Guide to the best destinations in Puerto Rico with uncrowded, dreamy, secluded, hidden beaches…and safe to explore.
We love secluded beaches, we’re both happy and apprehensive to share our favorite beaches & quiet destinations in Puerto Rico. Once here, you’ll wish they stayed secret and hidden too.
Puerto Rico fulfils dreams of secluded, romantic, postcard perfect beaches. When you Google an image search for “Puerto Rico beach vacation”, most likely you’ll find images of popular beaches in the capital city of San Juan, and the beachfront resorts along the coast of well-known tourist districts such as Condado & Isla Verde. In contrast to the beaches of San Juan, Puerto Rico possesses offshore islands and low-key beach towns, with gorgeous, uncrowded beaches, unexploited by tourism. Puerto Rico’s hidden beaches, are among the island’s best kept secrets, those that know about them, want to keep it that way.
To enjoy the enchanting hidden beaches and destinations, a car rental is necessary. Driving around the main island and the offshore islands of Vieques & Culebra can be a fun adventure. The island is small, so no place is too far; Vieques and Culebra are even smaller, making beach hopping easy. Following we share the best secluded beaches and destinations in Puerto Rico.
First two spots rightfully belong to the Vieques & Culebra, nicknamed as the Spanish Virgin Islands. Vieques & Culebra are the most quiet destinations in Puerto Rico, seducing tourists with the beauty of the Caribbean you’d think was long gone. The Spanish Virgin Islands have one thing in common, once you step foot on it’s beaches, you’ll be spoiled for life. If you dream of white sand, lush flora, palm trees, clear turquoise waters, and superb snorkeling, look no further, it doesn’t get any better than Vieques & Culebra. You can spend full days beach hopping through nature reserves, with miles of beaches untouched by development.
Vieques & Culebra wraps visitors in the bliss of perfect seclusion in the Caribbean Sea.
Vieques – #1 Best Secluded Beach Destination in Puerto Rico – an Offshore Island of Puerto Rico
Vieques is one special place, with unique qualities found nowhere else in the world. Beaches with astonishing beauty by day and Mosquito Bay, the brightest bioluminescent bay under the starry skies. Two thirds of the island was under US Navy control. In 2003 the US Navy ceased using the island as a bombing practice site, giving residents and visitors access to pristine beaches untouched by development where natural beauty abounds. In order to enjoy the best and most secluded beaches a jeep rental is a must, so if budget is an issue, stay at a cheaper hotel in order to afford the car rental. You can spend a full week in Vieques exploring beach coves that seem undiscovered. You’ll step off the jeep, walk a few steps, and possibly wonder “how is it possible that we’re the only ones here?” You’ll find romantic hidden spots, perfectly shaded by lush tropical flora. The only distractions may be pelicans flying by, tiny crabs crawling out of their holes, and the occasional distant sound of a jeep passing by, seeking for their own private spot.
Best secluded beaches in Vieques: A list of the best secluded beaches? That’s almost an impossible task, just ask anyone who’s been here. To satisfy reader’s curiosity, a few of the amazing hidden beaches are:
- Playa Grande Beach, as the name implies is a grand, big beach excellent for long walks.
- Punta Arenas (Green Beach) – offering seclusion seekers various entry points you can claim to yourself with excellent snorkeling.
- Playa Negrita (Negra) with its sparkly black sand.
- Navio Beach – an explosion of blue colors on the water, hidden caves, and a playful surf.
All the beaches in Vieques, are truly worth visiting, no two are alike, and each beautiful in it’s own way. To name a few, beaches you should not miss are Playa Negrita (Negra), Playa
Hotels & places to stay in Isla de Vieques:
- W Retreat & Spa – Book a fantastic room or suite at the W Retreat & Spa to enjoy the best of both worlds, luxury and seclusion. Be sure to rent a car to enjoy the pleasures of perfect seclusion just minutes away from the resort.
- Hix Island House – Eco friendly small inn offering private villas in a very peace and private setting overlooking the verdant mountains of Vieques. Designed by architect / owner John Hix, and featured in many architectural digest magazines.
- El Blok – stay at this stylish 20 room hotel with onsite restaurant owned by award-winning chef Jose Enrique. Hotel is just steps from Esperanza beach and more dining choices at El Malecon.
