are located on the west coast of the island in the tourist region of Porta del Sol and its capital, Rincón. The main surfing center here is Maria’s Beach , Punta Higuero, Puntas Beach and Spanish Wall Beach are also very popular. In the rest of the Porta del Sol region, Surfer’s Beach, Wilderness, Playa Crash Boat, Shacks Beach and Jobos Beach are popular among surfers.

Best beaches for snorkeling

Vieques Island coastline has a number of beaches excellent for snorkeling, the best of which are Blue Beach and Playa Esperanza . On the island of Culebra, the best beach for underwater sports is Carlos Rosario, the West Beach is also rich in the underwater world on the island, as well as the south coast of the island in the Culebra reef area. Playa Shacks is famous for its «Blue Hole» for snorkeling.

Puerto Rico’s cleanest beaches

According to the international volunteer program The Blue Flag, the best beaches in Puerto Rico for water quality are:

El Escambron in San Juan;

Carolina Beach in Carolina;

Flamenco Beach on Culebra Island;

Seven Seas Beach in Fajardo;

Punta Salinas in Toa Baja.

The best beaches in Puerto Rico for excursions, walks and active beach holidays

If you like to be the center of attention and want to see something interesting, the best beaches are along the strip in Isla Verde and Condado. Sun Bay Beach in Vieques is a true center for beach lovers. And the famous Flamenco Beach is one of the main reasons to visit Culebra Island . Sandy Beach in Rikon is perfect for an active beach holiday.

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