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Hidden Surf Spots in Puerto Rico: Empty Waves Without the Crowds

With perfect waves year-round, Puerto Rico is a surfer's paradise. But popular spots like Rincón can get crowded. This guide uncovers empty surf spots along the west and east coasts where you can escape the masses and enjoy epic barrels without competing for waves.
Hidden Surf Spots in Puerto Rico

With perfect waves crashing along 300 miles of azure coastline, Puerto Rico has long been an under-the-radar tropical paradise for surfers. Beyond the big breaks like Surfer’s Beach in Rincón that put Puerto Rico on the map, there are numerous hidden surf gems scattered across the island waiting to be explored.

For surfers looking to get off the beaten path, discover empty lineups, and score some epic barrels, Puerto Rico delivers in spades if you know where to look. The island is packed with secluded beach breaks, ripping reefs and point breaks nestled between jungle-lined shores and offshore cays.

In this guide, we’ll uncover the best-hidden surf spots in Puerto Rico that deliver powerful, uncrowded waves without the crowds. We’ll review locations, conditions, skill levels, and everything you need to know to track down these under-the-radar surf zones.

With Puerto Rico’s warm waters, affordability, and wealth of waves, it’s an ideal destination for surf trips aimed at long sessions exploring waves, making new friends, and getting immersed in vibrant island culture. Read on to start planning your own adventure chasing waves along Puerto Rico’s spectacular coastline. The island’s secret spots are waiting to be discovered.

Table of Contents

Best Hidden Surf Spots in Puerto Rico

I’ve been fortunate enough to surf some incredible waves around the globe, but Puerto Rico exceeded my expectations with the sheer number of hidden gems scattered along its coast. 

On my recent trip, I scored some epic sessions at two lesser-known spots – Playa Negra on Vieques and La Pared in Luquillo.

Uncover empty waves and score uncrowded barrels at Puerto Rico’s secret surf spots with this guide to the island’s hidden beach breaks and reefs.”

Playa Negra

A striking black sand beach tucked away on Vieques, one of Puerto Rico’s offshore islands. The vibe was so tranquil and secluded. But the surf was no joke – fast, hollow and heavy barrels tearing over a shallow reef. I got some of the best tubes of my life out there! Not for the faint of heart though with the shallow reef – it’s best left to experienced surfers.

La Pared

A legendary left point break with amazing shape and long, blue barrels. Nestled between palm trees, it was like surfing in a tropical postcard. On smaller days it’s suitable for different levels, but when it’s pumping overhead it turns into a heavy, technical barrel machine. I befriended some awesome local surfers who showed me the ideal takeoff points.

The rest of Puerto Rico is at the top of my list to continue exploring. I can’t wait to check out rugged Playuela with its striking cliff backdrop. Jobos also sounds like the ideal beach break to just kick back and enjoy some nice, long rides. And there are so many other under-the-radar spots and outer islands left to discover. Wherever you look, Puerto Rico just delivers epic surf.

La Pared Surfing

Locations and Accessibility

Getting to Puerto Rico’s secret surf spots takes a bit more effort than the popular breaks, but the reward is scoring a perfect setup with no crowds. Here are some tips for accessing these hidden gems:

  • Playa Negra – Located on the southeast corner of Vieques island. Take a small plane or ferry from the main island of Puerto Rico to reach Vieques. From Isabela, the ferry takes around 90 minutes. Then drive or taxi to Playa Negra. Keep an eye out for the unmarked sandy path to the right that leads down to the beach.

  • La Pared – Situated just west of Luquillo on the northeast coast of the main island. From San Juan, it’s around a 1 hour drive east to Luquillo, then a short 10 minute drive west down Route 3 to access La Pared. Look for the La Pared Surf Beach sign leading down a rugged road to the parking area.

  • Playuela – Found on the southwest corner of the main island near Cabo Rojo. From San Juan, it’s approximately a 2.5-3 hour drive southwest along the coast to reach Playuela. ThePlayuela sign off Route 301 marks the steep path down to the secluded beach.

  • Jobos – Located on the northwest tip of the island in Isabela. From San Juan, it’s about a 2 hour drive west along the northern coast to reach Jobos. Well-marked signs make it easy to find the parking lot adjacent to the beach.

While some spots require renting a car, you can also research public vans, buses or organized surf tours to reach more remote breaks if needed. Taking a taxi to trailheads or organizing a water taxi from the mainland out to Vieques makes things easier. Wherever you go, getting off the beaten path rewards you with empty lineups.

Surf Spots in Puerto Rico

Discover the secret spots and secluded breaks that only locals know about in Puerto Rico. This guide provides directions to hidden beaches and reefs along with tips for scoring epic empty barrels without fighting crowds.”

