Black Sand Beach at Playa La Boca in Barceloneta
Black sand beaches sound so exotic, don’t they? On the big island of Puerto Rico, we have found only a few that have black sand, and two of them are in the Barceloneta/Manatí area on the north coast.
This particular black sand beach, called Playa La Boca, is easy to get to, and is available 7 days/week for your enjoyment.
The two black sand beaches we have found in the north — at Playa La Boca and Playa La Esperanza — are along the same mile of coast, however they are separated by a river and some beige sand beaches.
I think that the black sand beach at Playa La Esperanza is prettier, blacker, and offers better scenery for photos. But it is more is difficult to get to — it is only available on weekends, since it is is located on land owned by the Fideicomiso de Conservación de Puerto Rico (Puerto Rico Conservation Trust).
Playa La Boca is easy to get to — it is just a few steps off the road. This black sand beach is long, it runs westward from the river mouth for a really long way, where is gradually gets lighter in color until it is beige again. The black sand ranges in areas from smooth powdery to rough grains.
Because this beach is close to the mouth of a river, a lot of natural debris and silt come down and into the water when it rains in the mountains. That means that you should expect to find a lot of debris on the beach, and turbid water.
This is not a swimming beach. It’s more of a take a walk on the beach beach. It’s not really safe for swimming here, as the unprotected north coast has large waves, which explains why you will sometimes see surfers here.
Be careful parking at this beach. I have heard that the area is a little iffy. Make sure not to leave anything valuable in your car. I might even suggest parking at a nearby business or restaurant, just to be on the safe side.
Driving directions from the San Juan area: Take Route 22 west to the Barcoloneta exit. Then take Route 140 to Route 684 to the north. Go all the way until you turn to the left at the ocean. The black sand beach starts there. There are some houses/businesses there — where it might be safer to park, ask for permission. We found a small empty lot to park in just up the road a bit, from which we could walk right onto the beach.
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