Top 3 Beaches, Northeast Puerto Rico
La Monserrate Balneario (often called Luquillo Beach), Playa Azul, and La Pared, each remind me of glimmering jewels; brilliantly stunning, yet each one unique, making them my top 3 beaches in Puerto Rico.
Playa Azul, flanked to the west by Luquillo Beach and to the east by La Pared. It’s 11:15am. A group of sandcastles rise above the surf. They’re the only indication that someone was here before, otherwise I’m the only one on the beach. That’s how it is oftentimes, just me and the billowing palm trees, its coconuts hanging like clusters of grapes waiting to be plucked as they cast a partial shadow overhead, the waves breaking at shore, stretching its finger like tentacles toward my toes. It’s a place where all that’s stressful drifts away. There are no public facilities here. On days when the water is calm, it’s not uncommon to see snorkelers exploring the reefs which are close to shore. On Friday’s through Sunday’s kayaks can be rented. On weekends and holidays, is when the beach gets busy as families picnic, grill, and make a day of enjoying the expansive sand and surf.
La Monserrate or Luquillo Beach is what’s called a Balneario or public beach. Here is where you’ll find several outdoor eateries and bathrooms. The waters are generally calm, and the beach front is kissed with bright red lifeguard stations flanked by tall, willowy coconut trees. On the weekends spirited local families can be found picnicking and listening to music. One side of the beach is flanked by the majestic towering mountains of El Yunque Rain Forest whose verdant peaks jet up toward the sky, while the other side offers the peaceful views of the Atlantic Ocean stretching hypnotically toward the horizon.
La Pared or “The Wall” is where the surfers go. It is where the sea is disturbed by opposing winds and the waves get large and strong. The town of Luquillo recently completed a colorful mosaic wall separating the road from the beach. It is one of the steps taken to revitalize the area providing visitors and locals with a beautiful promenade to stroll or sit and watch the surfers catch a wave. It’s also where the sea-breeze is invigorating and the area full of action, making it a place for you to arrange a surf lesson, grab a bite to eat, or enjoy music at one of the local venues. On days when the surf picks up it’s not uncommon to see red flags flapping in the wind warning swimmers to stay out of the water, but that shouldn’t dissuade anyone from taking a leisurely stroll along the brilliant shore.
I’m at peace when I’m at any of these top three beaches in northeast Puerto Rico. Each one unique, each breathtaking, each a special place to build a castle in the sand.
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