Wave Conditions and Skill Levels

Puerto Rico’s hidden surf spots cater to different skill levels thanks to the variety of reef, point, and beach breaks scattered along the coasts. Here’s a guide to the wave size, power and recommended experience at some of the top spots:

Playa Negra’s powerful reef break is no joke. Hollow and fast barrel sections break in chest high to well overhead surf. The shallow reef makes it critical to nail your takeoff or risk getting tossed onto dry reef. Lineups were uncrowded, but not many beginners were out for good reason. Playa Negra is one spot that demands experience in big barreling surf.

La Pared was more welcoming to different skill levels. On the smaller days I surfed it shoulder high, the long left walls had nice shape for carving. But once it hits double overhead, La Pared starts throwing some mean hollow barrels that require advanced skills. The fun beach break vibe makes La Pared a worthy mission.

The other spots like Playuela and Jobos sound equally world-class. Playuela seems reminiscent of Playa Negra as a heavy barreling beach break for expert surfers. And I can’t wait to check out Jobos as a more versatile break for all skill levels. Puerto Rico truly has a hidden break for every surfer.

When to Go?

Timing your surf trip to Puerto Rico’s secret spots is key to scoring the best waves. During my stay, the 3-5 foot surf I enjoyed at La Pared was thanks to a winter cold front bringing swell down from the north.

For the best chance of waves, aim to visit between November and April when north and northwest swells kick up. The peak months are December through February when powerful winter storms track across the North Atlantic.

Even during the prime season, flexibility is key on a surfari to Puerto Rico. Be ready to chase swells to whichever part of the island has the best conditions. Keep tabs on surf forecasts and have a rental car ready to hunt around.

When packing, traveling light is crucial to stay mobile. Bring only the essentials – your board shorts, rashguards, nice small board, 3/2 wetsuit and flip flops. No need to overpack bulky suitcases that will just weigh you down. The swell will bring all you need for an epic surf trip.

Maximize your surf trip to Puerto Rico by planning around the prime seasons and swells to ensure epic waves at these hidden spots without competing against crowds.”

Water Temperatures

The water temperatures around Puerto Rico vary throughout the year, but generally remain on the warmer side.

During the peak winter surf season from December through February, average water temps dip down to around 75-77°F since cold fronts are passing through.

Surfing for hours at a time will require wearing a 3/2mm wetsuit to stay comfortable and avoid getting chilled. A hood can also help during extended early morning sessions.

By March and April, temperatures start warming up to around 79-80°F as the ocean retains more heat. A 3/2mm wetsuit is still ideal for the early mornings before switching to rashguards when the midday sun warms things up.

Summer peaks in August with water temperatures around 84°F and air temps in the 90s. This is when you can trunk it and enjoy super comfortable surfing in just boardshorts.

The takeaway is Puerto Rico offers easily surfable water temps year round. Just be prepared with the right wetsuit thickness and coverage during the prime winter swells to maximize time spent surfing those epic waves.

water temperature

Hazards and Precautions

While Puerto Rico’s secret spots offer incredible world-class waves, they can also bring some hazards to stay aware of.

Powerful rip currents are common, especially when large swells arrive. It’s critical to swim parallel to shore to exit rips instead of fighting back straight in. Breaking waves on shallow reefs also pack a lot of force, so always surf within your limits.

I heard some gnarly stories from locals at La Pared of bad wipeouts onto the shallow limestone reef. Sharp coral heads can also present dangers at spots like Playa Negra. Sturdy reef booties are a smart call.

Tropical storms and hurricanes are a risk during the Caribbean hurricane season from June through November. Best to avoid surfing in adverse weather and heed any closures.

Other precautions include watching for sea urchins when wading out over rocky bottoms, being cautious paddling out around rip currents, and applying reef-safe sunscreen to avoid harming the coral ecosystems. Building a rapport with the local surfers can provide great insights on hidden hazards too.

Ultimately, exercising good judgement and listening to your instincts will go a long way toward surfing safely and returning home with epic memories instead of injuries.

surfing rental and lessons in Puerto Rico

Stay safe while scoring empty barrels at Puerto Rico’s secret surf spots with tips on avoiding riptides, reef injuries, and where to find lifeguards in this guide.”

Rentals and Lessons

As a beginner surfer, having the right gear and guidance can make a huge difference when attempting Puerto Rico’s secret breaks.

Many spots have surf shops and rental operations nearby to pick up boards, wetsuits and other essentials. In Isabela, Jobos Surf Rentals right near the beach provides everything you need. Playa Negra Surf Shop and La Pared Surf Shop cater to the surrounding spots.

Taking lessons is also highly recommended to hone skills and get insider tips on positioning and technique at each unique break. Excellent surf schools like Desecheo Surf School in Rincon offer camp packages that transport you to the best waves each day. Private lessons are also available.

