Introducing Isabela & Around
Isabela is more famous for its surroundings than its patchwork urban core. Nicknamed the ‘Garden of the Northeast’ for its local cheeses and elegant Paso Fino horses, the coastline here is wild and rugged, with a handful of classic surfing beaches such as Jobos and Shacks that rival anything in Rincón, especially in the winter. While there’s plenty of accommodations and eating joints scattered along Rtes 466 and 4466, the ‘scene’ here is less cliquey and more isolated. The vistas are spectacular too. After a heavy dose of the ghastly urban sprawl on Hwy 2, the miles of sand dunes, inlets and untrammeled beaches that lie sandwiched between the lashing Atlantic and a 200ft coastal escarpment are a sight for sore eyes. You can scan the water from high cliffs for whales or charter whale-watching tours, which are also available down the coast during the winter.
If you stay off the main roads, Isabela is great cycling country, although there are no nearby rentals. Alternatively, you can explore the web of back roads that skirt the edge of karst country around the Bosque Estatal de Guajataca and nearby Lago Guajataca. The former has a handful of well-signposted hikes (unusual in Puerto Rico), while the latter offers kayaking and fishing.