The Best Spots for Surfing in Puerto Rico
Known as the North Shore of the Caribbean, Puerto Rico’s surf scene is reminiscent of the sport’s birthplace on the shores of Hawaii. The island has some of the best surfing in all of the Caribbean, with warm waters, near-perfect weather year-round, and waves for surfers of all experience levels. In fact, surfing in Puerto Rico has become something of a rite of passage for aspiring surfers and pros alike. Experienced surfers are sure to dig the gnarly reef breaks (up to 20 feet high!), and beginners will also feel comfortable taking a surfing lesson in Puerto Rico’s milder swells.
Some of the best surf spots in Puerto Rico can be found around the northwest coast in places like Rincón and Isabela, but there are plenty of surf-friendly beaches around San Juan as well. With so many funky surf shops and beachside board rentals, surfers of all skill levels can get geared up and head out to catch some waves without having to fly with their board if traveling from overseas. Everyone is sure to love the laid-back culture and friendly island vibes that make Puerto Rico’s surf scene welcoming and fun.
Not sure where to go? Keep reading to find the best surf spots in Puerto Rico.
Surfing around the San Juan area offers the best of both worlds for vacationers who can’t wait to get into the water but also want to take advantage of the city’s vibrant nightlife, culinary scene, and historic attractions like El Morro, Old San Juan, and the San Juan Cathedral.
Playa La Ocho
Suitable for all levels of surfers, Playa La Ocho is easy to access from Old San Juan and Escambrón Beach. It gets its name from the bus stop at the front of the beach, bus stop #8. This beach offers plenty of space for surfers to spread out and catch some waves, with swells breaking both left and right (although the locals will tell you that the left side is always best). One of the coolest aspects of surfing Playa La Ocho is that you can see the beautiful Fort San Cristobal from the beach.
Known as the “Sun Capital” of Puerto Rico, Luquillo is a perfect region to spend time at the beach. Home to El Yunque National Forest, Luquillo offers some of the most stunning views on the island. It’s also known for its beaches, especially its beginner-friendly surf spots. La Pared is one of the best beaches in the Caribbean to learn how to surf. Located just 45 minutes from San Juan, it’s not only convenient but also scenic. Especially during the fall months, La Pared has consistent surfable waves, but it’s a great sport for beginners year-round.
Located just outside the eastern border of San Juan is Carolina, a municipality rich in history. It’s referred to as the “Land of Giants” in honor of illustrious residents like poet Julia de Burgos and baseball legend Roberto Clemente, as well as Don Felipe Birriel González, who was known around the world for his height of 7’11”.
A hidden gem in Carolina is Isla Verde, where you can find calm beaches like Pine Grove Beach, which has perfect conditions for watersports like stand-up paddleboarding and bodyboarding. This charming crescent-shaped beach has beautiful blue waters and soft white sand where you can enjoy a picnic. The gentle waves in this area make it ideal for first-time surfers to learn this exciting sport. If you’re looking to hit the waves for the first time, this is the perfect spot for a lesson.
Located on Puerto Rico’s northwestern tip, Aguadilla is best known for its beaches and parks, as well as interesting attractions like the modern aquatic theme park, Parque Acuático Las Cascadas, and an underground freshwater source, the Ojo de Agua.
Surfing is a popular activity in Aguadilla, with many beaches to choose from. In 2018, the 5-mile coastline between Crash Boat Beach and Surfer’s Beach was designated the Caribbean’s first World Surfing Reserve by Save the Waves. Plenty of surf spots and some of the most beautiful beaches in Puerto Rico make Aguadilla well worth a visit.
Crash Boat Beach
Easily the most popular beach in Aguadilla, Crash Boat’s crystal-clear waters make this location a favorite for snorkelers, but its sandy bottom and fast, fun break draw surfers of all experience levels. The right-hand waves break off the jetty during a large swell. While the waves aren’t the most consistent in the area, when it’s a good surf day, Crash Boat can get crowded with eager surfers.
Surfer’s Beach features a long right-hand wave with a steep, energetic ride and a shorter left side. This reef break tends to attract many experienced surfers, and it’s also a popular location for surf competitions. The beach itself has a rocky shore and is fringed with almond and palm trees, creating a tropical getaway perfect for sitting back and watching the surfers.
Other Aguadilla surf spots to check out include Gas Chambers, Wilderness, Table Tops, Survival Beach, Manglito, and Wishing Well.
Beautiful beaches, colorful sunsets, great food, and the quintessential island vibe make Rincón one of the best places to surf in Puerto Rico. Located on the westernmost tip of the island, Rincón boasts the best views, and you can even spot migrating whales in the winter. An oasis for beginners and experienced surfers alike, this town hosts surf competitions and beach festivals throughout the year.
Home to the Legend Surf Classic and other international surfing competitions, Domes Beach is one of the most recognized names in Rincón and Puerto Rico. It gets its name from the dome of a nearby defunct nuclear plant. Known for having the most consistent swells in Rincón, Domes’ combo of coral reef breaks and beach breaks offers a mellow ride for all levels of surfers.
Puerto Rico’s big wave beach, Tres Palmas is for the pros only! With strong waves rideable from 12 to 25 feet, the reef break far from the shore is well worth the paddle. It has three breaks, outer reef, middle, and inside, giving experienced surfers options for their perfect ride.
Looking for more Rincón surf spots? Consider Sandy Beach, Maria’s, and Steps Beach.
Isabela is one of the top destinations in Puerto Rico, known for less crowded beaches and crystal-clear natural pools. It’s called the “Garden of the Northwest” due to its lush forests and scenic beaches full of tropical fish, perfect for snorkeling. It’s also a great place to learn about indigenous cultures and try local dishes like quesito de hoja.
Surfers of all levels flock to the beaches of Isabela to enjoy consistent waves and powerful currents. One of the most popular is Middles Beach, where the annual Corona Pro Surf Circuit is held. Aside from this annual event, the beach is usually fairly quiet. This remote beach boasts plenty of sunshine and a long stretch of sandy shore, with middle to big waves for surfers.
Another great beach in the area is Jobos Beach, which has excellent waves as well as calm sections for swimming. This is a popular beach with the locals, so you’ll typically find a bigger crowd. There are convenient restaurants and bars nearby, making it a fun place to hang out.
No matter which beach you choose to visit, you’re sure to have a great time riding the waves in Puerto Rico. Whether you’re standing up on a board for the first time or you’re a pro looking for your new favorite surf break, you’ll find your ideal surfing paradise on the island! Start planning your trip to Puerto Rico and get ready for some unforgettable waves.