Mata La Gata, often called “La Parguera Beach” is located in the town of Lajas, on the southwest coast of Puerto Rico. We think you’ll love this place as much as we do, a little mangrove cay/island, part of the fishing village of La Parguera. Mata La Gata Island is part of Reserva Natural La Parguera which includes 4 other mangrove islands managed by the Department of Natural and Environmental Resources (DRNA).
This cute island’s colors are blue, green, turquoise, and coral, a nature lover’s tiny paradise surrounded by more sister islands, everywhere you stand on the island, the views are breathtaking.
Mata La Gata is the only cay in La Parguera with a “beach” and picnic facilities. La Parguera is still considered an off-the-beaten-path for tourists but is very well-known and loved by residents of Puerto Rico and sailors.
Mata La Gata is a wonderful place for families with children. The beach is actually a man-made pool in the open water of the Caribbean Sea so visitors could enjoy it safely. The pool was created with a wooden deck and mesh that makes a perfect enclosure keeping grass and bigger fish from coming into the pool (beach swimming area). Imagine your children’s eyes when they see this fun natural pool where they can jump in, snorkel safely to watch schools of tiny tropical fish that play, and hide among the mangrove roots that line the pool area.
Around the Mata La Gata Island, there are some intimate small openings where you can sit on shallow water and admire the mesmerizing colors of the water, neighboring keys and the coastline of Lajas.
Be sure to take the kids on a walk along the boardwalk on the small mangrove forest on the island, it is a wonderful educational opportunity where they can observe these amazing plants that are so important to the ecological health of Parguera Nature Reserve.
Things to Do at Mata La GataLajas, Puerto Rico
Have a picnic at Mata La Gata – Lajas, Puerto Rico
Mata La Gata is one of the best places to picnic in Lajas, the scenery surrounding the island and the peacefulness of the place make it a very special place. We suggest you keep it simple, so you can spend more time enjoying the island and less time worrying about the details. The gazebos at the front of the island are more family-friendly, they’re closest to the pool.
Visitors wishing for a more intimate and private ambiance will find pleasure at the back of the island, where you can claim a picnic table with the best views.
Go Snorkeling at Mata La Gata, Lajas
The best time to snorkel is early morning when the water is calmer and clearer. On the east side of the island between Caracoles and Mata La Gata, there is a wall that drops pretty deep where you can do some snorkeling. Current can be a bit strong depending on conditions, there are no lifeguards in the area, you swim at your own risk. Always use common sense and never snorkel alone.
Allow Yourself to Get Lost in the Sights & Sounds
During weekdays in the winter months, you may be sharing the island with a few people or have it to yourself, especially early morning. The east and south side of the island is perfect places to sit at the picnic table or lounge chair with your favorite book.
The views are worthy of a painting, the colors of the waters range from turquoise to emerald green, contrasting with the hunter green of mangrove cays and hills of the main island in the distance.
A wonderful spot on the south side of the island, even on a busy day on the island, all you hear is the sound of the Caribbean Sea waves crashing against the reef. On a hot day, the caress of the breeze constantly cools, the playfulness of the pelicans is entertaining and the singing of birds is a sweet melody.
Take a walk along the mangrove forest
This little island is complete with a boardwalk through a small mangrove forest. It’s a really short walk, but you’ll enjoy the artful formations of mangrove roots.
Facilities at Mata La GataLa Parguera, Lajas, Puerto Rico
Facilities include picnic tables, gazebos, barbecue pits, composting restrooms, showers, and changing rooms. DRNA is open, feel free to stop by to ask questions or request assistance.
What to Bring
There are no snack bars or stores on the island so bring everything you will need. Bring plenty of water, sunblock, toilet paper/wipes, hand sanitizer, cooking utensils, aluminum foil, etc.
What to Take Back? – Please bring a bag with you and take all your trash back with you.
Mata La Gata - Visitor Information
When to Visit / Hours
During the week in high season months (December – April) you may have the island to yourself. The high season for locals in the summer months and on weekends it gets very busy on the island, so make sure you get here early to claim a picnic table. Summer weekends and holidays, Mata La Gata and Caracoles get really busy and it becomes a party boat scene.
Hours: Tuesday – Sunday from 9 am to 5 pm
Tours & Getting to Mata La Gata - Lajas, Puerto Rico
Tours / Water Taxis
- There are various friendly tour operators ready to take you for a day adventure to the pretty offshore little islands of Lajas. See below for tours.
- You’ll find water taxi signs with information in the village of La Parguera. Be sure to stay longer for sunset and the magic of the bioluminescent bay.
To the east side of Mata de Gata is the neighbor island of Caracoles which is the best for snorkeling and popular for boaters, you can request for the tour company to take you there as well, just ask.