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The 10 Best Beaches in Puerto Rico

Nearly 5 million tourists flock to Puerto Rico every year to immerse themselves in the lush tropical rainforest, the Spanish architecture and the glitzy nightlife. But the No. 1 attraction is the plethora of spectacular beaches. Here are 10 of our favorites.

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Best Beaches in Puerto Rico

Puerto Rico is only 100 miles long and 35 miles wide, but it’s jam-packed with stunning beaches ideal for swimming, surfing, snorkeling and more. To find the perfect beach to suit your mood, there are a couple of things you should know. All beaches in Puerto Rico are accessible to the public — that means even the fanciest seaside resorts (like this one at Isla Verde Beach) must allow non-guests on the beach in front of their properties. Balnearios are beaches maintained by the Department of Natural Resources, which charges a small parking fee. These beaches are regularly cleaned and offer amenities like restrooms, showers, picnic shelters, lifeguards and food vendors.

When swimming in the ocean in Puerto Rico, be aware that strong rip currents sometimes occur, especially on the north coast during high surf and low tide. Before you go into the water, check for safety warning flags (yellow = moderate hazard, red = high hazard, double red flags = water closed to public) and check the National Weather Service for daily riptide reports.

And remember, because Puerto Rico is a US territory, no passport is required for travelers arriving from the States, and the currency is the US dollar.

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Playa Flamenco

Picture a mile-long, horseshoe-shaped crescent of soft white sand gently lapped by crystal clear, aquamarine water set against a backdrop of thick tropical vegetation without a sign of civilization in sight. That is Playa Flamenco, the primary reason travelers visit Culebra, an archipelago 17 miles off the east coast of Puerto Rico. Named one of the best beaches in the country and the world by several sources, including TripAdvisor Travelers’ Choice Awards and the Travel Channel, the beach is remote but not without amenities. A short walk to the parking lot reveals restroom facilities, lounge chair and umbrella rentals, and tons of street food vendors. Because nothing worthwhile comes easy, getting to Culebra requires a ferry or plane ride from the main island.

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Mar Chiquita

The ocean tends to be rough and the shore rocky along the northern coast of Puerto Rico, making it less inviting to swimmers and sunbathers. That’s one reason Mar Chiquita is so popular. Located at the foot of a cliff in Manatí, Mar Chiquita is like a natural swimming pool that was formed when waves eroded a hole in a rocky outcropping, allowing the ocean to rush in and create a basin of calm water ideal for swimming. It’s perfect for little ones scared of big waves. Although it is not a publicly maintained beach, there are food vendors and lounge chair rentals on weekends and holidays.

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Crash Boat Beach

Located on the northwest corner of Puerto Rico in Aguadilla, Crash Boat Beach was once part of a now-shuttered Air Force base, which left behind a large concrete pier and docks that are painted bright blue and yellow and stretch far into the sea. Swimmers, sunbathers and snorkeling fans flock to this two-sided beach. One side is a government-managed balneario that has restroom facilities. Across a footbridge spanning a small stream is a public beach with food vendors and water sport outfitters renting personal watercraft and snorkel gear.

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