Dense mangrove forest flank the sandy beaches of the Atlantic Ocean in Piñones, an area just a 20-minute drive to the east of San Juan. You can spend a few hours here to explore the forested trails and beaches on foot, bike or kayak, or the entire day. Bring a picnic, or enjoy a local beer and authentic local snacks to refuel. After a day of exercise, you’ll be ready to relax in one of the many oceanfront bars and restaurants that light up in the evening in this neighborhood frequented by locals and tourists alike.
A great family activity is strolling or biking along the seven-mile long (11 kilometers) boardwalk that runs between the forest and the coast. The path is flat and scenic, with lots of places to stop and take photos along the way. Rent a bike from one of the shops along Route 187, or a kayak if you want some sun on the water. Either way, you’ll find plenty of opportunities to wade through the tide pools and watch local fishermen. The further you travel along the boardwalk the more secluded the beaches become. There are also some of the best surf breaks in the area.
If you want to learn while you explore, join a guided kayak tour of Piñones’ rivers and lagoons. Or, just keep your eyes peeled to discover the wildlife that lives within the forest. Piñones is home to many species of reptiles, mammals and marine life. The forest is teeming with local birds, including the trochiladae and the bananaquit. There are a number of beachfront bars, clubs and restaurants in Piñones, and dining at one of these is a great chance to sample the local cuisine. Try an alcapurrias, or a pasteles, two typical Puerto Rican finger foods, from a local vendor.
Piñones is located on Route187, approximately 15-minutes drive east of San Juan. There is parking in the area, however visitors are advised not to leave their valuables behind. There is no public transportation that services Piñones, however a taxi can be taken from San Juan. Piñones is open daily and there is no admission fee to enter.