Why You Should Vacation in Luquillo Puerto Rico
There’s a relatively undiscovered area of the northeastern ecological corridor of Puerto Rico and it’s brimming with everything from mountain top hikes to beach walks under sweeping fields of palm trees. It’s where you can hear the coqui frogs sing, spot a manatee searching for breakfast, and glimpse a leatherback turtle laying her eggs.
Even Hurricane Maria can’t fade the natural beauty of Luquillo and the resilience of the people who have worked tirelessly to rebuild. The impact of your visit will assist in helping the local businesses and residents. It is why you should make Luquillo, Puerto Rico Your Next Vacation Destination and visit today.
Luquillo is home to a beautiful coastal strip of magnificent beaches: Balneario Monserrate/Luquillo Public Beach, Playa Azul, La Pared, La Fortuna, Mameyes, and La Selva Beach. In addition to the breathtaking ocean views, they provide opportunities for all types of water sports.
Oftentimes my most pressing decision of the day is deciding which of the top beaches in northeast Puerto Rico I should visit. Spending time on any of Luquillo beaches is a perfect opportunity to experience the natural beauty of both the sea and the land.
Luquillo Beach/Balneario Monserrate
Monseratte or more often called Luquillo Beach is Blue Flag Certified and is awarded by the Foundation of Environmental Education when a beach meets the stringent standards of water quality, safety, sand quality, and environmental protection.
Flanked by a plantation of majestic coconut palms and more than a mile of golden sand and calm surf, this beach is a true beauty. It’s calm, clear water. El Yunque Rainforest can be seen in the background.
It is one of the most popular beaches with amenities offering food, public bathrooms, showers, parking, and lifeguards. There are also designated camping areas. You can also access the famous kiosks, offering a wide variety of food, at the west end of the beach and it is here you can find tour operators offering kayak and jet ski rentals.
Playa Azul Beach
Playa Azul is a gorgeous crest of surf and sand and is only accessed through a myriad of small side roads. There are no public amenities and only street parking, but the tranquility and beauty make it my favorite. Playa Azul is busy on the weekends, but during the week you may find that you’re the only one there. The reefs offshore are good for snorkeling.
La Pared Beach
La Pared is where the surfers go and is close to the town center where there are an assortment of great restaurants. If you’ve always wanted to surf, this is the place to catch a wave. There are several surf schools who would be happy to give you a lesson and with a sandy bottom, it’s a perfect place to learn. Keep an eye out for turtles nesting. The nesting area will be roped off preventing anyone from walking on the delicate turtle eggs.
Mamayes Beach and Playa Fortuna Beaches
These two beaches are most frequented by locals and residents of the area because of the lack of parking and facilities.
La Selva Beach
La Selva Beach is a critical habitat for leatherback turtle nesting and is part of the Northeast Ecological Corridor. It can only be reached on foot from La Pared after a 40-minute hike. The waters are very rough and I don’t recommend swimming, although experienced surfers can often be found catching a wave.
Activities are Endless
Surfing Puerto Rico
All experts agree: La Pared in Luquillo is the best beach for surfing lessons in Puerto Rico. You can find all the information you need on Surfing Puerto Rico’s website.
El Yunque Rain Forest
If there’s any activity you choose to do when in Luquillo, hiking El Yunque should be at the top of the list. it is the only tropical rain forest in the United States National Forest System and consists of 29,000 biologically diverse acres. Over 200 inches of rainfall in some areas is responsible for its lush foliage and abundant waterfalls. Nature and beauty make hiking in the rain forest one of my top things to do in Puerto Rico.
El Yunque has suffered some serious damage during hurricane Maria. There is only access to La Coca Falls and the Tower at the time of this writing, but is well worth the visit. In the meantime, check their website for road closures and updates. If you’re interested, you can read here about what El Yunque was like before the storm.
Caribali Rainforest Park
This lush outdoor destination in El Yunque mountains offers a go-kart track, horseback riding, mountain biking, and ATVs. It’s a great place to experience the beauty and nature of the rain forest in multiple different ways.
Carabali Rainforest Park – Puerto Rico 992, Luquillo, 00773, Puerto Rico
Yunke Zipline Adventure
An exhilarating opportunity to fly among and above the rainforest by way of 5 exciting zip lines and experiencing why Puerto Rico is a great Eco-Tourism destination!
Las Paylas – Natural Waterslide
If you’re looking for an “off the beaten path” activity, this one is for you. Amazing rock formations create a natural water slide that can be accessed, believe it or not, in the backyard of someone’s home. Don’t worry. They’re prepared for guests and offer to park for $5 as well as snacks and cool drinks. It’s worth a visit to explore the unique rock formations and enjoy a picnic, even if you don’t venture onto the slide.
It’s a little tricky to find:
Take route 3 to road 992 and make a left onto road 991. Continue until you see a sign for Sabana and turn right onto road 983. Follow road 983 until you see a house on the right with a chain link fence around the yard and the words Las Paylas on a sign and mailbox.
Luquillo Beach Yoga
Sit cross-legged facing the ocean. Breathe deeply for five or more breaths, taking in all aspects of your surroundings with your five senses. There is absolutely no better place to experience yoga. Jennifer Forshee offers classes Wednesday through Saturday at 8:30 am on Playa Azul Beach, but it’s best to check the Luquillo Beach Yoga Facebook page to be sure.
Town of Luquillo – Capital Del Sol
Luquillo was founded in 1797 and is known as “La Capital del Sol” (Sun Capital). A trip to Luquillo wouldn’t be complete without a visit to the public plaza on Calle Fernandez Garcia.
