La Parguera, a Caribbean dream, is a small fishing village in the town of Lajas, Puerto Rico; located on the southwest coast of the island. La Parguera is one of four areas in Puerto Rico that has a very unique and remarkable night time phenomenon, a Phosphorescent Bay. The Bioluminescent Bay is actually made up of two bays, Bahia Monsio Jose and Bahia la Parguera; when the still waters are disturbed they glow with millions of microscopic organisms known as dinoflagellates which sparkle and create a spectacular light show. This phenomenon occurs only in tropical areas, typically in mangrove-protected bays such as the one found here at La Parguera. Puerto Rico is the only place on the planet that has three sites where you can depend on this phenomenon to occur every night, La Parguera being one of them. The bay is best observed during a dark moonless night; see charts for the best night to visit La Parguera Bay.
The people of La Parguera are what make this small fishing village what it is, a simple, clean and quite villa. They are simple, humble fishermen for the most part. Others still raise goats, chickens and tend to the tourist as a means to support their families. For the most part La Parguera has not changed much, yet in the last ten years it seems civilization and progress have gain a foot hold in the sleepy little village. Today you can find a good supermarket, restaurants and shops, all well within walking distance from the villa. The Parguera is both a tourist and residential community; there are many things you can do for fun, biking, hiking trails, or bird watching, but water sports are now the in thing. Kayaking, and kite surfing are now a very big sport.
Diving: The continental shelf that wraps around Puerto Ricos’ southern is closest to shore at La Parguera. The coral reefs are considered by many to be the finest and best coral reefs off Puerto Rico; aficionados rank La Parguera among the top dive destinations in the world. The waters off the coast of La Parguera are extremely clear, spectacular to say the least; they are free of currents and very warm. Daily excursions to ‘The Wall’, a 22 mile coral reef wall, and many of the near by Islands and Cays are available from several dive shops that also rent out equipment. La Pared, is some 45 minutes from shore; the wall starts at about 55 ft. of water and drops to just over 1500 ft. at its deepest spot. A submerged reef line marks the edge of the shelf beyond which depths of several thousand meters are quickly encountered. You may run into Moray Eels (bright green) huge Stingrays and hammerhead sharks if you go deep enough and tunnels that provided breathtaking views, decent to vertical cliffs, and many underwater rarities. The most spectacular dive spots are the Black hole, Boya Vieja, Fallen Rock and Los Pinaculos. The sights are endless, don’t read about it just come an explore La Parguera.
Snorkeling:The area has excellent snorkeling opportunities, try la Mata De la Gata; just a short boat ride from the Parguera. Night time snorkeling of the bioluminescent bays can be a real treat.
Parguera Natural Reserve: No Camping allowed. The reserve, run by the DRNA, is mainly a coastal forest area that features mangrove swamps, estuaries and coral formations. By far one of the greatest coastal mangrove systems in Puerto Rico, over 12,000 acres; it is great for, snorkeling, mountain biking, horseback riding, sailing, kayaking, fishing, and much more. The reserve is home to manatees and over 66 species of birds both local and migratory, ideal for bird-watching. Also home to the Bioluminescent Bay; call for further information, (787)899-7484 or 999-2200 ext.5158, 8:30AM – 5:00PM. If you like hiking then pack your equipment and get ready for the numerous trails in and around La Parguera. Explore the winding dirt roads and the incredible coastline, ideal for ecotourism.
Sailing In La Parguera: Sailing, boat and Kayak tours are available at the various docks along the shore. Equipment rental is also available for ten to fifteen dollars and hour. Night tours with with glass bottom boats are also available.
Kite Boarding/Surfing: La Parguera is also home to one of the most exciting sports to hit the area in the last seven years, kite surfing. Winds are a steady 15 to 20 knots just about every day and the water pristine clear. Some of the best wind and water conditions for the sport that you can hope for anywhere will be found here at La-parguera. Getting here may seem difficult but once here you will realize the trip was well worth it and the price small for the pleasure to sail among the unspoiled, stunning enchantment of these spectacular mangrove islands and sand cays. Your best bet is to cruise into the town marina and rent a small boat for the day. Pack a cooler, load the gear and head out to Cayo Majimo or Cayo Enrique. For those looking for a tour ask for The kitehouse, see our directory for more details. A prime riding area is the Elevator, you will need a boat to get there so ask the locals to point you in the right direction to other launches, nightspots and places to stay.
