Puerto Rico's Hidden Beaches
Revel in a Peaceful Caribbean Escape
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Puerto Rico is dotted with secluded beaches that offer great snorkeling and gorgeous seascapes with few fellow sunbathers to disturb a peaceful escape. Check out these idyllic hidden beaches around Puerto Rico.
Isla Culebrita, Culebra
This tiny coral island is part of the Puerto Rican archipelago and a short taxi-boat ride from the mainland. There are 6 beaches around the small island, including Playa Tortuga, a natural reserve on the island's north end where nesting sea turtles breed and make their homes. The island's north shore is filled with warm tide pools teeming with wildlife during low tide, but be sure to bring along water shoes if you plan to do more than relax in the sun, as the rocky trails can be tough on the feet.
Punta Soldado, Culebra
The island of Culebra is a private paradise in Puerto Rico, located between the big island and nearby St. Thomas in the US Virgin Islands. Locals and visitors come to the island by plane and boat to experience its remote beaches. While Flamenco Beach gets a lot of press as the area's loveliest stretch of sand, there are still many secret spots, including Punta Soldado, a small, pebbly beach with nice views of Vieques and calm waters perfect for snorkeling. A bonus: The beach is easily accessible by car and doesn't require a strenuous hike to reach.
Icacos Island, Fajardo
Icacos Island, off the coast of Fajardo, has a cool deserted-island vibe. You can hop on a boat in Las Croabas just past Seven Seas Beach. Just be sure to bring your own gear, since there are no facilities, umbrellas, food or other beach amenities. The boat drops you off on the leeward side, which is calm and great for swimming and snorkeling — the reef is filled with fish and even some rays.
Balneario de Boqueron, Cabo Rojo
Once a hideaway for pirates — who are said to have stashed their treasure in nearby caves — Balneario de Boqueron is now a haven for beachgoers and native endangered birds that are protected by the Cabo Rojo National Wildlife Refuge. With its white, sandy shores that stretch for more than a mile and clear blue waters, it's no surprise that this oasis in southeastern Puerto Rico has been honored as a Blue Flag beach, an award bestowed on the world's cleanest and most environmentally friendly spots.
Pinones Beach, Carolina
Pinones Beach is just 2 miles outside San Juan but far removed from the hectic city pace. Rent a kayak, glide around the lagoon and search for wildlife along the edges of the mangrove islands. After a dip in the ocean, take a bike cruise along the boardwalk. Stop at a food stall for local snacks, such as pinchos (grilled meat kebabs), pastelillos (deep-fried pies packed with savory fillings) or tostones (fried green plantains).
Sombe, also called Sun Bay Beach, is a crescent-shaped slice of paradise just a short walk from Esperanza. Lounge in the shade of a palm tree on the only government-maintained public beach on the island. It's also the only one with a full range of facilities, including picnic tables, bathrooms and a campground, a rarity among the area's beaches.
Playa Escondida, Fajardo
Playa Escondida translates to "hidden beach," and this secluded spot lives up to its name. It does take some planning and a bit of work to trek the 2 miles through mangrove forests to reach Playa Escondida; it's accessible from a trail at Seven Seas Beach. There's no swimming allowed because the water is rough, and there are no beach facilities in sight, but bring a picnic for a leisurely lunch in the sand next to the boulders, and pack out your trash on the trip back to civilization.
Green Beach, Vieques
Along with Red Beach and Blue Beach on Vieques, Green Beach was originally the property of the US Navy. This isolated stretch is surrounded by dense mangrove forests. The water is calm, making it a nice choice for families. It's a popular snorkeling spot, too: Schools of colorful tropical fish inhabit the shallow water and large coral reefs.