15 Best Things to Do in Isabela, PR (in 2023)
From swimming on pristine beaches to enjoying top-notch gastronomy, you’ll find tons of fun things to do in Isabela.
Isabela features the charm of smaller Puerto Rican cities, along with some of Puerto Rico’s best things to do for surfers, water sports enthusiasts, and families. Plus, it makes for a quick day trip from San Juan.
I’m a Puerto Rico local that’s been to Isabela multiple times and I know this beach town (known as “the northwest’s garden”) is undoubtedly a paradise that will draw you in with its natural beauty.
So, if you’re visiting the city for the first time, here are my picks for what to do in Isabela, Puerto Rico!
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15 Best Things to Do in Isabela
Stroll along a boardwalk with amazing views of the beach
📍 Map It: GW7G+WP9, Isabela 00662
Outdoor lovers will find plenty of things to do in Isabela. El Paseo de Isabela is a beach boardwalk that goes along the coast next to Middles Beach and Montones Beach until it reaches Jobos Beach.
Besides walking, you can also run bikes or climb an observation tower to enjoy the view.
📚 Bookmark for Later: Fun Activities to Do in Puerto Rico
La Cara del Indio
Admire the sculpture of a Taino chief
📍 Map It: PR-2, Isabela 00662 | 👉 Book a Cara del Indio Tour
Located on the roadside of PR 2, La Cara del Indio is a famous sculpture carved in rock in honor of a Taino chief called Mabodamaca. He’s famous for resisting the Spanish invasion and fighting for the people.
The legend says that he leaped from a nearby cliff, and nature made him a memorial in Pastillo Beach, where the inspiration for this sculpture comes from.
Ermita San Antonio de Padua de la Tuna
Tour the ruins of a historical church
📍 Map It: Calle Ermita, Isabela, 00662 | Phone: (787) 872-0059 | Hours: 8 am – 4:30 pm Mon-Fri, 10 am – 3:30 pm Sat-Sun | Entrance: Free
Besides beaches, Isabela also features a historical site worth visiting. The Ermita San Antonio de Padua de la Tuna are the ruins of a Spanish Church from the 1730s.
The church is often considered the first Spanish settlement in the northwest and it stands as a memoir of San Antonio de la Tuna, the town that eventually became Isabela.
Playa El Pastillo
Stroll along a beautiful beach with scenery
📍 Map It: F2W7+G47, Isabela, 00662
Another popular beach in Isabela is Playa el Pastillo. Although this mesmerizing sandy beach is more for admiring than for bathing, it’s one of the best things to do in Isabela.
The beach has the original Mabodamaca sculpture carved by nature and sports a cave known as Cueva Golondrinas, which is reachable only when the tide is low.
👉 Did you know You can ride Paso Fino horses on Isabela’s beaches? A Paso Fino Horse is a purebred horse and Isabela boasts a large population. I recommend booking this horseback riding outdoor private tour to enjoy this amazing experience in Isabela.
Pozo de Jacinto
Ask Jacinto for the cow at this blowhole
📍 Map It: Isabela 00662 | 👉 Book a Tour to El Pozo de Jacinto
Jacinto’s Well is a blowhole you’ll find at the end of Isabela’s Boardwalk, and is most popular for the legend behind it.
Jacinto was a local that was taking care of his cow in the area, and he got dragged by the cow into the well. Now, legend says if you scream “Jacinto, give me the cow!” in Spanish into the well, you’ll get splashed.
Cross between two cities through a historical tunnel
📍 Map It: Av. Noel Estrada, Isabela, 00662
The Guajataca Tunnel is a historical railroad tunnel from 1904 that allowed the sugar cane railway to cross between what is now Isabela and Quebradillas.
Now it’s a popular plaza where you can unwind with your family during the weekends. You can find craft vendors, food trucks, entertainment, and a trolley for kids.
👉 Short on Time? Book this Puerto Rico’s West Private Tour to make stops at the Guajataca Tunnel and also at Crashboat Beach in Aguadilla, one of the best Puerto Rico beaches.
Mingle with locals at this popular beach
📍 Map It: Isabela 00662
Jobos Beach is the most popular beach in Isabela for its beautiful scenery and perfect waves for surfing. Although this beach has strong surf and dangerous currents, locals also like to bathe in it.
If you’d rather stay out of the water, you can stroll along the coast and enjoy local seafood in the nearby restaurants.
Bosque Estatal de Guajataca
Hike in a forest with unique wildlife
📍 Map It: C29M+7X7, Isabela, 00662 | Phone: (787) 872-1045 | Hours: 9 am – 5 pm Tue-Sun, Closed Monday | Entrance: Free
The Guajataca Forest is a great destination for day trip adventures on the northwest coast. Located close to San Sebastian and Camuy, this forest boasts multiple canyons, caves, and amazing biodiversity that nature lovers will find amazing.
Besides some of the best trails for hiking in Puerto Rico, the forest’s top attractions are Cueva del Viento, the Guajataca Lake, and the Guajataca River.
