Often known as the ‘North Shore of the Caribbean', surfing in Puerto Rico and its stunning beaches offer picture-perfect views, sandy stretches perfect for relaxing in the shade and adventure. With ideal conditions like year-round warm waters, conditions ranging from easy, two-foot waves over a sandy bottom to tall, fast-moving reef breaks, surfing in Puerto Rico is definitely on many travellers' bucket-lists.
Best Time For Surfing in Puerto Rico
- Thanks to the Island’s warm tropical climate, Puerto Rico’s beaches are ready to welcome you at any time of the year. The temperature stays around a balmy 26°C – 29 °C the whole year.
- Summer is hot and fickle in Puerto Rico, making it unsuitable if you wish to surf some big tasty waves in a short period. Late fall, winter, and early spring would be the best time to surf in Puerto Rico. In September the Atlantic Ocean begins to come to life providing some fun-sized surf to the shorelines of northwest Puerto Rico.
- December through April is considered the high season while June to September is considered low season.
Best Surfing Spots in Puerto Rico
1. "La 8" – El Escambrón, San Juan
If you're flying in from SJU, the coast's stretch from El Caribe Hilton to Old San Juan is worth checking out. Known as "La 8", this beach has a very steady surf and is often missed by travelling surfers. There is a somewhat exposed coral reef because of which the waves break from left and right, and many go unridden during the weekdays. The winter months see the best waves while the rest of the year is great for beginners. Hit up El Hamberguito burger shop once you're done surfing. It is a decades-old staple where you can wash down homemade burgers and fries with an ice-cold beer overlooking the ocean. There's also a great vantage point to gaze out across the joint. Load up in surf gear at the La 8 Surf Shop a few blocks from the waves and head out for the adventure.
2. Margara – Arecibo
The best time to visit this north coast beach is during the autumn and winter months. A little bit of an erratic surf with an exposed reef break, it gets the best wind direction from the south and a mix of groundswells and wind swells. Due to the absence of reef breaks, Margara is a great surf site in all states of the tide. It is not quite popular among surfers as it is considered a small wave beach, but it is great for newbies. Just be wary of sea urchins!
3. La Pared – Luquillo
If you are on the east coast of the Island, ride the waves at the La Pared Beach. It is an exposed beach break with a rideable swell and offshore winds. The beach offers both left and right-hand waves ranging from three to five feet with different size breaks within sets. Watch out for rips and undertow! After surfing, when you want to treat your tired selves with some food, head out to the local surf shop Boardriders, where you can snack on burgers, wraps, wings, poke bowls. Grab a beer or cocktail and karaoke away. You don't have to rinse off as they have an outdoor porch that is also pet-friendly. You can also find surf gear and merch there or the local rental next door.
4. Kikita Beach
Situated in Dorado, known as the "Paradise of Puerto Rico'', this beach lets you understand why it is called so. Kikita is a long strip of beach that has many private properties and local secret spots. It is one of the pristine beaches of the island that is undiscovered by a lot of people. Kikita is mostly visited by locals and travellers who visit with people who live in the region. The area is naturally closed off by huge sea rocks which split the waves even before they touch the shore. If you walk a few miles through the forest area, you will come across a wonderful place where local surfers, bodyboarders, and standup paddle boarders go to have fun. The waters of Rio la Plata meet with the ocean in this area, so there is an amazing structure in the waves. The strength of these waves is not for rookie riders on any given day. The spot, being so close to the point of entry of storms, is sure to satisfy daredevils with its crazy waves.
5. Cerro Gordo
Cerro Gordo is both, a public beach and a private beach, as well as a part of a national forest. There are a few large houses by the public beach that use it as their backyard. This area is perfect for snorkelling, diving, and fishing. The public beach is great for standup paddleboarding if crowds do not bother you during the average summer day. The best part is up the steep hill, past the camping area, where most of the world-class surfers got their starts.
Note: Cerro Gordo is known for its rip currents, so when the advisory is issued, don't take it casually!
6. Boca del Cibuco, or Cibuco
This beach sees massive waves and deep waters and hosts contests like Puerto Rico Triple Crown several times throughout the year. Besides surfing, standup paddleboarding is also popular at this beach. If you are looking for tranquil waters for SUP, you can drive about two minutes to the much calmer, neighbouring public beach in Vega Baja.
7. Los Tubos
This beach offers medium-to-high waves on an average day. However, during storms, the waves can go as high as six to nine feet to an occasional 14 feet depending on the magnitude of the incoming storm. This beach has hosted several local competitions, such as the Surf and Body Boarding Challenge. Non-surfers should not get discouraged as there are parts of the beach you can enjoy along with its clean sand and even some snorkelling if you are interested. Los Tubos is home to many sea turtles and diverse marine life, making this one of the most precious beaches on the island.
Enjoy the stunning beaches with incredible waves in the wonderful tropical island paradise while surfing in Puerto Rico!