Search for Pirates at Playa Puerto Hermina
If you are looking for a nice diversion in the north-west part of Puerto Rico, Playa Puerto Hermina might just fit the bill.
This oceanfront area is a perfect spot for relaxing on the beach, or under a shady picnic pavilion, and just enjoying the beautiful scenery. It has historical ruins, soft sand, waves for surfing or body boarding, beautiful rock formations, and natural areas to explore.
I think I could spend hours here, just checking it out and relaxing. Located in Quebradillas, Playa Puerto Hermina is easy to find and worth a visit.
The town of Quebradillas is about 2 hours west of San Juan. This oceanfront town has a history with pirates, and you will find lots of pirate references — from murals around town to the town’s sports teams.
You will also find Playa Puerto Hermina, which supposedly has the pirate Roberto Cofresi’s hideout on it. But don’t be fooled, there is more to Playa Puerto Hermina than just the ruins of a pirate’s lair.
Getting to Playa Puerto Hermina is easy — we just followed the signs from town. The beach is at the end of Road 4485, and the road makes a couple very steep curves in order to get down the hill to the water. Once you get down to the water level, you’ll find parking.
The beach areas along the whole north-west area are prone to smash and grab petty theft. Be sure to leave nothing of value in the car, and even consider leaving the car unlocked.
Once parked, you can grab a picnic gazebo, or follow the cement path (on foot) to the east to the beach area.
Beach — The beach area here is not long (along the waterfront), but the sand goes back toward the trees a couple 100 feet from the water … there is lots of sand! The day that we went, there was a nice breeze, even in the back of the beach near the trees. The water is crystal clear, but not always safe for swimming due to waves and rip currents. Surfing is good here much of the year.
In the back of the sandy area, near the trees, there are paths you can explore into this lush green area, there is even little stream.
Ruins & Hideouts — On the path to the beach you will pass some small caves and the ruins of a building. Supposedly, this is the remains of the pirate Roberto Cofresi’s hideout. But, it looks much newer and better built than something a pirate would have constructed back in 1820. I read it was actually only about 60 years old and once served a much more mundane purpose, but you never know! Kids would have a ball playing pirate here and around the caves.
Oceanfront — Other than that one beach area, the oceanfront is rugged rocks. Beautiful and great photo ops as the waves crash onto them.
There are a number of benches set up along the rocky areas with fishing rod holders set into the rocks. A couple guys were fishing the day we went. But you can also sit here and watch for whales (in season, January to March or the sunset (every evening!).
Other Things to See Here — Right across the street from the picnic pavilions is an Indian head carved out of rock (La Cabeza del Indio). The pavilions themselves have been painted with cute murals and designs. All in all, there are endless photo opportunities and a lovely, relaxing setting.
Note that there is only one road that leads to this beach. It’s a two-way road, and when it is busy (probably weekends and during summer) it must be crazy and impossible to find a parking spot (let alone drive up/down the curved road). Be careful when going up and down that steep hill with blind curves!
There is a local group that sponsors regular beach clean up days, and they are doing a great job. The whole area was very clean and beautiful. Please help keep it that way — pack in, pack out!
From “downtown” Quebradillas, take Road 2 to Road 485 east, to Road 4485 north. Follow Road 4485 to the end.
Don’t be fooled by Google Maps which shows that you can get from Road 113 (Calle Panoramica) to Road 4485. This road is closed because Puente Blanco is no longer usable. This old railway bridge, dating from 1922, is deteriorating and is closed to traffic. The bridge is on the National Register of Historic Places and has beautiful arches (which you need to be down into the canyon to really see and appreciate). We found it all overgrown and impossible to get a good photo of this picturesque bridge, but the canyon that it spans offers a beautiful view between the mountains to the sea.
Use this map to locate places mentioned in this article. You can click on a placemark to view the GPS coordinates for that place.