8 Best Beaches in San Juan, PR
Imagine yourself surrounded by white sands, turquoise waters, crystal clear skies, and coconut-filled palm trees swaying in the gentle breeze.
Sounds too good to be true? We promise it isn’t. If you are ready for an island getaway, Puerto Rico boasts around 700 miles of coastline, and its capital city, San Juan, hosts some of the most spectacular beaches on the island.
You can dream about tanning on these white-sand beaches while getting swept away in the local Puerto Rican culture and food.
So whether you’re looking for a spot to relax and soak up some sun or an action-packed day of swimming, snorkeling, kayaking, or windsurfing, a San Juan beach offers all of this close to one of our rental properties.
We’ve prepared this guide to give you all the information you need on the best San Juan beaches – where they are, what they offer, why they are so worth it, and how to reach them. So pack your bag; we’re taking you on a tour of paradise.
A Guide to San Juan Beaches
San Juan has over 700 miles of shoreline dotted both developed and wild, and rugged. By constitutional law, all the San Juan beaches and the ones around the island are open to the public except for the Caribe Hilton’s beach.
Because they are public, they are generally free of charge. Any charges at the entrance of a beach or Balneario go for parking or beach maintenance.
Keep your eyes out for endangered sea turtle habitats! Follow the signs at the San Juan beaches when you encounter turtle nesting areas to help protect the island’s natural treasures, including not touching or feeding the manatees at the Condado Lagoon or removing starfish from the ocean floor.
The beaches around San Juan are so varied it’s worth trying them all out – you know, for quality control!
Best Beaches in San Juan, Puerto Rico
1. Escambron Beach
Playa El Escambron (Escambron Beach is also known as Balneario del Escambrón) is one of San Juan’s most popular beaches for locals and travelers and is also cataloged as a Blue Flag Beach. A Blue Flag Beach must meet standards for environmental management, such as water quality.
El Escambron sits at the entrance of Old San Juan offering endless views of the Atlantic Ocean. It is family-friendly and perfect for those looking for convenience as it has two sections, the main Escambron Beach and, to the east, La Poza del Escambrón Beach.
The main section is perfect for swimming as it often has calm waters thanks to the nearby coral reef, while the La Poza section is ideal for those who wish to do some snorkeling, jet snorkeling, and scuba diving.
If you want to explore the beach, you can also head out to the Fortín del Escambrón, a small little fort perfect for taking photos and seeing the buildings of the Condado District.
Escambron also boasts abundant palm trees, green grass, and white sand, so you can find a nice shade to set up a picnic or just relax at the beach.
Escambron beach also features picnic areas, bathrooms, showers for rinsing, and convenient parking lots within walking distance from the beach. You can park at the Calle San Agustín Parking lot or its gated parking lot (there is a parking fee of around $5.00 plus tax – cash only). You can also arrive by using public transportation.
Directions: Take PR-26 to Calle San Agustín in San Juan Antiguo and turn right onto C. San Agustín before the traffic light.
Facilities with Restrooms or Showers: Yes
2. Condado Beach
Condado Beach is another of the popular San Juan beaches in Puerto Rico due to its location. You can spend your day walking by the beach or lounging in a beach chair before heading out to have brunch with friends or shopping.
It is perfect for sunbathing or lounging, but it is not safe for swimming as the ocean waves and tides are strong in this section of the coastline. However, Condado is a prime spot for locals and travelers as it offers a variety of restaurants, bars, and shops.
It is definitely worth visiting if you want to take it easy and relax, and if you want to swim, then simply head out to La Playita del Condado, where the tides are safe.
Directions: You can easily reach Condado Beach by bus or car. You can park your rental car in a free spot along Ashford Avenue or nearby private parking for a fee. From Ashford Avenue, you can enter Condado Beach through Ventana del Mar Park.
Facilities with Restrooms or Showers: No, but it is close to shops, restaurants, and property rentals.
3. La Playita del Condado
Unlike Condado Beach, La Playita del Condado is a serene beach with white sands and aquamarine color waters.
This beach location is also perfect for families traveling with small kids. La Playita translates to the “little beach,” so you will see it is quite small, yet, it allows you to enjoy various ocean activities, such as swimming, snorkeling, or simply lounging around with your friends on its picturesque shoreline.
Lounge chairs and umbrellas are also available for rent. From La Playita, you will enjoy views of the city scene, the Dos Hermanos Bridge connecting to the entrance of Old San Juan, and a small fortification.
Due to its location, it’s worth visiting for its proximity to multiple restaurants, bars, and cafes nearby that offer delicious local cuisine and local food vendors selling Piña Coladas.
Directions: Reaching La Playita del Condado is quite easy and convenient. By foot, you can cross the Dos Hermanos Bridge toward the Condado district, and La Playita will be hidden on the north corner next to a beach resort.
You can also use public transportation available from Ocean Park and nearby areas to reach Ashford Avenue.
Facilities with Restrooms or Showers: No, but it is close to shops, restaurants, and property rentals.
4. Ocean Park Beach
Ocean Park Beach is a wonderful mile-long beachfront located in the Condado District. You can do multiple activities that suit different ages, such as sandcastle-building, bodyboarding, windsurfing, jet skiing, and parasailing.
The white sands are soft, with sections full of palm and sea grape trees and native trees offering nice shades and a break from the sun. You can bring your beach towel or chair to enjoy a quiet space between the trees or hang a hammock to truly relax with the sound of ocean waves in the near distance.
You will find many locals love spending a day in Ocean Park playing games, such as beach volleyball or beach tennis. You will notice that Puerto Ricans are super friendly, so don’t be shy to ask if you can join in a game or two.
