Puerto Rico's Hidden Beaches
Revel in a Peaceful Escape to Puerto Rico
Steve Simonsen / Lonely Planet Images / Getty Images
Puerto Rico is dotted with secluded beaches offering great snorkeling and gorgeous seascapes with few fellow sunbathers to disturb a peaceful escape. Check out these idyllic hidden beaches around Puerto Rico.
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 Playa Flamenco gets the most press as the area's loveliest beach, there are still many secret beaches including Punta Soldado, a small pebbly beach with nice views of Vieques and calm waters perfect for snorkeling. An added bonus: The beach is easily accessible by car and doesn't require a strenuous hike to reach.
Balneario de Boqueron, Cabo Rojo
Once a hideaway for pirates who are said to have stashed their treasure in nearby caves, today Boqueron Bay Beach is a haven for beachgoers and native endangered birds that are protected by the Cabo Rojo National Wildlife Refuge. With its white sandy shores stretching for over a mile and clear blue waters, it's no surprise that this oasis in southeast Puerto Rico has been honored as a Blue Flag beach, an award bestowed on the world's cleanest and most environmentally friendly beaches.
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 and also the only one with a full range of facilities including picnic tables, bathrooms and a campground, a rarity among the area's beaches.
Isla Culebrita, Culebra
This tiny coral island is part of the Puerto Rico 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.
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 as 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.
Pinones Beach, Carolina
Pinones Beach is just 2 miles outside of San Juan but far removed from the hectic city pace. Rent a kayak and 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 like pinchos, which are grilled meat kabobs, or pastelillos, which are deep-fried pies packed with savory fillings, or tostones, which are fried green plantains.
Green Beach, Vieques
Along with the Red and Blue Beaches in Vieques, Green Beach was originally the property of the US Navy. This isolated beach is surrounded by dense mangrove forests. The water is calm, making it a nice choice for families. It's a popular snorkeling spot: Schools of colorful tropical fish inhabit the shallow water and large coral reefs.
Playa Escondida, Fajardo
Playa Escondida translates to hidden beach, and this secluded spot lives up to its name. It takes some planning and a bit of work to trek the 2 miles through mangrove forests to reach the beach -- 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.