Cueva del Viento
Explore a cave full of rock formations
📍 Map It: C26F+G8J, Isabela 00662 | Phone: (787) 872-1045 | Hours: 8 am – 4:30 pm daily | Entrance: Free
Cueva del Viento is located inside the Guajataca State Forest and it’s one of the top caves in Puerto Rico. Visitors will need to take trail #1 and go down steep and unsteady stairs to reach the interior of the cave, where different species live.
The stalagmites and stalactites inside the cave are equally astonishing as those in the Camuy River Cave Park.
👉 Pro Tip: Different from the Camuy River Cave Park, the inside of Cueva del Viento doesn’t have artificial lighting, so one of the top travel tips is to bring flashlights and shoes with a good grip. The stairs down to the cave are in bad shape so proceed at your own risk.
Eat everything you can in this beach neighborhood
📍 Map It: Carretera Municipal, Isabela, 00662
Foodies looking for things to do in Isabela need to stop at Villa Pesquera. This beachside neighborhood features food kiosks with local cuisine, including fresh seafood and fried snacks like bacalaitos and alcapurrias.
Those looking for a drink can find kiosks that make smoothies or mojitos. After you’re done eating, take a dip on the sandy beach across Villa Pesquera.
Snorkel or dive in amazing underwater caverns
📍 Map It: 326 PR, Isabela, 00662
Shacks Beach, also known as Blue Hole, is the go-to beach in Isabela if you’re a fan of snorkeling and diving. This beach is one of the Isabela beaches with a reef with marine life like fish and turtles.
Shacks Beach also features underwater caves you can explore while scuba diving with a professional instructor.
👉 Pro Tip: Keep in mind there aren’t any facilities or parking lots. You have to park on the main street and walk a few minutes to the beach.
Take your family swimming on this calm beach
📍 Map It: PR-466, Isabela 00662
If, instead of surfing, snorkeling, or horseback riding on a beach in Isabela, you just want a beach that’s safe for all ages, then visit Montones Beach.
This beach is a waist-deep beach formed by rock formations. It’s one of the many beaches with natural pools on the island, and one of the top attractions for families in Isabela, Puerto Rico.
🚗 Planning to Rent a Car? Check out my guide to where to rent a car in Puerto Rico.
Compete at this surfing site in Isabela
📍 Map It: PR-466, Isabela 00662
Besides Jobos Beach, another of Puerto Rico’s top surfing spots is Middles Beach in Isabela. This beach offers high surf that attracts local and international surfers. Once a year, the Corona Pro Surf Competition takes place on this beach.
Even if you’re not into surfing you can enjoy a nice walk on this beach.
Find the bewitched spring in the forest
📍 Map It: Cll Begonia, Isabela 00662
After visiting the Guajataca State Forest, hiking lovers should visit Pozo Brujo in Isabela, Puerto Rico. This small spring is close to El Pastillo Beach and it takes about 20 minutes to reach from the main road.
Many legends surround the natural spring, but the most popular belief is that there are spirits in the well that drag people out to the sea.
Isabela’s Town Center
Catch a local festival in Isabela
📍 Map It: GX2G+C94, Isabela, 00662
Even if most of Isabela’s things to do are related to beaches, you can’t skip a visit to the town center. Like most towns in Puerto Rico, Isabela is home to a cathedral, a plaza, coffee shops, hotels, and shops where you can set your inner shopaholic free.
During the holidays and special dates, the town center hosts festivals and activities.
Thanks for reading my top 15 things to do in Isabela, Puerto Rico! Isabela truly is such a unique place, and you’ll have a blast visiting.
Looking for more adventures? Check out my list of the best places to visit in Puerto Rico.
Have fun in Isabela!
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Thank you for writing about my hometown and my beautiful island very grateful blessings
Thank you for visiting my beautiful home town Isabela!
Excelente escrito sobre Isabela. Lo comparto.
Mi Bello Pueblo Isabela Puerto Rico 🇵🇷 Gracias por tan lindo reportaje
Awesome… loved it brought back memories of the 1990s when I lived there….
Isabela has it all! Truly one of the most beautiful places in the whole Caribbean…I will retire here…
Excelente!! Podrías preparar artículos para otros pueblos? Cabo Rojo, Lajas, entre otros? Gracias!
Good report about my beautiful hometown of Isabela, PR.
Thank you Vanessa for showing me around your beautiful island you call home. I’m looking to plan a trip there to see and experience not only the island weather and scenery but also the culture of the people and all it has to offer that makes you want to come back! I’ll look you up if you’re still doing tours when i’m ready to come out there. Take care always,
I grew up in freezing Buffalo, NY but I fell in love with a young lady from Isabela and also fell in love with this great town. It has everything I need and near enough to larger shopping areas.
This is so helpful for our upcoming trip. You also helped us plan our previous trip to Vieques!
Thank you for the great info about Isabella and Aguadilla. My grandfather was from this area and we are excited to explore it this week. You guide to Vieques was so helpful on our last trip.
Great information – thank you! We are staying in Aguadilla over Christmas – do you have any suggestions for special holiday festivities and also restaurants that might be open on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day?
Thank you for this info. I will be visiting Isabela in February and I look forward to exploring your recommendations
Thank you for the great info! Any suggestions where to rent a catamaran day tour that is local?