Puerto Rico’s political classification can be a little complicated to explain. Its geographical location, however, is far more straightforward– it’s a sun-kissed Caribbean island, ripe for heavenly beach days, and proud of it.
With limited time on the island, and hundreds to choose from, narrowing down your perfect stretch of paradise is pivotal. No day should be wasted fighting for space among the hordes of tourists, but you shouldn’t have to take six buses, a chicken truck, and a five-mile jungle hike to find some seclusion.
To help you hone in on your beach, we’ve listed 7 of the best beaches in Puerto Rico.
Flamenco Beach isn’t just one of the best beaches in Puerto Rico. It’s one of the finest in the world. Its crystal waters and immaculate sands draw millions, and its abandoned tank on the shores is an Instagram-worthy spot to rival any.
There are few waves in the bay, making it relaxing, safe, and perfect for activities like snorkeling, swimming, and generally hanging out. It doesn’t get any better than Flamenco Beach.
Sun Bay Beach
While the beaches of San Juan have a slightly crowded and metropolitan slant, the island of Vieques boasts the isolated Caribbean splendor we all dream of. Sun Bay Beach is the best of the bunch. Bucketloads of space, crystal clear water and the staggeringly surreal presence of wild horses make it a spot to remember.
The waves are calm and have lifeguards on duty, so your whole family can enjoy the beach safely. There are plenty of facilities, like showers and changing rooms, and plenty of food options nearby to ensure you don’t get too hungry.
Back on the main island, Luquillo Beach is a delight. Located on a 12-mile stretch of coastline, snorkelers, and surfers swarm to its shores. Palm trees line the idyllic spot while the majesty of the rainforest looms quietly behind. It’s hard to imagine a better spot so close to all the action.
Facilities are available regularly on the beach, and you can even camp in certain areas and spend a memorable night a little bit closer to nature.
Combata Beach is a local favorite, where beautiful reefs, salt flats, and lush vegetation collide on the glorious sand. Prices are more forgiving here, thanks to the smaller volume of tourists, but it’s still a lively spot. Jumping from the pier is a must, and hang around after sunset to soak up the party atmosphere.
It’s also excellent for an extended seaside stroll. A little further along the beach, you’ll find stunning forest areas, perfect for a bit of wildlife spotting. Migratory birds make the area home, so bring your binoculars.
One of Puerto Rico’s environmentally friendly Blue Flag beaches, Boqueron is a massively popular family beach. Its sheltered bay makes the water calm and shallow, perfect for little swimmers. The presence of lifeguards and other safety precautions ensure it’s a wonderfully safe place for everyone.
If the kids get restless on the sand, take them to the nearby parks and basketball courts to let off a little steam before returning to your sunshine spot.
Romantic and secluded, you’ll need to get off the beaten path a little to find the beautiful Playa Sardinera. Its unique position means the beach is, in effect, a large, naturally formed pool. A coral sea wall means only overflow from the ocean makes it into the cove. The result is a wonderfully calm, shallow beach, perfect for lounging around for the day with a loved one.
The beach is located on the island’s north side near a town named Hatillo. It’s more than worth the adventure to this ludicrously unvisited corner of the island.
One of the best-kept secrets in Puerto Rico, the secluded and romantic atmosphere of Playa Pena is found just steps from the hustle and bustle of Old San Juan. If you’re staying in the city and feel like getting away from it all, wander to this rocky cove.
Few people venture to this end of the beaches in the capitol, so there’s a good chance you’ll have it to yourself. Be careful if you feel like swimming, though – the riptides and crashing waves can be aggressive here. Children should be supervised at all times here.