Puerto Rico: Day 4, Playa la Playuela, Faro de Los Morrillos

In general, we have observed a very nice, clean, healthy Puerto Rican culture. Compared to other meso-Americana countries, the littering is less pervasive, the smoking is less than any East Coast town, anywhere.  Beaches are pleasantly picked up after and fitness/bicycling is everywhere. I even had an old man tell me in broken English that the unrefined dark sucré is better for you than that from the Dominican Republic. There is one thing, however, I now call baked cerveza eau de urine, there is a certain smell which is always present in the central Americas, it's a mix of salty asphalt, stale beer and discarded liquor bottles all baked by the hot, hot, hot sun. And yes, it is present here, too.

On route to suss-out the fishing harbor of La Parguera and investigate boat trips to Bahia de  Fosforescente we decided to scenic route-it to Faro de Los Morrillos de Cabo Rojo, a quaint and well-maintained 1882 Spanish lighthouse at the tip of the most arid end of the island. Here, you drive past the salinas, or salt flats, and see remnants of a once booming salt production facility. As well, we found the typical and pervasive abandoned buildings, half-built and derelict cement compounds and impressive graffiti arts, all compliments of a highly corrupt political machine from the 80s & 90s. From local reports, the government is less corrupt now. (hmmm....inviting a tax shelter for billionaires - see first post, not there yet)  

The lighthouse is quite lovely. You may enter the first floor and take the lighthouse spiral stairs to the second floor; however, the actual lighthouse top is off-limits. The grounds are fantastic, the jagged 70 foot limestone cliffs (faro) are beautiful, if not completely heart-pounding for a mother of three adventurous kids. Admission is free but illegal parking tickets are $50.00 bucks, we know from experience.

Much to our wondrous enjoyment, we discovered Playa la Playuela. While locals enjoy this beach, it is a bit of drive to reach. So not overly crowded. The far end of this sugary sand, crescent beach is made of California dreams. It is a hump from the car park and our choice to go to the farthest end resulted in my caloric-justification for an extra sangria at dinner, The mild cove with lighthouse backdrop and indigenous iguanas makes for sun-soaked happiness. This area is perfect for the newbie snorkelers in the family, who need to practice in salt water without crashing waves. Note: it is a very salty water and visibility a bit cloudy, at least when we were here.
We choose to practice snorkel and spend the rest of the morning at this lighthouse cove instead of skipping along to La Parguera. However, we failed at lunch support and much to our secluded enjoyment of the area, there are no ice-cream carts or pollo vendors. So, mid-afternoon, and mild sunburns later (I like to think of as vitamin D enhancement), we packed out and carried on. No real food vendors exist between the Faros and "Lil Mexico" (aka La Parguera) so we pulled into our destination a la diem, hungry and coated in a proper oceanic glaze.

La Parguera is the least inviting town since our adventure started. It is as close to Mexicana as this island can seem to get. Hot, breezeless, cheap vendors, flies, loud music, and random (sketchy) boat buskers. Thankfully, the chicle children were not begging on the corners and the fish house we dined at was good, friendly and clean. It's just not an environment I enjoy. We booked our bioluminescent boat trip for another day and headed home.