Driving through Maunabo feels like you're visiting old-timey Puerto Rico, with narrow rural roads leading to secluded beaches overseen by a centenary lighthouse.
After enjoying a panoramic view of the ocean coast while driving through the mountains, the Vicente Morales tunnel will welcome visitors to Maunabo.
It's a great place to disconnect and relax without the bustle and crowds of nearby Palmas del Mar in Humacao or more touristy Fajardo further north.
Beaches and Forest
The Punta Tuna Wetlands Nature Reserve, with 109 acres of diverse ecosystems, surrounds the Punta Tuna Lighthouse on the southeastern corner of Puerto Rico. Beaches, brackish, sweetwater wetlands, and mangroves make a unique natural space. You can schedule an excursion with Punta Tuna Ecotours to explore this area.
Built in 1892 by the Spanish, the Punta Tuna lighthouse is still in use today, serving as the 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.
Maunabo is full of beach places to visit. To get a good swim or kayak ride, visit Villa Pesquera. California Beach is a widely known place for surfing, skimboarding, and bodyboarding. Los Bohíos or Playa Negra is another hidden gem for its smooth black sand. Other beaches in Maunabo where it is only safe for a slight dip but no swimming are Playa de Mario, Los Pinos, and Playa Larga.
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.
Festivals are also an important part of the town's culture. For example, the Festivities of the Virgen del Carmen is hosted at Villa Pesquera in July. It is a festivity full of games, tournaments, water sports, and live music within three days.
The Festi-Carnaval Jueyero is 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.
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