Experience the pleasures of an uninhabited island with aquamarine waters, rugged hiking trails with celestial views, a pirate’s cave, and underwater treasures…
Caja de Muertos, one of the islands of Puerto Rico just 4.8 miles off the central southern coast of the island and a 1.5-hour drive from the capital city of San Juan. Caja de Muertos is one of Puerto Rico’s Nature Reserves, a municipality of Ponce. The island is a wonderful destination for beach and nature lovers seeking to experience the pleasures of an uninhabited island free of development. The island was voted as one of the “The Ten Enchanting Natural Attractions of Puerto Rico”, (Los Diez Encantos Naturales de Puerto Rico). Caja de Muerto is 1.5 long and 1.2 miles wide, 412.22 acres of dry arid land. The reserve also includes the cays of Cayo Morrillito and Cayo Berberia.
Caja de Muertos was designated a nature reserve in 1980, managed by DNRA (Department of Natural Resources). Caja de Muertos is a haven for endangered turtles, birds, and sea life. The reserve possesses fauna and flora only found here. The high season is in the summer months, weekends, and holidays with a local crowd. During the regular “high season” for tourists from Dec. – April, you may be enjoying the island without crowds.
Best Things to Do & AttractionsCaja de Muertos Island
For visitors staying in San Juan, Ponce and the rest of the south coast, Caja de Muertos is the perfect day trip sure to be one of the highlights of your visit to Puerto Rico. On this island you won’t find any restaurants or stores, nature is king at Caja de Muertos. Nature lovers will enjoy activities such as birding, snorkeling, hiking and relaxation on a secluded nature reserve.
Pelicano Beach & Its Pristine Beaches
Since Caja de Muertos is on the south coast of the Caribbean Sea, it boasts some of the prettiest turquoise water in Puerto Rico and the salinity of the water is just perfect on the skin. Since time is limited on the island for most visitors, they tend to stay on Pelicano Beach, but once you arrive you’ll want to stay for its beauty. Playa Pelicano in Caja de Muertos was awarded the first Blue Flag Award located at a Nature Reserve in the Caribbean. A beautiful beach with clear calm waters perfect for swimming. Playa Pelicano is the most popular and accessible beach on the island and located on the west side between the dock and Cerro Morillo.
More Beaches in Caja de Muertos Island, Puerto Rico
If you had more time you’ll have more beaches to explore with their own uniqueness and beauty. For those arriving at Caja de Muertos by catamaran, we advise you to stay at Pelicano so you can make the most of your time on the island. Just come back another time and explore the rest.
- Playa Blanca – also known as Playa Coast Guard
- Playa Larga – not accessible
- Playa Ensenadita also is known as pocitas
- Playa Chica also known as Playa Carrucho
Snorkeling & Scuba Diving
In Playa Larga there’s a unique submarine trail (Vereda Submarina), created a few years ago. There are 25 educational stations along the trail indicating the species that abound in the area as well as other endangered species. There you’ll find a map with a route to follow on the submarine trail. Various scuba diving charters can take you to explore the world beneath.
Hiking in Caja de Muertos Island
Caja de Muertos Island offers an educational hiking trail with very rewarding views when you reach the top as well as ruins from a lighthouse.
Caja de Muertos Lighthouse Ruins
Nestled on the highest point of the island you can visit a historic 1887 lighthouse. Two trails lead to the lighthouse which sadly is in very poor condition. You are not allowed to enter for your safety, however, you may walk around the perimeter of the lighthouse to admire it’s unique architecture. The real reward are the majestic views from the observation tower on the south side of the lighthouse.
Bird Watching at Caja de Muertos
Caja de Muertos is a protected bird nesting site. Playa Pelicano was named after the pelicans that hang out by the beach on the boulders and the stilts that remain from an old pier. Birds you’ll be able to observe:
- Boba prieta (Sula leucogaster) – these birds are the most prevalent on the island.
- Boba Pardo (Sula leucogaster) – these seabirds nest in Cayo Morillito.
- Zorzal Pardo (Margorops fuscatus) – the most abundant land bird.
- Chirre de Pico Colorado (Phaethon aethereus) – this bird nests in Cerrillo Morillitos.