Among mangroves and keys; with a kayak and a yola

Coordinates: 17°58′18″N66°54′29″W

Most people visit La Parguera to discover one of the three bioluminescent bays in the Puerto Rico archipelago; the others are located in Vieques and Fajardo. A light spectacle created by micro-organisms, called dinoflagellates, in salty and protected waters. But La Parguera is also charming at daylight, especially if you follow our lead and explore it in a fisherman’s boat (better known as yolas), like the ones you can rent right there at the dock.

    
 
       
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	mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin;}    It is safe to navigate the mangroves, but children must wear a life vest, regardless of them knowing how to swim. Photo: Pamy Rojas

It is safe to navigate the mangroves, but children must wear a life vest, regardless of them knowing how to swim. Photo: Pamy Rojas

La Parguera

Upon entering the tranquil waters of La Parguera, you come across mangroves, birds, islets, seashells and silence. No traffic jams, nor car horns. But you must drive, or better yet navigate, with caution. You might find another yola; must decide the best way to go among the mangroves; and might need to slow down to protect the corals and not get stuck in the shallow waters. That’s why, even when my seven-year-old son asked and asked to drive, we explained it is not allowed; for our own safety and all marine life that calls this bay home. 

    
 
       
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	mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin;}    You can find a variety of seashells and corals at Media Luna Key. It is best to tour it with water shoes to avoid hurting your feet. Photo: Pamy Rojas

You can find a variety of seashells and corals at Media Luna Key. It is best to tour it with water shoes to avoid hurting your feet. Photo: Pamy Rojas

Media Luna Key

That is not to say he was disappointed with our tour! Navigating a maze of mangroves and identifying seashells at the keys we found, was more than enough to capture his attention and let his imagination fly. We stopped and swam up to Media Luna Key. We did not pack water shoes, what would have been perfect to protect us from the coral reef surface. The key is very small so it does not take long to explore it. If you have sunblock and time, take some to watch the birds, dive and explore the marine life and search until you find the seashell that makes the perfect souvenir. 

    
 
       
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	mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin;}    Over 166 bird species have been sighted at Aurora Key, which is part of Guanica’s Dry Forest. Photo: Bruny Nieves

Over 166 bird species have been sighted at Aurora Key, which is part of Guanica’s Dry Forest. Photo: Bruny Nieves

Aurora Key

The next islet in our list was Aurora Key in Guánica, better known as Guilligan’s Island. This time we arrived in a kayak rented at our hotel, but you can use the ferry service available. Rowing there can be a bit tiring depending on the day’s currents; but having the kayak handy for our all-around-tour was the perfect decision. Aurora Key is formed by two small islets connected by shallow waters with a light current. The kayak facilitated our snorkeling and exploration of the waterways.

    
 
       
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	mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin;}    Because of its shallow waters, Aurora Key is a perfect place to visit with children.  Photo: Bruny Nieves

Because of its shallow waters, Aurora Key is a perfect place to visit with children.  Photo: Bruny Nieves

A small Robinson Crusoe

I had visited Aurora Key in multiple occasions but this was the first time with my son. It was awesome to see him turned into a small Robinson Crusoe! My seven-year-old explorer scrutinized the surroundings; walked the mangroves and followed fish schools wearing his snorkel mask. You must arrive prepared, with food, refreshments, mosquito repellent and sunblock, because there are no commercial establishments at the key. And when you are with kids, somebody is always hungry! 

    
 
       
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	mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin;}    Sunset seen from Copamarina Hotel. Foto: Bruny Nieves 

Sunset seen from Copamarina Hotel. Foto: Bruny Nieves 

Relaxed

Caribbean Sea waters are calmer than the Atlantic Ocean’s. While our son knows how to swim, you can peacefully watch him have a blast knowing that no wave will surprise him. I believe this played a big part in making our stay, between La Parguera and Guánica, relaxed for us and memorable to him; as he went in and out of the water, snorkel mask in hand with no parent holding him back. 


Conscious Travel Practices:

1. Practice low impact water sports such as snorkelling and kayak.

2. Choose local lodging, instead of foreign hotel chain franchises. 

3. Learn about flora and fauna of the cays. 

4. Enjoy natural beauty without leaving trash behind. 


Sights:

Bosque Seco de Guánica

La Parguera

Cayo Aurora

Cayo Media Luna


Lodging:

Copamarina Beach Resort

Bañito de Abi

Parador Villa Parguera