After I went to two places labeled “car wash” in Google (the first was defunct…), I vacuumed out the sand castle Calvin had tracked along into the car, after which we finished packing up from our Quebradillas Airbnb and headed off toward La Pargueras on the southwestern tip of the island.
The trip itself was only supposed to take maybe an hour and 40 minutes, but we took a detour into Cabo Rojo for lunch at Papa’s Pizza (it’s amazing how many pizza places there are in Puerto Rico…), which killed about an hour of the day.
After the pizza place, we went to the Cabo Rojo Lighthouse, which was a part of a protected wetland named Playa Sucia (named because it was quite dirty…not as in “trash,” but as in “plant matter”). Apparently, sea turtles and manatees call this area “home,” but we didn’t see any. Saw plenty of hermit crabs, though!
Aside from the lighthouse (which was cool, but as you couldn’t go inside it, we could only take in the view from the cliffside and watch the ocean a bit), we also visited some sea salt fields where we learned a bit about “Puerto Rico’s First Industry.” It looked like a sizeable operation, though we didn’t see anyone actually working at the site (aside from those in the interpretive center). It was a nice little unplanned diversion on our trip to La Parguera.
A brief aside: the southwestern part of Puerto Rico is really reminiscent of the American mainland south west. Seriously, we were there last summer and the plant life was more desolate and dry, there were few trees (and those that were present were far shorter), and we saw cows and horses all over. It was really interesting!
The reason we were heading to La Parguera was that we had reservations for the bioluminescent bay for 6:30 that night. Brooke found another Airbnb in the town (that was decidedly less impressive than our previous one…) so that we wouldn’t have to drive all the way back to Quebradillas for another night. We also figured this would give us an opportunity to check out the southern end of the island more than we’d initially planned, so win-win.
La Parguera itself was interesting. It felt like a place I’d go for a bachelor party, in that it had lots of restaurants and bars in close proximity and…that’s most of what there was to do there. It was loud, sounded like a party was happening much of the time, and it wasn’t the cleanest place we’d been. Still, you could get a piña colada and walk around the streets with it, so good times.
Regardless, we hit the boat for our 6:30 appointment and headed off to an island in the bay to wait for the sun to go down.
Lemme tell you about this trip. It was about $180 for the four of us to do it, lasted 2 hours, had complementary chicken empanadas, and a cooler of water, soda and beer. Oh yeah, and you got to swim with dinoflagellates that glow when you disturb them. It was really cool. Calvin only got in for a bit, but Meg, Brooke and I swam for about a half hour in ~10 ft deep water. It was difficult to take pictures of, so there’s not much I can put here, but the best I can describe is that it’s like seeing the waves generated from your arms when you swim, but strangely you can see them even when it’s mostly pitch black out (because of the obvious “glowing” part). It was most definitely worth it – can’t recommend it enough.
Now, that night was probably the worst night of sleep we got. The Airbnb we stayed at was…okay…but less than ideal… There were two bedrooms, but one of them was a futon with a TV that didn’t get cable and didn’t have a way to run Netflix on it (though, thankfully, we brought the Chromecast along).
The worst part was that we lost power for 1.5 hrs when “the party” was happening elsewhere (including music…all the music…), and when you don’t have an air conditioner running and have to have windows open to let any ventilation in, you…hear…everything. So yeah, the power came back on and things got better, but it wasn’t ideal…
Anyway, the next morning, we got some donuts down the street and they were awesome. Then we headed off to the other side of the island!