Playa Santa, Guanica: Beach Thursday photo essay

Playa Santa, Guanica is a beach in Puerto Rico that very few outsiders have heard of. Unfortunately, many foreigners miss the true gems of the island when they visit, as the best beaches in Puerto Rico are located in the southern and western coasts. For this reason, I have selected Playa Santa as this week’s Beach Thursday feature.

On Puerto Rico’s southwestern coast…

Playa Santa, Guanica, Puerto Rico

Me (11 years ago!) in Playa Santa, Guanica

Located in the southwestern coast, Playa Santa, Guanica is kissed by the turquoise waters of the Caribbean Sea. Popular in the summer, locals drive from all parts of the islands to retreat in government-subsidized vacation rentals along the coast. Thus, if you seek relaxation, the best times to visit Playa Santa, Guanica are the winter and spring.

Playa Santa, Guanica – The Vicinity

Guánica State forest

One of the many views you encounter at the Guánica State forest (Oquendo, Creative Commons)

Guánica is not just about beaches, though! It is a true nature lover’s paradise. Here, you should visit the UNESCO Guanica Biosphere Reserve. Comprised of more than 4000 hectares of coasts, mangroves, several cays and even a subtropical dry forest, it is a perfect day trip from Playa Santa (José Ouendo, Flikr).

Manglillo Beach - Playa Santa, Guanica vicinity

Manglillo Beach - another fantastic day trip from Playa Santa! (Photo: Creative Commons)

Sunsets are particularly spectacular on this side of the island. I remember contemplating them religiously when I vacationed in Playa Santa, Guanica with my family almost every summer. Growing up in Puerto Rico had many perks – I’m an island beach girl at heart!

Playa Santa, Guanica sunset

sunset on a cloudy day at Playa Santa, Guanica (view from our balcony!)

another glorious sunset in Playa Santa, Guanica

another glorious sunset in Playa Santa

Playa Santa, Guanica is not only great, off-the-beaten-path spot for a beach getaway. It is also a great base to visit other lesser-known attractions in Puerto Rico. Rent a car and swing by Ponce, Mayagüez and also pay a visit to the gorgeous beaches of Cabo Rojo!

Playa Buye, vicinity of Playa Santa, Guanica

another great beach in the vicinity of Playa Santa, Guanica: Playa Buye! (Photo:Elivan)

Discover Puerto Rico today! Several flights a day available from hundreds of airports around the United States and worldwide. To visit the west coast, I recommend you fly into Aguadilla (Rafael Hernández Airport, BQN). Looking for a road trip? Then fly into San Juan (Luis Muñóz Marín Airport, SJU), stay a couple of days by the Old City (UNESCO World Heritage Site) and rent a car to head west to Playa Santa, Guanica.

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