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Playa in Spanish means "beach," and Puerto Rico has plenty of them. But a balneario is the local word for a public beach. So what's the difference? Simple: the balneario has facilities like lifeguards, changing stations, restromms, and picnic tables, whereas a playa is merely a stretch of sand disappearing into the water.

The Language and Sayings of Puerto Rico
Zain Deane

Zain Deane
About.com Puerto Rico Travel

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