Spend a day (or longer) in beautiful Luquillo, Puerto Rico!
From relaxing on one of the many Luquillo beaches to hiking in El Yunque, you'll find so much to do in this picturesque beachside getaway ... and this fun guide covers it all!
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Are you dreaming of a tropical vacay with beautiful beaches and gorgeous sunsets? Then, plan an escape to Luquillo, Puerto Rico!
This pretty little town on the northeast coast of Puerto Rico has it all ... wide beaches with towering palm trees, all the must have amenities, and even a nearby rainforest.
Head there for a day or stick around a little longer. Either way, you will be charmed by beautiful Luquillo!
If you're looking for fun Puerto Rico day trips, Luquillo is the perfect choice!
Located on the northeast coast of Puerto Rico (just a short drive from San Juan and Fajardo), Luquillo is nestled between the Atlantic Ocean and El Yunque National Forest. This charming seaside city was founded in 1787 and is home to about 20,000 people. It was named after the Taíno leader Loquillo, and it's known as La Capital del Sol or sun capital of Puerto Rico.
If you love the beach, this small town has everything you could possibly want: multiple beaches worth visiting, palm trees galore, breathtaking sunsets, great food, and soothing ocean waves ... but that's not all there is to do there!
Things to Do in Luquillo
This charming oceanside town has something for everyone!
From beaches to hiking to food, you won't have any problem finding things to do in Luquillo. Our visit only lasted a few hours, but I'd plan on spending a day (or more) if you want to see everything.
Hit the Beach
Of course, the main reason many people visit Luquillo is it's gorgeous beaches! Luquillo has miles of beaches, and you can walk from one beach to the next. Some are better for swimming and others are preferred by surfers and sea turtles.
After hiking in El Yunque, we arrived at Balneario Monserrate in the late afternoon ... and it was closed. No worries, we parked behind the popular kiosks at Luquillo Beach instead.
Luquillo Beach and Balneario Monserrate are located right next door to each other and form a cresent shaped shoreline ... it's beautiful!
Balneario Monserrate is one of the most popular beaches in Luquillo and for good reason. It's clean, has calm waters, and there are bathrooms and other public facilities to make your trip more pleasant. Monserrate has also been designated a Blue Flag Beach, an indication of high environmental and quality standards.
This beach gets crowded on weekend, but it was mostly empty on our weekday visit apart from a few groups and families. Perfect for a relaxing stroll!
You'll have choice of beaches in Luquillo, from popular Monserrate to the remote La Selva (scroll to the end for a description of the others). If you planning on spending more than a day, why not hit them all?
There weren't a ton of shells on Luquillo Beach or Balneario Monserrate, but you may find a find a few treasures if you keep your eyes peeled. You'll usually have the best luck finding shells after a storm.
Ever since I found a heart-shaped rock at NYC's Rockaway Beach, I've loved searching them out. I didn't find a rock here, but I did find a piece of heart-shaped coral that had washed ashore.
And is that a shark tooth? From what I can tell, shark teeth are not commonly found in Puerto Rico, but it sure looks like it! I spotted a few others, too ... I'm guessing it's a piece of coral.
Catch a Sunset
You can't visit Luquillo Beach without viewing at least one sunset. It was the highlight of our day in Luquillo!
We timed our beach trip to coincide with the sunset, and it was simply stunning. After a rainy day (we got drenched in El Yunque), I was worried that it would be too cloudy to see the sun setting.
The sky over the beach was clear though, and the clouds over El Yunque provided the perfect backdrop to the setting sun.
As we walked, the sun set over the crescent shaped beach, saturating the sky with vibrant blues, purples, and golds.
The palm trees and other plants looked gorgeous as the sun set. And we had the beach mostly to ourselves.
Don't leave this pretty little seaside town without enjoying at least one sunset. It should be on every Luquillo bucket list, as far as I'm concerned!
I took way too many photos ... as per usual! It was just so stunning. You can find sunrise and sunset times in Luquillo here.
Grab a Bite (or a Souvenir) at the Kioskos
One of the coolest things you'll find in Luquillo are the kioskos.
This colorful strip is located just off the highway and has free parking for Luquillo Beach directly behind it. You'll find about 60 businesses here, with a few souvenir shops and many restaurants.
Each shop or restaurant sets its own hours. Stop by the open air kiosks to pick up beach supplies or to enjoy a delicious meal. There's a huge range of food options, ranging from Puerto Rican cuisine to pizza and everything in between.
Gambling is legal in Puerto Rico, and we even spotted one restaurant with a few casino machines!
Photo by iferneinez
Visit El Yunque Rainforest
You can't visit this pretty oceanside town without stopping by El Yunque, the only tropical rainforest in the U.S. National Forest system.
