The first time I laid eyes on Playa Crash Boat, I clutched my paperback with glee. Having visited several beaches in Puerto Rico only to have the riveting performances of surfers divert me from reading, here, with nary a wave in sight, I’d finally be able to bury my toes in the sand and my head in a book.

Situated in the city of Aguadilla on the north-west tip of the island, Crash Boat is a family beach, its swells too inconsistent to deem it a bona-fide surf paradise such as the beaches of nearby Rincon.

As I strolled from the parking lot, an old van with a huge Puerto Rican flag painted on its side, caught my eye. A young man was working out of the back, whacking the tops off of coconuts like a well-practised executioner and selling the coconut water for a buck. I could hardly be expected to turn that down so I lined up and bought one As I stood sipping my drink and surveying the land for prime reading real estate, I spied a couple of wee waterwinged wonders “swimming” near the shore. Oh, I remember how my children used to crawl along like that, using their arms to propel themselves forward with their bodies floating straight-out behind, like tadpoles with newly developed front legs. I lost myself – and god knows how much time – in a nostalgic trance.

Playa Crash BoatRebecca Field Jager

Coming to, I noticed folks were walking by with libations and I wondered where they’d scored their alcohol. I spotted a colourful structure, and moseyed over, tossing my empty coconut on the way. I ordered a beer from a gentleman whose beautifully weathered face peeked out at me from a long rectangular window, and sat down at picnic table nearby. Maybe I’ll just read here, I thought. But no, the place was serving lunch snacks and starting to get busy and I felt badly taking up so much space. I walked back to the water’s edge and literally forced myself to sit.

But then, just as a jet ski whizzed and a stand-up paddleboarder glided by, a series of whoops stopped my heart. Uh oh, were the surfers here? Nah, it was just a bunch of teenagers cannonballing off the edge of the pier.

With a silent apology to the author I gave up on even cracking open my book. There was nothing about Crash Boat Beach I wanted to escape from. 

When You Go:

Crash Boat

WHAT TO DO: Crash Boat draws enthusiasts of all sorts of activities including swimming, fishing, snorkeling, scubadiving and stand-up paddleboarding.

WHERE TO EAT: Snack on Latino favourites and cold beverages sold by beach vendors or grab picnic supplies from the grocery store in Aguadilla. Dine in at Rompeolas, a beach bar and restaurant where locals hang out and you can get a decent sit-down meal.

WHERE TO STAY: A good way to get to know Puerto Rico is by staying in a home-share. Many are located on or within walking distance of the beach.