on January 22, 2004
Luquillo Beach is on the northeast shore of Puerto Rico and is one of the most popular beaches on the island. The main reason is that it’s a lagoon and the waves break way off shore, making the surf manageable on the beach. It’s been named by a variety of sources as THE beach in Puerto Rico.
We stopped at Luquillo Beach as part two of a full-day tour that we had booked. The first part of the tour went to the El Yunque rainforest, about 10 minutes away from the beach. (See the El Yunque journal.)
The beach is open between 9am and 6pm. It’s pretty crowded on the weekends, or so we were told. However, there was a festival going on in Old San Juan (see Old San Juan journal), so many of the locals were there and it was actually not bad.
All of the beaches in Puerto Rico are public beaches and Luquillo is no exception. There was a parking fee, but all our fees were covered in our tour cost. The best piece of advice I can give is to splurge – pay the $2 to use the private changing area. The public restrooms are really, really bad. The $2 fee gets you a changing area, nicer bathrooms, and a locker for your personal items.
I estimate the beach to be a mile long. There’s plenty of sand to sit on and a lifeguard station every quarter mile. It’s an Atlantic beach, so don’t expect the white sand and clear water. (I was a bit disappointed in that regard.) The water was a pleasant temperature, however, and it isn’t hard to swim in the water. I really enjoyed walking along the beach, picking up little shells (a couple in front of me found a huge conch shell -- I was jealous), watching the little waves, and taking pictures of the different angles along the shore. There are small stands on the beach as well that sell drinks, food, and such, and a souvenir shop where they had a sale of 3 T-shirts for $10.
I prefer the Caribbean beaches, but this one was a nice alternative. How can I complain about being at ANY beach in January?
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