Fishing: World class deep ocean fishing is available at La Parguera from many of the local boat charters. Look up Capt. Mickey a trained Marine Biologist who owns one of the best local charters. Be it Dorado, Blue Marlin, Wahoo, Tuna, Pargo(Barred snapper), Groupers, Mackerel, Spearfish,Barracuda or Jacks you will find it all here in the pristine waters off the lazy shores of La Parguera.
Check out the bragnrelease web site for videos of Captain Mickey and Juano.
Restaurants: As a local I prefer good old fashion home cooking. Some of the best places in the village are: La Casita and Villa LaParguera Hotel ; both are walking distance as is everything else at La Parguera. There are many more good restaurants, La Pared, Agua Azul, El Karakol and of course the fast food places at la Parguera. Good advise is to look for a good size crowd outside of the restaurant.
- Casinos: The nearest casinos in the area are; The Holiday Inn, and Mayagüez Resort. The Mayagüez Resort is the better of the two. Both are within the Mayaguez municipality, about 30 minutes away.
- Golf: There are three near by golf courses all within an hours drive; in Cabo Rojo Club Deportivo del Oeste. This 18-hole inland golf course was designed by Jack Bender; call for reservations, 787.254-3748. You can also try Punta Boriquen Golf Course. This 18-hole, par-72 golf course is located in Aguadilla Puerto Rico, where the Atlantic and Caribbean oceans meet. Constructed in 1940 for the US air force officers stationed at the former Ramey Air Force base; the course boast breathtaking ocean views and sunsets. The course itself is very open with abundant sand traps and a stiff, challenging crosswind. More details at Punta Borinquen Golf Club Last stop Costa Caribe in the city of Ponce, which is 45 minutes from La Parguera. Designed by Bruce Besse, this golf course is located on a former sugarcane plantation, for details, link to Puerto Rico-Golf
- Zoo: There’s a zoo in Mayagüez, Juan A. Rivero, (787-834-8110). Currently the only zoo in Puerto Rico, it’s great for the kids and only a short drive from La parguera, between 30-40 minutes traffic permitting.
- Other points of Interest: Isla de Magueyes, this 18 acre island is located some 155 feet off the coast of La Parguera. The island possesses a small hill in the central part and caves, Guayacán and Mattei which possesses Taino Indias remains in its soil. Since 1954 the Department of Marine Sciences of the University of Puerto Rico at Mayagüez runs a research facility on the Island. Graduate students have access to modern laboratories equipped with state of the art equipment for marine and oceanographic research. Research facilities for warm water aquaculture include some 8 acres of earthen ponds, two hatcheries and numerous concrete tanks, plastic pools, and aquaria facilities with running water are available for controlled environmental studies. A NOAA tide and weather station wave-data recording station is also housed and operated at the facility. The facility also has a vast fleet of small to medium size vessels; boats include the 127 foot R/V Chapman, a 51 foot Thompson trawler, and a 35 foot diesel Downeast. The facility is administered by the DMS and the Faculty of Arts and Sciences.
Los Canales: A brisk freshness in the air accompanies one while roaming through the paradise of the canales and one seems to be transported back in time, as if for a moment civilization is left behind; this is the romance of the canals. The canals, “Los Canales”, of la Parguera are formed by more than 30 cays and small “islotes”, islets, mostly mangroves trees through which the canals now flow. These exotic canales are believed to be the work of the Taino Indians that lived in this region hundreds of years ago. The Indians carved out canals for protection against the bad weather during hurricane season. To this day the canals are still used for protecting small craft during the hurricane season. Nesting in the branches of a tree one may see a resting pelican, tropical birds, small monkeys jumping from branch to branch and many more surprises indigenous to this ecosystem. If one watches silently you might be surprised by the surfacing of a friendly aquatic mammal, the Manatee. A trip to Isla Cuevas is recommended but be very carefull the island may be full of monkeys; we advice caution if you plan to come ashore.
Los Cayos: The cays are located south of La Parguera; there are 30 or so cays but the most famous of these is Caracoles. Surrounded by shallow waters the cay seems to form a natural pool in the middle of the ocean and the only accesses to these beautiful cays are via boat. The canals are teaming with tropical fish due to the constant flow of fresh filtered water that emanates from the mangroves. Medialuna Key is known for the herds of friendly manatees that visit its waters from time to time; seaturtles and dolphins are also frequent visitors of the area. Mata de la Gata, Enrique, Májimo, Collado, Laurel and San Cristóbal are the largest of the cays. Frequented by local and international tourists as well as Parguereños themselves these cays provide fantastic snorkeling. Of all the cays only Enrique, Medialuna and Májimo are suitable for camping. Isla Cuevas may be full of monkeys; we advice caution if you plan to come ashore. Be prepared to spend the night under a star filled sky surrounded by the Milkyway and shooting stars crossing the heavens and falling in the sea or fading in to the night.
