Driving through Maunabo feels like you're visiting old-timey Puerto Rico, with narrow rural roads leading to secluded beaches overseen by an old lighthouse.
Around 109 acres of diverse ecosystems surround the Punta Tuna lighthouse on the southeastern corner of Puerto Rico. Beaches, brackish, and sweet water wetlands and mangroves make up a fairly unique natural space, home to over 50 bird species.
Built in 1892 by the Spanish, the Punta Tuna lighthouse is still in use today. Currently, there is no museum or visitor's center. Most people go around the gate to access the lighthouse grounds and the beach below.
The Punta Tuna beach is a sandy strip lined by a forest of palm trees that extends almost to the water's edge. Strong currents make the beach unsafe for swimming, but the view of the lighthouse and rock formations are unforgettable. Other Maunabo beaches include Playa Larga, Los Bohíos, and Los Pinos.
Much like the town it's located in, this beachfront hotel is a hidden gem. A cozy resort that's casual and family-friendly, with an infinity pool, activity center, and a tropical restaurant serving traditional Puerto Rican cuisine, specializing in seafood. MaunaCaribe can serve as a base for exploring the east coast of Puerto Rico or as a secluded getaway to slow down, unwind, and enjoy the pool.
Celebrated in September, this festival/carnival is a huge celebration, with three days of live music and DJs, a parade with floats and vejigantes, an artisan market, and even a 5K race. The centerpiece, though, is a local delicacy: crabs, which in Puerto Rico are known as jueyes. So aside from your typical food kiosks selling fried foods, there's an abundance of crab-stuffed fritters like alcapurrias and pastelillos, arroz con jueyes (crab rice), and arepas topped with stewed crab meat.