Passing the Day at Playa Golondrinas and Poza Mujeres
Post Maria/Fiona- The end of the road and old trail to the Poza and Golondrinas area was washed away a bit. There is occasionally water you have to get around. Fiona left a lake of water at the end, which will need to disappear to see what trails are left. You currently have to park on the road sides (or in the lot) and find a trail to the beach. It used to be on the north (beachside) of the road that goes past the ruined house to the beach Poza Mujeres. You can access a path to get to Golondrinas from the beach…you have to go past the poza and go up rocks and stairs and continuing east on path.
The town of Manatí is about 45 minutes west of San Juan, and it boasts a number of beautiful beaches. Playa la Cueva de las Golondrinas and Poza del Mujeres are two beach areas in Manatí that are very close to each other, and that each have small and beautiful beaches. They require a little bit of walking (a couple of minutes) to get to, but you should do both the same day as they are both worth the effort.
These beach areas are located on the property of the Reserva Natural de Hacienda La Esperanza. They allow the public to use the paths to the beaches, but ask that we all keep it clean. You need to walk to the left of the houses and follow the path straight toward the ocean and stay to the right (closer to fence).
The path goes through a marshy area. Parts of it can be a little muddy, and sometimes under a couple inches of water. You will quickly get alomost to the water and there is a Y that has two possible paths. At the Y, walk to left for Playa la Cueva de las Golondrinas and to the right for Poza del Mujeres.
Both beaches have huge rock outcroppings that protect the cove beach from the rough Atlantic Ocean. You may be tempted to climb on the rocks. We do not recommend that. The rocks are sharp and there is the possibility of waves crashing over the rocks when the seas are rough. There are memorial markers up on the rocks for people who made bad choices and were not careful.
Playa la Cueva de las Golondrinas
Honestly, post Maria, the path is a little trickier than I remember it. But stay toward the north (ocean way) and you will eventually get there! To get to this beach and “cave”, you will be walking on a narrow path through bushes, so you may get a few scratches along the way. The path is hot and in the sun, but it is only a 5-10 minute walk. After you see a beach on your right, you will get to a Y in the path, stay to the right on the Y, and follow the path straight to Playa la Cueva de las Golondrinas .
Golondrinas is a small beach with a cove that is somewhat protected. There can be waves or currents at this beach, most likely in the winter. The feature here is the rock formation that is a “cave” (really more of an overhang), where goldondrinas (which is a bird like the barn swallow) use for nesting.
We explored this area, and checked out the beach. As a bonus, we found a couple nice pieces of sea glass.
If it is calm enough to enter the cave area, you can get a good look at the birds going in and out. I hear that there are some petroglyphs in this cave, though we did not see any. If you do venture into the cave, note that there are lots of little urchins, so wear water shoes!
The beach is nice, sand is soft, there are trees for shade, and the cave makes a nice barrier from the rough ocean. It’s a nice place to spend some time. Be forewarned — I have heard that some people use this beach as a nudist beach … though that was not our experience either time we have been here.
You will notice other paths out from this beach or back at the Y’s in the paths. These paths lead around the Nature Reserve, to other beaches and even the river. It’s a neat place to explore, as long as you can find your way back to your car!
Poza del Mujeres
From Golondrinas, walk back to the original Y, and this time go to the left toward the water (or if you are coming from the road, it is the right). In just a few yards you will get to the top of some steps and a concrete wall. You need to climb down the rock on the right to get to the Poza del Mujeres.
The easiest way: If coming from the parking area, there is a path to the right of the houses by the fence that will take you right to the beach. The Pozo is to the left. This is a small strip of sand that separates a calmer pool (on the left) from the open ocean on the other side. A rock formation keeps most of the waves from crashing in, but be aware that there are sometimes strong currents. Be aware of water conditions before heading into the water. Sand is soft, but it is all open, there is no shade.
A few years ago, when we were inquiring about beaches in the area, we were told that this area can be sketchy — robberies and smash-n-grabs of cars. It appeared safe on our recent visits. So use your best judgement and take nothing of value with you to beach. Sometimes, there is an older guy there (with a machete) there that keeps an eye on the cars. Give him $1 or $2 “tip” … it’s worth that much for some peace of mind. There is now a pay for parking lot $7 I think.
There are no facilities at these beaches, so bring what you need for the day (water, sunscreen etc). And remember to take your trash out with you when you are finished.
Mar Chiquita is another beautiful beach that is very nearby. You could stop there also and visit three great beaches in one day.
From the San Juan area, take Route 22 west to exit 46, then take Route 686 north to Route 685. Take Route 685 west until a curve to the left … at that curve, make a sharp right, and then a quick left onto Road 6684. Follow that to the end, and park at the end of the street.
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