A Day at the Beach in Luquillo – Monserrate Balneario

2/11 update- With the new private companies working at this beach, it is just getting better and better- super clean with great facilities.

Luquillo Beach

I go to this beach quite often (being it is the closest swimming beach to my house). It is one of my favorites too, just due to the scenery – it is a cresent of fine sand, with lots of mature palm trees for shade. And behind that, you have the Rain Forest – it’s picture perfect.

The Balneario, which has been designated a Blue Flag Beach. This means it meets lots of standards- from water quality, to facilities etc. The beach is gated – they charge $4 plus tax for parking. The walk from the parking lot to the beach, which takes you past the camping/picnic area, is kinda far, but it’s not too bad. The beach itself is wide, so there is ample room to pick your favorite spot. We try to get one in the shade because the sun is HOT and it is easy to burn quickly!

On this recent trip, we picked a spot in the middle, close to the lifeguard stand. There was only one lifeguard on duty sporadically throughout the day, but there were only about 10 other families on the beach, so it was not busy. In the summer and weekends, it is a different story, as Luquillo beach is very popular with the locals and tourists alike, and the beach can get really crowded.

Luquillo Beach with El Yunque in the background

On the beach, there are kiosks selling some typical foods (pinchos, empanadillas, etc). They taste pretty good and are only a buck or two. They have beer for $1.50 and yummy frozen pina coladas for only $4.00 with rum! There is also a kiosk selling souvenirs and beach stuff – towels, sunglasses, etc. They have chairs and umbrellas for rent if you don’t have your own and you prefer sitting up out of the sand. We have our own, so we didn’t rent them.

The water was calm, since there is a reef way out that breaks the waves. The kids had no problem at all. Since it was not busy, we were allowed to use our boogie boards in the swimming area. I know when it is busy, it is not allowed. Because the sand is so fine on this beach, the water at the shore’s edge is not clear – each little wave picks up the sand. But as you go further out, it clears up. I like the water here because it has very little seaweed in it and it is kind of warm too. They groom and clean the beach, so the sand is clean. It is also perfect for sand castle building.

They have facilities. They have free outside showers for rinsing off (to the far right as you look at the water), but there is a nice “Bath House” offers clean bathrooms, showers and changing rooms for a fee. $1.00 per adult (50¢ per child) fee for the whole day to use the changing room with showers. They will give you a wrist band. They also have nice sized (about 1 ft wide by 2.5 ft tall) lockers that are $0.50 for the day in case you want to lock your stuff up instead of leaving it on the beach.

There is camping allowed on the grassy area. You need a permit to camp. It is $10 per night to camp, $13/n for a site with water, $17/n for a site with electricity and water. If you want to go camping on a quiet beach, DON’T go here on a summer weekend – the camping area is packed – every square inch has a tent (it is a very popular thing to do for locals)! The parking lot gate is locked at 5pm in the winter, so plan get there before that. In the summer, they are manned 24 hrs/day.

Just down the beach to the West, there is usually a guy that rents kayaks ($5 per person per 30 minutes) , and past that are the Luquillo Kiosks where there is a wider selection of food and drinks. Down the beach to the east is the Beach without Boundaries. This used to be a great area where it was easy to roll a wheelchair right in to the water on a cement pad. The area in the water is now gone, but you can drive to this area and drop off someone in a wheelchair close to the edge of the beach (to avoid having to push them a long distance to through the sand).

Parking $4 for cars, $8 buses. Restrooms, showers and changing room are $1 for adults and 50¢ for children for the whole day. Sea kayak rentals are $5 per person per 30 minutes. They also sometimes have a transport vehicle that will take you and your “stuff” from the parking lot to the beach for a fee ($1/pp, $2 for “stuff”).

Balneario is open 7 days a week. 8 or 8:30am- 5pm. Open a little later in summer months. Closed only major holidays like Thanksgiving, Christmas Day, 3 Kings Day etc. If the parking area is closed, you can park at the kiosks and walk in along the beach.

Play safely- They have flags out to alert you to water conditions- red and yellow flags mean it is not safe to swim.

You could easily spend the whole day at the beach, but allow a minimum of 2 hours. We find that a trip to Luquillo Beach is a great way to spend the afternoon after a morning of hiking in the Rain Forest.