La Parguera was founded in the first quarter of the XIX century by fishermen from Guánica and Cabo Rojo, two adjacent municipalities. Towards the beginning of the XXth century a group of determined families began populating what later would become la Parguera. Among those families were the Cancel, Quiñonez, Rosado, Ramos, Fabiani, Lagarde, Irizarry, Pagán, Hernández, López, Pancorbo and Piñero. The tourism industry was begun by the Cancel and Quiñonez families; Luis Irizarry Cancel built the first fishery in the village. Don Segundo “Gundo” Hernández built a small float at the “varadero” for the local fishermen. By 1945 the village was inhabited by 24 fishermen families from the neighboring barrios, growth was right around the corner, for better or worse. Till this day many of the original founding families reside here at La Parguera, some in the same lots allocated many years ago others have become the Parguera power house families owning many of the local businesses.
The first Zoo on the island of Puerto Rico was established here in La Parguera on the island of Magueyes. The Lajas iguanas are a remnant of what was once the first Zoo of Puerto Rico.
La Parguera, name derived from the abundance and good fishing of Pargos, better know to state side fishermen as barred snapper. Perhaps an English translation would be sea of pargos, but that is another story. More to come in the following weeks, hasta pronto.
NEWS The new plaza, (Plaza Mirador San Pedro) has finally been open to the public. The observation decks and watchtower offer a spectacular view of the Caribbean and all of the Cayos. We are still awaiting phase two to start and look foward to the much needed facelift. Tourist as well as the local residents will be able to enjoy la Parguera and its natural beauty. The new administation has purchased the grounds of the only beach in la Parguera, playa Rosada. The plan calls for a restoration of the surrounding area,dregging and rebuilding of the dock area. We are still awaiting the opening of the old Muelle mini mall. The gas station has finally opened and we will inform you on the opening of the new night club, and a host of new shops and places to socialize at night. The old Los Balcones is being reopened under new administration. Finally we will have a nice place to socialize, hang out drink and eat good food way into the late night hours in the heart of la Parguera. We hope they will bring back the live music and noches de Bohemia. Soon Grand opening of Los Balcones.
Marie Alexia Rosado Collado President of Three A Press, the sixth largest printing press in Puerto Rico. We congratulate Marie for making the list of People to Watch in the Caribbean Business news. She has placed the name of Lajas on the map and on the covers of this well establish business journal. Her hard work and accomplishments in sports as well as business set her apart from the rest. We look forward to seeing more of Marie in years to come as she makes her mark on the business world. Buena suerte y exito.
Eddie Rodriguez (Gordo) Owner of Ventolera Hi Wind Center was the only supporter and sponsor of “Curso Oeste Tabla Vela” held in LaParguera last April. Co-sponsor La Fundacion Educativa del Caribe Arqueológico. The event which took Gordo from Laparguera to Crash boat in Aguadilla lasted 3 days. The idea is to promote the sport of sailing as an alternate means of entertament and a safe and eco friendly sport which will not harm our environment. In addition the event was held in support of the Central American games held this past summer in the city Mayagüez 2010. We wish Eddie Rodriquez the best in his effort to promote not only LaParguera but all eco friendly sports, he is making a difference, support him.
Due to lack of support from the communitee the farmers market has been canceled at la Parguera. You can still buy fresh organic products in Rincon on the first and third sundays of the months.- AgroEcologico – Two years ago in the town of Rincon Puerto Rico they celebrated the first Mercado AgroEcologico, farmers market, and to my surprise there I encountered a young couple from La-Parguera Lajas. Nina and Luis are residents of laParguera and students at the University of Mayaguez. Luis also works in a coffee plantation in San German, el barrio Cain. Here they grow harvest and process Café Brazo de Oro, café artesanal. Luis described the process of selecting the beans by hand and how the entire process is staged until the final product; a rich mild aromatic coffee is produce. At a later date we will visit Luis and Nina and have a one on one interview with this young couple of “Pargarenos” and narrate the day to day of this wonderful young couple, the future of our village, La-Parguera and Puerto Rico. Hopefully we will be able to provide an outlet via this web site to those who wish to purchase the completely 100% hand processed organic coffee. Check in from time to time as we continue to update the status of Café Brazo de Oro, Luis, Nina and other residents of La-Parguera. Buscan y patrocine nuestros jóvenes.You can locate them in Rincon at the Farmers market, the first and third week of the month or at www.fincalamilagritos.com or this web site. site.