Puerto Rico is a small island in the Caribbean and is an unincorporated US territory. Puerto Rico surfing is up there with some of the best surf spots around the worlds. The water is warm and because it’s island there is always a good swell and offshore wind blowing somewhere.
Being in the Caribbean it’s only a three hour flight from the east coast of the US. This makes it the perfect winter escape. Beautiful white sand beaches, palm trees, sunshine and good waves, surfing Puerto Rico is an ideal choice for the discerning surfer.
Best Time To Surf In Puerto Rico
The biggest swell arrives in the winter months between December and March and places like Rincon can actually turn into big wave spots. The best swell occurs between the months of September to November and April to May.
These are the shoulder seasons where the waves are not huge but are nonetheless a decent size and arrive with consistency. You’re also likely to find fewer crowds than the peak winter season, where you have both big wave chargers and people simply escaping the icy winters of the American north east.
Type Of Wave
Puerto Rico surfing is notorious for big, hollow, powerful waves usually deriving from reef breaks. This makes surfing Puerto Rico more of an intermediate to advanced surfing destination. Puerto Rico is also renowned for having strong rip currents and a solid sprinkling of sea urchins (ouch!). Some spots are best surfed with booties.
With all that being said there is always a wave that can be found which is suitable for a beginner surfer. Before and after a big swell is often the best time for beginners and lower intermediate surfers to find a suitable wave. Another good place to look is deep inside an inlet bay where there is a wave breaking out on the point. As the wave bends and refracts around the point and into the bay it cleans and also reduces in size – ideal for a beginner.
Puerto Rico Surf Spots
Being an island there are good surf spots across the entire coastline of Puerto Rico. However, some of the best surf spots are in the north-western section of the island.
Rincon is the most well known surfing location in Puerto Rico. It has a large number of different surf spots with a great degree of diversity . Everything from small, fun waves through to giant, freight-train waves.
This spot is suitable for all levels of surfing. It’s a beach break with a few rocky reefs interspersed throughout. Predominantly lefts with the odd sandbar rights filing through in front of Tamboo Tavern. When it’s firing, the lefts can be long and shreddable. The ideal wave happens when the swell direction is N/NW/NE with southerly winds.
A reef break offering both rights and lefts that is best suited to an intermediate or experienced surfer. The best time to surf it is in the mornings before the onshore arrives. N/NW/NE swells and southerly winds make for an ideal wave.
A well known intermediate/advanced surf spot. It’s a pretty shallow reef break with a few scattered right and left peaks. It can get pretty gnarly when it’s overhead, so be prepared to see broken boards. At shoulder to head it a great wave that still packs a punch. For optimal conditions the swell direction needs to be N, NW, and NE.
A reef break which caters to all ability levels. It works best on N, NW, and NE swells with SE winds. Some lefts, but mostly rights. When it’s firing one can score some lovely and long rights.
Piston’s and Dogman’s
Not for the faint of heart. This wave suits the more adventurous and experienced surfer who is confidant is navigating hollow lefts and rights over shallow reef.
A crowded spot which is great day out for beginner and intermediate surfers. A nice, fun, long and fast right break. It works best on a NW swell, with NE trade winds, and a lower tide.
The big daddy of Puerto Rico surf spots. This wave is only suitable for true big wave chargers. Breaks on an outer-lying reef and doesn’t start working until it’s double overhead.
Aguadilla is one of the main cities on the north-west coast of Puerto Rico. It’s a 25 min drive up the coast from Rincon, and like Rincon is home to some awesome surf spots.
Located in central Aguadilla, Bridges is known for its fun glassy waves. Needless to say it caters to surfer of all ability levels. It’s also known to be quite polluted as a result of runoff from town. This sandy bottom point break works best when the swell direction is WNW.
Suitable for intermediate to advanced surfers. It’s a punchy sandy bottom right with hollow sections. Particularly popular with bodyboarders.
This spot caters to intermediate to advanced surfers. A fun rolling right-hand point break with a reef bottom. Ideal for longboards, fish and other boards which have a bit more volume than your standard performance shortboard.
This reef break caters to all ability levels. However, once it get’s up to head high it starts to get punchy and therefore is better suited to the more advanced surfer. This is spot is known to have a lot of urchins and strong rip currents. Strong paddling skills are required.
As the capital, San Juan offers some top-notch Puerto Rico surf spots. Some of which are only a short distance from the city center.
A great beach break for beginners. Just a stones throw away from San Juan airport. Jump off the plane and be riding these waves in less than 20 minutes.
This break, is better suited to intermediate and advanced surfers. It’s a fairly long paddle out with a rocky bottom. The wave doesn’t break in shallow water making it suitable for both short and long boarders.
As Puerto Rico surfing goes, Piñones has some of the best rnage of waves on the island. These includes Chatarras which is a hollow, fast reef break. When it’s working you’ll be sure to score some barrels. Playa Aviones is a more consistent reef break in shallower water suitable for the more advanced surfer. Tocones is a short and fast beach break. It’s very popular with bodyboarders. Be careful of rip currents at this break.