A woman in a blue shirt smiles for the camera.

Nov 13, 2019

10 min. read

If you’re travelling to Puerto Rico on a cruise, your visit will probably begin and end in San Juan. But if you have a little more time to explore Puerto Rico, it’s worth making the 45-minute drive west to Manatí. Here’s where to go in this off-the-beaten path coastal town.

Frutos del Guacabo for restaurant-worthy produce

A group of men standing around a plant.

Farm-to-table enthusiasts should book a tour of Frutos del Guacabo, a working farm where chickens roam and goats nap in a limestone cave, all a short drive from downtown. The farm supplies everything from edible flowers and micro-greens to tomatoes, peppers and goat cheese to restaurants in San Juan. Taste everything that’s offered and even if you can’t get a tour, stop by the tiny market for hot sauce made with homemade pineapple vinegar.

Playa Mar Chiquita for some beach time

A beach with palm trees and blue water.

Bring sunscreen and a camera to Playa Mar Chiquita, a picturesque cove that’s protected from crashing waves by a rocky wall. In the summer, the water is clear enough for snorkelling and you can climb on the rocks; be wary in winter as storms can make it slippery and dangerous.

Palm trees on a beach.

To do as the locals do, visit Playa Los Tubos and lie out on its stretch of golden sand. Even the drive there is gorgeous, with palm fronds making a green tunnel over the road. Currents make it unsuitable for swimming, but you can sometimes glimpse petroglyphs at low tide.

Hacienda La Esperanza for a taste of nature

A group of people walking through tall grass.

What was once a profitable sugar estate is now Hacienda La Esperanza, a nature reserve rich in flora and fauna. Explore its more than 2,000 acres of beach, wetland and forest, along with the restored hacienda building, on a tour with Para La Naturaleza, and learn about how slavery fuelled the island’s industries for centuries.

Where to stay in Manatí

The building where the hotel is located.

Hyatt Place Manatí made waves when it opened in 2014, bringing a sleek, urban vibe to the edge of town. It’s just off the highway from San Juan, the rooms have space to sit and relax, and, best of all, CAA Members can save up to 10 per cent on their stay.

Get to know the island of Puerto Rico

Read about how we fell in love with Puerto Rico in the winter 2019 issue of CAA Magazine.

Looking for more warm-weather escapes? Here are the best things to do in this lovely Mexican town and four Mexico City restaurants that will make you want to live there.

Image credit: Alexis Antonio/Unsplash, courtesy of Frutos del Guacabo, George Oze/Alamy, DaPaCon/Alamy, courtesy of Hacienda La Esperanza and courtesy of Hyatt Place Manatí

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