Loved by locals, popular for snorkeling and boaters, and just about 45 minutes from Ponce. Caracoles is one of the islands of La Parguera Nature Reserve off the town of Lajas.   From all the islands in La Parguera, this is the most popular for snorkeling.  The waters are like glass, crystal clear and calm, the earlier you get here in the day the better the conditions are.  When in Caracoles you’re always on the water, there is no beach, no sandy area to just sit with a chair, and no place to picnic.  The water surrounding the mangrove cay is shallow, even the kids can walk around on the water safely and swim along the mangrove channel.  

Getting to Caracoles

If you’re vacationing in San Juan / Metro Area you may rent a car and drive to Lajas or you may book a tour that takes care of all the details offering round-trip transportation (see tours below).  Once in Lajas, you may also rent a small boat or pay for a water taxi at the dock in La Parguera, which will give you the freedom to do some “island-hopping”.   After enjoying Cayo Caracoles, we encourage you to stay for dinner at one of the restaurants at the villa and enjoy the magic of the bioluminescent bay (see tours below), which brighter (under normal weather conditions), more relaxed, and without crowds when compared to Laguna Grande in Fajardo.

We recommend you spend the whole day enjoying La Parguera, especially the bioluminescent bay in Lajas (see tours below).

Best Times to Visit Caracoles, Lajas, Puerto Rico

As we mentioned in our travel seasons article, on the west coast high season is in the summers and holidays, during the winter weeks you may have this little paradise on the Caribbean Sea all to yourself.  During the summers, holidays and weekends you will find the most crowds.  Sometimes it gets unbearably crowded because boat owners love coming here to hang out.  If you love the party scene you’ll love it, if you don’t you’ll hate it.

Safety at Caracoles Island

Be sure to supervise children at all times, especially with boats on the water.  There ought to be more regulations with boats, terrible accidents have occurred.  We do not recommend visiting with small children in the busy summer season, skip it and go to Mata La Gata or Gilligan’s Island where the swimming area is protected.

Facilities at Caracoles

As mentioned earlier there is no beach, you’re always on the water. The whole island is made up of mangroves with no flat land.

You will need to bring everything you need.  I recommend you stick to sunblock, perhaps a sandwich you could get at a panaderia (local bakery) on your drive here and drinks.  Get a good breakfast, get here early and you can be back to the dock by early afternoon for a great lunch where there is plenty of restaurants with yummy traditional food.

Restrooms are on the neighbor island Mata La Gata (bring your own toilet paper, wet wipes, or hand sanitizers).  You will need a boat or kayak to get to Mata La Gata, we don’t recommend swimming to Mata La Gata since the open sea is coming in freely right in between the islands, surf and currents vary with the weather.  You may ask your tour operator to come and pick you up at a certain time and then go to Mata La Gata for the rest of the day where they have grills, and picnic tables.

Top Rated Tours to Cayo Caracoles & La Parguera

Lajas, Puerto Rico

Map - Cayo Caracoles - La Parguera

Lajas, Puerto Rico

Tours Visitors Love in Puerto Rico