Another Secret Beach in Fajardo, Puerto Rico – Playa Escondida
Are you looking for a “hidden” or “Secret” beach? Maybe a place you can have all to yourself, or mostly to yourself? Keep reading as Playa Escondida might be the beach you are looking for.
Nestled in the Northeast corner of Puerto Rico are some amazing beaches that check all of the boxes. Playa Escondida is certainly one of those and why it’s on our list of our favorite Puerto Rician beaches. Getting there will take a little more effort than most beaches which I guess is why it is considered a “hidden” beach.
How to Get to Playa Escondida
To get to Playa Escondida you must first make your way to Seven Seas Beach Park in Fajardo in order to find the public trail that will take you there.
Fajardo is an easy 45 minute drive East from the San Juan metro area. If you don’t have a car you may be able to find a tour operator or a shuttle as Seven Seas is right next to the Las Cabezas De San Juan National Park, famous for the Laguna Grande bioluminescent bay and its lighthouse, Faro Las Cabezas de San Juan.
Read More about Getting Around in Puerto Rico
Parking at Seven Seas Beach Park
Once you have made your way to Sevens Seas Beach Park in Fajardo you have a couple of easy options for parking.
The easiest is the big paid parking lot (Estacionamiento Balneario Seven Seas) that will run you a few dollars. When we were there it was only open Thursday through Sunday but that was the off season and during Covid. During the busier season and on the weekends it can get quite busy. There is a nice paved path from the parking lot down to the beach as well as a food kiosk The House of Pastelillos at the edge of the lot and restrooms too.
Tip: Use the restrooms at Seven Seas Beach Park as there are no facilities at Playa Escondida
Free parking options
What if you’re on a budget and would rather spend the couple of bucks it cost to park on ice cream or a cold beer? Well there are basically two “Free” parking options we found at Seven Seas Beach.
Park along the street
There are a handful of parking spots along Carr Cabezas de San Juan (PR-987) along the right side of the road. The spots are not marked except they are paved and between the white line and sidewalk. These can be found just before the road bends by the Palma Vista Condo complex and continue past the Costa Mia restaurant. Just be sure not to block any driveways, especially to the Condo complex if you don’t want your car towed.
If you want to park on the street and not pay we would recommend getting to the beach early on the weekends. Locals and tourists head to the beaches on Saturdays and Sundays so be prepared for it to be busy.
During the week we found it to be much calmer, we usually arrived around 10AM-11AM and were able to find street parking. In the busier seasons your mileage may vary. Another word of caution: be sure to park completely off the roadway or risk being fined, towed or having your car damaged by passing cars. This includes parking on the sidewalks or dirt/grass side of the road despite seeing other cars there. The roads are narrow with no center line marking. We noticed people usually drive down the middle and move over as necessary. Read our article about Driving in Puerto Rico here.
Park in the Unofficial Lots
There are three “unofficial” lots that look like they are empty or abandoned private property that a lot of folks park on when it is busy. We would not recommend this. We spoke with some locals from the area and they were also skeptical about it as well.
Where to find the Trailhead to Playa Escondida
Ok now that you are parked, have unloaded all of your stuff and/or kids and used the restroom, make your way toward Seven Seas Beach and walk west all the way to the end of the beach (.5 km) until you see a sign that reads “Limite De Seguridad” (Safety Limit) on the right. Here is where you will find the trailhead.
The trail to Playa Escondida & Playa Colora is an easy, peaceful and mostly shaded 2.6 km walk there and back. It will take you about 25 – 40 minutes each way to walk to Playa Escondida depending on how much stuff you’re carrying, how many times you stop along the way and your fitness level.
You will definitely want to wear at least water shoes or sturdy sandals as the trail can flood or be muddy after a rain in spots. The trail is easy and mostly level after the first few meters. In those first few meters you will traverse an incline that has ruts before leveling out. Watch for roots along the trail so as not to trip. I nearly did this a few times as I was focused on filming and taking photos!
Make sure to bring a small backpack with water and snacks if you plan on staying for a couple of hours. We recommend a reusable water bottle to help reduce trash. A beach blanket or even a small cooler is a good idea as well. There are no bathrooms or amenities at Playa Colora or Playa Escondida so be sure to use the restrooms at Seven Seas Beach prior to setting out. Since there are also no trash receptacles, bring a small bag to place your trash and any you may find and be sure to pack it out.
After a few minutes the trail opens up and you can see the Seven Seas Beach back to your right and a short path on your left leading to a cool mangrove tunnel into the neighboring Laguna Aquas Prietas.
Continue straight ahead as the trail takes you back into the jungle and veers slightly left. You will find yourself walking along the Northern edge of Laguna Aquas Prietas.
Unfortunately there is not a good view of the Lagoon from the trail. You will no doubt find plenty of crabs and birds on the trail as well as some really big termite nests built in the trees.
After another few minutes you’ll see a sign on your right hand side for Playa Colora, you are almost there! If you have the time, be sure to check out Playa Colora as well, you can read about it here.
As you continue on your walk you might feel like you’re in a scene from Raider’s of the Lost Ark for a small stretch but it soon gets even more lovely and makes you feel like you’re in a fairytale.
Here is where our advice about the water shoes may come in as part of the trail can flood or be muddy, especially after a rain! You may notice little side trails that circumvent the bulk of the flood prone parts of the trail.
The mangrove trees create a canopy of shade while you’re walking and the sun shimmers through the trees as you near the end of the trail.
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Playa Escondida is stunning and it’s quite long too. It stretches West past the Governor’s Summer Mansion at Cabeza Chiquita Beach. The water is clear and the views of El Yunque are breathtaking. Even though the water is calm we would still advise to be careful and stay in the shallow parts since there are no lifeguards and the currents can be dangerous out near the reefs.
The Carribean sun can get quite hot so liberally apply the reef safe sunscreen while enjoying the water or amazing view. Palm trees are scattered along the beach if you need shade and it’s known to be very quiet. This is definitely a local’s beach, we went on a weekday and only ran into a couple of people.
On Google you will see this beach labeled as Playa Escondida ADULTS ONLY. Don’t let that discourage you if you have a family, we saw a couple of families there with children.
TIP: Playa Colora and Playa Escondida do not have trash bins, please keep them clean and pack your trash out with you. There’s plenty of trash bins at Seven Seas beach you will pass on your way back to your car.
There are even some cool rocks if you need some Instagram worthy pics known as Pocita de Cabeza or Little Head.
While you’re on the East Side of Puerto Rico or in Fajardo we would highly recommend seeking out Playa Escondida and Playa Colora. They are well worth the walk from Seven Seas and you could easily spend 2 days exploring this area.
TIP: After your day at the beach there’s plenty of restaurants to have dinner at by Seven Seas Beach. A couple of favorites are Café Playero, La Estación
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Cheers, and have a safe and wonderful new year full of travel and new experiences!
Joel and Michelle
More Tours and Adventures in Fajardo
What does your perfect beach look like?
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