This lush, beautiful rainforest will take your breath away, and it's possible to visit the beach and the forest in one day. I'd recommend spending the morning hiking, swimming, and taking in the jaw dropping views at El Yunque, then hit Luquillo Beach in the afternoon.
El Yunque National Forest sustained a lot of damage during Hurricane Maria, but it's open and definitely worth a trip! Check out my guide to El Yunque for lots of trip planning tips.
Other Things to Do
Of course, relaxing on the beach, eating at the kiosks, and hiking in El Yunque aren't the only things to Luquillo.
There are plenty of other outdoor activities in Luquillo, and it's possible to rent everything from bikes to paddleboards. ATV and zipline adventures also await you.
Take a break from the beach to visit Luquillo's town square, too. It's home to a bi-monthy farmers market, a number of annual festivals, and you'll find many local businesses nearby. The San José Iglesia Catolica is also located just off the plaza, and it's beautiful hand-carved altar is worth checking out.
Up for something more adventurous? Head to Las Paylas (or Pailas) to explore a river waterfall with four natural water slides. Here you can slide over the rocks landing in natural pools.
It's popular with the locals and definitely on my bucket list for my next visit to Luquillo!
Tips for Planning Your Visit
I hope you enjoyed reading about this beautiful beach town! Here are some tips to help plan your trip:
Luquillo is a small city located on the northeast coast of Puerto Rico. It's about a 35 minute drive from San Juan or 15 minutes from Fajardo. From San Juan (Luis Muñoz Marín International Airport) follow these directions. Traveling from Farjardo? Follow these driving directions.
You will find some of the best beaches in Puerto Rico here! Just keep in mind that most beaches do not have lifeguards, and you're entering the water at your own risk.
- Mameyes Beach - This beach is located east of the Rio Mar Resort. The Mameyes River empties into the ocean here, so you'll may come across lots of shells, glass, and other finds.
- Playa Fortuna - You'll find this beach right of PR 3 on Route 193. It's popular with locals.
- Luquillo Beach - This beach is located off PR 3. There is free parking right behind the kiosks. We parked here and walked this beach and Balneario Monserrate on our trip.
- Balneario Monserrate - You'll find this beach (the most popular beach in Luquillo) off PR 3, just south of the food kiosks. There are lots of facilities here, including bathrooms. It's open Wednesday through Sunday, and there is a charge for parking (gates closes at 5:00 PM). We visited this beach and Luquillo Beach on our trip.
- Playa Azul - A wide sand beach located east of Balneario Monserrate. No public facilities, but one of the best beaches in Luquillo.
- Playa La Pared - Located in downtown Luquillo, this beach is popular with surfers.
- La Selva Beach - If you're up for a long walk from Playa La Pared (about 40 minutes), consider heading to La Selva. The waters are rough, but you may spot some leatherback turtles (do not disturb them or their nest) and surfers here.
You can rent everything from bikes to paddleboards to jet skis at this beach. Look for rentals near Playa La Pared.
This beachside town may be small, but the food options are plenty when you visit the Luquillo Kiosks (or Kioskos in Spanish). You'll find about 60 kiosks right off the highway with everything from souvenir stands to bars and restaurants. We even spotted a few gambling machines. Each business sets its own hours, and you'll find a wide range of food here from traditional Puerto Rican meals to burgers and pizza to Peruvian. Something for everyone!
You can't visit Luquillo without heading to nearby El Yunque Rainforest. Read my guide to El Yunque before you go for lots of tips.
Where to Stay
There are a number of inns and hotels located in or near Luquillo. Visit TripAdvisor to check out your options (the reviews are so helpful!). Airbnb is also a good option if you want to stay nearby. If you are planning to stay in San Juan, I'd recommend the InterContinental. We've stayed there multiple times, and it's located right on Isla Verde Beach. The budget-friendly Holiday Inn Express is another excellent option in popular Condado.
More Things to Do in Puerto Rico
There are so many amazing things to do in Puerto Rico! Here are some other ideas to keep you busy:
- See all the sites in San Juan. Puerto Rico's capital city has so much to offer! Check out my San Juan Guide for over 2o awesome things to do there.
- Explore colorful, historic Old San Juan. Here are 10 Things to Do in Old San Juan that you don't want to miss.
- Experience Puerto Rico's vibrant art scene. Spend an afternoon at the Museo de Arte de Puerto Rico ... don't leave without visiting the sculpture garden!
- Get artsy! A visit to Santurce, Puerto Rico is a must on any trip to San Juan, especially if you love street art, museums, and good food.
- Hit another beach. You are in Puerto Rico after all! One of my faves is Isla Verde Beach in Carolina.
- Learn about Puerto Rico's colonial history. One of the best places to learn about the island is at the Historic Forts of Old San Juan.