In many ways Luquillo is a typical Puerto Rican town: a coastal strip of magnificent beaches backed by a mishmash of condo towers, strip malls and urban sprawl. But here, in the island’s busy 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. Because of Luquillo’s popularity with sanjuaneros (people from San Juan), your best time to visit is on a weekday.
Luquillo traces its history to an early Spanish settlement in 1797 and its name to a valorous cacique (Taíno chief), Loquillo, who made a brave standoff against early colonizers here in 1513. These days the almost 20,000-strong town is bypassed by the arterial Hwy 3 which carries traffic to Fajardo.