Puerto Rico offers so much for the cruiser to love.
It’s a Caribbean destination that is close to the United States. Plus, San Juan offers one of the most memorable “sail-ins” as you reach the harbor area just off the rocky coastline, and you will be amazed by the pretty colonial architecture and stunning fortresses that loom over Old Town.
Also, if you’re on a cruise to the Caribbean and making a stop at Puerto Rico, you can expect to have an ample amount of sunshine. So, you’re just as likely to be seeking out a beautiful beach.
Yes, Puerto Rico has those, too, of course. In fact, you can find several fabulous beaches that are easy to reach from the cruise port in San Juan.
Let’s have a look at the best beaches in Puerto Rico so you can plan for your day of splashing in the waters and relaxing on the sand.
Located less than an hour’s drive from San Juan and close to El Yunque National Rainforest, Luquillo Beach is popular for island residents and tourists alike. What’s not to enjoy?
The wide beach at the northeast corner of the island features mature palm trees lining the edge of silky-smooth sands. Water is clear, blue, warm and tends to be calm, which makes it ideal for swimming and watersports like snorkeling. You also will find all the facilities and amenities you might need, such as lifeguards, restrooms, food and drinks vendors and kayak rentals.
Isla Verde Beach
Just a 15-minute drive east from the cruise port, Isla Verde is a bustling strip of sand close to the city that has been named “Best Urban Beach” by USA Today readers. The beach area is close to top hotels and resorts, so you also have plenty of places to shop and eat while you’re enjoying your beach day. Plus, with it being so close to port, you don’t have to waste too much time traveling there and back.
The beach is less-crowded on weekdays, and water is much better for water sports like boogie boarding and body surfing than snorkeling. El Yunque is also easily accessible from this beach.
Even closer to your cruise ship than Isla Verde, Sandy Beach is a 10-minute drive east along the coast in the charming surf town of Rincon. This is a good spot to get your first surf lesson or to just sit back and watch the action from your spot on the pristine sand. Sandy Beach is also home to Tamboo Tavern, a popular attraction. This lively place has been ranked by various publications as among the top beach bars in the world.
Also in the northeast and not quite a 45-minute drive from the cruise terminal, Pinones Beach is a great option for cruisers seeking to immerse themselves in nature and explore more local food options. A seven-mile-long beach boardwalk runs along the edge of the waterfront. The beach area encompasses scenic mangroves, serene lagoons and numerous food kiosks. You can join residents reveling at these small eateries, called chinchorros. They are gathering spots to enjoy traditional food, cheap beers, music and friendly banter while enjoying the sunshine and waters.
This beach is lined with several resort properties and restaurants, so it offers all the modern conveniences and services you would expect at a resort-area beach. Located about an hour’s drive west from the cruise pier, Dorado Beach features about a mile-long stretch of well-groomed sand and calm, clear waters good for snorkeling. It’s a fantastic spot for swimming and enjoying lunch and drinks at any of a number of nearby restaurants and beach bars.
John Roberts is a freelance writer and operator of InTheLoopTravel.com. He writes about cruising and active travel, highlighting how people can connect with the world and other cultures through rewarding travel experiences.