Piñones is a small treasure of possibilities. From natural seawater pools, surfing spots, chinchorros with traditional fried foods like alcapurrias and bacalaítos, to fishing, fruit frappes and a pretty cool and ecologically diverse bike route. All this, only minutes from San Juan.
From The Baldorioty de Castro Expressway or from Ave. Isla Verde, take road 187 to Piñones. The path starts turning left right after the bridge, but you may park along any part and just start riding. We stopped at a natural fruit frappe shop right after the bridge and headed on towards Soleil Beach Club where there is usually some parking. Yup. We parked, unloaded our bikes and off we went. The path changes from wood to road several times so prep your tushy.
Menacing, yet enticing, the Atlantic Ocean crashes to your left as you ride along, with the wind in your face and the unforgettable smell of the sea. Once the path turns into asphalt it veers left away from road 187. Here you get views the cars never see. There used to be a watch tower, but it is no longer there. I think one of the hurricanes tore it down, but I’m not sure.
Eventually you get to the pozita and kiosks and you have to cross the road. The path then leads into the pine forest. You have a choice, forward or right. We kept going forward along the right side of the road now, through a pine forest . This keeps going for a while until you reach another road. At this point, you are no longer at road 187. You may cross the road into a different trail that leads you back up 187 all the way down to… (we never made it to the end). As we weren’t properly equipped and had no idea where we would end up we decided to turn around. At that point the path was already worn and you could tell it wasn’t used as often. Be careful here as the wood gets wet and forms black slippery mildew. Ask the boardwalk if it liked how I fell and skidded almost expertly sideways.
Anyway when we got back to the fork in the road near the kiosks we decided to go the other way instead. The boardwalk kept going into the mangrove forest. You could see little mangroves sprouting right next to the path which is basically over the water. That kept going and going. You pass a gazebo with loops that seem to be meant to tie up your horse or something. At one point we thought we’d have to turn around, but, no… lo and behold, the Piñones lagoon with a landing for kayaks and bike sign indicating the road led to the north coast. Aha! That’s where we’re going! At this point the trail became a road so beware of cars. To our surprise after a short ride we ended up at the same junction I mention in the above paragraph where the bike trail crossed the road and turned into a different path. We took the left route now knowing it would lead us back to our car.
Pretty cool ride! Next time we’ll try to make it all the way to the end.