This beautiful area, located just minutes east of Isla Verde, has beaches, mangroves, restaurants, and an 11-kilometer nature trail. It feels like a totally different world than the busy tourist areas of Isla Verde and Condado. While Piñones is famed for its kiosks, you can also find gourmet eateries here. One in particular is Soleil Beach Club, which has a menu to rival many fine dining establishments in the city but a setting that fits right in at Piñones: rustic, open and warm. Soleil Beach Club even offers free transportation from the city to the restaurant, giving visitors in San Juan the chance to enjoy the Piñones experience without needing to rent a car or take a taxi. I love this area, it is so pretty and you can get a million beautiful pictures. The trail runs along the ocean and beach, then into the mangrove forests. I really enjoy biking on it – it is mostly flat and the breeze is great. Beyond the beach and food, there are two other reasons to visit this part of the island. A small wooden facility, the cultural center offers a terrific mix of cultural activities and excursions at affordable prices. Visitors can rent a bike and take off on a tour of the Piñones State Forest, which follows an elevated boardwalk through the largest mangrove forest in Puerto Rico; or they can rent a kayak and row their way through densely woven mangrove tunnels out into the Torrecilla Lagoon, which will take you so close to the Luis Muñoz Marín Airport that you can catch close-up views of airplanes taking off above you. Both excursions offer the chance to spot some of the local fauna and birds.

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