Cabo Rojo, Puerto Rico (2022 Guide) – All You Need To Know

Cabo Rojo is a town in southwest Puerto Rico.

The legendary pirate Roberto Cofresí was born in Cabo Rojo, where a monument stands in his honor.

I’ve lived in Puerto Rico for 14 years, and Cabo Rojo is one of my favorite towns to visit on a road trip.

In this article, I will tell you all you need to know about Cabo Rojo:

– What is Cabo Rojo?
– Where is Cabo Rojo located?
– What is the best way to get to Cabo Rojo from San Juan?
– How do you get around Cabo Rojo?
– Do people in Cabo Rojo speak English?
– What is Cabo Rojo known for?
– Can you swim in Cabo Rojo in Puerto Rico?
– Is Cabo Rojo worth visiting?

 

What is Cabo Rojo?

Cabo Rojo is a beach town in southwestern Puerto Rico.

Playa Buye in Cabo Rojo is known for calm and clear water.

Cabo Rojo is famous for being a go-to beach destination by locals and tourists.

The original name was Los Cabo Rojos, Tierras de Los Morrillos, and it was founded in 1771 by the first major of this town, Nicolás Ramírez de Arellano.

The town got its name due to the high concentration of salt in the water near the Salt Flats, which gives the water a unique red hue.

Below is a tour guide video of Cabo Rojo:

 

Where is Cabo Rojo located?

Miles of beaches surround Cabo Rojo, located in the southwest corner of the island. 

image of Cabo Rojo map
Map showing the location of Cabo Rojo in Puerto Rico’s southwest corner.

Boquerón Bay, one of Puerto Rico’s fully protected and deepest harbors, is also located in Cabo Rojo.

Over one mile of white sand and crystal-clear water define the bay, which stretches 3 1/2 miles inland.

Below is a Google Map of where Cabo Rojo is located:

 

What is the best way to get to Cabo Rojo from San Juan?

The best way to get to Cabo Rojo from San Juan is by driving south and taking the PR-52 highway. 

image of Cayey, Puerto Rico
Cayey is a mountainous region you will pass on your drive to Cabo Rojo.

It’s a 3-hour drive and is 119 miles from San Juan. 

It’s a gorgeous drive, you’ll probably want to stop a few times to enjoy the mountain views along the way.

image of Ponce Letters
These iconic letters on the highway define the city of Ponce.

You’ll also want to stop and take a picture of the giant letters of Ponce.

 

How do you get around Cabo Rojo?

In Cabo Rojo, you’ll need a car to travel anywhere. 

Rocky cliffs around Cabo Rojo’s famous lighthouse are perfect for hiking, but you need a car to get there.

You can Uber from San Juan to Cabo Rojo, but keep in mind that the fare will cost a minimum of $200. 

A walk around Cabo Rojo is not easy; each beach is close by car, but not on foot.

There’s no good public transportation around town; everyone relies on their vehicle. 

So, if you’re planning to visit Cabo Rojo, be sure you’re going with a rented car.

 

Do people in Cabo Rojo speak English?

Yes, the Cabo Rojo locals speak English.

image of souvenir stalls
Cabo Rojo has many beachside restaurants and souvenir stalls.

However, the preferred language in Cabo Rojo is Spanish. 

You’ll hear more Spanish speakers on your visit there, but most locals around the tourist area speak English. 

 

What is Cabo Rojo known for?

Beautiful beaches, locally owned family restaurants serving fresh seafood, golf, gorgeous hiking trails, and a natural reserve.

Below is a list of the top 5 things Cabo Rojo is known for: 

1. Roberto Cofresí

Cabo Rojo is known as “El Pueblo de Cofresí” (Village of Cofresí).

image of Robert Cofresí statue
Robert Cofresí statue in Cabo Rojo.

Roberto Cofresí, born in Cabo Rojo, embarked on a life of piracy in 1818 with a group of friends and family members as his crew. 

A type of Robin Hood, he would distribute some of his loot to the island’s underprivileged residents.

He was celebrated as a local hero, as he only targeted American, French, and English ships. 

As a result, his people often concealed him from American and Spanish officials.

He is also often associated with hiding out in Puerto Rico’s bioluminescent bays.

 

2. Salt Flats

The Salt Flats are one of Cabo Rojo’s most unique tourist attractions. 

image of Salt Flats and Wildlife Refuge

Cabo Rojo gets its name from its high concentration of minerals that produce the reddish hue in the water.

The Salt Flats is a great place to stop on your route to the famed Los Morrillos Lighthouse.

 

3. Cabo Rojo Lighthouse

During the 1800s, ships used this lighthouse to navigate the Mona Passage between the Caribbean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean.

image of Faro Los Morrillos de Cabo Rojo
Faro Los Morrillos de Cabo Rojo (Cabo Rojo Lighthouse).

