Known as the "Village of Cofresí," a name that alludes to the famous Puerto Rican pirate Roberto Cofresí y Ramírez de Arellano, Cabo Rojo is located in the southwest corner of Puerto Rico, about three hours from SJU airport.
This coastal gem may not be widely known outside of Puerto Rico, but the dramatic landscapes and protected beaches of the Cabo Rojo National Wildlife Refuge make it quite popular among locals. Beyond sightseeing and outdoor activities for beach and nature lovers, Cabo Rojo is rich in experiences for foodies, offering local seafood mixed with Puerto Rican criollo (creole) traditions.
Among the many spectacular attractions of Cabo Rojo is the Los Morrillos Lighthouse, an elegant neoclassical building with green windows surrounded by impressive cliffs and a panoramic view of the Caribbean Sea. Constructed in 1882, this working lighthouse was the third built by Spaniards on the island.
A visit to the lighthouse can be paired with other exciting activities in the Cabo Rojo National Wildlife Refuge. Enjoy a day at the beach at the famous Playuela, also known as Playa Sucia, a stunning crescent-shaped beach with white sand that is ideal for swimming and relaxing. It’s also worth exploring the nearby hiking trails to discover a wealth of stunning views (and photo opportunities).
There are a variety of other natural wonders scattered around nearby as well, including a natural bridge, salt flats (which have been a site for salt production since 1511), and panoramic views of salt mountains. Just make sure to bring sunscreen and plenty of water.
When planning your visit to Cabo Rojo, know that access to the salt flats and the lighthouse are closed to the public on Mondays.
In addition to Playuela, Cabo Rojo’s other noteworthy beaches include Buyé and Combate. Balneario de Boquerón is one of the top beaches for families, located in the Boquerón State Forest. There you’ll find calm, crystalline water and an incredible tropical ambiance. It’s also a Blue Flag beach, a coveted award given to beaches around the world that meet strict standards of water safety and quality.
A day of swimming and hiking can build up your appetite. Near Combate is Annie's Place, a very popular local spot and an ideal location to enjoy some fresh seafood and fritters.
You can also visit Buena Vibra, a picturesque restaurant that serves everything from seafood-stuffed avocado to savory mofongo and deep-fried red snapper. Wash these delicious local delicacies down with mojitos prepared with natural, fresh-squeezed juices. In the Joyuda neighborhood, head to Bamboleio for creative seafood and cocktails paired with stunning sunset views.
The area’s accommodations include a large portfolio of vacation rentals, including condos, beach houses, and villas, rather than the usual hotel chains. One of the best places to stay is the Combate Beach Resort, a quaint inn managed by a Puerto Rican family that’s just steps from Combate Beach.