Cabo Rojo and Boquerón: Lighthouses and Seafood

Cabo Rojo Cliffs, Puerto Rico. Photo by http://palmasdelmarphotography.com

Our family recently took the drive to the West side of Puerto Rico to explore what it has to offer. We already traveled extensively in San Juan and the East coast (Humacao, Caguas and Palmas Del Mar) so this was a trip we looked forward to.

Rincon was our ultimate destination, but we heard a lot of good things about the Cabo Rojo cliffs and seafood stalls in Boquerón, so we made the effort to take a detour and see the sights.

All photos in this post are by Palmas Del Mar Photography

Interesting facts:

  • Cabo Rojo is named after the reddish color of the salt flats and seaside cliffs
  • People from the El Combate barrio are known as mata con hacha (“those who kill with axes”) from an old folk tale. The adjacent townsfolk are known as tira piedras (“those who throw stones”)
  • The area near Las Salinas (salt flats) has been inhabited since 30 BC
  • By 1525 salt mining was an important industry
  • Cabo Rojo is known for fishing, particularly in the Puerto Real fishing village and the seafood restaurants on Joyuda

Los Morillos Lighthouse

We only stayed a few hours in Cabo Rojo (since we were traveling with a toddler). Our first stop was the famous Cabo Rojo lighthouse, Los Morillos, also known by the locals as El Faro.

You will see signs to the lighthouse, and it is easy to find via GPS. The drive takes you on a meandering road past the salt flats. This is a great spot to take some photos as the landscape is striking.

Cabop Rojo Salt Flats - Living in Puerto Rico

The lighthouse was built on cliffs that rise from the salt flats some 200 feet. The views from this point are spectacular and a must-see!

Locals bring coolers, beach blankets and umbrellas to enjoy the crystal beaches near the lighthouse in Cabo Rojo. We highly suggest bringing sunscreen as the rays are relentless.

Cabo Rojo Beach

There are a few hotels and restaurants nearby, but there isn’t much of anything else, and in the summer season, you won’t see many people at all. We stopped for lunch at Aqua al Cuello at the Grand Bahia and were the only people there to enjoy the smooth white sand and waves at their ocean-from restaurant.

Restaurant Cabo Rojo

The food was better than I thought it would be (my low seafood expectations after a few disappointing meals) with fresh fish and crab cakes FULL of fresh crab. My little one ate up the corn sticks or surullitos de maiz.

Boquerón

After a satisfying lunch we drove about 30 minutes to the beach town of Boquerón.  This little fishing town is sometimes refereed to as the Key West of Puerto Rico. Full of colorful characters and brightly-painted facades, it is a good place to walk, have a few drinks and enjoy seafood.

We are avid lovers of oysters and clams — which are surprisingly difficult to find in Puerto Rico. In Boquerón, you will find seafood stalls lining the streets selling ceviche, raw clams and oysters. The stalls are pilled high with the tasty shellfish and you can get them for under $9 a dozen.

This particular clam is something I’d never seen before, with a black and pink meat inside. They are sweet and delicious and far better than the briny oyster in my opinion. I wish they served these in San Juan or other restaurants on the island!

After a few hours, and several dozen clams, we packed up and continued on our journey to Rincon and the Horned Dorset Primavera.

Festivals and events in Cabo Rojo

  • Pescao Festival – March
  • Años Cuarenta Festival – April
  • Chigüero Festival – April
  • Betances Festival – April
  • Oyster Festival – May
  • Boquerón Bay Crossing – July
  • Watermelon Festival – July
  • Retorno a la Arena – July
  • Patron Festivities – September
  • La Pileta Festival – December
  • Le Lo Lai Festival – December

Map of Cabo Rojo

Cabo Rojo Lighthouse GPS coordinates : 17.934618, -67.192596

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