Having a knowledgeable companion on your first few sessions out at new breaks provides an added comfort. They can offer pointers in real time and make sure you don’t miss the main takeoff areas. Many local surfers are happy to show newcomers the ropes as well.

Don’t be shy to ask for advice when paddling out at one of Puerto Rico’s heavy, experts-only spots like Playuela. Taking the time to learn the nuances will help you stay safe and get the most out of an incredible surf trip.

Surf lesson in Puerto Rico

Getting There and Local Tips

Now that we’ve uncovered some of Puerto Rico’s top hidden surf spots, here are some insider tips on getting there and making the most of your sessions:

Having your own rental car makes accessing most spots straightforward. But public vans and buses also provide a budget way to reach breaks like Jobos and La Pared for those without vehicles.

When parking near the surf, get there early to beat the crowds and secure a spot. For Playa Negra, the ferry from Fajardo should be booked in advance too.

Check local surf shop websites or social media feeds for real-time wave conditions. Chatting up the local surfers is another great way to get beta on what spots are working best.

After scoring epic sessions, make sure to support local businesses. Grab a bite and beers at surf-inspired spots like The Beach House in Rincon or Boardriders in San Juan.

Some breaks like La Pared have nearby communities. Be respectful by keeping noise down and being courteous to residents. Clean up all trash and debris after surfing.

Following basic etiquette like not snaking other surfers will go a long way in the lineup. Avoid “blowing up the spot” online to help preserve the under-the-radar vibe.

With insider knowledge, respect for locals, and sound judgement, Puerto Rico’s secret spots will offer amazing adventures. Just use common sense to make the most of this special surf paradise!

Master the remote access points, learn where to rent boards, and discover insider tips for surfing Puerto Rico’s hidden waves without crowds through this guide’s practical travel advice.”

Staying Safe and Being Respectful

I like to think of surfing new breaks as being a guest in someone else’s home. You want to follow the rules of the house to both keep yourself safe and show respect to your hosts.

Many of Puerto Rico’s top surf spots are right in people’s coastal backyards. At La Pared, for instance, a vibrant neighborhood sits just up from the legendary wave.

It’s critical we keep our impact low by following any parking rules, keeping noise down, and packing out all trash. The islands are such natural gems, it’s on us to leave no trace.

In the water, practicing surf etiquette keeps things safe and friendly. Avoid dropping in on other surfers and understand right-of-way rules to avoid collisions.

Being aware of rip currents, reefs, and your own limits allow everyone to enjoy the waves safely. 

Experienced locals often know the spots best – don’t hesitate to chat them up for insider tips.

By embodying the spirit of aloha and conducting yourself as a thoughtful guest, you’ll be welcomed back to surf Puerto Rico’s amazing secret spots again and again.

Staying Safe Surfing

Hidden Gems Beyond Surfing

Part of the appeal of a surfari is discovering all the incredible things a destination has to offer beyond just the waves. Puerto Rico delivers on this front with abundant natural beauty and cultural treasures.

On the main island, the stunning El Yunque National Forest is a must for hikers and waterfall chasers. The dense jungle rainforest is filled with scenic trails and swimming holes.

For history buffs, the massive Castillo San Felipe del Morro fortress in Old San Juan provides amazing views and insights into centuries past. Wandering the charming colonial streets is a joy.

Vieques and Culebra both have spectacular beaches beyond their famous surf. Flamenco Beach on Culebra is renowned as one of the Caribbean’s best stretches of sand.

The island of Culebra is also home to playful sea turtles while Vieques’ Bioluminescent Bay puts on a glowing underwater light show each night.

Don’t miss trying incredible local dishes too like mofongo, stuffed plantains, and fresh-caught fish. Puerto Rican cuisine is a melting pot of flavors.

The diversity across Puerto Rico means you’ll never run out of adventures on a surf trip. Chase waves by day and discover paradise at night!


Puerto Rico truly offers an amazing array of world-class hidden surf spots for adventurous wave riders. Its secluded reefs, points, and beach breaks deliver thrilling conditions to surfers of all skill levels if you know where to look.

The island’s gorgeous waters, vibrant culture, and welcoming locals provide the ingredients for an unforgettable tropical surfing experience. Whether you’re a beginner looking for some coaching or an expert surfer chasing barrels, Puerto Rico has waves waiting to be discovered.

As the local Puerto Rican saying goes, “El mar llama a los que sueñan” – “The ocean calls to those who dream.” This captures the spirit of adventure that makes surfing Puerto Rico’s secret spots so rewarding.

Don’t miss out on planning your own surfari to this incredible island paradise. With some passion for adventure and respect for these unique islands, Puerto Rico’s secret spots will provide memories to last a lifetime. Grab your board and go chase your perfect wave in Puerto Rico!

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