Columpio de Ceiba also known as the Ceiba swings are a perfect example of a place that is made more popular from Instagram, but was a bit of a disappointment in real life.
The swings are located in Roosevelt Road, a former US Navy base in the East coast town of Ceiba, Puerto Rico. Mid way between Fajardo and Humacao, Ceiba is an easy drive along the 53 toll road. There are two exits for Roosevelt Roads in Ceiba.
The swings are very popular with locals and tourists alike thanks to Instagram. Any day you visit will likely require a wait for the photo op on the swings. Try going early to avoid the crowds and the best lighting.
To find the Ceiba swings (Columpio de Ceiba), drive into the former naval base out to the marina. The largest signs are for Pure Adventure or Black Beard Sports, past those are the wind turbine blades and the top of cranes for the ship recycling center on the right. Past Muelle 2, on the right there is a small colorful rectangle sign on white background (it is only a couple inches wide). Turn right and follow the dirt road to the parking area.
From the beach, there are remnants of an old dock pillars and the large pier. The two wooden swings are tied by rope to a tree branch growing off the naval pier. A Puerto Rican flag was added later to further enhance the Instagram hot spot.
Honestly, the swings are rather boring. They are accessed by swimming out from the shore, then not-so-gracefully climbing up out of the water to sit in the swing. The photographer is usually on the pier above, or in the water (with waterproof case). As the photographer, my favorite photos were watching anyone awkwardly scramble on the swing and to count how many tries before they were in a seated position. It took longer for most people to climb onto the swing, then they spent sitting and enjoying the seat.
The water near the pier and mangroves are especially salty, which is great for floating! There are tons of many small fish lurking in the mangroves. We walked down the beach, away from the swings, and enjoyed complete privacy in the mangroves. There are plenty of trees for shade along the cool, calm water.
Water shoes are a must for the mangroves, walking around the pier, wading in the water, and exploring any part of the Roosevelt Roads base.
At the far end of Marina Drive is the Roosevelt Roads Beach with spectacular views of nearby Cayo Cabritas in the background. The water is calm and clear. With plenty of parking, I have no idea why this area is not more popular. It is easier to get to than the swings with better parking, and it not very crowded. There are plenty of rocks and sea shells, so water shoes are a must have item to really enjoy the water.
What to bring:
- Water shoes or sport sandals
- Sun block
- Chairs or beach blanket for sitting
Within Roosevelt Roads there is a small marina, many run-down and abandoned buildings from the Naval base operations, the towering crane & rigs, a restaurant, and other areas for hiking, swimming and exploration. Most of the former base is open to the public (free entry and parking).
Another nearby beach option is Ceiba’s Macho beach. Located just North of the naval base entrance (outside of the base). There is parking all along the dirt road which leads to a small parking lot. Even on a busy weekend, there was plenty of parking for this underrated beach. There are lovely wooden cabanas, charcoal grills and great views from this beautiful beach. Bring your snorkel gear and explore the reef along both sides of the beach.
While I was disappointed with the Ceiba swings, I am glad that we decided to find them and got (a little) lost during our search. That exploration ultimately resulted in the discovery of several great, and off the beaten path spots.