Piñones, Puerto Rico (2023 Guide) – All You Need To Know

Piñones is a lovely neighborhood located in Loíza, Puerto Rico.

It’s 20 minutes from the airport and offers delicious food and spectacular beachfront views that will make you never want to leave.

I’ve lived in Puerto Rico for the last 14 years, and coming to Piñones with my dad is one of my favorite things to do on the weekend.

In this article, I will cover everything that you need to know about Piñones, Puerto Rico:

What is Piñones?
What is Piñones known for?
Where in Puerto Rico is Piñones located?
What type of street food can you find in Piñones?
What are some things to do in Piñones?
Is Piñones Puerto Rico safe for tourists?
What to consider before going to Piñones?
Frequently Asked Questions

 

What is Piñones?

Piñones is a natural wonderland located in Loíza, Puerto Rico.

Piñones is a beachside neighborhood famous for delicious street food and a beautiful coastline.

Route 187, which travels along Puerto Rico’s north coast and links San Juan with Loiza, will bring you to Piñones, located just outside of San Juan.

It’s a picturesque route that shows you the more rural aspects of the island.

image of houses beside the road
Kiosks line the road in Piñones, serving delicious typical roadside food.

Loíza is named after Luissa, a prominent Taino leader who governed the region before to the Spanish invasion. 

What distinguishes her is that she is one of just two female caciques (chiefs) known in the Caribbean.

The history of Loíza is closely tied to the history of African enslavement in Puerto Rico. The area was settled by Nigerians of the Yoruba tribe around the 16th century. Known as “The Capital of Traditions,” the area boasts a rich African heritage. It is a symbol of Puerto Rico’s culture and community.

Today, the area is proud of its Afro-Caribbean past while attempting to adapt to the fast changes of our contemporary world.

Natural beauty is one of the things you will notice immediately in Piñones compared to the high rises of other beach towns near San Juan.

You’ll note that the coastlines of Old San Juan, Condado, Ocean Park, and Isla Verde have high-rises practically right on the beach, obscuring the ocean view from the road. 

As you travel through Piñones, all you can see is the coastline. Nature is really stunning and unspoiled here. 

For years, development projects have been attempting to access this area, however, they have been rejected.

Community and environmental well-being are on the defense in Puerto Rico, as they are across the Americas.

Check out the video below for a walk through of Piñones:

 

What is Piñones known for?

Piñones is well-known for its beautiful beaches, gorgeous seafront, and hundreds of food booths.

Families and friends congregate here to play chinchorreo: leaping from one bar to another while eating mofongo, alcapurrias, and tostones and listening to music and dancing.

image of Chinchorreo
The area is well known as a gathering place for families and friends to gather to dance, drink and enjoy local food.

A chinchorreo is a local Puerto Rican traditional activity where groups go to small bars around the region to hang out, eat, drink, dance, and have fun with family and friends.

And Piñones is one of the most famous chinchorreo spots locals love to visit.

image of Coconut water drink
Many kiosks in Pinones offer fresh coconut water to visitors.

Both visitors and locals are well aware of this area as a go-to place to get fritters, fresh fish, fresh seafood, and other goodies.

It’s also a great location to enjoy tropical drinks, like coconut water, in front of the beach.

Below is a video of a couple touring the Piñones Chinchoreo spots:

 

Where in Puerto Rico is Piñones located?

Piñones is located in Loiza, just outside San Juan, on route 187.

How far is Piñones from San Juan?

It’s 35 minutes from San Juan and about 20 minutes drive from the Airport.

image of Shoreline along Piñones
Explore the shoreline along Piñones before or after your flight from SJU.

Lastly, if you’re going on the weekends, arrive before noon to avoid high traffic and get a parking place.

You can view the distance between San Juan and Piñones from Google Maps below:

 

What type of street food can you find in Piñones?

You’ll find all sorts of delicious foods from food stands near this beachfront neighborhood.

Here are the top 6:

1. Pinchos

image of Street food barbecue
Grilled meat on a stick with BBQ sauce are called Pinchos.

Pinchos are very popular, bathed in delicious BBQ sauce; you get to pick between chicken or pork and topped with sweet toasted bread on top of the stick.

 

2. Alcapurrias

image of Alcapurria Fritter
Fritters stuffed with seafood or meat, made with green bananas and taro root are called Alcapurrias.

Alcapurrias are fritters made in green bananas and taro root, stuffed with your meat or seafood selection. 

 

3. Bacalaítos

image of Bacalaitos
Salted codfish fritters, Bacalaítos.

Bacalaítos are considered seafood pancakes.

It’s salted codfish fritter, crispy on the outside and dense and chewy inside.

 

4. Pastellillos

image of Pastellillos
Pastellillos are one of the more popular street foods in Puerto Rico. Try the Pizza flavor if you are a vegetarian.

One of the most popular fritters you’ll find are pastellillos, which are like Hot Pockets! 

Thin dough deep-fried and filled with beef, chicken, tomato sauce with cheese (often called the Pizza flavor), and even seafood!

 

5. Piononos 

Crab Pionono.

