The words “mar chiquita” mean “small ocean”; and that’s exactly what “Mar Chiquita” Beach seems like. This oval-shaped cove in the town of Manatí, Puerto Rico is one of the most beloved beaches among locals and tourists.
Mar Chiquita is a natural beach, so there are no showers, restrooms, lifeguards, safety buoys, concession stands, gazebos recycling bins, signage or written material there. There is, however, a small parking area. The sand is a golden tan color, a little coarse when compared to other beaches in the area, and the water is crystal clear “most of the time”.
And I say “most of the time” because the same characteristics that make “Mar Chiquita” a unique and beautiful beach are the ones that can result in turbid water during certain months of the year.
Mar Chiquita is formed by a horse shoe shaped rock formation that has a very small opening at the center. This allows the water to flow in but not the raging waves of the Atlantic Ocean. The result is a pond-like area with 1-inch surf that’s ideal for families with small children. However, during certain months of the year (mainly during the winter months) when there’s greater ocean activity, debris can get trapped inside the cove and cause the water to be turbid.
Here’s another word of advise. Stay away from the mouth of the cove. The under water currents will pull you out to sea. It’s also dangerous to walk over the rocks. Their volcanic nature makes for very sharp edges that can cut through your bare skin like razor blades. The day that I shot the image above I slipped and fell on these rocks. The result was several cuts on my hands and knees that almost ruined the rest of my day. And —of course— stay away from the edge that faces the ocean. While the surf at the shore can be almost inexistent on the outside of the cove it’s a different story.
Use the map below for directions or put the coordinates in your own GPS unit to drive straight there.