Charco Azul – Swim in a Natural Pool in Carite Forest

August 2018- Post Maria- They have cleared the path and people are going, but I have not heard that it has officially reopened yet. But it is usable. .

If you like natural swimming pools, Charco Azul is one of Puerto Rico’s most famous ones. Located in the middle of the Carite Forest, about 15-20 minutes up the road from the lechonarias in the Guavate region of Cayey.

The name Charco Azul means blue pond in English. When you see the water in this pond, you will see that it is aptly named, since the deep water has a blue color.

Deep Blue Water

This fresh-water swimming hole is 30-40 feet across. It is fed by 2 small streams that spill into the charco making a cute 8-10 foot waterfall. The water around the edges is not deep — a couple feet maybe. You can sit on the edges and watch the little fish that call this pond home. I was happy to be wearing water shoes since the bottom was sandy with rocks here and there.

We went swimming. As we got out into the blue area, it gets deep — at least 15 feet. On the deep water side, there is a boulder that people use for jumping into the water. Of course we don’t recommend doing this, but “Crazy Bob” did it and said it was a lot of fun!

Solitude?

The day we went (mid-week in early September), a few other people showed up to see the pool and swim, but we had it to ourselves for a while. However, it becomes a mad-house on weekends (especially in the summer!). So plan your visit accordingly.

I think a great day trip would be to go to Guavate, get your plates of lechon to go, then spend some time having a picnic and swimming. Swim at your own risk, there are no lifeguards here, just nature!

Getting There

To get to Charco Azul from the San Juan area, take Route 18/52 south to exit 32 (the Guavate exit) to Route 184. Follow Route 184 through Guavate and the forest for 15 minutes or so. Note- you will need to stay on RT 184, kind of a left turn at the intersection with Rt 179. Continue on RT 184 until you get to the Charco Azul Recreation Area at KM 17.8 (it is well-marked).Park in the lot and walk across the street, through the gate and follow the path until the end. You will end up walking past the camping area and bathrooms. It is a nice easy paved walk in the woods. You will cross the river via small bridges a few times. This trail is less than ½ mile each way. At the end, you will find the pond, and a rain shelter, and a few BBQ areas and garbage cans.

Right by the parking area you will find picnic tables (some are very close to the river). It is a well-maintained park. There were restrooms, but they were locked even though the people in the forest manager’s office assured me they would be open. Camping is allowed in this recreational area, but you need to get a camping permit ahead of time at the DNRA offices in San Juan.

Details

There is no cost to visit Charo Azul.

Tuesday- Sunday (and holidays) 6am-6pm.

The phone number for the forest manager’s office is 787-747-4545 or 787-747-4510. If you want to camp at Charco Azul, you need to obtain a permit in San Juan. You can call 787-999-2200 ext 5157 for info about camping.

We are in the process of updating the maps we use on our web site. While we're working on that, you can click on the GPS coordinates below to view the location on Google Maps ...

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 7 comments on this article. Add to the Discussion »

Yo siempre voy, es un lugar hermoso y especial. La última vez pude hablar con uno de los empleados y me contó, que solo cuentan con 2 empleados para dar mantenimiento a todo el bosque que hasta donde tengo entendido cuenta con cerca de 7000 cuerdas y 3 áreas recreativas. Creo que son unos titanes para poder mantener esa área en buenas condiciones de uso. Me conto además que mantienen los baños cerrados por culpa de personas irresponsables que vandalizan los mismos. Además recuerden que el lugar es un bosque no un parque, por lo que el uso debe ser más hacia el disfrute pasivo y lo rige muchas leyes y reglamentos.

Comment by moring on 24 Jul 2015

Iris- you need to contact the forest manager office (we aren't associated with them). You can call 787-999-2200 ext 5157 for info about camping

Comment by Gwenn on 02 Jul 2015

Si hay espacio para campar el 3 y 4 julio y en cuanto sale

Comment by Iris E Santiago Diaz on 02 Jul 2015

Wow- very surprising! It should be open everyday until 5pm. I will look into it.

Comment by Gwenn on 17 Feb 2014

I was really excited to go and explore this park. I had read numerous articles about the pools and how beautiful it was. Maybe because it was a Wednesday (February 5th, 2014) when we went to visit Charco Azul, the gate that lead to the hiking trail had a paddle lock on it. And a very large sign on the outside of the gate that stated if we crossed this gate we could be charged with trespassing and a fine of $50 - $1000 would be enforced. I guess it would have been a good idea to contact the park ahead of time to make sure it was open.

Comment by Carmen on 16 Feb 2014

This was an AMAZING place to visit BUT it is NOT 10 minutes from Guavate, more like 20 and the road right now is REALLY bad!! Pot holes the size of craters and some parts of the road are only one lane! if you have an older car you will be lucky to do more than 25 miles per hour swerving all the way! the water is borderline freezing and the bottom is all rock so be sure to have sturdy water shoes. Buy your food in Guavate and bring it with you to eat by the Charco.... but carry the garbage out PLEASE!!! It really is a must see!!!

Comment by Maria P on 07 Jun 2012

This is a great place to visit, as a follow up to eating in Guavate. So fill up with some good lechon and fixings, and then go enjoy some natural Puerto Rico in Charco Azul. I will say that it seemed like more than 10 minutes up from Guavate. As you head up, first you come across a picnic/recreation area, that might make you wonder if this is it? No that's not it. Just keep going. The next time you see pavilions, parking, and signs, that's it. Park on the right, cross the road, and hike down to Charco Azul. And on your hike back to the car, try not to break your foot like my father-in-law did. No, it's not a dangerous/difficult hike, it's just that he's a little clumsy. Diving off the rocky wall will add to the fun, so verify the water depth, and go for it. The bathrooms were locked up when we went, too. If you like this place, and want a similar experience on the other side of the island, you might want to check out Gozalandia in San Sebastian. They have a nice write-up on it, too, right here. I haven't been, but it sounds like it might be even better than Charco Azul.

Comment by Josh on 30 Aug 2011

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