A veritable paradise perfect for leaving behind city woes and stepping into nature.
Tucked along Puerto Rico’s northwestern shores, the vibrant coastal city of Isabela beckons to those in need of an idyllic escape from the banality and bustle of busy urban living. Rugged, unspoiled terrain and magnificent surfing beaches add to the undeniably relaxed island atmosphere, and residents spend their time focusing on the joys of oceanfront living.
Officially founded in 1819 and named for the Queen of Spain, the town of Isabela has a long history of providing visitors and residents with the ideal beach lifestyle. The choices for residential housing are immensely varied, and homes span across the 20th and 21st century in age.
Lovely upscale condos in colorful buildings come with impressive space for affordable prices, and it isn’t unusual to find gorgeous, newly built single-family homes with beach views for under half a million dollars. While plenty of million-dollar estates lie within Isabela —particularly nested in resort communities — the true appeal is its collection of wallet-friendly yet luxe homes.
More than an hour west of San Juan, Isabela feels remote while retaining all of the modern conveniences that luxury-seekers could desire. Its smaller population of around 40,000 makes the city quiet while maintaining ample to do, see, and adore. While there are many family households, many of them are without children, and the mix of ages in Isabela keeps the city fresh.
Isabela is an absolute treasure trove of dining opportunities and a foodie oasis. The Eclipse Restaurant, for example, harbors award-winning cuisine crafted from only the finest local ingredients, with Chef Rafael Grau manning the helm. At Sonido del Mar Bar & Restaurant, diners are within easy distance of the beach and get to choose from a bountiful menu of seafood and sumptuous Puerto Rican dishes.
Those visiting Isabela or choosing to set roots here aren’t looking for a host of retail centers or shopping — the beach and enviable peace is the most valued facet. Yet, while Isabela might not carry its own assortment of shopping destinations, it’s less than an hour away from Puerto Rico Premium Outlets in Barceloneta. Retail enthusiasts can browse brands like Guess, Michael Kors, Tommy Hilfiger, and countless more at this well-established location.
Isabela abounds with chances to experience local art and culture and is brimming with forests, parks, and beach spaces to delve into and revel in. Among must-see events and locations is the Guajataca Tunnel, which comes to life every weekend and houses the creations of local artists and merchants, food vendors, and even a miniature train that carries passengers through the historic 1900s tunnel.
The invigorating weekly artists’ fair known as Noches de Artesanías y Artes en Isabela draws quite the crowd on Wednesday nights. Held in the town’s center, the fair is ideal for grabbing hand-crafted gifts and one-of-a-kind artisan goods.
Those who prefer to avoid the crowds and would rather spend time on a challenging hike can hit up the Guajataca Forest Preserve, known for its fairytale-like appeal and diverse trails that lead to limestone caves — such as the Cave of Wind — and underground waterfalls. For easier walks and a more open green space, you’ll want to stroll along with the Paseo Lineal Costero de Isabela. This well-maintained boardwalk spreads along the coast and is favored by bike riders and walkers hoping to take in the scenery.
Isabela is home to several excellent schools. Top educational opportunities include:
Maria del Mar Ortiz, or Maria, has been a leader in the financial services industry of Puerto Rico. She began her career as the assistant to Treasurer at BBVA before shifting her focus to the private client side of the industry. Contact Maria today.Contact