Although the west-coast beaches around Isabela and Rincón are considered the places to surf in Puerto Rico, San Juan was actually the place where the sport got its start on the island. In 1958 legendary surfers Gary Hoyt and José Rodríguez Reyes began surfing at the beach in front of Bus Stop 2½, facing El Capitolio. This spot is known for big waves, but the conditions must be nearly perfect to surf it. Today many surfers head to Puerta de Tierra and a spot known as La Ocho (in front of Bus Stop 8). Another, called the Pressure Point, is behind the Caribe Hilton Hotel.

In Condado you can surf La Punta, a reef break behind the Presbyterian Hospital, with either surfboards or body boards. In Isla Verde, white water on the horizon means that the waves are good at Pine Grove, the beach break near the Ritz-Carlton. East of the city, in Piñones, the Caballo has deep-to-shallow-water shelf waves that require a big-wave board known as a "gun." Surf culture frowns upon aficionados who divulge the best spots to outsiders; if you're lucky, though, maybe you'll make a few friends who'll let you in on where to find the best waves.

Tres Palmas Surf Shop. At Ocean Park Beach, famous surfer and proprietor Carlos Cabrero rents boards, repairs equipment, and sells all sorts of hip beach and surfing gear. 1911 Av. McLeary, Ocean Park, San Juan, n/a Puerto Rico, 00911. 787/728–3377;