Cabo Rojo, or "Red Cape," is a hidden treasure in Puerto Rico. Although Cabo Rojo has some of the island's most stunning scenery, it is relatively undiscovered by tourists who don't often venture to the southwest coast. However, if you're looking for quaint towns, remote beaches, and historic lighthouses, Cabo Rojo is the place to go.
The area is home to many beautiful beaches, such as Bahía Sucia and Playa Boquerón, a picturesque stretch in the quiet town of Boquerón. Playa Combate is another popular stop as it's the longest beach in Puerto Rico. Just brace yourself for the crowds who flock to the sandy shores over the weekend.
Built in 1882, the Cabo Rojo lighthouse is one of the region's most distinctive landmarks. Steps from Bahía Sucia, the lighthouse is a classic example of Spanish architecture, and the attractive grey-and-white trim makes it stand out against the red-hued limestone cliffs behind it.
Isla de Mona, 50 miles off the coast of Cabo Rojo, is known as the Galápagos of the Caribbean thanks to its exotic variety of marine life and iguanas. The entire island has been declared a natural reserve and is closed to public access, but its surrounding waters make for spectacular snorkeling and diving. Isla de Ratones, near the small town of Joyuda in Cabo Rojo, is a tiny sandbar that also offers excellent snorkeling.
The Colonial Town
The colonial town of Cabo Rojo has many cultural highlights. In the main Plaza Ramoón Emeterio Betánces, you'll find the Iglesia San Miguel Arcángel church, which was built in 1771. The nearby Salvador Brau monument is a tribute to Cabo Rojo native Salvador Brau, who was named the island's chronologist after he published La Historia de Puerto Rico ("The History of Puerto Rico") in 1904. History buffs will also enjoy the Museo de los Proceres, which houses an impressive collection of national art and sculpture.
The Salt Flats
The barren salt flats in Cabo Rojo look like a lunar landscape from another planet compared to the tropical beaches and azure water of the Caribbean. An interpretive center and an observatory tower give visitors 360-degree panoramic views of the flats and the surrounding area. If you like to hike, explore the rough trails around the salt flats that lead to miles of pristine and often isolated beachfront.