The first thing that will grab your attention is the colorful Saint Joseph Church. If you can, stop in and admire the wood carvings that adorn the interior. Carvings depicting nature, as well as symbols from other cultures and religions are represented.
It is in this plaza that you will find a few restaurants, the mayor’s office, as well as Chelos Liquor and Convenience Store. It’s a good place to pick up snacks and cold drinks when heading out to the beach, or for liquor for when you’re in the mood for a refreshing mojito or Cuba Libre.
Lifelong Luquillo resident, Mar Gomez, promotes tourism for the municipal of Luquillo and runs the Capital Del Sol Facebook page. It’s a great resource for things to do in Luquillo and to find out about the local festivals that take place in the town throughout the year. The town also sponsors the bi-monthly Farmers Market.
Mar graciously introduced me to many of the local business owners. Her enthusiasm and passion for Luquillo is contagious. She shared with me, “There’s so much to do here in our beautiful town. We offer a variety of great restaurants, beautiful beaches, and a top-notch surfing destination. If you really want to support our community, the best way to do that is to visit our town and eat at our restaurants and shop at our local businesses…and follow the Capitol Del Sol Capital Del Sol Facebook page. It’s the best way to find out what is going on in Luquillo.”
Fiestas and Festivals
- Fiestas Patronales (Patron Saint Celebrations) – March
- Festival Tinglar (Sea Turtle Festival) – April
- Luquillo Beach Jazz Fest – May
- Festival de Coco (Coconut Festival) – September
- Festival Platos Típicos (Local Food Festival) – December
Luquillo’s Farmers Market
On the 2nd and 4th Saturday of every month, the town gets together to host a farmer’s market at the Public Plaza of Luquillo. Enjoy homemade baked goods, handcrafted jewelry, garden-grown vegetables, as well as local honey and hot sauces.
Restaurants in Luquillo
Luquillo has a wide assortment of restaurants offering many different types of food.
The Luquillo Kioskos
When lunchtime or evening rolls around there’s no better place to relish in the year-round warm-weather by enjoying the open-air restaurants and kiosks serving Puerto Rican cuisine and offering local entertainment.
In Luquillo the kiosks are a famous tourist attraction along the popular PR-3 highway. Offering an array of 60 or more mini beach-front open-air restaurants that run parallel to Luquillo Beach, it is your chance to get authentic Puerto Rican food, purchase a few souvenirs, and try out the water sports rentals. It’s here you’ll want to try mofongo, tostones, arepas, and many other local favorites. You can also order a hamburger or pizza, but why? When in Puerto Rico eat like a local !
Charlie Sepulveda, the famous Grammy Award-winning Latin jazz musician plays at El Terruno, located in the kiosks on the last Friday of every month. Be sure to check out one of his shows.
Boardriders is an open-air beachfront bar on La Pared Beach offering bar food and live entertainment most weekend nights.
Lenas Cafe is near the Public Plaza of Luquillo offering sandwiches, breakfast specialties, and more.
Pasta Y Pueblo
Pasta Y Pueblo is a restaurant offering delicious upscale cuisine. This restaurant review gives more details about this fabulous restaurant.
Rincon De Sabor
Rincon De Sabor is two blocks from the Public Plaza of Luquillo. This unassuming local restaurant boasts delicious mofongo. Don’t let the darkened windows fool you into thinking it’s closed. Ring the bell and enjoy the fun souvenir shop at the front of the restaurant.
William’s Pizza offers a variety of toppings on their delicious pizzas.
Pinchos are grilled chicken, pork, or shrimp on a stick and there’s no better place to get them than at Yunni’s Pinchos.
Puerto Rico 991, Luquillo, Puerto Rico 00773
Burgers, steaks, bar food, drinks, and more.
Inexpensive open-air bar and grill.
Where to Stay in Luquillo
Love.Soul.Beautiful Guest House
This Bohemian-chic boutique 4-bedroom apartment is nestled in the heart of downtown Luquillo. Each room is unique, colorful, and just as full of life as the owner, Molly Jones.
“I love Luquillo, Molly shares. “I want my guests to feel at home and enjoy everything this town has to offer.” The guesthouse embraces the carefree and relaxed lifestyle of the pueblo in which it resides, yet it’s the attention to detail that Molly provides, that makes this place so special.
Step out onto the colorful rooftop deck in the front of the guest house and be dazzled with sweeping views of the Atlantic and enjoy gentle warm breezes. The back porch, fitted with an inviting hammock, offers a relaxing oasis with views of the famous El Yunque Rain Forest.
“Our guest house has everything you need. A fully stocked kitchen with gas stove and oven along with a fridge and freezer, and pots and pans,” Molly said. “Make yourself at home! When you come back from a long day of sightseeing take a shower in one of two bathrooms and get ready for a night out.”
For Vacation Rentals in Luquillo:
Rental Properties Services by Alana
Visit her website for a listing of great rental properties.
Mar Y Miel House Rental
Private house on the beach that can sleep up to 8 people. This beautiful house is a tropical oasis!
Why You Should Visit Luquillo
The local business owners and residents fuel Luquillo’s hospitality and their and dedication to the town they love is graciously passed on to anyone who visits.
Comprised of 12 miles of untouched beaches, a myriad of nature-based activities, a one of kind rain forest, unique places to stay, and fabulous dining, this relaxing beach escape has everything you’re looking for, from a weekend getaway to a week-long stay. Discovering the nature and beauty Puerto Rico’s northeast coast you’ll realize Luquillo is a slice of paradise.