Charco Azul in Almirante Sur, Puerto Rico

"Blue Pool" of Patillas

Just a short drive west of San Juan, is Charco Azul and Cuevas Arenales, a stunning double-dip in nature for the adventurous-minded. Charco los Murielogos de las Cuevas Arenales roughly translates as “Pool of the Bats at Sand Caves” and Charco Azul means “blue-water swimming hole.”

Getting to the water itself is a challenge, thanks to a steep walk down. But arriving at the bottom is worth the descent—and the return climb later—as you reach the Rio Morovis. Wading into the river, head for the giant underground cave that you can explore from the water. Or if getting up close to the craggy walls of the cave is more your style, you can also leave the river to walk around a bit.

Once you’ve checked out the cave, float down the river through stunning canyon-like rock formations rising up on both sides, carved out by the river over millions of years, you’ll end up at the Charco Azul, a beautiful blue swimming hole perfect for relaxing and drifting in the water surrounded by the lush, verdant forest.

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