Puerto Rico is rife with forests, fortresses and architectural splendor, but there's no doubt that for millions of tourists, it's the glittering beaches of Puerto Rico that beckon. And with over 270 miles of them to choose from, it's not much of a stretch to say there's a stretch of sand for just about everyone on this island (and its islands).
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One beach stands above all others in Puerto Rico, and it's the main reason why so many people skip the mainland and travel straight to Culebra Island. Flamenco Beach dazzles with its many hues of blue and green water, the low green hills encircling it, and its wide, deep horseshoe of golden sand.
There's a reason the largest camping grounds in Puerto Rico are located here. And if you want something beyond the water and sand, there's a colorful bit of social commentary at Flamenco as well; two brightly painted tanks, relics of an unwanted naval presence on Culebra Island.
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Playa Sucia (literally "Dirty Beach") in Cabo Rojo is jaw-dropping. After parking in the public lot a good distance away and walking in the scorching sun for about 10 minutes, it's easy to feel irritable and skeptical, but when you see Sucia's wide crescent of sand, the lighthouse set on its eastern coast as if it were a painted landscape, and the calm, delicious waters of the Caribbean lapping lazily against its shores, any ill humor will proceed to vanish.
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Sun Bay Beach
There are many incredible beaches on Vieques Island, and picking the best of them is a tough call. The easy choice is Sun Bay, the most popular of all beaches on the island. For one, it's the most accessible, with ample parking and facilities (both rare commodities here).
But really, it comes down to this being a pristine and picturesque stretch of sand that's large enough to accommodate its many fans.
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Ocean Park Beach
Ocean Park is the best beach in San Juan. It's a wide stretch of sand that doesn't attract the hordes of tourists that you'll find on nearby Condado Beach and Isla Verde Beach. As such, it's got a more laid back and relaxed feel to it, which isn't always easy to find in the bustling, busy capital.Continue to 5 of 10 below.
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Isla Verde Beach
Any list would be incomplete without Isla Verde, one of the busiest (and most popular) beaches in Puerto Rico. Ringed by some of Puerto Rico's finest hotels, it's also the beach to go if you love to people-watch.
But that's not why we love it. It's one of the more scenic beaches on the island, giving you that quintessential Caribbean beach feel. Hotels lining its shores, wave runners skimming across the water, parasails soaring overhead... it's possible to spend an entire vacation here. And there's nothing wrong with that.
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Flamenco Beach gets all the attention in Culebra, but Playa Tortuga, located on nearby Culebrita Island, is almost more impressive, not to mention it's more remote and far less busy.
You need a boat or a water taxi to get here, but once you do, you'll be rewarded with a lovely beach that is as isolated (there's only one manmade structure to look at) as it is beautiful.
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Rincón, on Puerto Rico's west coast, offers miles and miles of beautiful beachfront. But Barrero Beach is better for a few reasons. This long stretch of sand is ideal for romantic walks, and the sunset from here is simply breathtaking.
And with the lovely Horned Dorset Primavera serving as the backdrop, most would be more than happy to stroll along this beach at leisure.
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For sheer visual splendor, it's hard to beat Isla Palomonitos. This tiny spit of land off Puerto Rico's east coast suffered a fortunate accident when a passing hurricane swept away half of its foliage, leaving an absolutely gorgeous little white-sand beach in its wake.
On busy days and holidays, you'll see Palomonitos ringed by boats, but if you can catch it on an off day, it looks like a tiny slice of paradise.Continue to 9 of 10 below.
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"Battle Beach" in Cabo Rojo is the longest beach in Puerto Rico. It's also one of the most popular places to be on weekends. With its calm, shallow waters and miles of powder-soft sand, it's not hard to see why.
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Another pristine beach in Cabo Rojo, Playa Boquerón has a few things to recommend it. For one, there's the statue of pirate Roberto Cofresí, a local legend and Robin Hood-type figure. It also has excellent public facilities. And for families, the calm, shallow, warm waters will keep the kids happy all day long.