Located in the city of Manatí, Puerto Rico, Mar Chiquita stands for “Little Sea,” referring to the cove formed by outcroppings that trap the Atlantic Ocean water on the shore with a natural barrier. The pool is created by waves that push through limestone cliffs.
Mar Chiquita sits on the coast of Manatí between Las Palmas Beach and Los Tubos Beach. What makes Mar Chiquita so evocative besides its peculiar half-moon shape is the bright turquoise waters, visible even from the top of the hill that leads to this hidden gem. The clear water of Mar Chiquita makes it ideal for snorkeling, as colorful fish swim around the beach. Mar Chiquita also offers options for surfers, who can take advantage of the high surf on the coast outside the natural pool. Hiking along the coast from Mar Chiquita enriches the beach experience with curiosities like the Virgin statue sitting on a cliff, tide pools, blowholes, and caves.
During weekends, the atmosphere becomes lively, filled with music and food trucks that park around the parking lot making it possible to combine both a gastronomical experience with a beach day in Puerto Rico. Vendors serve Puerto Rican beach snacks such as alcapurrias (banana and root vegetable-based fritters filled with meat or seafood), empanadas, and pinchos.
A visit to Mar Chiquita isn’t complete without seeing the sunset paint the beach with orange and pink strokes and the tide growing as the sun goes behind the western horizon. The golden hour makes this place magical.
Know Before You Go
While Mar Chiquita is a natural pool, the tide and currents can get strong, only swim when the weather conditions are appropriate, particularly if you’re visiting with children.
The shore is somewhat rocky and slippery, wearing beach shoes can help you keep your balance and it's recommended if you’re climbing the cliffs. Do not attempt to climb the cliffs if there are hazardous weather conditions. The only facilities in Mar Chiquita are the portable toilets and there are limited spots for shade. You can rent umbrellas and chairs at the beach.