Check out the Natural Pools in Manatí
Some of the prettiest places in Puerto Rico require a little more effort to get to. The upside of that is that they are usually less crowded. The Natural Pools (or Piscinas Naturales) in Manatí are such a place. These little holes in the rocks are filled with seawater from the waves. They are a bit of a walk to reach, but the beauty of the area is worth it! Just watch the waves; this is not the place to go during rough seas.
The town of Manatí, located on the north coast of Puerto Rico, is a beautiful area. The coastline is dotted with alternating beaches and massive limestone outcroppings. The wind, rain, and waves from millions of years have carved beautiful formations all along the north coast. Manatí has caves, cliffs and natural pools carved into these rocks. It is these natural pools that were our goal to explore.
We have gotten to these pools via two different routes … once by land, and once along the sea. Each route is about the same walking distance, but the scenery along the way is very different.
- Along the Beach — You can easily get to the pools by walking from Playa Mujeres Beach. From that beach, orient yourself by looking at the water, walk to your right (eastward). You will see a large rock outcropping at the end of the beach. This is the rock you need to get to. It is about a 15-20 minute walk, through sand (and surf), usually into the wind. It is difficult, but cooling as you have a breeze and cool water to walk in.
- Through a Field — This route goes across private property. This way, you park on the road by the field gate and walk in. The sign says “no parking”, but not “do not enter”. So I can’t say for certain if it is allowed to use their path or not. But we did, and many other people do too. Just keep to clean. It is also about a 15 minute walk, along a dirt “road” through the field. The “road” will start to turn to the right, and you want to find the path that goes straight to the beach. You will see the rocks on your right. I thought this way was hot, but easier than walking in sand.
Regardless of which route you take, you will end up on the beach at the western end of the same rock outcropping. Once you have reached the rock outcropping make sure that you have on closed-toed shoes with hard soles. These rocks are very sharp!
To get up, you will see a tiny worn “path” up the edge of the rock that will get you to the top. It is a bit scary, so be careful. Once on the top, you need to continue walking to the east (right). You will see many pretty formations, holes that fill with rain/sea water with high waves. There is one area that was quarried that left some cool “stairs” in the rock. Keep going. It is about 10 minute walk to reach the real “natural pools” that we have pictured here … the ones right at the water’s edge.
You need to scramble down the rocks on either side of the pools to get down to them. They consist of three pools — a larger one close to the water’s edge, and two smaller ones closer to the back wall. They range in depth up to maybe 5 feet deep in the largest/deepest part. But mainly you can stand in about 2-3 feet of water for photos.
It is lovely. The day we went, waves were low and only occasionally broke over the seawall, bringing in the occasional refill of water. This is OK. But when waves are large, be very careful … the force from the water draining from the pools could drag you across the sharp edges.
You will need to wear sneakers or water shoes in the pools. There are urchins all around the edges. But it is a beautiful spot, and the photos are great!
This area can be very dangerous any time the seas are rough. This is true of most of the north coast beaches The seas can be rough any time of the year, but especially in the winter.
The rocks leading to (and around) the natural pools are very sharp. Closed-toe shoes with sturdy soles are required.
Take Route 2 to Route 685 in Manatí. From Route 685, take Road 6684 (there is a pizza place on the corner) northward as far as you can. Park along the road, or in one of the lots.
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 ...
- Natural Pools in Manatí: (18.476820, -66.498260)
- Natural Pools in Manatí (gate to field): (18.472140, -66.503250)
- Playa Mujeres (Manatí): (18.476393, -66.506173)
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!