Cabo Rojo, Bosque de Boqueron & Puerto Real
Here’s a hot tip- Where do Puerto Ricans go on vacation or a weekend trip? Into the mountains to cool off or the gorgeous beaches on the southwest coast of the island. For good reason!
The Southwest region includes Sabana Grande, San German, Hormigueros, Cabo Rojo, Lajas, Yauco and everything in between, all the way out to the coast. As mentioned in my last post about UFOs, its mostly flat to rolling pasture with occasional hills and mostly dry. I saw a lot of cattle ranches out this way. Its always in the mid ’80′s there, but I never felt like it was too hot. After having studied National Weather Service maps of PR for the last year, I can say with certainty that this is the driest, least humid area of Puerto Rico.
Cabo Rojo (founded December 1771) is much more up-scale than I had envisioned. It’s home to about 48,000 folks with another 89,000 living in the area. Lots of national brand stores, fast food chains and shopping malls can be found here.
It had the clean manicured look of Condado in San Juan. Many ExPats have relocated to this town so English is as popular as Spanish. Except for the rolling hills, you might think you are in Florida.
The Plaza or town square of Cabo Rojo is in the midst of being renovated, but looks like it will be a centerpiece for the region when finished. As fine an example of colonial Spanish architecture as any place I’ve been to. There is a large monument in front of the church, dedicated to Salvador Brau (born 1842). A local, educated in Spain with a passion for Puerto Rican history. Mr. Brau returned to PR as a journalist before becoming politically active. Being a strong supporter of Puerto Rico’s independence, he joined the autonomist movement. He wrote several novels and plays based on this theme. In 1894 Brau was made ‘Commissioner of the Provincial Deputation’ and moved back to Spain to continue his research into the history of Puerto Rico. A local hero, for sure.
Bosque de Boqueron
Bosque de Boqueron is a designated nature preserve and working salt farm. Archeological digs date human activity at the salt flats to 30B.C. Salt was the very first export of Puerto Rico (starting in 1525) and its still being worked today. This area is perfect for bird watchers.
I saw cranes, red hawks, stilts and other unique sea birds. Because it’s so dry, succulents, cacti and scrub brush are the primary forms of vegetation. It’s off Hwy 301 and can be reached from either Hwy 100 or Hwy 101.
The Cabo Rojo Lighthouse- Los Morrillos or simply “El Faro” is just up past the observation tower. The road turns into a real mess at this point, then gets worse. Most folks park and walk the last 1,000 feet to the beach area. Its not that big a deal. The small protected cove and sandy beach are beautiful as was the surrounding cliffs and lighthouse.
On the down side, there are no facilities here.
You have to bring everything you need for the day with you. Sunbathers were lugging coolers, folding chairs and beach umbrellas for the day’s outing. I did see a couple of food concessionaires hauling their stuff out to the end of the road as we were leaving.
The tiny fishing village of Puerto Real is due west of Cabo Rojo via Hwy 308. I had read on-line of the fresh seafood caught here… I really wanted to try some. Problem is, there is NO PLACE TO PARK! Admittedly, its only about 3 blocks long and that’s it. I drove up and down the main street 4 times before I finally gave up. There is major construction going on at the main dock so that area is off limits to everyone, but construction personnel.
Puerto Real is as basic as they come. A typical Puerto Rican village with lots of potential…
The playground that is Southwest PR IS fantastic.
There is lots more to see and do here. Fishing, diving, the secluded beaches, the ruins, museums and Spanish history everywhere you go. As I’ve said before, I will be back…
Next Post: San German, the 2nd oldest town in Puerto Rico!
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