The north coast region of Puerto Rico named “Porta Atlantico” faces the deep blue Atlantic Ocean. If you dream of relaxing on a quiet beach, getting lost in the beauty of waves crashing, and being lulled by their melody, you may want to stay on the north coast, rent a car and explore.
The topography of the north coast is unlike any other part of the island. Most parts of the north are framed by rock cliffs protecting the land from the mighty ocean. Unlike many islands in the Caribbean where the Atlantic Ocean side is not good for swimming, the north coast of Puerto Rico has beautiful beaches, popular for a variety of water sports, the most populars are kitesurfing and surfing. The north coast has many natural pools protected by limestone walls, some very shallow, perfect for families with toddlers. There are miles of coastline to enjoy long walks on soft sand from light golden to sparkly black, many of the beaches are away from hotels and development giving you a more natural beach experience. The most popular beaches for locals are the Balnearios, which are government managed beaches with facilities and water that’s regularly monitored for quality. The beaches on the north are typically quiet without crowds on weekdays from September to mid March.
Best Beaches on the North Coast
Following we’ll give you an online tour of the best beaches along the north coast starting on the town of Dorado, just 15 minutes from the capital city of San Juan, ending on the town of Quebradillas. There are many more beaches along the north coast, this list is written for the traveler who has a limited amount of time, seeking for the best beaches along the north.
We hope you enjoy exploring the north coast beaches of Puerto Rico.
Dorado, Puerto Rico
We’ll start our list with the best beach escape for travelers paired with the ultimate in luxury. If you’re looking for a great beach just steps off your hotel, Dorado offers pristine, well maintained beaches.
Beach at Dorado Beach, a Ritz Carlton Reserve
In Dorado you’ll find the most beautiful and pristine, beaches on the north coast. Our favorite is for the enjoyment of guests at one of the top luxurious resorts of Puerto Rico, Dorado Beach, a Ritz Carlton Reserve. Beach is a romantic beach setting, where you can snorkel and have fun with a variety of water sports. From this location you’ll have easy access to Old San Juan attractions, world class natural attractions and more beaches along the north.
Vega Baja, Puerto Rico
Playa Punta Puerto Nuevo / Balneario Puerto Nuevo
This beach has a unique landscape, soft golden sand, palm trees, and a long limestone rock creating the most perfect natural pool protected from the Atlantic Ocean waves. Puerto Nuevo actually has two beaches, the pool on the east side with the calmest more shallow waters and the beach on the west side, which is more open to the Atlantic, typically used for water sports. There are various pool beaches like this along the north, Puerto Nuevo is the closest west of San Juan, about a 40 minute drive in normal traffic. Come during weekdays if you prefer a quiet uncrowded beach atmosphere, it gets full during summer months. This is a Balneario (managed by the government), therefore it has family friendly facilities such as: parking, lifeguards, showers, picnic tables, food stands, playground and few more conveniences.
Manati, Puerto Rico
Manati is not a popular tourist destination, but travelers who love to explore the unbeaten paths, will find some pretty unique beaches on this coastal town.
Warning: There are no lifeguards here, during the winter months and storms are near, this small innocent looking beach can get quite rough with strong undercurrents that can pull you out to sea. From September to end of March, you may find yourself sharing this beach with one other couple / family. Just enjoy this beauty with care.
Two other beautiful beaches in Manati are Poza de las Mujeres and Los Tubos, practically secluded on weekdays. Snorkeling is good on both beaches, best and safest during summer months when the tide is low. No lifeguards on these beaches, never snorkel alone.
Los Tubos is a popular surfing spot in Manati, snorkeling is safest in the summer months when the waters are calmer.
Arecibo, Puerto Rico
Poza del Obispo
After a morning visiting the Camuy River Cave Park and Arecibo Observatory (biggest radio telescope in the world), head over to Poza de Obispo for a refreshing experience on this unique beach. This is a great spot for families, easy to access, convenient parking just steps from the beach and nearby food. What we about Poza de Obispo beach is the constant show of waves crashing into the rock wall, it’s spectacular.
If you have a family with children, be sure to visit the Arecibo Lighthouse Park, a wonderful place to visit both adults and small children will enjoy. The small park has a few fun places for children, a small aquarium with a pirates theme, pirate ships, water bumper cars and the Arecibo Lighthouse.
Quebradillas, Puerto Rico
Playa de Guajataca
Playa Guajataca is not a beach for bathing or safe for swimming, but you’ll spot surfers during the winter. Lovers of Guajataca beach come here for the scenery, the walk along the Guajataca Tunnel and the great sights of cliffs, boulders. The sights and sounds of the waves are mesmerizing, a great place to relax and read a book. During the weekends, this place comes to life with local families, food and art vendors. As many of the beaches along the north and west coast, it is practically empty and relaxed during the week, giving tourists a relaxing beach experience. Take a look at the detailed page, for a glimpse at the beauty of this beach. More about Guajataca Beach.
Need to Know Facts – Safety at the beach
More than having a good time, please read the following, to keep your family safe during your vacation. When storms are near and during bad weather, these beautiful “pool” beaches can become quite dangerous. Twenty five foot waves have hit these walls, making these beaches unsafe for use. The waters can get deep quick, and possibly pull you back into the open waters. There are no lifeguards at most of the “pool” beaches, use common sense and practice safety first.
Following is a video of Puerto Nuevo Beach, the waters are typically calm. See how the conditions can quickly change. Please stay away from the water under these conditions.
Climbing the walls – We know how tempting it is to climb those rocks in order to see the panoramic views and watch the ocean. These walls are limestone with very sharp edges, you should not be climbing barefoot or with slippery sandals. It’s very possible for unexpected high waves, that could hit you, causing you to fall into the open waters and drown. Fall on the rocks, would be extremely painful, causing a bad fall and possibly cause serious injury. Watch your children at all times, and enjoy our beaches safely.
Map of Top Beaches on the North Coast of Puerto Rico
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