When it comes to selecting the top 5 beaches in Puerto Rico, it’s hard to make a choice because Puerto Rico has many fine beaches. There’s also the definition of “best”. Criteria might include any or all of most scenic, safest, best sand, clearest water, highest quality of water or sand, easiest access, amenities, cleanest, lack of crowds, family-friendly, best artists’ location; lifeguard on duty, most accessible by public transportation, most user friendly…and the list goes on! Islands of Puerto Rico website made their own list of Puerto Rico’s best beaches, too.
Having considered a long list of criteria here are the overall picks of the top 5 beaches in Puerto Rico.
1. Flamenco Beach
Location: North area of Isla de Culebra
Getting there: Arrive on the island via ferry or plane. If you’re renting a vehicle, head down the main road 251 from the ferry dock. Follow the road north until it ends. Taxis also offer a direct shuttle to the beach.
Features: Perfect for families. Water is calm and safe for beginner swimmers. The beach also offers all accommodations including snorkeling, beach activities, outdoor showers, bathrooms, and more.
Scenery: Only place in Puerto Rico where an Old Navy tank is parked on the sand.
Flamenco Beach, on the island of Culebra, has been named one of the world’s best beaches. Its waters are clear and clean. The gentle waves change color with the time of day moving from turquoise to deep emerald as the sun moves in the sky. The while-sand, crescent-shaped beach is surrounded by rolling, green hills and lush tropical plants. It’s little wonder that artists and photographers try to capture the beauty of this changing landscape in their work.
Those who want to build sandcastles will find the white fluffy sands of Flamenco Beach the perfect medium. Go snorkeling. Collect shells. This safe, family-friendly beach has lots of things to see and do. You can even buy food there.
Most of the year this little piece of paradise isn’t crowded. Avoid holidays and the summer months and Flamenco is practically yours for those long lazy beach strolls or just for sitting and watching the changing flora and fauna. If you’re searching for a romantic spot to propose this is the place.
To get to the beach, catch a ferry from San Juan at Fajardo. It’s a spectacular, ninety-minute ride to Culebra. The ferry travels this route several times a day. Arrive several hours before departure. You can also a thirty-minute flight from Isle Grande Airport.
2. Luquillo Beach
Location: Public beach located on Porta Antillas (the east coast region) of the main island. A 45-minute drive east from San Juan International Airport.
Getting there: From San Juan International Airport enter expressway PR-26 toward Carolina/Fajardo for 4.2 miles. Take Toll Expressway PR-66 for 12 miles. Take Exit highway PR-3 for 7.5 miles.
Features: Perfect for families and water is calm for children. It’s often very crowded during tourist months.
Scenery: Beautiful beach and scenery renowned for its food kiosks and views of the Rain Forest.
Luquillo Beach is just east of San Juan. It’s not a beach in the traditional sense of the word. Luquillo Beach is actually a plantation of coconut palms. These huge trees provide shade for over a mile of white sparkling sand which forms the beach area.
Very popular with tourists and San Juan locals, this public beach has clean bathrooms, showers, and food buildings. The beach is also accessible for mobility challenged.
On the east coast of the beach is La Selva. This cove is one of the best surfing locations in Puerto Rico. It’s worth the walk.
To get to Luquillo Beach you can take a taxi, a tour bus, rent a car or bicycle or you can use the shuttle from San Juan.
Location: Southern coast of the center of Isla de Vieques.
Getting there: Quickest way is from Vieques to take a direct taxi or shuttle
Features: Water is calm and shallow for swimming of all stages. Snorkeling, scuba diving, and other activities are available.
Scenery: Proclaim the most beautiful beach in Puerto Rico with contrasting blue waters and pristine sand.
Voted the best beach in Puerto Rico in our previous poll. Located on Isla de Vieques, La Chiva is also known as Playa La Chiva. This is the perfect spot for snorkeling and long walks. Often included in the best ten beaches in the Caribbean, La Chivahas mesmerizing sands and fascinating blue waters.
