The Elusive Stairs at Survival Beach
Hidden gems often require a extra effort to uncover, and the stairs that lead above Survival Beach are no exception. The stairs themselves were built to provide access to the beach for the people at the Ramey Air Force Base. There is a locked gate at the top, so if you know the code to open the gate at the top, then you can easily enjoy them from above. But the rest of us need to hike and climb to get to them from the beach.
We first visited these stairs in 2011, on a horseback riding trip with Tropical Trail Rides. We didn’t think too much of them then. But since then, photos are posted online all over the internet and people are crazy to find them. I guess it is just curiosity and a desire to explore the unknown. And you can get some pretty pictures from the top! So, I will try to help you.
Technically, I have no idea if these stairs are public or private property. Or if you are even allowed to use them. I have heard differing things. So, use at your own discretion.
Survival Beach and these stairs are located in the town of Aguadilla, on the north side of the former Ramey Air Force Base (aka Borinquen Field). This former US Air Force Base is now the home of the Rafael Hernández International Airport (BQN).
Just getting to Survival Beach is an effort in itself. It is a long, hot hike. I think the area is beautiful and every bit worth the effort. Once you get to Survival Beach, rest awhile and enjoy the beauty around you. The beach, nestled between rugged cliffs and serene blue waters, is beautiful — but it is not safe for swimming.
When you have rested from your hike and are ready to find the trail to stairs you need to continue walking eastward on the beach for about 5 minutes before you get into the vicinity of the stains — and then be prepared for another climb!
Survival Beach is notorious for boatloads of illegal immigrants landing on the beach. Their little boats (yolas) are left on the beach. The last time we visited the stairs, the landmark was a boat in the shrubbery line, pretty close to a large rock cave). Right here you will find a path. Follow that path, it will eventually get you to the uphill part of this trek.
This uphill trail is rocky and steep. You will see large concrete blocks every 15 feet or so. I guess they are for retention of the land. There are parts that someone very helpfully left to help you along the way. This part takes a while, but eventually you come to another cave and the stairs are on the right hand side.
The stairs are very well maintained, so I guess they are still in use by someone on the military bases in the area. It is only about 3-4 flights of stairs before you get to the top (where the locked gate is). But I really don’t get the point of having only this limited number of stairs. The people that get to use the gate/stair will still have to climb down and then back up that difficult path to actually get to the beach. But anyway … these are the stairs!
For me, the best part of finding these stairs is to get to the top and walk around up there. Amazing views! The water is beautiful blue and clear. You can see a number of the sunken yolas at the shoreline. Just lovely. Take your photos and rest up, because once you have taken all your photos, you have to hike back down!
There is no cost to access Survival Beach, nor for parking.
Plan your timing accordingly so you can be back to your car before nightfall.
There are no facilities at this beach. Bring plenty of drinking water, sunscreen, hat, etc. Closed-toe shoes are a requirement.
Click on a placename below to view the location on Google Maps ...
- Survival Beach
- Survival Beach Stairs, bottom of stairs
- Survival Beach Stairs, path to lower cave
- Survival Beach Stairs, path to upper cave
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!