Escambron Beach is one of the most easily accessible beaches in San Juan, and the top spot for snorkeling in San Juan. The area is actually broken up into three beach areas with walking paths and a park connecting them all.
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Escambron Beach, also sometimes known as Playa 8, is the main beach area along the coast. It’s popular with locals and tourists alike, and offers calm clear water, a fabulous view of Old San Juan, and plenty of large palm trees for shade.
Just next to Escambron Beach, located in a protected cove, is Escambron Marine Park. This area is popular with scuba divers and snorkelers, as there is plenty underwater to see.
MAP OF ESCAMBRON BEACH
Escambron beach is actually broken up into 3 separate beach areas with walking paths connecting them, as well as the parks and areas surrounding the beach.
The largest area, and the place most people are referring to when talking about Escambron Beach is Playa 8, and is the closest section of beach to Old San Juan. Many of the amenities, such as food vendors, lifeguards, and toilet and shower facilities are located on this section of beach. There’s also a large area of palm trees to spread out for picnics or to get out of the sun.
The next section down, also known as Playa 9, is a much smaller stretch of sand, but is the a popular spot to snorkel. Scuba Dogs Dive Shop is located here, and it’s the perfect jumping off point for exploring the underwater statues and structures in the marine park.
Finally, there’s the beach area in front of the Caribe Hilton, furthest to the East. This area is only accessible to guests of the Hilton and is perfect for those wanting to stay right on the beach. The Caribe Hilton is the only hotel on the water near Escambron Beach. Plus, it’s nearest to the restaurants and shopping at Paseo Caribe.
GETTING TO ESCAMBRON BEACH
The closest beach to relax and swim near Old San Juan, Escambron beach offers onsite parking for $5. A taxi will cost approximately $25, or you could easily walk the 30-40 minute walk along the ocean path.
ESCAMBRON BEACH HOTELS
If you’re wanting to stay right on the beach, the Caribe Hilton is the only hotel on the beach, and it’s worth it. With several restaurants, incredible views, and a fantastic pool, and quick access to the best snorkeling in San Juan, this is our favorite spot to stay when we are in San Juan.
Check prices and availability HERE.
El San Geronimo Hotel
This cute modern hotel is just next door to the Caribe Hilton. Although it’s not located right on the beach, it’s just a short walk to all the Escambron Beach and Marine Park amenities and at a great price.
Check prices and availability HERE.
Condado Lagoon Villas
If you’re looking for a condo rather than a hotel, the Condado Lagoon Villas are located just next to the Paseo Caribe shopping plaza and the San Geronimo Fort.
Check Prices and availability HERE.
AMENITIES AT ESCAMBRON BEACH
Escambron Beach is a popular spot for tourists and locals alike, so expect it to be busy. But larger crowds usually bring more amenities. There are nice well maintained restrooms with beach showers and lifeguards on site.
Food at Escambron Beach
Food at Escambron Beach can be hit and miss, so don’t rely on beach vendors. Sometimes you will find people selling ice cream or snacks near the road, but other times there will be no vendors.
Escambron Beach Club used to be located just next to the beach with facilities, but it has closed with no current plans to reopen.
Scuba Dogs at Escambron Dive Shop
Located just around the corner from Playa 8/Escambron Beach is the Scuba Dogs Dive Shop. They run snorkel and dive tours, as well as being a great resource for up to date information on snorkeling conditions in the area.
We always like to pop into the local dive shops to get the latest information.
ACTIVITIES AT ESCAMBRON BEACH
Escambron Beach Snorkeling
The snorkeling at Escambron Beach and Marine Park is the best snorkeling in San Juan. But, don’t expect to find large reefs or a huge variety of marine life. However, the rocky area at the West side of Escambron Beach is home to tons of very friendly and curious sergeant major fish, as well as some others. I think people feed them here regularly because they swim toward people rather than away.
The Escambron Marine Park isn’t the traditional reef snorkeling most are used to. The nearly enclosed bay houses various statues and structures to explore that also provides shelter for the marine life. You’re likely to find some small fish among the structures, and turtles are regularly seen there. Manatees are even occasionally found swimming around the Marine Park.
The Scuba Dogs Dive Shop has a very helpful snorkeling map of the Marine Park that you can find HERE.
Located at the end of the small point separating Escambron Beach from Escambron Marine park is the Escambron Battery. It’s what remains of the Spanish Fort built in the 1700s, and is a fun detour from your beach trip with beautiful views of the ocean and city.
San Gerónimo Fort
Another Spanish Fort, Fortín San Gerónimo del Boquerón is located just on the other side of the Caribe Hilton property. You can explore the fort, complete with cannons and informational signs to explain it’s history. But, if you’re a real history buff, you may want to take one of the daily guided tours.
Luis Muñoz Rivera Park
Just behind Escambron Beach, you’ll find Luis Muñoz Rivera Park, a huge public space encompassing gardens, sculptures, fountains, plenty of areas for long walks, and children’s playgrounds. Most days you’ll find plenty of locals enjoying the area. It’s an especially popular spot for joggers in the mornings.