Puerto Rico Activities & Beaches
The late, great Roberto Clemente is just one of many Puerto Rican ballplayers to find success in the U.S. major leagues after honing their skills at home. The island's pro season runs from October to February. Santurce, Ponce, Carolina Caguas, Arecibo, and Mayagüez all have teams. Contact the tourist office for details on baseball games, or call Professional Baseball of Puerto Rico (PHONE: 787/765-6285, www.ebaseballpr.com).
Selected areas lend themselves to bike travel. Avoid main thoroughfares, as the traffic is heavy and the fumes are thick. The Paseo Piñones is an 11-mi bike path that skirts the ocean east of San Juan. The entire southwest coast of Cabo Rojo also makes for good biking, particularly the broad beach at Boquerón. Parts of oceanside Road 466 in Isabela that are still development-free make gorgeous rides with breathtaking views.
Hot Dog Cycling (5916 Av. Isla Verde, Isla Verde, San Juan, Puerto Rico. PHONE: 787/982-5344, www.hotdogcycling.com) rents Fuji mountain bikes for $30 a day and organizes group excursions to El Yunque and other places out on the island. If you want to bike the Paseo Piñones, you can rent bikes for about $5 an hour from Pulpo Loco By the Sea (Rte. 187, Km 4.5, Piñones, Puerto Rico. PHONE: 787/791-8382).
Horseback riding is a well-establised family pastime in Puerto Rico, with cabalgatas (group day rides) frequently organized on weekends through mountain towns. Campo Allegre (Rte. 127, Km 5.1, Yauco, Puerto Rico. PHONE: 787/856-2609) is a 204-acre horse ranch that conducts ½-hour, 1-hour, and 2-hour rides through the hills surrounding Yauco. There are also pony rides for children. The on-site restaurant serves Yauco's specialty: chuletas can can, which are basically Puerto Rican meatballs. The family-run Hacienda Carabalí (Rte. 992, Km 4, at Mameyes River Bridge, Barrio Mameyes, Río Grande, Puerto Rico. PHONE: 787/889-5820 or 787/889-4954) in eastern Puerto Rico is a good place to see Puerto Rico's Paso Fino horses in action. Riding excursions ($45 an hour) include a one-hour jaunt along Río Mameyes and the edge of El Yunque and a two-hour ride along Balneario de Luquillo. Rancho de Caballos de Utuado (Rte. 612, across from Hotel La Casa Grande, Utuado, Puerto Rico. PHONE: 787/894-0240) offers three- to four-hour horse rides along a river, lake, and through mountain forests. Tropical Trail Rides (Rte. 4466, Km 1.8, Isabela, Puerto Rico. PHONE: 787/872-9256, www.tropicaltrailrides.com), in the northwest, offers guided tours of secluded beaches, tropical trails, and cliff caves, with stops for swimming and exploring. Tropical Paradise Horse Back Riding (Off Rte. 690, west of Hyatt Dorado Beach & Country Club, Puerto Rico. PHONE: 787/720-5454) arranges rides along Cibuko Beach on beautiful Paso Fino horses.
In Old San Juan, free trolleys can take you around, and the tourist board can provide you with a copy of Qué Pasa, which contains a self-guided walking tour. The Caribbean Carriage Company (PHONE: 787/797-8063) gives Old City tours in horse-drawn carriages. Look for these buggies at Plaza Dársenas near Pier 1; the cost is $30 to $60 per couple. Cordero Caribbean Tours (PHONE: 787/786-9114; 787/780-2442 evenings). Normandie Tours, Inc. (PHONE: 787/722-6308). Rico Suntours (PHONE: 787/722-2080 or 787/722-6090, www.ricosuntours.com). Tropix Wellness Outings (PHONE: 787/268-2173). United Tour Guides (PHONE: 787/725-7605 or 787/723-5578, www.unitedtourguides.com). Wheelchair Getaway (PHONE: 787/883-0131).
