Located on the most scenic location of the main island of Puerto Rico. Consistently voted one of the Top 25 beaches in the Caribbean 2013, 2014, 2015 & 2016
La Playuela, commonly known as Playa Sucia, is a true Caribbean all-inclusive beach for nature lovers, located on the amazing beach town of Cabo Rojo. Dramatic scenery, gorgeous water colors, natural bridges, unmatched Caribbean views, sights of the most attractive lighthouse on the island, hidden caves, private beach coves to explore, dramatic limestone cliffs, bird watching, hiking scenic trails and more await on this spectacular location.
What’s up with the name?
Don’t let the name of this beach fool you, or deter you from visiting, although those that have loved this beach for decades wish the name would actually keep people from coming so it stays pristine and quiet. Sucia translates to dirty, but the waters are clean, with gorgeous blending tones of turquoise, to emerald greens to deep navy blues. The sand is light and white, at times, especially around full moon, seagrass covers the shores but within a few weeks, it gets cleaned or the seagrass turns into sand.
The current and unending argument is its name, some locals call it La Playuela and some Playa Sucia. To put this argument to rest… locals born and raised in Cabo Rojo called it that way for decades, out of respect to them, we will also refer to it as Playa Sucia. Some people say that those that call it Playa Sucia are confusing it with Bahia Sucia, a bay located just behind this beach, but this is not true, there is no confusion. For decades locals simply gave it that name because there were no signs or maps with a name, so they named it Playa Sucia for being located next to Bahia Sucia.
There’s one thing that locals and seasoned Puerto Rico travelers can agree with, Playa Sucia / La Playuela is unarguably located on the most breathtaking spot on the main island of Puerto Rico.
Dear locals: Stop arguing about the name; the name is not hurting anything, it is the trash that some people decide to leave at the beach….so take it with you so it doesn’t become truly “Sucia”.
If you happen to see La Playuela for the first time from the top of the lighthouse, it will surely be love at first sight. Your heart will pound with excitement to get down and jump on its waters. As you walk down the hiking trail under the hot sun, you arrive to this magical spot with turquoise waters inviting you to jump in and refresh.
The magical sunshine rays of the Puerto Rican sun gives frequent visitors different colors to enjoy each time. As you go through the photos, you will notice the water ranging from light turquoise to emerald green to gorgeous cerulean tones. The sand changes from sparking white to tones of pink depending on the time of the day and the lightness of the sky. Over time, the green kelp turns to brown, then dries soft black, which then simply disappears into the white sand.
Note: Most of the shady spots are towards the middle of the beach, but you’ll find a few more scattered around the beach. If you plan on coming on a busy summer day, be sure to bring an umbrella if prefer to have some breaks from the sun.
Playa Sucia is a great beach for bathing and playing but after you’re in the water waist high (adult), the waves can pull you out further very quickly. The surf is playful and depending on the weather the waves can get a bit demanding, you need to be a good swimmer to be on the deeper waters. There are no lifeguards on this beach, you swim at your own risk, supervise your children at all times. The waters are calmest on the summer months, it’s a fun beach to play with a body board. There are some shallow spots for smaller children at both ends of the beach.
If you love the sound of the surf, this is a wonderful beach to sit down on your lounge chair with your favorite book as the melody of the ocean breeze relaxes your spirit.
Bring your walking shoes. This spot is the most scenic location on the entire island of Puerto Rico. A short 10 minute hike will take you to Faro Los Morrillos, the most visited lighthouse on the island, where you’ll be wowed with breathtaking 360 degree views of the Caribbean Sea.
Walking west on the hiking trails around the lighthouse facing the ocean, enjoy the sights of limestone cliffs with hidden caves and natural bridges. The views are spectacular, so bring plenty of storage for your camera.
What the World is Saying
Travelers from around the world also agree that Playa Sucia is indeed a special beach, this piece of paradise has been voted as one of the Top 25 Beaches in the Caribbean for the past few years. We are proud to have sent many travelers to this spot when we included it in our best beaches list before any other travel guide did (we know the beaches in Puerto Rico).
Highlights of La Playuela & Visiting Tips
- Quiet natural setting with magnificent views
- On the way to La Playuela / Playa Sucia, be sure to stop by you will drive by the observatory tower where you can enjoy scenic views of the Las Salinas (The Salt Flats), mountains, & the Caribbean Sea.
- Food: Bring a cooler with enough drinks and food for your visit. During high season, weekends and holidays, there’s a lady that comes around the beach selling ice cream. On your way to the beach you’ll pass Bahia Salinas Hotel where you can stop for lunch or dinner.
- Facilites: There are no restroom facilities at the beach, be sure to stop at the Salt Flats office where they have public restrooms.
- Make sure you have a spare tire just in case.
- If you want to avoid crowds, get here during the weekdays in winter months when local families have school. On the weekends and holidays La Playuela can get pretty full, be sure to bring your own umbrella, most shaded spots will be taken.
Photo Gallery - La Playuela "Playa Sucia"
Map & Directions to La Playuela / Playa Sucia, Cabo Rojo
- Driving Time from San Juan to La Playuela / Playa Sucia: 2.5 hours
- For driving directions use the map below.
Getting to Playa Sucia is part of the fun. The way there is an unpaved dirt road, conditions vary depending on rainfall. Some visitors send in complaints about the bad road conditions but we personally feel it only adds to the fun and natural tropical experience. Don’t sweat the small stuff and enjoy the journey, what’s waiting at the end of the road is well worth it.
Keep Exploring Puerto Rico
About Puerto Rico
San Juan, Puerto Rico ⎜ Isla Verde Puerto Rico ⎜ Culebra, Puerto Rico ⎜ Vieques, Puerto Rico ⎜ Cabo Rojo, Puerto Rico ⎜ Dorado, Puerto Rico ⎜ Fajardo, Puerto Rico ⎜ Guanica, Puerto Rico ⎜ Isabela, Puerto Rico ⎜ Lajas, Puerto Rico ⎜ Mayaguez, Puerto Rico ⎜ Ponce, Puerto Rico ⎜ Rio Grande, Puerto Rico ⎜ Rincon Puerto Rico