City Spotlight: La Parguera, Puerto Rico
With its rustic and wild coastline, local feel and mystic bioluminescent bay, La Parguera is the ultimate off the beaten path destination for Puerto Rico travelers.
Best known for being home to one of the island’s three bio bays, there’s so much more to this effortlessly cool fishing village. Explore mangrove forests, nature reserves and Caribbean cays, or cruise the beachside boardwalk, stopping for local snacks and mojitos.
Whether you day trip the two hours from San Juan or settle into a boutique hotel on the quiet coast, Lajas’ La Parguera should rank high on your list of must-see places in Puerto Rico.
Where is La Parguera?
In a calm little corner of the southwestern region of Lajas, Puerto Rico, you’ll find La Parguera. Home to a stunning bioluminescent bay and a wild Caribbean coastline, this once sleepy fishing village is like a step back in time.
A two-hour drive from San Juan, you won’t find luxury resorts or ocean view golf courses in La Parguera. There aren’t any white sand beaches either—this stretch of southern coast is characterized instead by mangrove channels, rocky inlets and beautiful cays.
This is where you come to enjoy the Caribbean Sea. Turquoise blue, full of marine life and dotted with islands no more than a quick boat ride away, La Parguera is a paradise for eco-travelers, adventurers and ocean lovers alike.
Things To Do
Without a doubt, the best things to do in La Parguera involve the ocean. Originally a fishing village, the heart of this small, coastal town is and always has been the sea.
And for good reason—set on the Caribbean side of Puerto Rico, the tropical waters are rich with marine life. There’s not only excellent deep sea fishing but epic scuba diving and snorkeling as well.
In fact, one of Puerto Rico’s most popular scuba diving sites is located off the shore of La Parguera. Known as “The Wall,” this 20-mile long shelf extends from 30 feet in depth to 120 feet, with everything from sharks to tropical fish calling the multicolor coral beds home. You’re guaranteed to see an abundance of local marine life, making it an easy favorite amongst experienced divers.
Similarly, the coast’s cays and islands are prime for snorkeling and kayaking. Located in the Parguera Nature Reserve, places like Cayo Caracoles, Cayo Enrique and Cayo Mata La Gata are ideal for wildlife spotting and water sports. You’ll be met with calm conditions and unmatched beauty from the crystal-clear waters and mangrove tree forests.
Places To Visit
When you’re not at sea, join the locals in spending the day at Piscina Rosada, a natural pool surrounded by a wooden boardwalk and protected from marine life by underwater netting. Since there aren’t many beaches in La Parguera, this innovative take on a swimming pool is the perfect place to lounge, swim and enjoy the sea.
Or, head to Cabo Rojo Wildlife Refuge to explore the area’s dry forest, marshes and lagoons. Of course, the main attraction here is the scenic pink salt flats. Beautiful and unique on their own, this is also a great spot for birdwatching.
If you’re visiting in May, be sure to mark the Festival de la Piña, or Pineapple Festival, on your calendar. A lively, annual event to celebrate pineapple farms in the town of Lajas, you can expect live music, delicious, local foods and artisan goods.
For a leisurely walk or bike ride, head to El Malecón, the area’s waterfront boardwalk. Restaurants, bars and food kiosks line the promenade, making it the perfect place to grab a snack or happy hour mojito.
La Parguera’s Bioluminescent Bay
One of only five phosphorescent bays in the world, the bio bay at La Parguera is truly a natural wonder. Explore the area at night, when microorganisms beneath the water’s surface glitter blue in the moonlight.
The glowing effect comes when the microorganisms are agitated, so the paddles of a kayak, wake from a boat or brush of your hand will all light up the water. La Parguera’s bioluminescent bay is the only one you are allowed to swim in, so be sure to plan a visit here if a glowing night swim is on your to-do list.
Visit La Parguera
With so much to see and do while in Puerto Rico, it can be hard to choose how to spend your time. But the cays, nature and activities you’ll find here are more than worth the effort.
Make the journey to this southwestern corner a road trip, plan an overnight stay to simply book a La Parguera tour and be back in San Juan by nightfall. However you do it—do it! You won’t regret it.