18 Best Things To Do In Isabela, Puerto Rico (2022)

Isabela is a popular destination on the northwestern shores of Puerto Rico.

This area is known for world-class surfing and beautiful beaches.

I have lived in a town next to Isabela my entire life, so I am happy to share my knowledge with you about the area.

In this article, I will cover the 18 best things to do in Isabela, Puerto Rico:

 

1. One word: Jobos

Jobos is the picture-perfect beach.

It offers clear waters, golden sand, and an opportunity to see friendly and curious hawksbill turtles.

image of the Jobos Beach
Jobos offers something for everyone and is the perfect beach to visit when you are in Isabela.

Several surf schools operate on Jobos. You can learn to surf in Jobo’s glassy waves.

For more information on where to surf, check out our article on Puerto Rico’s Best Surfing Spots.

 

2. Take your picture at La Cara Del Indio

There is a legend about Taino Chief Mabodomaca, who fought against the Spaniards with bravery.

image of the famous rock sculpture in Isabela, PR
A sculpture of Taino Chief Mabodomaca marks the entrance to the town of Isabela.

When defeated, they say he jumped off a cliff to end his life on his terms. 

The Great Spirit Yokahu honored his bravery by carving his face on a mountain at El Pastillo Beach. 

To make this legend known, the city of Isabela commissioned a carving of the face of the chief on Karst Mountain on Road #2.

 

3. Visit the remains of a historic church

The first settlers of what now is Isabela built San Antonio de La Tuna Hermitage in the 1730s. 

image of historic church's remains
Visit the historical remains of a church constructed by the first Europeans to arrive to the area of present day Isabela.

In 1818 the people of “La Tuna” got permission to relocate the settlement. They abandoned the original building and built a new church where the town square of Isabela is now.

You can visit the old church’s remains and look at Isabela’s past.

 

4. Go to Pastillo Beach and Swallow’s Cave

Playa El Pastillo is a beach to enjoy a long walk and gaze at the scenery.

On the west side of the beach, you will find a rock formation that resembles the face of Taino Chief Mabodomaca.

The Swallows Cave is at the foot of this rock formation.

image of Swallow’s Cave
Cueva de las Golondrinas is accessible during the spring and summer months.

High tides in the winter months make it hard to access the cave. But if you visit El Pastillo in the spring and summer, you can enter Cueva de las Golondrinas.

El Pastillo beach is perfect for taking photos, sightseeing, and walking.

Be aware that strong currents, big waves, and lack of lifeguards make this beach not the safest in Isabela for swimming.

 

5. Walk through the Guajataca Tunnel

Puerto Rico had a railway system during the first half of the 19th century.

The Guajataca tunnel connected the towns of Quebradillas and Isabela.

image of Guajataca Tunnel
Guajataca Tunnel is one of the best spots to snap a photo while you are driving to Puerto Rico’s west coast from San Juan.

You can walk through the tunnel and see the ocean.

Check our article about Mirador de Guajataca to see the tunnel from the Mirador.

 

6. Eat empanadillas at the Surfer’s Stop

I started surfing Jobos when I was in high school. Somedays, we hit the waves at dawn before going to class.

For breakfast, we stopped to eat some empanadillas (turnovers) at this place. That is how the place got its name — surfers stop there to grab a quick bite.

image of the Empanadillas at the Surfer’s Stop
Empanadillas from Surfer’s Stop are delicious at any time of day.

If you like seafood, you will love La Parada de Los Surfers.

For more typical food, check out 30 Best Puerto Rican Street Foods.

 

7. Ride a bike from Middles to Fisher’s Village

Isabela has an exclusive bike lane from Middles Beach to Villa Pesquera. 

That lane is a couple of miles long and fun for the whole family.

image of a road
Rent a bike and ride down this scenic bike trail from one beach to another.

Some companies rent bikes and scooters at the beginning of the bike lane.

 

8. Walk above the sand

El Paseo Lineal Costero (Isabela’s boardwalk and bike trail) takes you along Isabela’s coastline.

image of El Paseo Lineal Costero
Isabela’s boardwalk provides stunning views of the beach whether you are biking or walking.

The view is simply amazing. You can walk or ride a bike on the boardwalk.

Try the coconut water they sell at the trail’s east end.

 

9. Hike the Guajataca Forest and enter the Cave of the Winds

Nature lovers are in for a treat at Guajataca Forest.

image of Cave of the Winds
Explore Guajataca Forest and visit the Cave of the Winds.

This forest is where the towns of Isabela, San Sebastian, and Quebradillas meet.

More than 25 species of birds and over 180 species of trees coexist in Guajataca Forest.

The forest has over 25 miles of hiking trails and the famous La Cueva de Los Vientos cave.

Check out Cave of the Wind in Guajataca Forest in the following video:

 

10. Visit underwater caves

It is hard to find words that describe the feeling you get to Shacks Beach.

Shack’s Beach is home to the Blue Hole, a deep pool that will take you to what seems to be the set of the movie Finding Nemo.

The underwater cave ecosystem of Shack’s Beach is unbelievable. To ensure your safety, go with a guide or someone who knows the beach.

Below is a video showing snorkeling at Shacks Beach, Isabela:

 

11. Play golf on cliff

Puerto Rico has nearly 30 golf courses.

