houses

Weekend cottages on stilts line the waterway en route to town. Each one has a unique personality and theme, no two are alike.

The same weather window that gave us a drama-free passage miraculously stretches on, providing comfortable seas for exploring Puerto Rico’s west coast. We’re making the most of this gift, hopping over to a new place each morning until the east winds and big waves return.

Leaving Boqueron, we traveled twenty miles east to La Parguera. Much-hyped for having mangrove canals lined with cottages on stilts, it’s known as “the Venice of the Caribbean”. It’s also home to one of the World’s seven bioluminescent bays, and is rumored to have great snorkeling reefs. We were obviously stoked to get there and explore.

Anchored out among islands of mangroves, we saw skiffs (small motorboats) filled with vacationing families go by and people floating lazily on rafts under mangrove canopies, six packs in tow. The atmosphere was chill and family-friendly that Wednesday. Like so many other spots on the South coast, things pick up by the weekend.

After a failed attempt to find snorkel spots, we decided to go into town and check out the canals. It wasn’t quite Venice, but the kitchy, mismatched cottages that lined the waterway were quite charming nonetheless. After securing our dinghies in the mangroves, we walked into town and found tasty, cheap mojitos, empanadillas, and octopus salad to fill our bellies. At the dive shop we were told that the good snorkeling spots were actually located further off shore (in a place where we could not safely anchor) but would we like to charter a skiff? We politely declined.

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Brian scoping out the scenery en route from Boqueron to La Parguera. We can’t get enough of the beautiful, mountainous views as we sail along the south coast.

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Lighthouse on a cliff

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The anchorage at La Parguera is adjacent to clusters of mangroves that form little islands in the shallow water. Vacationers and weekenders come in skiffs to swim and hang out in the mangroves.

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My gondolier through the canals

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This nautically themed cottage was my favorite, of course

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Brian preferred this log cabin spread

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We pulled up our dinghies at the edge of the mangroves near town

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The town, sleepy on a Wednesday. Everything is strikingly clean and everyone was friendly. We visited a dive shop to inquire about the best spots for snorkeling, grabbed some empanadillas (what they call empanadas here) with delicious fillings, and checked out a beach clothing boutique.

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I read online that craft beer is having its moment in Puerto Rico and there are local breweries all over the island. They had three on tap at the Irish themed bar, Isla Cueva. We thought the FOK IPA was delicious!

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Me, soaking in the golden hour in the canals.

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We couldn’t pass up the opportunity to explore the famous bioluminescent bay adjacent to the anchorage. We piled into the dinghy at 10PM and rode out into the darkness for the chance to swim in the phosphorescent rich waters, which glow when agitated (there are only 7 bays of this kind in the entire world – 3 are in Puerto Rico). In this lousy photo, Bo and Brian are causing the water light up by making “snow angels”. It was a fun and hilarious little excursion.

We ran into Rosie and Sim (s/v Wandering Star) and their friends Terry and Jan, former cruisers who have settled in town, who invited us for drinks. After some antics with that boisterous lot, we were ready to call it a day.

Back on the boat Allison called us on the radio and said it was time to go check out the bioluminescent bay. We waffled a bit, (we were in our pajamas, after all) but Allison threw the YOLO card (you only live once) which is basically all you have to say to get a cruiser to do something they’re otherwise feeling too lazy to do. Hanging out in the stillness of a moonlit bay, watching the glowing light trail in the dinghy’s wake, we were handsomely rewarded for our troubles. A perfect end to another great day in Puerto Rico.