Carolina Beach (Balneario de Carolina)

#10 in Best Things To Do in Puerto Rico
Carolina Beach (Balneario de Carolina) picture
runneralan2004/Flickr

Key Info

Rt 187

Price & Hours

Free
Tues-Sun 8 a.m.-5 p.m.

Details

Beaches, Free Type
Half Day to Full Day Time to Spend
3.8scorecard
  • 5.0Value
  • 3.5Facilities
  • 3.5Atmosphere

Located near the Isla Verde resort area in greater San Juan, lengthy Carolina Beach is a popular public beach among both visitors and locals. Families especially love its white sand, warm water and that there's an on-duty lifeguard. What they're not so thrilled with are the crowds. The best times to visit are early in the morning or later in the afternoon, after the port-of-call sunbathers have re-boarded their cruise ships.

There are plenty of vendors on the beach, including spots to rent equipment for water sports like kiteboarding, to satisfy the needs of most visitors. Although there are plenty of vendors selling refreshments, "You can bring music, coolers, food, pretty much anything you want," one TripAdvisor reviewer writes. "But, if you bring soda or beer, be careful. You could possibly get a ticket if you bring glass bottles." Another minor drawback is that Carolina Beach's proximity to the airport means you may hear a bit of loud noise from airplanes overhead. 

Carolina Beach offers public restrooms, a fenced parking lot and several first aid stations. The beach is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday. You can visit for free, but there's a $4 parking fee.

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Type
Time to Spend
#1 Bioluminescent Mosquito Bay (Vieques)

This south Vieques beach might not sound like much, but it's one of travelers' favorite experiences in Puerto Rico. During the day, Bioluminescent Mosquito Bay is your stereotypical Caribbean hideout  but at night, the sky and waters emit a blue glow from the half-plant, half-animal microorganisms that live there. More than 700,000 bioluminescent dinoflagellates live in each gallon of bay water, and recent travelers have been amazed by just how much visibility these tiny creatures provide.

But avoid visiting the bay during a full moon; the microorganisms aren't as visible then. Also aim for a quiet approach: "I would definitely go in a group with kayaks-not a motorized boat," one TripAdvisor reviewer said. "It is very peaceful and beautiful to be on the water at night but the sparkling water is a real treat."

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Todd Van Hoosear/Flickr
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