Aventuras Tierra Adentro (268-A Piñero Av., University Gardens, Puerto Rico. PHONE: 787/766-0470, www.aventuraspr.com) will take you into the literal heart of the island. The local pioneer organizes full-day adventures for groups, including rappelling, spelunking (caving), and river body rafting for $150 per person.
Puerto Rico is home to some of the most beautiful beaches in the world, and its hundreds of miles of coastline harbor an almost endless selection for the beach connoisseur. Beaches come in every size, color, and form, from the pure white dunes of Isabela to the black volcanic sands near Punta Santiago. You can find a beach for any level of seaside activity, from a stroll in the shimmering shallow waters at Luquillo to a thrilling ride in the boisterous surf of Rincón.
Villas Caribe Puerto Rican Beach Selections
The selected beaches featured below are just a few suggestions. Ask a local, and you will get a dozen more!
Imagine living in a large city and having a beautiful beach as your back yard. That is exactly what the million or so residents of San Juan enjoy every day. There's no need to go far to enjoy a beautiful tropical day at the beach. A tranquil place during the week, Isla Verde really comes alive on weekends. Beach lovers stream in from everywhere to get some sun, splash in the sea, party with family and friends, play beach volleyball, or walk along the sandy shores. There is no shortage of places to eat or drink. There are many restaurants and bars adjacent to the beach.
Among the favorite beaches in Isabela is Shacks. It has an international reputation as one of the premier windsurfing spots in the world and is often compared with Maui. Despite its worldwide reputation, Shacks is never crowded. With trade winds streaming along at a constant 15 to 18 knots during the winter months, Shacks provides an ideal setting for windsurfing, wave jumping and kite surfing. During the rest of the year, you can stroll among the sea grapes in search of the perfect seashell, or simply bask in the warm, tropical sun. Most visitors also include a stop at Jobos Beach, a couple of miles down the road, where the snorkeling and SCUBA diving are excellent.
For generations families have made the trek from San Juan and all over the eastern region for a day at Luquillo Beach. A vacation in Puerto Rico was considered incomplete without a visit to this well-loved place on the coast. The view from the beach is spectacular: a long gold crescent of sand lined by countless coconut palms, with the misty mountains of the rainforest towering in the distance.
Today Luquillo remains one of the island’s most popular beaches, and with good reason. Offshore reefs keep the waters calm, so families can relax knowing that lifeguards are on duty and that rough surf and deep waters are far, far away. Ample parking, changing and rest rooms, and souvenir and food stands are nearby. Boat access, rentals, windsurfing and camping areas are available. Among the facilities is the “Sea Without Barriers” program, staffed by professionals who help visitors in wheelchairs join their family and friends for a dip in the warm waters of the Atlantic Ocean.
Another attraction is the array of brightly colored kiosks near the entrance to the public beach. From simple shacks to fancy mini-restaurants, each booth serves everything from ice-cold beer and refreshments and hand made coconut candies to traditional seafood fritters and full scale meals. Each also seems to prefer its own exuberant tropical music! Luquillo Beach is a natural – and national – treasure.
Located on the southwest coast of Puerto Rico between Ponce and Mayagüez, Guánica is a town where life is intrinsically tied to the sea. Many islanders have summer homes in the area, and it is one of the few places where houseboats are a common sight. Guánica’s Caña Gorda Public Beach is a favorite among local families and visitors for its tranquil emerald waters and broad white coral beachfront.
You can hike along the coast and discover a beach of your own, or take a side trip to the nearby Guánica Forest Reserve, a 1,570-acre treasure grove for bird watchers – with, of course, a few wonderful secluded beaches. The sea around Guánica is dotted with tiny cays, many of them unnamed and none inhabited, except by rare species of plants and birds. The small islet called Gilligan’s Island is a snorkeler’s dream, surrounded by crystal clear shallow waters brimming with sea life.
Other Puerto Rican Beaches:
Caja De Muerto