Puerto Rico ⎮ Things to Do & Places to Visit – West Coast

Don’t Miss the Bioluminescent Bay at La Parguera

The natural treasures to explore and activities are numerous, and you could spend months exploring it all.  The west coast of Puerto Rico is an all-inclusive beach escape destination, offering calm beaches for swimming and snorkeling, the best surfing beaches in the Caribbean, fun beach hikes with rewarding landscape, and off-shore cays with the clearest water.  We know your vacation time may be limited, so we will show you the best places to visit and activities.  Whether you’re dreaming of a romantic vacation, seeking adventure or traveling with little ones, the west coast has something for everyone. 

Best Places to Visit & Things to Do

West Region - Puerto Rico

Go Beach Hopping on the West Coast to Experience the Best Beaches on the Island

Puerto Rico Beaches - Best on the West Coast

The West is the best when it comes to beaches in Puerto Rico… from perfect surfing conditions to dreamy crystal clear water, there’s a beach for everyone to love. 

The west coast of Puerto Rico is an exciting beach destination, offering visitors weeks’ worth of adventure and relaxation in the water.  If beaches are a priority on your vacation, the west coast on the main island of Puerto Rico may be your perfect vacation destination.  The diversity in beaches is impressive, from world-class surfing beaches to calm swimming beach coves to crystal clear waters on offshore cays.

The high season on the west coast is during the summer months.  For vacationers escaping the cold, it means you can enjoy most of these amazing beaches without crowds on weekdays.  Whether you’re a surfer traveling with a group of friends, a honeymooner dreaming of romantic beach scenes, or a family seeking a memorable vacation, the west coast is an excellent destination.

Visit the Cabo Rojo Natural Wildlife Refuge

Cabo Rojo, Puerto Rico

Los Morrillos Lighthouse - Best places to visit on the west coast of Puerto Rico

Top Rated Tour to Cabo Rojo from San Juan

On the southwest point of the town is the Cabo Rojo National Wildlife Refuge, packed with activities and sights for nature lovers, birders, beach lovers, hikers, and photographers; it is truly one of the most beloved and enchanting places in Puerto Rico.  Your first stop will be the Observation Tower, where you can enjoy 360-degree views of the reserve, the elegant lighthouse in the distance, and the colorful salt flats.  

You may also observe birds since Cabo Rojo National Wildlife Refuge is a bird sanctuary for migratory birds.  Next, you can make a quick stop at the gate to admire the Las Salinas (The Salt Flats), often called Pink Beach by travelers.  Your journey continues on a bumpy dirt road through a forest where you can observe mangrove trees, cacti, and salt flats.  Your next stop will be a parking lot to hike up to Los Morrillos Lighthouse and cliffs, where the views will take your breath away.  Don’t miss the Natural Bridge and La Playuela, one of the prettiest beach coves on the island.

Explore The Cays & Swim at Bioluminescent Bay of La Parguera Nature Reserve

Lajas, Puerto Rico

La Parguera - Lajas - Best Places to Visit in Puerto Rico - West Coast

Mangrove Cays, Sunset, Great Food, and Bioluminescent Bay Experience

Don’t Miss the Bioluminescent Bay at La Parguera

A visit to La Parguera is a must when exploring the West Coast, particularly if you’ve yet to experience the magic of a bioluminescent bay.  This charming fishing village offers a delightful day trip.  Immerse yourself in the crystal-clear waters for a memorable swim and snorkeling adventure on the mangrove cays.  La Parguera boasts casual restaurants and cozy pubs serving traditional cuisine with plenty of fresh fish.  On weekends, the village comes alive with artisan stands showcasing wooden crafts, jewelry, and mouthwatering traditional Puerto Rican sweets. 

The lively atmosphere extends to the square, where live music and dancing beckon locals from nearby towns, warmly inviting you to join in the festive spirit.

Experience the Local Beach Culture at Crash Boat Beach

Aguadilla, Puerto Rico

Crash Boat Beach - Aguadilla - Best beaches on the west coast of Puerto Rico

Go Snorkeling with a Local Guide at Crash Boat Beach

Crash Boat Beach holds a special place in the hearts of locals and has become a sought-after point of interest for travelers.  While it may not boast the title of the most visually stunning or scenic beach, Crash Boat offers a unique charm that makes it a worthwhile visit.  The waters are crystal clear, providing a refreshing escape, and the sunsets paint the sky with breathtaking hues every day of the year.  Embrace the local vibe as vendors offer refreshing cold coconut water, local ice cream, traditional food, and artisan crafts on weekends.  

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The beachside restaurant adds to the lively atmosphere, featuring live music on weekends.  The iconic pier at Crash Boat draws teens and adults, offering the perfect platform for exhilarating jumps into the water.  Below the pier, the snorkeling and scuba diving opportunities are exceptional, provided the weather conditions and currents  are favorable.   It’s worth noting that Crash Boat thrives with activity, including the lively tunes played by locals; thus, if you prefer a quieter, crowd-free experience and a relaxing, idyllic feel, Crash Boat may not be the ideal spot for you.