Administration Office of the Balneario La Monserrate: 787-889-5871, 787-889-5110

From San Juan: Take Route 66 East (este) and then Route 3 East (este). Continue on Route 3 past the turn off for El Yunque / the Rain Forest. The beach is located just off Route 3 in Luquillo. Take the right hand “Balneario” exit just after you see the long row of food Kiosks on your left.

It is a quick 15 minutes from Coqui’s Hideaway in Rio Grande.

Use this map to locate places mentioned in this article. You can click on a placemark to view the GPS coordinates for that place.

PuertoRicoDayTrips.com assumes no responsibility regarding your safety when participating in the activities described in this article. Please use common sense! If your mother or that little voice in your head tells you that you are about to do something stupid … then don't do it! Read more about Safety →

Comments & Discussion Leave a Comment »

There are 11 comments on this article. Add to the Discussion »

It is a very beautiful beach, perfect for families with kids or teenagers. A lot of shaded spots and facilities. You can rent a chair ($5) and umbrella ($10) for a whole day. I was there on Friday, so the beach was not crowded. The only minus is that all facilities are closed at 5pm and after 5 you can not buy food or even use bathroom.

Comment by Mariusz z Polski on 09 Apr 2016

I don't think any are within walking distance from this beach, but there may be something available close by. Check out Flipkey https://www.flipkey.com/luquillo-vacation-rentals/g635965/ for Luquillo rentals. Apartments close by are in Playa Azul or houses in Solimar.

Comment by Gwenn on 13 Jul 2015

Hi, contemplating a short mini beach vacation, with my Dad who lives in Arecibo and in a wheelchair. Does anyone know of beach rentals with kitchen and 2 bedrooms, wheelchair accessible and within close proximity to The Sea without Barriers? Thanks, Rosa

Comment by Rosa Jimenez on 13 Jul 2015

When were you last there? We have been to Bal. Monserrate many times on Mondays/Tuesdays over the last few years. And I called last month and they agreed, they are open 7 days a week.

Comment by Gwenn on 30 Mar 2015

Open 7 days a week, really? I have never seen the gate open on non Monday or Tuesday holiday. New private company opening 7 days a week?

Comment by G on 29 Mar 2015

No real update- still beautiful and well maintained. We go every so often when we need easy beach time. More rental stuff as you walk westward- jet ski, kayaks, paddleboards, even Flyboarding! It is not a good spot for snorkeling....not a rock in sight! Maybe as you walk toward the kiosks (west), you end up by a rock pier that looks like there might be some snorkeling. But I have never tried it there, so no promises as to how it is.

Comment by Gwenn on 27 Jan 2015

Hi, Thank you very much for your website. I am planning atrip to Puerto Rico and my source of information has been the http://www.puertoricodaytrips.com/. About the Monserrate Balneario, I have seen that the last update was 3 years ago. Is there any other update? Is the Beach a good site for snorkeling? Thank you. Gustavo

Comment by Gustavo on 26 Jan 2015

Don and Cynthia. Its still exactly as you wrote, 4plus years ago. Great beach

Comment by Bill on 03 Nov 2014

We are glad you enjoy it. Spread the word- PR is a great place!

Comment by Gwenn on 26 Jun 2014

Love the way you describe "in details"all the facilities and attractions of this beautiful beach....Keep them coming !!!! All the best,

Comment by Anthony Negron on 25 Jun 2014

I guess we turned out to be "cheapskates", quite by accident. LOL We parked near the beach, in the shade, behind the kiosks and then set up our chairs under the tree at these co-ordinates: 18.312498, -65733846. Those kiosks were a little scary, though. The washrooms in the pool hall were also, but they were free. The beach in this particular location was fairly littered as well and remained that way to the boat launch area to the west. Eventually, we did stroll eastward to the "actual" beach with the buoys and lifeguard stations. All-in-all, it turned out to be a pleasant experience for the day ... and it certainly wasn't crowded.

Comment by Don & Cynthia on 19 Feb 2010

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Coqui's Hideaway Rainforest Villa in Rio Grande Located in the Foothills of El Yunque
San Juan Bus Map - learn about public transportation in the San Juan metro area