Ocean, as the locals call it, is also a great spot for jogging, walking, and kitesurfing, and you’ll notice some close-off small sections to protect turtle nesting areas.
Directions: To get to Ocean Park, you can easily take a taxi from San Juan and ask them to drop you off at Parque de Indio or the Numero Uno Guesthouse.
These provide easy access points to Ocean Park. You can park your rental car along the street on Calle King’s Court, Calle Taft, or Calle Atlantic if you’re driving.
Facilities with Restrooms or Showers: No, but there are fast food restaurants within walking distance available.
5. The Condado Lagoon (Laguna del Condado)
With its mesmerizing views and peaceful atmosphere, the Condado Lagoon (locally known as the La Laguna del Condado) in Puerto Rico is an amazing spot worth visiting and perfect for families. The lagoon is a just short drive away from Old San Juan in the Condado District.
Due to the calm waters in the lagoon, it is the perfect location to do paddleboarding, paddle yoga, and kayaking. Don’t be surprised if you see a manatee or two peaking their noses through the water’s surface. You can also do some snorkeling to see the diverse sea life, including coral reefs, fish, and turtles.
If you wish to relax or meditate, the Condado Lagoon is an ideal spot for it, especially in the early morning, as it tends to be tranquil, and the sea waters are at their most serene.
You can also try kayaking during sunset hours to watch the different sunset hue colors and see the Condado district night lights come to life. The lagoon also offers tours and rentals to go on a night kayak tour of the lagoon using LED lights, glow pain, and glow sticks. Just be sure to make reservations ahead of time, especially during the high season.
There are rentals for canoes, kayaks, and paddle boards, and if you wish to do aquafitness, check out Paddle Yoga Puerto Rico.
The Condado Lagoon also houses a small little beach called “La Playita” on the southwest side of the lagoon. It has clear and shallow waters and a little bit of shade.
Directions: Make your way to the Laguna del Condado Profesor Jaime Benítez Rexach National Park, where parking is available.
From there, you can enter the park on foot and head out to the rental companies in the area next to the lagoon. It is a 15-minute walk to arrive at La Playita.
Facilities with restrooms or showers: No, but it is close to the Condado district.
Beaches Near San Juan, Puerto Rico
No doubt the capital city has some of the best Puerto Rico beaches, but Carolina, a mere 15-20 minute drive to the east of San Juan, offers a few beaches to escape to that locals frequent and travelers will enjoy.
Just a short day trip away, you will find picture-perfect tropical beaches worth a visit in Isla Verde, Carolina.
6. El Alambique Beach (Isla Verde Beach West)
Alambique Beach (or Isla Verde Beach West) will be the first beach you will encounter when you leave the San Juan metro area.
Alambique is a long, wide beach with golden sand and tall palm trees, and it is laid-back with convenient umbrellas and beach chair rentals nearby, as well as restaurants serving seafood dishes and lively bars.
The ocean water of Alambique is much calmer than the Condado beach, making it perfect for families with small kids.
Directions: To get to Isla Verde Beach from San Juan, you can take the metro or hire a taxi; alternatively, multiple buses leave from San Juan and make stops along Isla Verde Avenue.
Facilities: No, but options are nearby for food and restrooms.
7. Balneario de Carolina
The Balneario de Carolina is another location perfect for families and great for swimming when the ocean tides are ideal.
The beach is often monitored to ensure the highest environmental quality, and lifeguards are on duty during certain hours of the day.
The sand is raked often, so it is perfect for taking a walk along the shore or relaxing under an umbrella. Numerous kiosks are available, as well as gazebos for picnics and public restrooms.
Pro Tip: When you finish enjoying the Balneario de Carolina, you can take the PR-187 road by turning left at the exit of the Balneario. It’s a nice drive to take for a quick mini-road trip. You can continue driving until you arrive at Piñones, specifically La Pocita de Piñones – a small natural pool within walking distance of beachfront restaurants.
Directions: From Condado, you can get on the Expreso Roman Baldorioty de Castro/PR-26 to Avenue Los Gobernadores/PR-187. Take Exit 7 and continue on PR-187 until you see the Balneario entry on the left.
8. Flamenco Beach Culebra
One of the best beaches in the world is located on an island off Puerto Rico’s archipelago called Culebra. Flamenco Beach is breathtaking, and you will fall in love with the gentle turquoise waters and the picture perfect powder white sand.
When ocean conditions are good, it is a great spot for snorkeling and swimming. The beach also offers some good amenities, including lifeguards, camping areas, showers, changing rooms, and bathrooms.
As you explore the beach, you will encounter a small attraction, a graffiti-painted tank, left on the shore and slowly sinking into the sand.
Directions: Culebra is located about 17 miles off the east coast of Puerto Rico, so you can arrive using the Puerto Rico Ferry that leaves from Ceiba. You can leave your car rental at the Ceiba Ferry Terminal Parking.
Once on the ferry, it takes approximately 45 minutes each way, but fair warning, the waters can get a bit rough. Once you arrive at Culebra, you can take the public shared van to arrive at Flamenco Beach (about 3 miles away) or rent a vehicle for the day. Make sure you book in advance.
Stay and Soak Up the Rays in San Juan, Puerto Rico
With crystal clear waters, white and sandy beaches, and swaying palm trees, it’s no wonder why San Juan, Puerto Rico beaches are some of the most sought-after tropical getaways!
Whether you’re looking for a romantic evening stroll along the shore or a day filled with adventure – surfing, scuba diving, or windsurfing- San Juan has something to offer everyone.
You’ll need a place to wash off the sand, and San Juan is full of cozy vacation rentals ready to welcome you home from a day at the beach!