Photo: Chad Zuber/Shutterstock

Puerto Ricans Are Protesting the Attempted Privatization of Their Public Beaches

Activism Beaches and Islands News Puerto Rico
Photo: Chad Zuber/Shutterstock
Olivia Harden
Feb 2, 2022

One of the best things about Puerto Rico is its natural beauty. In particular, the many amazing beaches across its islands — all of which are public. Though there are no private beaches in Puerto Rico, some beachgoers and newcomers apparently thought otherwise. On January 26, 2022, an incident was posted on social media that showed a couple who had purchased one of the multi-million-dollar homes on Ocean Park beach trying to block off a section for themselves. When questioned by the beachgoers, the unidentified woman in the video insulted them.

“Buy a million-dollar house, then you can give your opinion here,” the woman told Lydibett Santiago in Spanish.

@latinorebelstiktok Protest against privatization of beaches in #PuertoRico #news #lol #wow #latino #fyi #event #beach #saturday ♬ Tanto – Cassie Marin

So, Wilmar Vázquez decided to organize a protest and rally Puerto Ricans for a “Beach Olympics,” according to the Latino Rebels. The event was a beach block party hosted in front of the couple’s house to showcase that Puerto Rico’s beaches always have and always will be open to the public. The protest attracted hundreds of people who participated in beach tennis tournaments at the dozen-plus tennis courses set up for the event, along with beach volleyball, beach hockey, and air aerobics. Other event-goers came just to take in the sun, watch performances, and enjoy the food and beverages donated by community members.

@latinorebelstiktok Today at the #oceanpark beach protest in #puertorico🇵🇷 ♬ original sound – Latino Rebels

In recent years, some Puerto Ricans have become concerned about the gentrification of Puerto Rico and the new property developments on the beach. A 2009 Puerto Rico Coastal Zone Management Program document provides more details on beach access policies in Puerto Rico. One policy states:

“Development in front of the coast, be they public or private, should, in the measure in which it is practical, be designed to facilitate instead of obstructing access to the coast by the general public. It is recognized that the general wellbeing, on occasions, requires restriction of access (i.e. to areas of environmental crisis or endangered species or for public safety reasons). However, the de facto segregation of public beaches, as a result of development patterns, for the enjoyment of private landowners by preventing access by the general public is prohibited in Puerto Rico.”

These policies have not changed.

@latinorebelstiktok More from #oceanpark protest in #puertorico🇵🇷 ♬ original sound – Latino Rebels

So, it looks like public beaches in Puerto Rico are here to stay, regardless of what the owners of million-plus-dollar beachfront properties say.

What did you think of this story?

More on

Puerto Rico

This Luxury Puerto Rico Airbnb Has the Best Views in Rincón

The 15 Most Scenic, Colorful, and Photo-Worthy Skateparks in the World

Puerto Rico Adventure Park Breaks World Record for Longest Bicycle Zip Wire

Puerto Rico No Longer Requires COVID-19 Testing for Fully Vaccinated Travelers

Renting a Campervan Is the Best Way To See Puerto Rico Beyond the Touristy Resorts

Everything You Need To Know About Visiting Puerto Rico

These Puerto Rican Neighborhoods Turned Street Art Galleries Are Made for Instagram

Spend a Night in the King of Reggaeton Daddy Yankee’s Puerto Rico Airbnb

From Festivals To Outdoor Adventure, January Is the Best Time To Visit Puerto Rico

Best Airbnbs in Puerto Rico From City Houses To Coastal Villas

We think you might also like

A New Film Raises Awareness for Inca Trail Porter's Rights

7 Beach Towns in Croatia To Visit This Summer

Your 2023 Azores Vacation: a Guide To São Miguel and Beyond

Save Bookmark

We use cookies for analytics tracking and advertising from our partners. For more information read our privacy policy.