Manatí isn’t exactly a touristy city. It’s something so much better! With everything from pristine beaches, hiking trails, and historical sites, you won’t have time to get bored with all the things to do in Manatí.
Known as the Athens of Puerto Rico, Manatí boasts incredible natural beauty with more than ten beaches along its coast so charming that they make it to the list of must-visit places in Puerto Rico.
As someone that’s taken many day trips to Manatí, I can’t believe this city isn’t as popular as San Juan, and you won’t believe it either when you check out all the fun things to do in the city!
Let’s get started!
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9 Best Things to Do in Manati
Hacienda La Esperanza
Tour an important sugar cane plantation in Puerto Rico
Hacienda La Esperanza was once a prosperous sugar cane plantation in the 19th century. Located in a 2,150-acre nature reserve, Hacienda La Esperanza is a restored historical site that serves as a demonstration of how haciendas worked back in the days, with the highlight being its restored sugar mill with a West Point Foundry steam engine.
The nature reserve also features wetlands, mangroves, estuaries, and beaches, including La Esperanza Beach, one of the most beautiful beaches in Puerto Rico. To visit Hacienda La Esperanza you need to call ahead to make a reservation.
Playa Mar Chiquita
Swim in a natural pool formed by rock outcroppings
Mar Chiquita is one of the top things to do in Manatí for beach lovers and photography buffs. Mar Chiquita means little sea and it refers to a small cove created by rock formations on the coast.
Mar Chiquita is one of the top beaches in Puerto Rico for a reason. It boasts bright turquoise water with golden soft sand. It’s also a top destination for snorkeling or taking a sunset tour to get the best landscape shots in the area.
👉 Pro Tip: Although Mar Chiquita is a somewhat natural pool isolated from the rest of the coast of Puerto Rico, the tide can get strong depending on the season you visit Puerto Rico. Avoid getting close to the opening between the reefs where the current could drag you out.
Hike to a hidden water spring with crystal clear waters
Manantial Guayaney is one of those hidden Puerto Rico things many people miss out on. But, if you’re looking for a day trip adventure not far from Old San Juan, then hiking to Manantial Guayaney is a great option. Manantial Guayaney is a natural water spring located in the north karst zone of Manati.
This cold spring boasts clear waters with fish and turtles that swim around. Thrill-seekers like to jump from the right side of the spring into the deepest part of it, but those looking to relax can just spend a carefree afternoon sitting on the spring’s rocks.
Find the hidden natural pools on Manati’s coast
📍 Google Maps | Entrance: Free
Travelers that like to seek unique photography-perfect sites shouldn’t miss a visit to the natural pools of Manati. The natural pools of Manati refer to a series of concave spaces within the coastal rocks of Las Palmas Beach that fill with water from the ocean and form a natural infinity pool.
To get to Las Piscinas Naturales de Manati, you have to hike for 10 minutes up the spikey coastal rock formations until reaching this beautiful spot. Wear shoes as rocks are pointy and there are sea urchins in the area.
👉 Pro Tip: The natural pools of Manati are a destination for an adult day trip. The coastal rocks are steep and waves crash frequently against the rocks, so it’s not safe for kids. If the tide is strong, don’t get into the pools.
La Poza de las Mujeres
Bath on a beach used by women during the Spanish colonial era
📍 Google Maps | Entrance: Free
La Poza de las Mujeres is one of the top attractions of Manati. This popular beach is like a natural pool you can find after hiking for a few minutes inside the Esperanza Nature Reserve. The beach is a natural pool with outcroppings that keep the strong waves from the ocean outside, creating a calm cove for the entire family during the summer season.
La Poza de las Mujeres means “The women’s pool” and it’s said the beach got its name from the multiple noblewomen that used to bathe in it between the 1600s and 1700 during the Spanish colonial era.
👉 Pro Tip: You will find the entrance to La Poza next to the ruins of a house destroyed by Hurricane Maria. There isn’t any shade on the beach and space is limited at the shore.
Hacienda Recreativa Mar Chiquita
Enjoy a family day in a hacienda with go-karts and ATVs
📍 Google Maps | Phone: (787) 567-2833 | Hours: 9 am – 7 pm daily | Entrance: Free
Hacienda Recreativa Mar Chiquita is one of Manati activities for the complete family. This space offers multiple fun attractions like go-karts, pony rides, inflatable bouncers, ATVs, farms, and food stalls.
But, the main attraction of the hacienda is their horseback riding tours along the beautiful beaches of Manati, available only with a previous reservation. While the entrance to the hacienda is free, you have to pay for the attractions you want to use individually.
👉 Pro Tip: Hacienda Mar Chiquita is open daily, but to visit from Monday to Thursday you have to call ahead to make a reservation.
Cueva de las Golondrinas
Deep in a natural pool inside a coastal cave
Visiting Las Golondrinas Cave is one of the top things to do in Manatí and for a reason. You can reach this semi-open cave through Las Golondrinas Beach. The cave has a shallow part where you can stand on the rock formations and appreciate its beauty.
But, the highlight of the cave is the pool that forms inside with crystal clear waters, where you can relax as you appreciate the dozens of swallows flying in and out of the cave.
👉 Pro Tip: Don’t get inside the cave when the tide is strong as waves could easily drag you against the rocks or out to the sea. Wear beach shoes as there are many sea urchins and keep in mind some people like to use this beach as a nudist beach.
Playa Los Tubos
Surf on a wild beach with beautiful scenery
📍 Google Maps | Entrance: Free
If instead of having a lazy day at the beach you’re looking for a spot for surfing, then Los Tubos Beach is for you. Located on the north coast of Puerto Rico, Los Tubos Beach boasts a strong surf perfect to catch waves surfing or boogie boarding.
The west side of the beach is also ideal to go scuba diving or snorkeling during the low tide seasons. While not for swimming, this beach offers beach buffs a long beach to explore, and it looks its best during a sunset tour.
👉 Pro Tip: Playa Los Tubos is one of the closest beaches to Puerto Rico’s Tortuguero Lagoon, which is known for hosting alligators. Although rarely seen outside the lagoon, while walking the trails to Manati’s hidden beaches, always keep your eyes open for alligators.
Manati’s Town Center
Explore the streets of a historical town
Visiting the town center is one of the Manati things that history buffs and culture lovers can’t miss. The historical district features multiple buildings from the 19th century including the city hall and the Nuestra Señora de la Candelaria y San Matías Cathedral, built in 1729 and an icon in the Manati history.
The Taboas theater is another historical building you can visit to watch local shows. Check out their social media to see their calendar of activities.
Now you know all about the top things to do in Manati, Puerto Rico!
Looking for other places for an eco-adventure? Check out Puerto Rico’s popular activities!