- Inn on the Blue Horizon – romantic inn in a quiet waterfront setting, situated in Esperanza. Enjoy access to one of the best secluded beach walks in Vieques. Inn offers infinity pool, tennis courts, rooftop terrace to watch the stars, fitness center, on site dining, and a beautiful waterfront outdoor bar.
Culebra – #2 Best Secluded Beach Destination – an Offshore Island of Puerto Rico
Culebra, the little sister of Vieques may be smaller, but it has bragging rights to Flamenco Beach, one of the most breathtakingly beautiful beaches in the world, although not secluded, it is large enough to provide plenty of quiet spaces for those that prefer the feeling of being “away”. A jeep rental is recommended to enjoy the best secluded beaches in Culebra. The most visited beaches are Flamenco and Zoni Beach (Playa Soni), the rest of the beaches, are typically empty or with few visitors. The busiest beach season is from mid May to the first week of August, when resident families of Puerto Rico head to Culebra for a day trip.
Best secluded beaches in Culebra:
- Playa Resaca is the least frequented beach due to the difficult hike there.
- Playa Punta Soldado, unique dramatic landscape and sand, great snorkeling.
- Playa Brava – nice hike to Brava beach. Surfing beach, do at your own risk, no lifeguard, best for experienced surfers.
- Playa Zoni – water has gorgeous turquoise and emerald greens. A very long beach and perfect for a romantic walk. From Zoni you can walk to Playa Tortolas, even more secluded and with astonishing beauty just like all beaches in Culebra.
Hotels and places to stay in Isla de Culebra:
Palomino Island – Best Secluded beach within a resort
If you dream of a resort experience with the pleasures of quiet dreamy beach, head to El Conquistador Resort, it’s the only resort in Puerto Rico with bragging rights to their own private island. A short ferry ride from El Conquistador, and you’ll be transported to Palomino Island, a secluded island with white sand and clear turquoise waters. The main beach on the west side of Palomino is where most visitors spend their day, the southside of the island is lined with leaning palm trees, a reef for snorkeling and a blissfully quiet picture perfect tropical scene. More about Palomino Island.
Isabela, Puerto Rico
During weekdays, beaches in Isabela are pretty laid back and relaxed with very few crowds. The beaches of Isabela are excellent for long walks on the beach, relaxing on a lounge chair and spend lazy days admiring the views and listening to the ocean waves. Keep in mind that Isabela faces the Atlantic Ocean, the surf is stronger, and not all beaches are good for bathing. If you dislike crowds, avoid Playa Jobos, the most popular beach, it gets quite busy and crowded during summer months with local families, and during winter months when surfers seek to ride the Atlantic waves.
Best secluded beaches in Isabela:
- The most secluded beach is Playa El Pastillo, a gorgeous beach with the most romantic cave right on the beach…truly magazine worthy.
- Middles is a very long beach, popular for surfers, but the beach is typically nice and quiet. Surfers typically stay in one area, so there’s plenty of spots to call your own.
- If you have children, take them to Pozo Teodoro and Montones beach mid-week. A natural wall helps create natural shallow pools where children can play and families can enjoy quality time without crowds from the months of September to mid March. Water conditions are best from late spring to early fall.
Hotels & places to stay in Isabela:
- $$$$ – Royal Isabela – romantic and luxurious, award-winning cuisine, world-class golf course.
- $$$ – Villa Montaña – Oceanfront resort, popular for families, wedding events and honeymooners. Beach is well maintained and used mostly by hotel guests.
- $$ – Parador Villas Del Mar Hau – oceanfront location, facing the beautiful and unique beach of Playa Montones. Family and budget friendly accommodations. Pick the beach facing villas with full kitchen to save money on the food bill.
Rincon, Puerto Rico
Rincon offers a nice mix of seclusion, authentic island vibe, interesting nearby attractions in Porta del Sol and easy access to more secluded beaches on the neighbouring towns of Aguadilla & Isabela, for those reasons, we have placed Rincon among the top secluded beach destinations. Rincon’s most popular beaches, see many visitors during peak surfing season; however, there are various beaches that remain uncrowded and quiet, meeting the needs of seclusion seekers. If you love taking romantic walks on the beach, Rincon is an excellent destination.
Best secluded beaches in Rincon:
- Pools Beach, great for lounging and watching the surf, easy access from the road and some shade.
