In southwestern Puerto Rico, near Lajas, is the quaint little village of La Parguera. In a few waterfront blocks you can sip mojitos, munch on a pincho, and shop for colorful souvenirs. Do not limit your excursion to the malecón (boardwalk), because just a few steps away you will find jovial bars and restaurants with drinks specials and amazing food. La Parguera is also a nature-lover’s paradise with ample opportunities for snorkeling, diving, hiking, birdwatching, biking, and so much more.
Parguera Fishing Charters
Until you experience deep-sea fishing for yourself, you won’t understand the excitement of pulling in that big ocean fish, and Captain Mickey of Mareja Parguera Fishing Charters provides one of the best experiences on the island. Your first thrill will be going out on his boat so far that you can barely see land. Just watching the waves for miles and miles is an exhilarating experience. As his first mate works diligently to get the poles ready and help find some fish, you can relax and smile and have some snacks. As the fish hit, you take turns pulling them in. They will clean them for you when you return, and if you can’t use them all yourself, they keep them and share them with family and friends.
Paradise SCUBA & Snorkeling
La Parguera in Lajas is a phenomenal destination for all things nature-related. There are mangrove reserves, nature reserves, and a bioluminescent bay, all of which combine for wonderful snorkeling and SCUBA
. The Wall Dive is a favorite for SCUBA fans, where you will see brilliant marine life in a myriad of colors. Another favorite is the Bio Bay tour, where you can snorkel or swim as the dinoflagellates light up around you. Paradise also provides SCUBA certification.
La Playita Rosada
La Parguera in Lajas has incredible natural attractions, from mangrove reserves to sea turtles to a bioluminescent bay, and the waters are beautiful, but it is not blessed with the pristine beaches found in other parts of Puerto Rico. That did not stop this little community: they put up a deck around an area of water, added netting that goes to the sea floor so nothing big can get in, and created an ocean pool. This is an amazing place to take your family and enjoy some fun in the sun.
La Parguera Malecón
Food Kiosk, Caribbean, American, Seafood, $$$
When the opportunity presented itself, the neighborhood of La Parguera jumped at the chance to revitalize and revamp the center of their town into a celebratory destination for locals and tourists alike to enjoy. The boardwalk, or malecón, is hopping on the weekends and is an great place for food, drink, music, laughter, and friendship. Oh, and shopping, too.
Moon's Bar and Tapas
Bar, Restaurant, Healthy, Seafood, Caribbean, Gluten-free, Vegetarian, $$$
Just a block off of the boardwalk is the extraordinary treat called Moon’s. They have very comfortable covered outdoor seating and plenty of fans to keep you cool on those hot days. All of their ingredients are fresh and they buy locally whenever possible. Try the ceviche with root vegetable chips and a plate of their setas con chorizo y tres quesos y pesto, mushrooms stuffed with chorizo sausage and three kinds of cheese, all topped with a dab of pesto. Try to save some room for the stuffed grouper and any of the other tantalizing entrées.
Los Morrillos Lighthouse
Building, Hiking Trail, Natural Feature
A scenic 45-minute drive west will take you to the lighthouse in Cabo Rojo
. The Cabo Rojo Lighthouse, which dates back to 1881, is called Faro Los Morrillos
in Spanish and is still in use today as it helps ships through the Isla de Mona Passage. There is a short drive down a rather bumpy dirt road, but take your time and you will be fine. They have a trolley that runs from the parking lot up to the lighthouse, and there is also a paved path that you can walk up. It is in full sun, so make sure to dress appropriately, wear a hat and sunscreen, and bring water. Inside the lighthouse is a museum with displays explaining the history of the building. It is also a great place for a wedding, and you can take amazing photos from the clifftops.
Playa Sucia, Cabo Rojo
Remote, rustic and very scenic, La Playuela,
more commonly known as Playa Sucia, can be a challenge to get to as you drive down dirt roads through the Salt Flats and the wildlife refuge, but it is worth every bump and pothole when you get there. The waters are very blue and there are trees along the beach where you can find a shady spot. Take a walk to the other side of the bay and hike to the top of the cliffs where you can walk out onto the natural bridge for some incredible photo opportunities. On low-season weekdays you may have the entire beach to yourself; the crowds are bigger on weekends and during spring break. When vendors come to the beach you can buy parcha
or piña helado,
or a freshly made mojito.
It is very rustic, with no picnic tables, benches, or restrooms. There are trash receptacles at the start of the trail to the beach, so bring some bags and clean up after yourself. There are no fees for parking or entry.
Fiesta San Pedro La Parguera
Every municipality in Puerto Rico has a patron saint, and San Pedro is the patron saint of La Parguera. On the last weekend in June they have a festival to celebrate San Pedro and thank him for watching over their community and bringing success to the fishers of the area. There is music and food and drinks throughout the weekend, and on Sunday the big event is the boat parade, when dozens of colorful boats float through the waters of La Parguera. This annual homage is nearly seven decades old, and is not only a fun event, but is educational as well.