Isabela, Puerto Rico (2024 Guide) – All You Need To Know

Isabela is an area in Puerto Rico that is home to beaches, hiking and history.

The town has hosted two World Cup Surfing Championships and is known as the “Garden of the Northwest”.

I have traveled around the island extensively and I love Isabela!

In this article, I will share everything that you need to know about Isabela:

What is Isabela?
Where is Isabela located?
How far is Isabela from the airport?
What is the best way to get to Isabela from San Juan?
How do you get around Isabela?
What is Isabela known for?
Are there good beaches in Isabela?
Is Isabela worth visiting?
Other frequently asked questions


What is Isabela?

Isabela is a municipality in Puerto Rico. 

image of Guajataca Beach in Isabela
Guajataca Beach near Isabela is known as one of the most beautiful beaches in Puerto Rico.

It’s a surfing town, adored by travelers and locals alike.

As of 2020, only about 40,000 people reside here, so it’s very quaint. 

Check out the video below of Isabela, Puerto Rico:


Where is Isabela located?

Isabela is located on the northwestern shore of the island of Puerto Rico, between Quebradillas and Aguadilla.

It makes up a good portion of the area and beaches, including the area of Jobos Beach.

Isabela Map
Isabela, Puerto Rico on the map.

It extends more central towards San Sebastián as well, so it covers a good amount of land.

Below is a Google Map that shows the location of Isabela:


How far is Isabela from the airport?

It depends on what airport! 

There are several on Island, but the most commonly used airports are the San Juan airport in Carolina (SJU) and the Aguadilla airport in Aguadilla (BQN).

image of Isabela's beach
An aerial view of Isabela’s Beach. Playa Jobos is the most well known of the beaches in Isabela.

Isabela is closest to the BQN, where at most it’s a 30-minute drive. 

But if you’re staying along the coast at Jobos Beach, you could be at the airport in just 10 minutes.

The San Juan airport is 75 miles from Isabela’s town center, about an hour and a half away.


What is the best way to get to Isabela from San Juan?

If you are coming to Puerto Rico through the international airport in San Juan, the most reliable option for transportation would be to rent a car outside the airport.

image of Guajataca Beach in Isabela
Visiting Guajataca Beach in Isabela should be on your must-do list for visiting Puerto Rico.

There are a few car rental options there, and you can reserve cars online.

Uber is unreliable on the western part of the island, so you might be able to get a ride out to Isabela, but no ride back to San Juan!

If you don’t have access to a rental car, call the Linea Sultana, which is a small passenger van that travels from San Juan to the west side of the island.

If you planned ahead of time, you might be able to get a taxi, but they are incredibly expensive, and the quality is questionable.


How do you get around Isabela?

It depends on where you are staying, but you mostly can only get around by car. 

If you are staying in the city center of Isabela, you can walk around there, and walk down a very steep hill to Playa Villa Pesquera.

image of a road in Isabela
A visual of the walk to Playa Villa Pesquera from Isabela’s center.

If you’re up for it, you can walk, bike, or electric scooter the three-mile-long bike path called Paseo Lineal that connects Jobos Beach to Playa Villa Pesquera, which includes the Paseo Tablado.

Paseo Lineal's bike trail sign
Look for this sign to access the bike path.

Unfortunately, Google Maps does not have a great map location of the Paseo Lineal.

Here is a video of a biker riding Paseo Lineal, starting at Playa Villa Pesquera:

If you are staying near Jobos Beach, there is a boardwalk called Paseo Tablado de Isabela that connects the vacation rentals on one side of the boardwalk to Jobos Beach.

This makes it easy to walk over Playa Montones and get to the restaurants and bars.

Here is a video with aerial view of the Paseo Tablado de Isabela:


What is Isabela known for?

Isabela is known for its beaches and surfing.

Jobos Beach is extremely popular because even though it is a Playa, it is quite commercialized.

There are lots of food spots very close and many bars right along the beach.

image showing a surfing competition in Isabela PR
Surfing competition in Isabela, Puerto Rico.

Jobos Beach also hosts a surfing competition every year, which brings in people from all over the world.

Jobos Beach in Isabela, a local favorite.

There are six popular beaches in Isabela.

They are rugged natural coastlines that you should visit if you like a little bit of adventure and seclusion.

It should be noted though that there are no lifeguards at any of these beaches, or showers.


Are there good beaches in Isabela?

Plenty! As I said above, Playa Jobos is the most popular.

Locals travel from all over the island in the summer to stay there! 

There are vacation rentals right along the sea there and so many options for food and drinks.

image of the pit cave in Pozo de Jacinto, Isabela
The pit cave in Pozo de Jacinto, Isabela. This area is located on Jobos Beach.

Middles beach is also very popular amongst the locals.

I should also mention the beautiful Shacks Beach.

image of Shacks Beach in Isabela
Shacks Beach, a beautiful beach popular with surfers and sunbathers.

Winter is the best time to visit Shacks beach, as the water is so clear then and you can see all the tropical fish and reefs that are there!

Below is a Google Maps Guide of the six popular beach areas around Isabela:


Is Isabela worth visiting?


It’s great for children and families as there are plenty of activities. 

image of a beach in Isabela
The coastline in Isabela, Puerto Rico.

I also like this area because you can get from one side of the town to the other in about 30 minutes! 

There is a Walmart super center here, lots of fast and local food, and even fine dining experiences.

The only thing you can’t find in Isabela is one of Puerto Rico’s bioluminescent bays. The closest bio bay to Isabela is about an hour and thirty minutes south at La Parguera.

Overall, you could plan a whole week’s vacation in this area alone, and have plenty to do! 


FAQ section

Can you walk around Isabela?

To see all of Isabela, you would need a car. You can walk around certain sections like the Jobos Beach area or Isabela town center.

Is Isabela PR nice?

It is so beautiful that it’s even a local favorite. Many locals recommend Isabela to tourists wondering where to go, because the western side of the island is just so beautiful.

What is there to do in Isabela?

Hiking is very popular in the area, with quite a few trails off of Paseo Lineal that you can hike or bike right along the coast. There is also a forest that many people visit called the Guajataca Forest Reserve.


Final thoughts

No matter where you choose to stay in Puerto Rico, you should make time to visit Isabela.

The surfing town of Isabela is a hidden gem. Most people don’t realize that it has so much to offer!

If you are a surfer or interested in learning more about the surf culture in Puerto Rico, then check out our article about the 10 best surf spots in Puerto Rico.

Also, there is a bioluminescent bay located just a couple hours from Isabela. 

Isabela, Puerto Rico (2024 Guide) – All You Need To Know
Article by

Jenny Diaz

Writer at Growing up in New York and spending my summers in Puerto Rico, I have always loved writing, travel, and animals. I began my career as a travel writer, and after many different jobs in media, I have settled back into what I love most. I enjoy the beach, exploring the island with my family, and coffee!

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