- Spanish Wall is not to be missed with honeycomb colored sand and rugged landscape, it is accessed by a dirt path from Domes Beach.
- Steps Beach, part of the Tres Palmas Marine Reserve is one of the most popular beaches for surfers in the winter and one of the best snorkeling spots in the summer months, the north far side of Steps beach is typically empty, from there you can take a nice walk to Dogman’s.
Hotels & places to stay in Rincon:
To enjoy the best secluded beaches a car rental is highly recommended.
- $$$ – Hornet Dorset Primavera – an award-winning small luxury hotel, just steps from a quiet beach. Famous celebrities seeking for privacy, luxury, and dreamy landscapes often choose to stay at Hornet Dorset.
- $$ – Rincon of the Seas – Oceanfront hotel with swim up pool, ocean view balconies and family friendly dining by the pool. Convenient location near supermarket, bakeries, pharmacies and local restaurants. From the resort you can enjoy a nice walk down the beach.
- Search for deals and hotels in Rincon.
Guanica, Puerto Rico
Guanica is like an all-inclusive destination for those that yearn to experience the ultimate seclusion with a variety of outdoor activities. Inside the Guanica Biosphere Reserve, you’ll find the most secluded beaches, hiking trails leading to breathtaking vistas and excellent birdwatching opportunities. The beaches are not your typical Caribbean scene, the coast of Guanica is very rugged with rocks and cliffs framing the beach. Most of Guanica’s nature reserve is a dry forest, flora includes cactus and plants you’ll find in drier climates, these unique traits makes Guanica stand out from any other place on the island, but equally beautiful in its own way. The best beaches for seclusion, are not great for swimming, however, they make up for it on serene ambiance leading to relaxation, totally wrapped up in natural, untouched beauty.
Best secluded beaches in Guanica:
- Playa Tamarindo
- Playa Jaboncillo
- Playa Pelicano
- Gilligan’s Island on weekdays (non-summer days)
- La Selva.
Hotels & places to stay in Guanica:
- $$ – Copamarina Beach Resort & Spa – Best Western Premier Collection – The best place to stay in Guanica facing the Caribbean Sea offering a ferry ride to Gilligan’s Island / Cayo Aurora
Quiet and most secluded beaches near the capital city of San Juan
The capital city of San Juan ought to be the first stop for every first time visitor to Puerto Rico. The variety of hotels, interesting attractions in Old San Juan, city beaches and convenient proximity to the San Juan International Airport are some of the top reasons so many visitors end up staying in the capital city. If you long to experience pristine white sand beaches without crowds, it is very doable by simply renting a car and taking a drive.
Most secluded beach in San Juan
Playa Pena – Right across from The Capitol Building, you can walk down the steps to Playa Pena, still a very well-kept secret among locals and tourists. Playa Pena is a nice beach for walking, and it’s the only access to a forgotten fort with ruins sitting on the sand washed up by the Atlantic waves.
Best secluded beaches near San Juan:
- La Posita de Piñones, Loiza – Just a short drive or bicycle ride from Isla Verde, you can enjoy this pretty and uncrowded beach. Best time to visit are weekdays on non summer months. Avoid during the summer and holidays.
- Playa Chiquita, Manati, go mid-week.
More hidden beaches on the main island of Puerto Rico
- Playa Punta Tuna, Maunabo – quiet most of the year, not a bathing beach.
- Playa Escondida, Fajardo – go on fall, winter, early spring weekdays for the least crowds.
- Survival Beach, Aguadilla – gorgeous beach, go on fall, winter and early spring weekdays.
- Isla Caja de Muertos – secluded island with hiking, beach and good snorkeling.
- Wilderness Beach, Aguadilla – good surfing on winter months, stays quiet most
- Playa Guajataca, Quebradillas – excellent for quiet days on the beach during the winter, early spring months. Not a bathing beach, local kids like to body board in summer months.
- Playa Pozo del Obispo, Arecibo – very scenic spot with wave show, quiet during late fall, winter and early spring month weekdays.
- Playa Buye – very quiet during winter weekdays, the far north side is typically empty.
- Boqueron Beach – although this is the most popular and most family friendly Balneario in Puerto Rico, it is surprisingly quiet and empty during the mornings. Summer time is the busiest time at Boqueron Beach.
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