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The battle for Puerto Rico's beaches

The battle for Puerto Rico's beaches

Update: 2023-04-058


Puerto Rico's beaches are an integral part of life on the island, and by law, they're one of the few places that are truly public. In practice, the sandy stretch of land where the water meets the shore is one of the island's most contested spaces.

Today we're featuring an episode of the podcast La Brega from WNYC Studios and Futuro Studios, a show about Puerto Rico and the Puerto Rican experience. On the island, a legal definition dating back to the Spanish colonial period dictates what counts as a beach. But climate change, an influx of new residents and a real estate boom are all threatening legal public access to some of Puerto Rico's most cherished spaces. The debate all comes down to one question: what counts as a beach?

You can listen to the rest of La Brega (in English and Spanish) here. They have two full seasons out, which explore the Puerto Rican experience through history and culture. Check it out.

This episode was reported by Alana Casanova-Burgess and produced by Ezequiel Rodriguez Andino and Joaquin Cotler, with help from Tasha Sandoval. It was edited by Mark Pagan, Marlon Bishop, and Jenny Lawton and engineered by Joe Plourde. The zona maritimo terrestre was sung as a bolero by Los Rivera Destino.

The Planet Money version was produced by Dave Blanchard, fact checked by Sierra Juarez, edited by Keith Romer, and engineered by Brian Jarboe.

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The battle for Puerto Rico's beaches

The battle for Puerto Rico's beaches