During the time the Navy was stationed on La Chiva, they nicknamed it “blue beach” because of the unusually bright blue of its crystal, clear water. It is an artist’s and photographer’s dream because of the changing hues of blue as you move along the beach.
Most beachgoers head to the east end of the beach to snorkel. But, if you want solitude and space to paint the turquoise waters then stay at the less frequented west end.
La Chiva is very family-friendly. Even in the winter months, waves are small and gentle. From a glass-bottom boat or snorkeling, you can see grass beds that form homes for the colorful fish that dart about delighting the children. There are gazebos for beachgoers’ use.
The best way to get to La Chiva is to rent a car or book a seat on a tour bus. You could also get to know one of the locals and offer to pay for the gas.
From San Juan, you can take Cape Air to Vieques. On an eight-seater plane, it’s a thrill ride. Once there, it’s a short taxi ride to the beach.
You need to pack your own food, water, sunblock because there are no amenities.
4. Crash Boat Beach
Location: Puerto Rico’s northwest coast
Getting there: From the San Juan area, take PR-22 west to PR-2 west. Turn right onto Road 107, and then left onto Road 458. Follow the signs and traffic.
Features: Surfing, paddleboarding, water skiing, and other water activities are popular here. Water is ideal for sport.
Scenery: The are remnants of a crashed ship just off the shoreline. Pristine blue waters are very much apart of this beach, as well.
A trip to Crash Boat Beach is worth it for the history alone. Located on Puerto Rico’s northwest coast, Crash Boat Beach is midway between Ramey Air Force Base and Aguadilla. Once used to rescue aircrews that had crash-landed, Crash Boat Beach still has some of the old piers. There are two large white sad public beaches where people can swim and sunbathe.
Crash Beach is famous for its surfing and bodyboarding. You can also scuba or snorkel around the old pier where fish dart in and out.
Paddleboarding, Jet skiing, and water skiing are also popular. You can rent a motorboat and all the equipment you need for water sports.
If you want to build sandcastles or walk on the beach, gentle palm trees provide shade.
The sunsets of Crash Beach are spectacular. That’s why artists and photographers linger here as night falls.
To get there you can book a tour that includes this stop or you can rent a car.
5. Buye Beach
Location: Puerto Rico’s western beaches, located in Cabo Rojo
Getting there: Take the exit to Cabo Rojo, keep straight until you pass McDonald’s. At the traffic light, make a right. When you arrive at the T, take a left toward “Playa Buye” on Rt. 307.
Features: Gentle waves, beautiful landscape, water, and sand. It has plenty of features like grilling areas, outdoor facilities, and gazebos. A great place to relax!
Scenery: This beach is very popular with the locals of Puerto Rico and a fun place for quality family time.
Also known locally as Playa Buye this beach in Cabo Rojo is a favorite of the locals and often voted one of Puerto Rico’s western region beaches.
Its crystal, clear water is so warm it is like taking a bath. While there is a bar at the beach, they do allow beachgoers to bring a cooler. Families wade in the calm blue waters. The white-sand beach is in pristine condition.
It’s not easy to find Buye Beach. It is tucked away. To get there, you can rent a car and park it at the rental property. Then the best way is to ask a local to help you find it.
Besides breathtaking scenery and gentle waves, the beach has several attractive amenities including a clean bathroom, gazebos, a gift shop, a pool room, and a cafeteria.
On weekdays, the beach is not crowded. However, on weekends and summer months it is busier. Take a walk and find your own little spot on this beautiful beach.
There are actually two different beaches. On the west side, water is quieter and gentle for children. It’s a safe, relaxing, family-friendly location.
We had hundreds of submissions from our last post about which is the best beach in Puerto Rico. We recorded all the responses and determined the following list as the top 5 beaches in Puerto Rico. Now we need your help to vote for one of the options below so we can know which is the #1 best beach in Puerto Rico. Thanks for your participation!!