Go Surfing / Learn How to Surf

Rincon, Aguadilla & Isabela

Go Surfing or Learn How - Puerto Rico West Region Best Things to Do

Learn to Surf in Rincon

If you love surfing, watching them ride the waves, or always wanted to learn how the west coast of Puerto Rico is where you’ll want to vacation.  You’ll have three towns with many surfing beaches to choose from.  The high season for surfers is during the winter months, but there are several beaches where you can surf all year round.   Beginners will have beaches where you can safely learn how to surf with friendly instructors and perfect your skills.  The most famous beach town is Rincon, but if you ask locals, some prefer the neighboring towns of Aguadilla and Isabela.

Go Snorkeling

Guanica, Lajas, Rincon, Aguadilla & Isabela – Puerto Rico

Top Rated Snorkeling Tour in Rincon

The west coast is the most family-friendly place to snorkel.  Adults can go snorkeling offshore to explore reefs teeming with fish and sea turtles, and children will have places to snorkel in safe, clear, and shallow waters for an unforgettable experience.  The best beaches to go snorkeling are Steps Beach in Rincon, The Pier at Crash Boat Beach, the cays at La Parguera in Lajas, Peña Blanca in Aguadilla, Shacks Beach in Isabela, and Playa Santa in Guanica, among others.

Families with small children can take the littles ones to have their first snorkeling experience at Pozo Teodoro in IsabelaCaracoles in Lajas, Buye Beach (north end) in Cabo Rojo, and Gilligan’s Island in Guanica.  Please visit our snorkeling guide to the best beaches and places to snorkel in Puerto Rico.

Take a Romantic Horse Back Ride on Secluded Beaches

Isabela, Puerto Rico

Puerto Rico Horseback Riding on the Beach - Best Romantic Things to Do in Nature

The west coast of Puerto Rico offers a tranquil escape from the crowds on the city beaches.  The undeveloped, dramatic landscape of some of the beaches in the northwest creates an idyllic backdrop for the pleasures of horseback riding.  Riding along the shores, you’ll be immersed in the beauty of expansive, unspoiled stretches of sand, complemented by the rhythmic sounds of the ocean waves.   This immersive experience satisfies the longing for coastal pleasures and allows you to appreciate the allure of Puerto Rico’s western coastline, making it an unforgettable journey for those seeking adventure and romance. 

Horseback Riding Tours on the West Coast of Puerto Rico

Jump in the Waterfalls of Gozalandia

San Sebastian, Puerto Rico

Gozalandia Waterfalls - San Sebastian - Best Places to Visit in Puerto Rico - West Region

While on the West Coast, add Gozalandia Waterfalls in San Sebastian to your itinerary.  This natural haven boasts two breathtaking waterfalls, offering an ideal destination for a family outing. The cascading waters create a picturesque setting that invites visitors to engage in joyful activities, such as playful jumps into the refreshing basins below.

Gozalandia Waterfalls is an immersive experience, offering both a thrilling adventure and serene retreat, Gozalandia Waterfalls caters to both, making it a perfect destination for the entire family.

Coffee, Bakery Treats, & Architecture at Plaza de Colon

Mayaguez, Puerto Rico

Plaza de Colon - Mayaguez - Best places to visit in West Coast Region of Puerto Rico

Plaza de Colon, the central square of Mayaguez, stands out as one of Puerto Rico’s most charming and sophisticated plazas.  In contrast to some other squares that have seen a decline in activity due to the closure of local businesses, Plaza de Colon has managed to maintain its vibrant atmosphere.  It serves as an enduring outdoor living space, providing a welcoming haven for the community and friends to come together over coffee sprinkled with the laughter Puerto Ricans are known for.  Plaza de Colon is the hub for various art and cultural events throughout the year in Mayaguez. 

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The square is the canvas for the town’s artistic and cultural expressions.  During Christmas, Plaza de Colon transforms into a dazzling and festive spectacle, making it the most enchanting plaza across the island.  Its radiant and artistic Christmas lights draw in visitors from all corners of Puerto Rico, creating a two-month celebration that captivates the hearts of locals and tourists alike.

Be sure to have ice cream at Rex Cream at the square and delicious Puerto Rican pastries and fresh Mallorca bread at Ricomini Bakery a few blocks from the square.

For a comprehensive guide to upcoming events, check the municipality’s Facebook page.

