Discover Hidden Beauty at Charca las Vegas

Charca Las Vegas

There are so many little gems hidden around Puerto Rico, and Charca las Vegas is another one of them. This little waterfall and river swimming hole was a huge surprise. So peaceful and pretty. And obviously its beauty has been appreciated by people for many hundreds of years — there are pre-Columbian petroglyphs on the rocks around the pool as evidence.

I was so happy to find this … it has a number of my favorite things all in one easy-to-get-to spot!

This little charca is located in Maricao, just over the border from Mayagüez, in the middle of the western part of the island. It is easy to find and reach, but it is hidden from the road, so it is not well-known.

Our Short Visit

We just happened to be a couple miles away, visiting a friend’s fruit farm, so we decided to take a few minutes to check out Charca las Vegas. Of course, as our luck would have it, it started to pour rain just as we started the on trail, but we continued anyway.

Charca Las Vegas

I was blown away with how nice this place was. It is only about 1000 feet from the road, but it is hidden from view by buildings and then, behind them, giant bamboo. Once you get back there, the trail is nice and wide! The charca is to the right, just steps away. People have cut some “steps” into the clay river bank down to the water.

Charca Las Vegas

The waterfall is pretty, and about 12-15 feet high. The water drops into a charca, forming a nice swimming hole. While we didn’t go into the water, it was obviously pretty deep by the falls.

In the river there is a piedra escrita — a rock that has carved petroglyphs in it. Beautiful faces and even a nice coqui symbol. We took a bunch of pictures from most every angle! It was a magical place.

Once back on the trail, you can continue up river a little and you will come to what looks like a dam, that has some small “falls” going over it. Worth a quick look.

Charca Las Vegas

We couldn’t spend too long there, as it was pouring rain and you could see from the river banks how high the river can get when it floods. The clay steps got very slippery, too. The trail from the road also floods — we ended up walking back to the car through about 4 inches of muddy water!

On a sad note … It is obvious from the piles of trash along the trail that this is a popular place for locals to pass the day. I will never understand why people who obviously enjoy nature can dump on it so much. It really disappoints me!


Charca Las Vegas

It’s just a couple minutes’ walk from the road to the charca. The hard part is finding the trail!

You’re really going to have to rely on the map (below) or your GPS to get to this place. The trail head is on Road 119, not far from Road 105 in Maricao. The trail is between the chain link fences that surround a church and a picnic area (how is that for exact directions?). Once you get behind the fenced areas, the trail opens up. Follow the trail up-river just a little bit. You’ll see the charca on your right.

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 ... 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 6 comments on this article. Add to the Discussion »

Can confirm this is still very accurate post-María. The only thing I would say is the “playground” as described in the directions is more of a destroyed picnic grounds. However, your directions were perfect and the charco was relatively clean. We only saw a couple of pieces of trash, which we took with us on our way out. Please keep up the great work, we love your web site!

Comment by Carl on 05 Jan 2019

Ahh, yes....the river didn't move! :-)

Comment by Gwenn on 13 Jul 2015

Is the coordenates still legit ?

Comment by Kendra Caeballo on 09 Jul 2015

Carol- you are not the first person to ask this question! We occasionally subject our friends or family on these adventures. But it honestly is not always a lot of fun. We have spent some days exploring and finding nothing of much interest, or being lost/frustrated. And we also don't get to stay and spend much time at an one place before we are off looking for something else. And even if we wanted to take other people, we are not certified tour guides.

Comment by Gwenn on 05 Nov 2013

I've been following PR Day Trips for quite some time now.....I can't tell you how much I love your information. My husband & I have visited a few of the sites and can't thank you enough for the wonderful directions that you provide. We had heard about MarChiquita for a few years, but were never able to find it with directions from others. Then you posted information and the next day off we went......AND FOUND IT!! Thank you. I'm not so sure we can find this location, but we may try our next trip to the west coast!! It looks so peaceful! Just curious if you've ever considered taking a few of us readers along on an adventure? A small group tour?? Just think about it!!

Comment by Carol on 30 Oct 2013

I really enjoyed Maricao when I stumbled on it back in 2006. We were driving up the mountains from Mayaguez, and felt like we were in the middle of nowhere, when suddenly this quant little town popped up. It was a little town with a square, businesses, schools, and everything .... just on a small scale. I enjoyed the elevation, isolation, and tranquility of it. If I could choose a place in Puerto Rico to live in, Maricao would be on my consideration list. I love natural swimming spots, and this place sounds great. It's nice to know that it's not too difficult to get to, once you know exactly where it is. I feel your disappointment as far as the trash, and definitely wish it was not the case.

Comment by Josh on 28 Oct 2013

Leave a Comment & Continue the Discussion

All fields are required.

Your email address will not be published.
More Info
Ads & Sponsors

Other Puerto Rico Resources …

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