Cueva Golondrina - Beach Cave / Grotto at Playa El Pastillo in Isabela, Puerto Rico.

A Really Special Beach We Love… Come with us for walking photo tour

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Playa El Pastillo, located in the town of Isabela, is a pretty magical and special place to us, we hope you take the time to visit during the summer months.  This vast stretch of flat sand welcomes the sea and the brilliant sunshine, calling to those who wish to contemplate the calm spirituality of quiet waves, sapphire skies, and hidden treasures only found by those who take the time to stop, look, and listen.

If you dream of a romantic horseback ride, this tour comes through El Pastillo Beach.  The best place to stay nearby is Royal Isabela, which has steps coming down to the beach.

Playa El Pastillo  - Isabela, Puerto Rico

As soon as you arrive at the beach, if you look to the far-off cliff, you’ll see the profile of a Taino native carved by Nature, this is the first indication that this place is particularly blessed.  It seems that the island itself desires to keep a sacred spot in memory of those who first dwelt here.

Playa El Pastillo  - Isabela, Puerto Rico

The solemn feel of this beach makes raucous, the vivacious play feels impious and disrespectful.  This beach does not have much shade but along the cliffs, you can find a shaded oasis under palm trees. This beach has a very wide expanse of sand the color of ground ginger.

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Playa El Pastillo - Isabela, Puerto Rico

Stronger waves on the north side of the island, although visually stunning, make some parts of the northern coast a place for exploring rather than bathing, the diversity in the scenic landscape certainly makes up for it, a quick dip, or sitting along the edge is bliss.  The best time to enjoy Playa El Pastillo is from late spring to late fall, but we find it interesting during the winter to watch the strong surf.

Puerto Rico Beaches - Perfect solemn spot under palm trees

Lush green vegetation blankets the cliffs that serve as an emerald backdrop contrasting with the buff sand and intensely blue waters.  It’s no wonder that artists and photographers find the views so captivating.

Isabela Puerto Rico -

Along the water, the sand is compact making it enjoyable for feet to walk… 

Sand Dunes Forming - HIgh Tide at Playa El Pastillo

… the sand thickens towards the back, sand dunes have formed, indicating that the tide comes in pretty far. The wild primitive landscape, the extraordinary hues, heightened by the brilliant sunlight beckons aficionados of natural beauty.

Beach Cave at Playa El Pastillo - Isabela, Puerto Rico

Walk along the line of cliffs and you’ll find small caves that may have been given shelter to natives for centuries.  Listen closely and you just might hear strains of their chants and music blending with the wind and sea.

Scroll below and stay longer for a walking tour of El Pastillo Beach, one of our favorite beaches in Puerto Rico. 

Please Note: 

  • Playa El Pastillo does not offer any facilities, you need to bring everything you’ll need during your visit,  leave only footprints, take your trash with you and dispose at a trash can.
  • There are no lifeguards at this beach, you  use at your own risk.
  • Visit during the summer when the tide is low and the surf gently splashes against the natural barriers.  The rocks along this stretch of beach are cause for concern during high tide and the winter when waves crash and can mask more dangerous rocky areas.  If planning a visit with children or inexperienced swimmers, it is best to remain on the calmer stretches of beach or enjoy fun in the sun at another of the many family-friendly beaches of Isabela.  We want our visitors to delight in their excursions safely.

Walk with us to the West Side of Playa El Pastillo

Isabela, Puerto Rico

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We’ll start your online tour by walking towards the west side of El Pastillo Beach if you were starting from the main entrance.

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Scattered naturally throughout, iconic palm trees frame an artist’s dream stretch of sea and sand.

Leaning palm tree in Isabela, Puerto Rico

A glistening morning is a perfect time to take long walks and go beachcombing for sea glass that matches the translucent water, tiny shells that were used as decoration by natives, and revel in the spectacular view.

Sand - Playa El Pastillo - Isabela, Puerto Rico

Choose a morning after island rain has washed swirls of rich soil from the cliffs into the burnished sand, creating patterns that mirror the swirling morning clouds.  As the tide pulls through the shore, the beach resembles gingerbread with frothy white icing.  A “sweet” place indeed.

During low tide, you can find sea gardens where baby oysters grow. Notice the balance of green from the cliffs matching the green of the tidal pools.  No wonder this beach holds a quality of spiritual and life balance.

Natural sea garden - Beach in Isabela, Puerto Rico / Caribbean

Beach Garden at Playa El Pastillo (Beach) - Puerto Rico

Although the beauty of the water and waves hypnotize the senses, there are treasures hidden along the cliffs.  Pools and small caves play hide and seek where the sands meet the verdant bluff.  These finds are seasonal, as the tide reaches farther into the rocks during the winter months, cutting off some of these secluded spots.

Puerto Rico beach caves - Playa El Pastillo, Isabela

Lower rock formations, carved by the sea, transform into a small cave that shelters an intimate space, perfect for quiet meditation and romantic conversation.  From the interior of the cave, the surf is perfectly framed.  This is certainly not a typical beach, but who wants “typical” when you are taking some time for soul-searching or wish to find an ideal romantic spot when the tide is low?  Imagine having a picnic with this kind of view!

