Nothing is black and white, especially not in nature.
Every beach has a unique look, layout and feel.
Although the qualities of Puerto Rico’s Mar Chiquita truly set it apart from other beaches around the world.
Located about 25 miles to the west of San Juan, in Manati, Mar Chiquita is shaped like an oval, with golden sand, bright blue waters, and lush hills all around.
One look at this small, and secluded beach, and it’s easy to see how it is often ranked one of the top beaches to visit in Puerto Rico. Just because it’s popular doesn’t mean it’s big, in fact Mar Chiquita’s size is evident by its name, which translates to Little Sea.
The bay is surrounded on all sides by rock and coral formations. The ocean water from the Atlantic sneaks through an 80-foot opening in the large rock formations visible out in the water.
So how did this beautiful isolated beach form? Many years ago, back when water levels were much lower, sedimentary rock formations developed due to wind-blown fossil deposits.
The ridge you now see out in the middle of the waters was once a line of sand dunes that represented the backend of the beach.
Since the days of the ice age, seawaters have dramatically risen, causing the former back end of this beach to drift out to sea. Because of the calcium carbonate deposited by the rising waters, the sand dunes formed into solid rocks.
Even solid rock proved no match for the raging waters of the Atlantic Ocean. The force of the water eroded away an 80 feet gap in the rocks, allowing the water to flow in, turning Mar Chiquita into a small private beach all its own.
You don’t want to be out in the water when these huge waves come pounding over the rocks, but to witness the strength of the water is truly incredible. Making for even more scenic views, the water often flows over the surrounding tidal pools like waterfalls.
Due to the small space and shape of the bay, you must be very careful or else you can get hurt. If the undertow is strong it can pull you right out into the open ocean. In other words, Playa Mar Chiquita is not the safest spot to go for a swim, because of the strength and undertow, and also because of the dense rock population.
The safest time to take a dip here is in the summer, when the waters are known for being calmer. In the summer people often wade and snorkel here. On some days, the water sprays up and fills the back edge of the eolianite, forming shallow pools of calm, isolated, and rather warm water children enjoy splashing around in.
Although this bay is often described as shallow, when you walk out into the water you will notice that it gets deep quickly. Also, there are patches of limestone beneath the water that can be very slippery. If all of this sounds like too much to worry about, you don’t need to go in the water to enjoy the stunning sights at Mar Chiquita.
There was a time when Mar Chiquita was far more secluded than it is today. Due to the natural beauty of the area, urban development has exploded in recent years. Still, the beach is rarely crowded by any means.
On an average day, local families can be found enjoying a picnic, playing beach sports on the sand, or simply sunning themselves near the calming sounds of the ocean. If you bring your climbing gear, there are plenty of rocks to scale around here too. The rocks are located on the northeast side of the beach, and lead up to some breathtaking views.
Both tourists and locals frequent Mar Chiquita, as this is one of those amazing spots, offering sights, smells, and experiences for everyone to bask in.