Piononos are another delicious fritter, and one of my favorites, that you will enjoy. It’s stuffed with ground meat and made with fried plantain slices.

 

6. Mofungo

image of Mofongo
Mofungo is a classic Puerto Rican dish that is a favorite of many locals and visitors alike.

Last but not least, my favorite dish of all time: is Mofongo.This is deep-fried plantains mashed together, like mashed potato, but with an exciting twist.

Mofungo is made with olive oil, garlic, and pork crackling, mashed up in a “pilón” and topped with meat or seafood.

You’ll sometimes find the Mofungo as a side with your dish, or you can order a stuffed Mofongo and have it as your entire dish.

Piñones is one of those magical towns where the food is so diverse that you’ll always find something new no matter where you dine.

Below is a video of someone touring the kiosks in Piñones:

 

What are some things to do in Piñones?

A popular activity to do in Piñones is to visit their beaches!

image of beach
Open coastline at the beach in Piñones.

Beaches like Pocita de Piñones, Paseo Tablado de Piñones, Playa Torrecillas, Aviones Beach, and Playa Piñones are popular destinations for visitors and locals to enjoy the entire day.

image of Piñones, Puerto Rico
The beach entrance is located right next to the main road serving the food, so you can also eat next to the ocean.

Consider visiting the Piñones Mangrove Forest; it’s like seeing a new world. This is an area designed specifically for recreation and for relaxation.

image of tropical coast
The nature trail in Pinones is famous for it’s gorgeous sea views.

It’s an 11-kilometer boardwalk/nature trail that goes through the northern coastline all the way through the mangrove forest.

People often like to walk or bike through this trail.

You can rent bikes, kayaks and learn about the areas rich culture at the Corporación Piñones se Integra – COPI.

image of El Nuevo Acuario
El Nuevo Acuario is known for its seafood and steak.

To fully indulge in the delicious cuisine this neighborhood has to offer; you must visit El Nuevo Acuario restaurant.

Here’s a Google Map on how to get to El Nuevo Acuario:

 

Is Piñones Puerto Rico safe for tourists?

Yes, Piñones Puerto Rico is safe for tourists.

When visiting Piñones, you’ll see many tourists and locals mingling at the bars and restaurants, getting their tan at the beach, and overall enjoying a great time.

image of Pinones Beach
Piñones is safe during the daytime for tourists.

Keep in mind that this area is located far from the hotels, resorts, and high-end clubs you’ll see in Condado and Isla Verde.

However, always remember to be respectful when visiting this neighborhood. Don’t litter, don’t cause trouble, and you’ll have a fantastic time!

I recommend visiting Piñones during the day for a fun, children and family-friendly experience. 

But, if you’re going to visit at night, it’s best to stay at one bar or restaurant for the night. It can get very dark and dangerous if you decide to wander around. Avoid bar hopping at all times.

Below is a video of someone visiting Piñones’s beaches and bars for you to enjoy:

For more information about safety during your stay, check out our article Is Puerto Rico Safe?

 

What to consider before going to Piñones?

There are a couple of things to remember before going to Piñones.

Avoid going to Piñones on the weekends, especially on Sunday, as it is easily over crowds, and you’ll encounter nasty traffic there.

image of cars on highway in traffic jam
There is one road into Piñones from San Juan, so make sure to plan your trip during the week if you want to avoid crowds.

Always respect the people and the culture; the people will respect you right back.

Bring as much cash with you; many establishments only require cash.

Additionally, restaurants will likely take debit/credit cards, but food stands and kiosks prefer cash.

image of ATM Cash withdrawal
Take a trip to the ATM before you visit Piñones.

Avoid overdressing or looking too formal.

It’s hot and humid in Piñones; you’ll most likely suffer from heat and constant sweating. 

Instead, wear light and casual clothing for excellent comfort.

Check out our 21 Essential Things To Pack For Puerto Rico article for more guidance on what clothes to bring.

 

 

FAQ section

Is Piñones worth visiting?

Yes! Piñones is worth visiting, less than 35 minutes away from San Juan.

When is the best time to visit Piñones?

The best time to visit Piñones is during the weekday morning to avoid heavy traffic and find a parking spot. If visiting during the weekend, make sure to visit before midday.

 

Final thoughts

Piñones is a spot you must visit during your trip to Puerto Rico.

Famously known for its beautiful scenic beaches, delicious fritters and rich history, this neighborhood is a popular destination.

Getting to Piñones is easy, it’s only 20 minutes from the Airport and 35 minutes from San Juan. You can easily take a taxi or Uber to Piñones.

However, before your trip to Piñones, read our article about the 30 Best Puerto Rican Street Foods.

If you’re looking for more things to do while staying in Puerto Rico, check out our article 45 Best Things To Do In Puerto Rico.

Article by

Miguel Concepcion

Writer at PuertoRico.com. I’ve lived in Puerto Rico for 14 years and have experienced every inch of this stunning island. Growing up in Puerto Rico has helped me truly learn about the rich culture and extensive history this island has to offer. I share my local knowledge in all of the articles that I write.

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