Chug Along at the Guajataca Tunnel Park

Guajataca, Puerto Rico

Guajataca Tunnel - Best things to do / places to visit - West Puerto Rico

We invite you to visit El Tunel de Guajataca (The Guajataca Tunnel), a historic railroad passageway once used for transporting sugar cane. This intriguing site invites you to embark on a scenic and leisurely hike culminating in the discovery of a secluded beach adorned with stunning rock formations.  Be sure to pack a hammock, hundreds of palm trees invite visitors to hang a hammock and immerse themselves in the soothing sounds of the ocean surf.  Guajataca Beach is not a bathing beach but perfect for a long romantic walk with rocks that serve as seats to admire the scene.  Weekends at Guajataca Tunnel come alive with artisans showcasing their handmade creations and food trucks tempting visitors with traditional delights.  Allow yourself approximately 2 hours to fully enjoy the Guajataca Tunnel experience, embracing the history, natural beauty, and vibrant local culture that converge at Guajataca Tunnel and Beach. 

Relax & Watch the Surf at The Natural Pools of Isabela

Isabela, Puerto Rico

One of the most beautiful places to visit in Isabela, Puerto Rico

Isabela’s coastline is unique, featuring an array of natural pools formed by coral walls.  These enchanting pools provide a serene setting, allowing visitors to sit in the shallow, crystal-clear waters.  This idyllic spot attracts those seeking tranquility away from crowds.  There are no facilities and some require a little walking from the parking spot, keeping the natural pools nice and quiet.  Families with toddlers seeking a beach for kids to play on the water will really enjoy Pozo Teodoro, Posita Sardinera, and La Princesa.  The water depth in these pools varies from a gentle one foot to a slightly deeper three feet, contingent upon the strength of the surf.  As you unwind, you’ll be treated to a continuous spectacle of waves crashing against the protective coral wall.   

Best times to enjoy the natural pools in Isabela:  The beaches are always fuller during winter, during the summer a few of them are very shallow or empty.  

Enjoy the Sights from Punta Higuero Lighthouse

Rincon, Puerto Rico

Punta Higuero Lighthouse - Best places to visit in west region of Puerto Rico

Top Rated Snorkeling Tour in Rincon

If you happen to be in the vicinity, a visit to Rincon Lighthouse Park is a must.  While lighthouse enthusiasts will appreciate the historical charm, the breathtaking views truly steal the spotlight.  Bring your professional camera, as Punta Higuero serves as an exceptional photography spot.  Revel in the panoramic landscapes featuring the distant Isla Desecheo (Desecheo Island).  Stay until sunset to witness a romantically beautiful display, and keep an eye out for surfers riding the waves.  

During the winter months, lucky visitors might catch a glimpse of humpback whales, sometimes coming remarkably close.  For those seeking physical activity, the paths are perfect for a leisurely walk or invigorating jog, ensuring an all-encompassing and delightful experience at Rincon Lighthouse Park. 

Get Cast Away at Gilligan’s Island / Cayo Aurora

Guanica, Puerto Rico

Gilligan's Island - Puerto Rico West Coast - Best Places to Visit

Embark on an unforgettable adventure and become a castaway for a day at Gilligan’s Island, nestled in the charming town of Guanica. This mangrove island feels more like a giant, crystal-clear natural pool where you can swim, snorkel, and meander along picturesque channels. Experience true tranquility, as Gilligan’s Island is rarely crowded, offering a secluded escape, especially on weekdays or outside the summer weekend rush. Reach this paradise with a budget-friendly water taxi, adding a touch of adventure to your journey.

Tours to Gilligan's Island, Guanica, Puerto Rico

Itinerary Recommendation

Conclude your day by dining at Copamarina Resort, where you can savor a delightful meal against a mesmerizing west coast sunset.  For those yearning for more, venture to La Parguera in the neighboring town of Lajas to witness the enchanting beauty of the bioluminescent bay, ensuring your day is filled with magical moments.

Hike the Trails of The Guanica State Forest & Biosphere Reserve

Guanica, Puerto Rico

The Guanica State Forest - Best attractions in Puerto Rico's West Region

Visit Porta Coeli Convent Museum

San German, Puerto Rico

Porta Coeli - Best Attractions on the west region of Puerto Rico

See True Pink Colors at Las Salinas (The Salt Flats)

Cabo Rojo, Puerto Rico

Las Salinas / Salt Flats - Best attractions / things to do in Puerto Rico

Top Rated Accommodations in Cabo Rojo, Puerto Rico

Take a Hike to The Natural Bridge

Cabo Rojo, Puerto Rico

Natural Bridge - Cabo Rojo - Puerto Rico best things to do / places to visit

Visit the Farmer’s Market in Rincon 

Every Sunday at 9:00 am, at the town square of Rincon, the Farmer’s Market gets lively with artisans, fresh local produce, traditional sweet goods, live music, and great food.  The market is popular among locals and visitors, it is a great event to get a feel for the town spirit and support local vendors.

Puerto Rico ⎮ Things to Do & Places to Visit – West Coast