In many ways Luquillo is a typical Puerto Rican town; a physically beautiful coastal strip of magnificent beaches backed by a dull, uninspiring mishmash of condo towers, strip malls and unsightly urban sprawl. But here, in the island’s congested northeastern corner, beauty easily outweighs the beast. Playa Luquillo, the mile-long crescent of surf and sand to the west of the town, is regularly touted as being the commonwealth’s finest balneario (public beach) and the proverbial home of Puerto Rican soul food. Meanwhile, winking a velvety shade of purple in the background, the crenellated ridges of El Yunque proffer a ghostly invitation.
Central Luquillo is a baffling place that has a dearth of easy-to-find accommodation and little in the way of history. Aside from the underrated Playa Azul and a couple of strung-out restaurants, there’s little worth exploring here. Instead, most travelers head a mile west to Puerto Rico’s so-called ‘Riviera’, the insanely popular Luquillo Beach that is as famous for its ramshackle strip of permanent food kiosks as it is for icing-sugar sand and sheltered bay.
Luquillo traces its history to an early Spanish settlement in 1797 and its name to a valorous Taíno cacique (chief), Loquillo, who made a brave standoff against the early colonizers here in 1513. These days the 20,000-strong town is bypassed by the arterial Hwy 3 that carries traffic to Fajardo. Here you’ll find little of lasting architectural note save for a couple of craning condo towers that do their best to block out views of El Yunque. Thanks to Luquillo’s popularity with vacationing sanjuaneros (people from San Juan), público bus links with the capital are fairly regular during the week. If you’re going to the beach, make sure you disembark next to the kiosks, a mile or so before Luquillo Pueblo.
Last updated: Feb 17, 2009
Check out all our reviewed and recommended accommodation and book online.
Going to Puerto Rico? Make sure you're covered.Get a quote