The city of Luquillo, also called the Sun Capital of Puerto Rico and the Puerto Rico Riviera, is a popular vacation travel spot due to its location between the blue waters of the Atlantic Ocean and the only official tropical rainforest in the Caribbean. This seaside destination is perfect for watersports and beach hopping with more than 12 miles (19 kilometers) of coastline featuring soft golden sand, gentle waves, and serene bays. There are also many interesting activities available throughout the area.
Located roughly 33 miles (53 kilometers) from San Juan, the city is the northernmost point of the Northeast Ecological Corridor Nature Reserve, which stretches from the town center down the coast to the Seven Seas Beach in Fajardo. The gorgeous tropical landscape includes the rainforest as well as waterfalls and mountains. The city is also one of Puerto Rico’s most popular beach towns, with 14 beaches around the area.
One of the most popular and nicest public beaches is Luquillo Beach, a government-run beach with Blue Flag status for its cleanliness and meeting environmental standards. It has a shore lined with majestic coconut palms that stretches for more than a mile, turquoise waters that are calm due to a natural wave break, and a sandy bottom of fine sand. Here, visitors can find amenities like public bathrooms with showers, chair and kayak rentals, access for disabled people, and an ample parking lot.
Parallel to Luquillo Beach along the PR-3 highway is a roadside strip of 60 restaurants, bars, and gift shops called Los Kioskos. This is the place to go if you are looking for an authentic Puerto Rican foodie experience and over the years, the fare has expanded to include a large variety of different cuisines. While many of the kiosks are closed on Mondays and Tuesdays, the strip is lively all week and really ramps up on the weekends with live music and bars open until 2:00 a.m.
Another popular beach in the area is Playa Azul, easily identified by the mural paintings by local artists that line the road. The water here has some waves to it, making it a popular area for body-boarding and stand-up paddle-boarding. There is also a roped-off swimming area, but no lifeguards or public amenities.
Many of the beaches in the area are located within walking distance of the town’s central plaza. Here, a number of lively festivals are held throughout the year, including the Three Kings Day festival held in January and the Coconut Festival held each fall. In March, the city celebrates its patron saint festival, the Fiestas Patronales de San Jose, which features parades, amusement rides, games, and live entertainment.
Those looking for an outdoor adventure can travel just outside the city to the El Yunque National Forest, formerly known as the Caribbean National Forest. El Yunque is the only tropical forest in the United States National Forest System and holds an estimated 240 types of tree, along with many other plants. Hiking trails throughout the rainforest lead to mountain peaks, scenic lookouts, and waterfalls.
Major highlights in El Yunque include Juan Diego Falls, La Mina Falls, and a natural river waterslide called Las Paylas. Visitors can also hike to the peaks of the mountain range, which rise more than 3,000 feet above sea level. There is also the Carabalí Rainforest Adventure Park, which offers biking, ATVs, ziplines, go-cart racing, and horseback riding.
No matter what kind of tropical adventure you are looking for, you can find it in Luquillo, Puerto Rico. From sipping tropical drinks on shimmering sand to hiking through a lush rainforest surrounded by songbirds to dancing the night away with the locals, there are different things to do every day of your vacation.