Puerto Rico is surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean and the Caribbean Sea, making it a tropical paradise with wonderful beaches in every town near the coast. The beautiful sand with its changing color tones, the warm breeze, and the refreshing water makes Puerto Rico a perfect vacation destination.
This is the fourth post I write about Puerto Rico’s beautiful beaches. To see previous posts, check the following links:
- about the north coast, check article here https://fullofcoffee.blog/2019/06/30/my-beautiful-puerto-rico-beaches-of-the-north-coast/;
- about the south coast, check article here https://fullofcoffee.blog/2019/07/07/my-beautiful-puerto-rico:-beaches-of-the-south-coast/; and,
- about the west coast, check article here: https://fullofcoffee.blog/2019/07/14/my-beautiful-puerto-rico-beaches-of-the-west-coast/.
I share again this great article from Primera Hora newspaper, stating that there are 1,200 named beaches in Puerto Rico. Check the article, mostly pictures, (in Spanish) here https://www.primerahora.com/fotogalerias/noticias/puerto-rico/las1200playasdepuertorico-1069825/foto-1/
On the east coast of the Island, the Atlantic Ocean borders the north side. The Caribbean Sea extends up to part of the east coast and the south side of the islands of Culebra and Vieques, two municipalities of Puerto Rico. I’ll write about them in another post. There’s also much to write about these two islands and their wonderful beaches!
To go to the east from San Juan area, follow main road PR-3 all the way to Fajardo. That’s a driving distance of about one hour. There’s also Highway PR-26 Román Baldorioty de Castro from San Juan to Carolina, then Highway PR-66 Roberto Sánchez Vilella from Carolina to Rio Grande, then continue on PR-3 to Fajardo. This is a driving distance of about 50 minutes.
From Fajardo, PR-3 continues all the way to Maunabo on the the southeast. The east coast extends for about 35 – 40 miles from north to south. It’s another drive of about an hour, to 1 hour and a half. From Fajardo, follow Highway PR-53 José Celso Barbosa to Maunabo. This is a driving distance of about an hour. From the south area to the east, follow PR-3 from Salinas or PR-53.
There are six towns in this region with access to the coast: Fajardo, Ceiba, Nagüabo, Humacao, Yabucoa, and Maunabo. There are about 200 named beaches on this area. As I did on the previous posts, I only picked ten beaches, which has turned out a difficult task, as there are so many.
The town of Fajardo is located in the northeast corner of the Island. It’s bordered by the Atlantic Ocean to the north and the east. There are about 46 named beaches in this town. As you can imagine, all the beaches in this area are very popular. The Yunque National Rainforest is also in Fajardo, bringing many visitors to this town. The high peaks from the mountains in the forest can be seen from the coast.
Seven Seas Beach is a “balneario” (bathing spot) in this town, managed by the Program of National Parks of the Department of Recreation and Sports of Puerto Rico. It has public restrooms, and picnic areas with built-in grills. There’s a camp area (permit required) and parking access (with a fee per vehicle). It’s safe for swimmers, because there’s a natural reef that protects the shore, plus there are lifeguards on staff. The sand here has a very light color, which makes the water look crystal clear.
Escondida Beach is also in Fajardo. It’s near the Seven Seas Beach. It’s in a secluded area (the name “escondida” means hidden). It’s not safe for swimmers. But it’s a beautiful spot to visit. The sand has a golden color, and as Seven Seas, the water is crystal clear. But rip currents are strong, even when you don’t see big waves. To get there, you have to walk through a path across the mangrove area. There are no public restrooms, and no lifeguards.
Next town to visit is Ceiba. The Atlantic Ocean borders its coast. There are about 60 named beaches in this town. There’s an airport, the José Aponte de la Torre Airport, that uses the facilities of former Roosevelt Roads Naval Station. This airport mostly serves private flights, and flights to the islands of Culebra, Vieques, and the Virgin Islands.
Medio Mundo Beach is near the airport area. It’s another beach with sand that has a very light color. This makes the water look crystal clear. The shore is mostly flat, but it’s still not safe for swimmers. There are no lifeguards. If you decide to get in the water, always proceed with caution. Also, there are no public restrooms.
Húcares Beach is in Nagüabo. This beach has a long seafront boardwalk overlooking the bay. There are also docks for boats, as this is a town where many fishermen live. Of course there are many great seafood restaurants. It’s not a beach fit for swimming. But it’s a beautiful location, with a wonderful view of the bay. There is available parking nearby. On weekends, it gets very crowded, as many local food and arts vendors offer their products for locals and visitors.
Punta Santiago Beach is a “balneario” in the town of Humacao. There’s a vacational center nearby, administered by the National Parks Administration with villas and apartments for short-term rent. At the time I wrote this, 2019, the center was temporarily closed for repairs due to damage caused by Hurricane María. The beach area is open to visitors. There are public restrooms, picnic area, and parking available (with a fee per vehicle). The beach is near Punta Santiago Natural Reserve, so there are tall palm trees and mangroves.
Palmas del Mar Beach is also in Humacao. Palmas del Mar is a private gated resort area. There’s a private beach for the resort residents, and there’s a public area for visitors. It has one of the most beautiful beaches in the eastern zone. The beach is framed by a beatiful line of tall palm trees. If you visit, let the security staff at the entrance know you are going to the beach. There are no public restrooms in the visitors’ area.
El Cocal Beach is in Yabucoa. It’s a beach very popular among surfers. The sand is light yellow, and there are big rocks all around the shore. There are a couple of gazebos nearby. Parking is limited, as it’s by the side of the road. There’s a small area called “La Posita” where water is enclosed by rocks, so its waves are softer and is a nice spot to enjoy.
Lucía Beach is also in Yabucoa. It’s in a secluded area, so there are no public restrooms and no lifeguards. The sand is light yellow and the water is crystal clear. The shore extends considerably, inviting for a nice walk. Vieques can be seen in the distance. There are also a great amount of tall palm trees here. The water seems calm, but swimming is not safe. There are a couple of gazebos nearby, that allows visitors to bring food and enjoy a picnic.
Punta Tuna Beach is in Maunabo. This town is in the southeastern corner of the Island. Its coast is also bordered by the Caribbean Sea. The beach is located by the Punta Tuna Wetlands Natural Reserve, so there is plenty of vegetation around, from mangroves to tall palm trees. Because the beach is part of the reserve, there are restricted areas during turtle nesting season. It’s also a beach not safe for swimmers, due to the strong water currents. But it’s a beautiful location to spend the day, and walk around. The sand here has a range of color tones, from light yellow to dark orange. To the west end, there’s a beautiful rock wall. There are no public restrooms and no assigned parking.
The east coast is the most impacted region of Puerto Rico when tropical storms or hurricanes hit land. After Hurricane María in 2017, the whole Island suffered serious damage, but the towns and beaches of the east coast were greatly affected. With the help and efforts of volunteers, most of the beaches are back to their natural beauty.
This coast also has amazing views. It’s easy to get fascinated by the wonderful sea landscape views as you drive nearby. It invites you to stop by, walk around, take a break and enjoy nature. I promise, if you visit, you too will fall in love with my beautiful Puerto Rico. It’s time for my tacita de café. Salud!
Para versión en Español vea https://fullofcoffee.blog/2019/07/28/mi-hermoso-puerto-rico:-playas-de-la-costa-este/