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La Playuela

Undisturbed Moments in Playa Sucia's Secret Spots
Five years ago, my friends and I found a secret beach near the Cabo Rojo Lighthouse. To this day, we've never seen anyone else there.

Ignore the beach's misnomer—Bahia Sucia (dirty bay)—and plan on an 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. outing to this natural extravaganza.

From the azure water, hike up to the lighthouse—set on a 200-foot cliff—for a look inside. Once outside again, dig for crabs and anemones. And then refrain from rushing back to plunge into the water.

Explore a bit and you might just find an isolated pool surrounded by rocks. Climb down the rocks carefully for a bath in the secret beach brimming with fish.

Close by, and hidden by somewhat thorny bushes, our secret bridge will lead you to your private viewpoint (pictured above). Sit undisturbed and listen to the waves lap (or, at times, crash) against the limestone formations.

On your way home, be sure to keep an eye out for cotton and salt flats along the right side of the road.

Calm Waters, Clear Skies
This is the beautiful beach of Playuela (also known as Playa Sucia). Located near Cabo Rojo and down the hillside of the lighthouse, this beach is one of the most pristine and gorgeous beaches of Puerto Rico. This is where the Atlantic Ocean meets the Caribbean Sea.

The best times to visit are weekends during the fall and winter. Tucked back behind the sands are cleared out pockets of shade under the almond trees. Set up your chairs and keep your food cool in the shade, then go explore the cut outs and cliffs of this beach.

I've seen manatees playing in this bay, and the water is perfectly warm for sunbathing and relaxing. To get here, head toward Combate and take the road to the lighthouse. Once in the nature reserve, work your way left on the road until you reach a barricade. Playuela will be in front of you just a short walk.

Playa Sucia, Cabo Rojo, Puerto Rico