10 Best Beaches in Puerto Rico

Updated On October 4, 2023

As early as the fourth century CE, there were inhabitants in Puerto Rico.

It most likely started with the Ortoiroid people, who evolved into the Taínos tribe.

This rich culture was thriving long before the Spanish arrived on the Island.

From an outside perspective, it’s a shame the Europeans never found Puerto Rico at all, especially considering it was the beginning of the end for the Taínos.

It took 400 years for Puerto Rico to be free again.

Now they get to use this freedom to promote their beautiful country and share hospitality with visitors from around the world.

With 270 miles of coast and 300 beaches, it would be a true challenge to pick the best one to visit.

So, we put together a list of our favorites to help you out!

10 Best Beaches in Puerto Rico

Tortuga Beach
Tortuga Beach

1. Tortuga Beach

Tortuga is affectionally named after the turtles who check in annually at this beach.

There’s not a whole lot to do here other than swim or any other basic beach activity.

Perhaps that’s really the best type of environment for turtles, at least.

You can only get to Tortuga by boat.

Before setting sail, bring all the snacks you need and get a restroom break in.

This is just a straight-up beach, with no extras.

Cayo Icacos
Cayo Icacos

2. Cayo Icacos

Part of La Cordillera Reef Nature Reserve, Cayo Icacos can only be reached via boat.

No one lives here but the flora and fauna, but the weekends can get congested.

Want a quieter time to lie on the sand?

Hop on by any day during the week!

Be sure to plan for no facilities, bring all the essentials for a day on the beach or you’ll be stuck until it’s time to go home.

It is inconvenient, but it does keep the water pristine and the island clean.

Cerro Gordo Beach
Cerro Gordo Beach

3. Cerro Gordo Beach

Also known as Javier Calderón Public Beach, this location is a favorite amongst locals.

It’s calm, clean, and not typically where tourists are headed.

Even better, this is the type of beach you can plan to be at for the live-long day.

There are snack vendors, restrooms, showers, rental kiosks, and more.

Depending on what part of the year it is will determine what days the beach is open.

During the summer, the beach is open all week.

Starting each September, everything is shut down on Monday and Tuesday.

Flamingo Beach
Flamingo Beach

4. Flamingo Beach

Just off the mainland, Flamingo Beach is on Culebra Island.

For $2 a person, you can spend as much time as you want for a day here.

It might be worth it for the insane photos alone.

A view of the water through the palm trees is the same image everyone had on their desktop back in the early 00s.

Not sure a handful of hours is enough time?

You can camp here!

Don’t worry, there are restrooms, showers, and places to grab some grub later on.

Cayo Aurora
Cayo Aurora

5. Cayo Aurora

Researchers are making the most of Cayo Aurora’s placement.

The island affectionally nicknamed GIlligan’s Island is part of a biosphere reserve.

In an effort to keep the island as pure as possible, very little has been done to the area.

Be sure to pack toilet paper when you go.

The toilets at Cayo Aurora are composted and don’t require plumbing or flushes.

This is less of a swimming beach, thanks to the mangroves, and more of a place to take in the view.

Ocean Park Beach
Ocean Park Beach

6. Ocean Park Beach

While this is a beautiful beach to visit, swimming isn’t really the best thing to do on location.

The water here is a bit rougher, the waves are bigger and stronger.

Ocean Park Beach is more of an activities beach as opposed to going for a casual swim.

Come with whatever you need to have a day of watersport activity to make the most of your trip.

Playa Sucia
Playa Sucia

7. Playa Sucia

This beach doubles as a nature retreat.

Thanks to the unique layout and closeness to the wilderness, Playa Sucia often ranks highly among the top beaches from around the world.

There are no buildings here, so you’re free to explore.

Is there any better way to dry off after a day in the water, anyway?

Sun Bay Beach
Sun Bay Beach

8. Sun Bay Beach

Sun Bay Beach is a favorite camping destination in Puerto Rico.

If you want to stay overnight, plan in advance to get a permit, which costs $10.

Once you’re here, you have free reign to make the most of your stay.

Lifeguards are on duty, so that is a bonus point for safety.

Whether you plan to stay a couple of days or just a few hours, you won’t have to pack everything all at once.

There are vendors, restrooms, and showers on this beach.

Playa Crash Boat
Playa Crash Boat

9. Playa Crash Boat

Once upon a time, the US Air Force had a base here.

Pilots were sent here for training and crashboats would be sent out to pick up any airmen in need.

This base was not in commission for very long, though, and was abandoned for quite some time.

Eventually, the space was brought back to life for generations to come who would use it for diving.

Today, it’s referred to as a party beach because of all the music, food, and surfing that goes on.

Playa Pelicano
Playa Pelicano

10. Playa Pelicano

The hills on the Playa Pelicano are a safe haven for those whom the beach was named after; pelicans.

It’s a protected nesting site for other birds as well.

So, not being able to camp is probably for the best.

There are no facilities here, either.

The idea is to leave this island as untouched as you found it.

Puerto Rico Safety Overview

READ THE FULL REPORT: Puerto Rico Safety Review

Safety Index:
Puerto Rico

Frequently Asked Questions

How safe is it to visit Puerto Rico?

Technically, Puerto Rico isn’t that safe of a country.

Sadly, many countries in Central America, the Caribbean, and South America are plagued with problems that are often drug-related.

This cause extends to crimes such as homicide and gang activity.

Perhaps surprisingly, though, these safety concerns are more for locals than they are for tourists.

Most criminals work within the confines of what they know.

They aren’t out to recruit new buyers for illegal substances from someone who will only be around a few days.

City governments often go out of their way to keep extra touristy areas heavily guarded to avoid drawing the attention of the international press for all the wrong reasons.

With that being said, it would behoove you to be on guard and proceed with caution to any destination.

Have movies or television shows been filmed in Puerto Rico?

It’s probably not too surprising to learn that Puerto Rico has been the backdrop of entertainment for decades.

In fact, Johnny Depp may have enjoyed filming Pirates of the Caribbean on location so much that he knew it would be a great setting for The Rum Diary later on.

So, whether you’ve been to the US territory or not, you’ve visited through the magic of movie-making.

Here’s a list of other features taking place at least partially in the island nation: Fantasy Island, Black Panther, Bad Boys II, Fast Five, The Suicide Squad, and Captain America to name a few.

Are there sharks in Puerto Rico?

Sharks have a preference for warmer water.

Naturally, after finding waters around Puerto Rico, they found a place that soothed their souls.

Over time, researchers have made their way here in an effort to learn more about these creatures from the deep.

As many as 14 species of shark have been found swimming off the coast.

The more research is done, the more we’ll find out about behaviors, patterns, and new species discoveries.

While shark attacks are quite rare, it’s always important to be extra vigilant during a dip.

Do Americans need a passport to visit Puerto Rico?

While Puerto Rico is not technically part of the United States by being an actual state itself, the country is still indirectly part of the union.

As a US territory, Puerto Rico does not require Americans to get a visa to visit nor does it require a passport to deplane.

To be fair, many Puerto Ricans are highly in favor of becoming an official state so they can partake in amenities that come with being wrapped up in the fold.

One of those perks is voting, of course, as well as aid following a natural disaster.

It is believed that during the next voting cycle, there will be a vote that will have the nation as the 51st state or set them free.

If Puerto Rico separates from the US, Americans will need to update their passports.

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