Romantic beaches in Puerto Rico - Hidden Cave - Isabela

After marveling inside the cave, head west to get a closer look at the original Cara de Indio (Indian face).  Clearly, Nature wanted a notable remembrance of the natives of this land.  What a majestic finish to a day’s beachcombing…but we’re not done yet…there’s more wonder to come…

Original Cara del Indio - Isabela, Puerto Rico

As you get closer, you’ll now reach a site imbued with mystery; a sacred space.  It’s a place where there is a feeling of being one with the sea and sky, embracing history, the connection to Nature, and the impression of endless energy.  This is a place brimming with Life.  Waterfalls connect to tidal pools, feeding the creatures that rely on the delicate balance of survival.

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The cycle of water spraying against the rocks before settling across the flattened stone and trickling in rivulets back to the beginning is mesmerizing.  The soothing sounds of water and birds are a relaxing recess from day-to-day cares.

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Musical beats crash as cymbals with each collide with water and stone.  Listen to the rhythm that invigorates each sense.  Feel sea spray against the skin.  Catch the scent of salt and surf.  Lick your lips and taste the brine in the air.  Add the warmth of the sun and you will be stirred.

Once at the steps of the entrance to the Indian’s face, you can look back and appreciate the vast beauty of this beach.

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The little pools brim with little treasures to find as you stroll.  A few more steps and you’ll arrive at a local secret spot very few still know.   By late summer all the sand from the cave is above sea level, and there are pools of fresh water inside.

Beach Cave - Puerto Rico - Isabela

During the winter months, the scene changes and the cave is not accessible.  Waves take over and swell into the entrance.  Come from late Spring to early fall to be sure you experience this exquisite locale.

If you came for a walk early morning, as you walk back east to explore the rest of the beach, you’ll notice how the color of the water changes, it is clearer, the sand seems a lighter shade as the sun moves across a deeper blue sky.  Those that love photography and notice the details will appreciate the ever-changing scene of this magnificent beach.

There's More Beauty on the East Side of Playa El Pastillo

Isabela, Puerto Rico

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It is easy to spend an entire day at this beach before satisfying your curiosity and appreciation.  At the first glance from a distance, it may not look all that special…as you begin to walk you’ll find that the east side of Pastillo Beach has its own share of treasures and interesting gifts offered by Nature.  This is the ultimate beach for taking a long walk on the beach.

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On the east side of Pastillo, during the summer months, the water is shallower.   The colors of the water were mesmerizing… could anyone ever imagine so many shades of blue and green?  Colors melt together in the brilliant sun, a masterpiece of art.

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Before continuing to walk, be sure to take a break from the sun, have a snack, or a refreshing drink, and re-apply sunblock.   There are a few wonderful shaded spots along the beach, find your perfect spot.

Beautiful beach in the Caribbean Island of Puerto Rico

In the summer months, the beach is wider and the water shallower.  This spot is the best for safely enjoying wading.  While the west side is backed by cliffs, the east side of Pastillo Beach is framed by palm trees sensually dancing to the melodic breezes.  The seafloor is sandy with some rocky outcrops to keep it interesting.

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This section of the eastern beach is a lovely spot for families with children. Gentle warm waves and light foam surround the beachcombers with their silky touch.

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When the tide is right, perhaps try a bit of snorkeling, just offshore, is a nice snorkeling spot for delving into the underwater paradise.  When the waters are placid and clear,  the spot pulls you into the tranquility of an underwater world.  Colorful and delicate, please practice safety, and never touch, step on, or take away from the reef.  Snorkeling is only safe during the summer months till early fall when the waters are calm.  For safety, never snorkel alone, and wear appropriate gear.

Puerto Rico Snorkeling Beaches - Isabela

As you keep walking you’ll get to a rock outcrop, the sounds of the waves are a sweet melody along this stretch in Isabela.

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Water constantly crashes against it.  From here you’ll see amazing views of the entire length of the beach extending out to the west side of the Guajataca Tunnel.  It is not safe to stand on the rocks during winter or in bad weather.  Waves of up to 25 ft. crash against the outcrop and could cause harm.

Puerto Rico North Coast Beaches

Early morning calls the local fishermen.

Puerto Rico Offshore Fishing - Isabela

Fresh fish, oysters, and more sea delicacies will make their way into homes… one of the rich benefits of island life in Puerto Rico.  Bring your angling equipment and join them!

Puerto Rico Offshore Fishing - Isabela

Pastillo Beach is uncommon; remarkably quiet and romantic, private and pristine, with hidden surprises, and natural treasures to be found.  Please help keep it in this untouched state by respectfully removing any waste or evidence of your stay.  Like the Boy Scouts, “leave no trace”.

Enjoy your visit to El Pastillo Beach, this alluring locale that beckons to those who seek serenity.  Keep exploring the beaches of Isabela, Puerto Rico.

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Map - Playa El Pastillo

Isabela, Puerto Rico