5 Must-Visit Small Towns in Puerto Rico

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By Cynthia De Saint

January 19, 2023

Charming, awe-inspiring, or just plain fun, these small towns boast some of the best attractions on the island. 

Say Puerto Rico, and most people immediately think of beautiful San Juan, whether its modern metropolis with cool-looking skyscrapers and wide boulevards, or El Viejo San Juan, with its colorful Spanish colonial architecture and quaint cobblestone streets.

But Puerto Rico doesn’t get called “la isla del encanto” for nothing. Sure, the capital city is beautiful, but there are many small towns in Borinquen worth discovering, like the five highlighted here.

Isabela, El Jardín del Noroeste

5 Must-Visit Small Towns in Puerto Rico
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Beautiful beaches, rivers and lakes, cliffs, caves, and mountains with peaks as high as 984 ft make Isabela a must for nature lovers. Some of the natural attractions to be found in this coastal town include El Pozo Brujo, or the Bewitched Well, a freshwater well believed to harbor spirits that wish to escape to the sea. 

Then there’s the Guajataca Forest Reserve with over 25 miles of hiking trails that vary in their degree of difficulty. Blue Hole Beach, aka Shacks Beach or Kiquebrado, is an out-of-the-way beach that is great for snorkeling, with 984 ft of reef where you can see many kinds of fish.

But although this municipality known as El jardin del  Noroeste (The Garden of the Northwest) has a population of just over 40,000 people, it also offers shopping, fine dining, and cultural experiences, for a well-rounded getaway.

Learn more about Isabela HERE.

Rincón’s Twilight Colors

5 Must-Visit Small Towns in Puerto Rico
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Wanting to see the most beautiful sunsets in Puerto Rico in all their magnificent glory? Rincón, a town known for its amazing twilight colors, is a leisure town where the pace is slower and one can take delight in watching el bello atardecer. 

Water enthusiasts have many beaches to choose from, and there are several famous surf spots, as well as beaches where you can snorkel, paddleboard, dive, and swim. But if mountain bike or horseback riding are more your thing, Rincón can accommodate you. 

“The corner” (or rincón) of Puerto Rico, where the Caribbean Sea meets the Atlantic Ocean is also a place for the urban or artistically inclined. For example, the Rincón Art Walk, when every Thursday evening the people hold a small festival to enjoy local culture and tropical ambiance. There are also small art galleries and souvenir shops set around the town that feature unique items that make great souvenirs of your stay on the island. 

Learn more about Rincón HERE

Fajardo, a Luminous Charm

5 Must-Visit Small Towns in Puerto Rico
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A leader in sailing, parasailing, and catamaran chartering, Fajardo is home to one of the most magical places in Puerto Rico. One of the main attractions at Las Cabezas de San Juan Nature Reserve is Laguna Grande, one of the three bio-bays in Puerto Rico. The long canal leads to the wonder of the glow-in-the-dark waters. And what a magical site it is!

Visitors can kayak or cruise in a small boat, and although they are not allowed to swim in the lagoon, they can agitate it with their hands to witness a unique, magical spectacle thanks to the microscopic organisms in the water. 

For those looking to chill in a beautiful tropical setting, Las Croabas Park offers open-air gazebos to enjoy the natural surroundings. Visitors can skate, ride bicycles, fly kites, picnic, walk, or exercise. There are also several trails and boardwalks, slides, and swings for kids to play.

Learn more about Fajardo HERE.

Cabo Rojo, Beauty and History

5 Must-Visit Small Towns in Puerto Rico
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Wonder where the name of the town, which translates to Red Cape, comes from? This coastal town in the extreme southwest of Puerto Rico with towering limestone cliffs, stunning beaches, idyllic nature reserves for birdwatchers, and creative restaurants, is named for the reddish color of the water in the area where the Salt Flats are located, due to the high concentration of the mineral found there. 

One of the town’s most unique tourist attractions, it is a quick stop on the way to the popular Los Morrillos Lighthouse, which helps ships navigate safely through the Mona Passage from the Caribbean Sea to the Atlantic Ocean. In 1981 it was included in the National Register of Historic Places of the United States Department of the Interior.

There is also the natural stone bridge, and one of the best beaches in Puerto Rico, La Playuela, which covers more than 4,000 feet of coastline and has five distinct ecosystems. 

Learn more about Cabo Rojo HERE

Juana Díaz, Fiel a la Tradición

5 Must-Visit Small Towns in Puerto Rico
Los Reyes de Juana Díaz Facebook

This town has been hosting the largest Three Kings celebration on the Island since 1884, making the town synonymous with the holiday. During the first week of the year, the Three Kings of Juana Díaz (actors wearing the colorful ancient robes of Melchor, Gaspar y Baltasar, the Three Wise Men) visit all of the towns of Puerto Rico, bringing gifts for the children. 

Then there’s the Casa Museo de los Santos Reyes, which aside from being the site of the yearly Three Kings Festival, hosts different cultural, musical, and religious events throughout the year.

But those are not the town’s only attractions. There is also Salto de Collores, a secret waterfall located within a private property called Estancias L-E.  The cascade is 35 feet tall and splashes into a large swimming hole to a maximum depth of 15 feet. Facilities include parking, bathrooms, gazebos, and BBQ grills. Cueva Lucero, on the other hand, is a limestone cave with more than 100 petroglyphs and pictographs that date to the island’s pre-Columbian past. 

Learn more about Juana Díaz HERE.

 

READ MORE: 7 Restaurants in Florida to Find Puerto Rican Food Made With Love

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