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Guayanilla, Puerto Rico Travel Guide

Guayanilla Summary


  • Beautiful landscape, with mountains plunging into the sea
  • Three great beaches with calm waters
  • Only 20 minutes from Ponce, a bustling beach city
  • Tropical forest with hiking trails
  • Historic castle built in Spanish Moroccan style


  • Can be very hot (significantly warmer than San Juan)
  • Not many dining or shopping options

What It's Like

A lesser known area of Puerto Rico, Guayanilla is about as far as you can get from San Juan, both geographically and figuratively; not only is Guayanilla less crowded (with fewer things to do), but it sits on the southwest coast, overlooking the Caribbean Sea, while San Juan is on Puerto Rico's northwest coast. Guayanilla's coast is beautiful: a natural harbor is formed by surrounding mountains. The waters are calm and nearby beaches like Emajagua Beach, La Ventana Beach, and Tamarindo Beach are great for swimming.

The closest big city to Guayanilla is Ponce, about 20 minutes away. The third largest city in Puerto Rico, Ponce has a large port where numerous cruise ships dock, bringing in a significant portion of Guayanilla's tourists. Tourists to Guayanilla not only visit the beautiful beaches but also the Chorro de Oro Waterfall, the historic Mario Mercado Castle (built in the Spanish Moroccan style), and the Guilarte Tropical Forest, with hiking trails and views of Ponce and San Juan. There are a couple of casinos in Guayanilla, but there's not a ton of nightlife otherwise.

Where to Stay

Budget hotels are easy to find in Guayanilla and some have attached casinos. Most visitors will want to stay on the beach, but staying closer to Ponce not only gives guests more options for dining but also puts them closer to the airport.

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