The secret to making the most of Puerto Rico’s rugged north coast is to skip the towns and head straight for the beaches: the exceptions are Dorado, which boasts a modest collection of museums and galleries, and Vega Baja, a gracious old colonial town. Autopista PR-22 is a fast and efficient route west, but if you have time you’re better off following the coast roads, a leisurely alternative rewarded by long, deserted stretches of sand. The trinity of Balneario Cerro Gordo, Playa Los Tubos and Playa Mar Chiquita represent the best of Puerto Rican beach life, while the Reserva Natural de Hacienda La Esperanza and Bosque Estatal de Cambalache offer some wilder, off-road relief. Quebradillas is the gateway to the Porta del Sol, well off the beaten track despite some celebrated culinary attractions, a compelling beach area and some low-key but enigmatic ruins. Toa Baja, Toa Alta, Vega Alta and Manatí hold little appeal, while even the region’s largest city, Arecibo, offers little in the way of sights and is best avoided.

Book through Rough Guides’ trusted travel partners

Puerto Rico features

The latest articles, galleries, quizzes and videos.

Top live music destinations

Top live music destinations

San Juan, Puerto Rico Puerto Rican artistes were prominent in the New-York based creation of salsa in the 1970s, when the pan-Latin mix was given a rock fla…

10 Mar 2014 • Rachel Mills camera_alt Gallery
View more featureschevron_right

Weekly newsletter

Sign up now for travel inspiration, discounts and competitions

Sign up now and get 20% off any ebook