La Parguera – Lajas, Puerto Rico - Atlas Obscura

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La Parguera

Lajas, Puerto Rico

This beachside town is home to a diverse nature reserve, multiple cays, and one of the three bioluminescent bays in Puerto Rico. 


La Parguera is a fishing village in Lajas, Puerto Rico famous for its seafood, surrounding cays, and islets and for hosting a bioluminescent bay. La Parguera features a relaxed atmosphere, with beachside houses and family-owned resorts. This coastal town has preserved the essence and simplicity that characterized the fishing village before the 1950s. Houses line the coast and boats with fishermen come and go. The town center offers a lively ambiance where travelers can enjoy fresh seafood and sample different food kiosks.

Located inside the south city, La Parguera Nature Reserve hosts biodiverse ecosystems that consist of mangroves, cays, salt marshes, reefs, and a bioluminescent bay. La Parguera Bioluminescent Bay is one of three bioluminescent bays in Puerto Rico, but it’s the only one that allows visitors to swim in the water. The glowing phenomenon is possibly due to dinoflagellates, microorganisms that emit light as a mechanism of defense. The high concentration of dinoflagellates in La Parguera Biolumisniscent Bay allows the glow to be visible to the human eye during new moon nights. 

La Parguera also has dozens of cays with clear waters and diverse marine wildlife worth exploring. Cayo Mata la Gata is the most popular, and it has a beach safe for swimming called Lajas Beach, complete with gazebos and picnic tables. Cayo Caracoles and Cayo Enrique are other two cays open to visitors.

Off the coast in La Parguera, a 20-mile underwater elevation known as “La Pared” is home to hundreds of coral reefs, fish, and stingrays and provides plenty to see on a scuba diving excursion. 

Know Before You Go

It’s better to visit the bioluminescent bay on a moonless night to appreciate the glow of the water. If you’re swimming in the water, you shouldn’t wear bug spray, creams, or any other harsh chemicals on your skin, as they can affect the ecosystem of the bay. 

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April 25, 2022

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