Think, can a beach be secluded and popular at the same time? Mar Chiquita has someway managed this feat, still retaining its sense of private allure as the surrounding town of Manatí developed. Mar Chiquita, also called “Little Sea”, is a small beach in a protected cove close to the eastern end of a long rocky wall uncovered on the coast of Manatí in northern Puerto Rico, almost 40 KM west of San Juan.
The north shore of Puerto Rico has miles of beautiful shoreline, and it is one of the best spots for great views on the island. The Atlantic Ocean is always pounding against the rocky outcroppings along the shore, carving it into interesting shapes. But that is not to say you can’t find a calm beach on the north shore.
The lovely oval-shaped beach lies behind the rocky wall in a trivial cove protected from the rough Atlantic. The wall was breached by the action of waves to form a 25-meter opening where the tide entered and formed a bay in the shape of the English alphabet U. The waves inside the cove are of substantial height as the result of the backwash meeting the incoming waves at their breaking point, building up the size of the waves.
However, due to the shape of the cove and the narrow area between the rocks where water comes in and goes out, there can be serious undertows. It is possible to get sucked out into the open ocean when the water flows back out of the cove. Generally, it is calmer in the summer months, so you can wade or snorkel, but it is not always good for swimming due to its strong undercurrents and rocks.
Mar Chiquita was once a famous beach with a beautiful setting of palm trees, golden sand, and the imposing ridge of pitted eolianite. These days, Playa Mar Chiquita is still an elegant beach, but it is no longer as secluded as it once was due to the major urban development occurring on the coastal plains of Puerto Rico.
Though the beach’s fame has not declined, even on any given day of the week you can see some family picnics, visitors playing beach sports, or simply enjoying the landscape and sunbathing. One popular activity is to climb and explore the eolianite ridge that forms the rocky headland of Punta Mar Chiquita, on the northeast side of the beach.
It is likely to walk on all the rocks, but be aware, that the limestone rocks were a bit slippery in some spots, and they are really sharp. Shoes are essential flip-flops are not sturdy enough. Unfortunately, if you slipped and fell, it would hurt a lot! Another thing to watch out for is huge waves that have been famous to come over the top of the rocks. Stay alert. Although, facilities are scant, with just a couple of huts serving light fare. Bring a beach chair, this is a place to relax and soak it in.