To learn more about this historic landmark, read our article Cabo Rojo Lighthouse – All You Need To Know.

 

4. Beaches

After visiting the Salt Flats and the lighthouse, finish your day in one of Puerto Rico’s most beautiful beaches known as Playuela Beach.

image of Playa Sucia
Playa Sucia, with the Cabo Rojo Lighthouse in view.

Locals call this beach Playa Sucia. It’s located very close to Los Morillo’s Lighthouse.

But, La Playuela is particularly famous among Puerto Ricans, therefore, it may become quite busy on weekends and holidays. 

It’s best to visit this beach during the weekday.

 

5. Town Plaza

The locals are very kind and welcoming; I recommend you visit the town plaza, “Pueblo of Cabo Rojo”.

image of Cabo Rojo town square
Cabo Rojo’s town square is not within walking distance to the beach.

It’s a vibrant, energetic, and welcoming place to visit. 

In the town plaza, you’ll see people playing dominoes with their friends, drinking coffee while listening to vintage ballads and jazz, and eating delicious food.

 

Can you swim in Cabo Rojo in Puerto Rico?

Yes! Cabo Rojo has fabulous beaches for you to swim in.

I previously mentioned Playuela Beach as one of the beaches you can visit, which is favored among locals.

Other beaches I recommend you visit are Buyé and Combate beach. 

image of Playa Buyé
Playa Buyé is the perfect spot for a family beach day.

Most of the year, the waves are incredibly calm at Buyé beach, making it an ideal beach for families with young children. 

You may use several trees to claim shade for the day. 

Take a leisurely stroll down the beach for a half-mile while watching pelicans, and go for a dip.

image of Playa El Combate
Playa El Combate is a local favorite.

Thousands of Puerto Ricans visit the island’s farthest point on the southwest coast during the summer to visit Combate Beach, a popular destination. 

Locals like Playa El Combate’s laid-back atmosphere on the weekends after a great day at the beach.

Consider Playuela a secluded and remote getaway beach, whereas Buyé and Combate is tourist friendly and offers rental equipment like snorkels, kayaks, beach chairs, and umbrellas. 

Unlike the beaches on the island’s north coast, full of waves and rough waters, you’ll find calm and inviting waters with no waves in Cabo Rojo.

Check out our article about the 30 best beaches in Puerto Rico.

 

Is Cabo Rojo worth visiting?

Cabo Rojo is most definitely worth visiting. 

image of Cabo Rojo Lighthouse
Views of the sea from Cabo Rojo’s historic lighthouse.

Although it’s a 3-hour drive from San Juan, it is largely unknown to travelers who do not often visit the southwest coast.

It’s also a different scenery than many people are used to seeing in San Juan. 

The drive to Cabo Rojo is full of beautiful mountains and has many pitstops for you to explore around several towns. 

Thus, if you’re planning to visit Cabo Rojo, it’s best to leave very early in the morning so you have a full day experience. 

image of an aerial view of Cabo Rojo Lighthouse
Aerial view of Cabo Rojo Lighthouse.

I recommend staying overnight if you can.

Check out our article where we cover the 30 best hotels in Puerto Rico, which includes a few hotels in Cabo Rojo.

One of the three bio bays in Puerto Rico, La Parguera Bioluminecent Bay, is only a thirty minute drive from Cabo Rojo. 

Following your day in Cabo Rojo, you can visit the surrounding towns of Lajas, Guanica, and San German.

There are also surfing beaches in the towns of Rincon, Aguadilla and Isabela, which are located on the same coastline north from Cabo Rojo. If you like to surf, then check out our article about the 10 best surf spots in Puerto Rico.

 

Can you walk around Cabo Rojo?

You will need a car to drive around Cabo Rojo. You can walk around the town plaza but to visit the lighthouse, salt lakes and beaches, a car is needed.

Is Cabo Rojo PR nice?

Cabo Rojo is a lovely place to visit. It's relatively undiscovered by tourists meaning that it isn't crowded. There are lots of adventures waiting for you in Cabo Rojo.


Final thoughts

Cabo Rojo is a beautiful town in the southwest part of Puerto Rico. 

You can visit the Salt Flats first, then the Cabo Rojo Lighthouse, and finish the afternoon by relaxing at Playuela Beach. 

At night, you can visit La Parguera Bioluminescent Bay, which is a 30-minute drive from Cabo Rojo. This is a once in a life time experience that you can’t miss.

If you are looking for other things to do, then check out our article about the 45 best things to do in Puerto Rico.

Article by

Miguel Concepcion

Writer at PuertoRico.com. I’ve lived in Puerto Rico for 14 years and have experienced every inch of this stunning island. Growing up in Puerto Rico has helped me truly learn about the rich culture and extensive history this island has to offer. I share my local knowledge in all of the articles that I write.

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