Only Royal Isabela’s Golf Course has all holes on top of a cliff. The views of the Atlantic Ocean are breathtaking. The wind will test both your golf skills and your patience.

image of Royal Isabela's Golf Course
Visit one of Puerto Rico’s most scenic golf courses, Royal Isabela.

After your round of golf, have dinner at Jota By Chef Jeremie, featured in the article 35 Best Restaurants in Puerto Rico.

 

12. Go to El Pozo De Jacinto

There is a blowhole on the rocks close to Jobo’s beach.

Legend says that a man named Jacinto fell through a blowhole searching for a cow.

If you scream, “Jacinto dame la vaca” (Jacinto, give me the cow), Jacinto gets mad and blows water at you.

The blowhole itself is both fantastic and scary.

 
 
 
 
 
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A post shared by Javier Gutiérrez Aymat (@gutiaymat)

Photo Credit: @gutiaymat

 

13. Visit Isabela’s town square

For a good time at night in a safe environment, visit Isabela’s Town Square.

The city of Isabela has a different themed activity each night.

image of Isabela’s Town Square
Isabela’s town square offers a different theme for visitors on different nights of the week.

On Friday nights, they have salsa night, where you can put your dancing skills to the test.

There are kiosks to try some typical cuisine and coffee shops with Puerto Rican coffee.

If you like playing dominoes, you can mingle with locals in the town square.

 

14. Horseback ride

Picture yourself horseback riding along a secluded beach, going through an almond tree forest, and exploring cliffs and a cave.

A horse riding trip will take you to Survival Beach in Aguadilla.

Important Notice: Companies generally have a weight limit for this type of tour. Riders over 250 pounds should call ahead to confirm participation for this activity.

Check out Tropical Trail Rides in Puerto Rico in the following video:

 

15. Taste the freshly caught seafood at Villa Pesquera

Villa Pesquera means Fishermen Village.

If you love seafood, Villa Pesquera is a place you must visit.

image of langosta
Fresh lobster is one of the catches of the day at Villa Pesquera.

There are many kiosks and restaurants where you can have the catch of the day.

Try the bacalaitos (codfish fritters) with Puerto Rican beer.

You can also have a langosta (Caribbean spiny lobster) caught within yards of the Villa Pesquera.

 

16. Surf like the pros at Middles Beach

Middles Beach is home to The Corona Xtra Pro Surf Circuit in Puerto Rico.

You can surf this beach and imagine you are competing for a spot in the next contest.

 
 
 
 
 
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A post shared by Michael Turdo (@michaelturdo)

Photo Credit: @michaelturdo

Middles Beach is ideal for surfing but not recommended for swimming.

Strong currents and rocky shores can put you in harm’s way.

If you visit Middles when the waves are high, you’ll meet local surfing legend and four-time Corona Xtra Pro Surf Circuit Champion Brian Toth.

Below is a video showing Brian Toth surfing in Middles Beach:

 

17. Witness the power of the sea at Poza Sardinera 

For us Puerto Ricans, “poza” means a natural shallow pool protected from waves and currents by rock formations.

La Sardinera is one of the most famous pozas in Puerto Rico.

image of La Sardinera
La Sardinera is a popular place you can go to observe the beauty and power of the waves hitting the rocks in Isabela. 

You will be amazed by the contrast between the calm water in the shallow pool and the waves hitting the rocks with enormous energy.

People walk on the rocks and get splashed by the waves.

If you are going to walk on the rocks, please be careful.

Check out Poza Sardinera  in the following video:

 

18. Bioluminescent Bay

Isabela does not have a bioluminescent bay, but is just an hour and 15 minutes drive from La Parguera Bioluminescent Bay in Lajas.

La Parguera is the only bioluminescent bay in Puerto Rico where you can swim.

image of 2 girls swimming in La Parguera Bioluminescence Bay
If you are looking for a totally unique experience, travel an hour south of Isabela and swim in the bioluminescent bay in La Parguera.

Puerto Rico has three different bio bays. 

You can learn more about Puerto Rico’s bio bays in our article Puerto Rico’s Bioluminescent Bays – All You Need To Know.

 

 

FAQ section

What are some things to do in Isabela at night?

Go to the Town Square Plaza, they have different activities for the public. You can also go to Villa Pesquera at night and have excellent seafood in a safe environment.

What are some free things to do in Isabela?

Swim in Jobos, go to Swallows Cave, Walk the Boardwalk, hike in the Guajataca Forest, and take your picture at the Taino Chief Carving.

 

Final thoughts

Isabela has many fun activities for the whole family.

My favourite things to do in Isabela are visiting Jobos Beach and La Cara Del Indio.

I also recommend that you visit the bioluminescent bay that is just an hour from Isabela. 

Also, check out our article Is Isabela Safe For Tourists – All You Need To Know.

After going to Isabela, consider visiting nearby areas such as Aguadilla and Rincón.

Article by

Carlos Cubero

Writer at PuertoRico.com. I was born in Aguadilla, Puerto Rico. I’m passionate about Puerto Rican history and culture. I live on the west coast of Puerto Rico, and host an Airbnb for tourists. I also coordinate tours and concierge services for tourists. I authored “Eat Like A Local, Puerto Rico”, and have contributed to blogs and magazines with articles about discovering and enjoying what Puerto Rico has to offer.

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