La Parguera, east of Cabo Rojo, is another legendary coastal village of southwestern Puerto Rico. It does not have a beach, at least not a beach you jump into right out of your car or bike. What La Parguera has is the most visited bioluminescent bay in Puerto Rico. It also boasts a weekend nightlife that attracts locals and visitors all year around. A musical revue at one of La Parguera’s hotels is Puerto Rico’s longest running show ever. Every Saturday people from towns 2 hours away come to see the show at La Parguera. Modestly priced, it even includes dinner and dancing after the show. When you are willing to stand up and sing, you may even win a bottle of wine. After a night of partying, if you still want to go for a swim, just rent a boat and head to one of the many keys close to the shore. Depending on the day and time you go, you may find yourself with a whole island just for you.
Guánica, a town east of La Parguera, is mainly known for two reasons: it was the landing site of the American forces that came to Puerto Rico during the Spanish-American War of 1898, and it is home to a UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve.
The first American (USA) forces that were seen coming ashore in Puerto Rico came through the very deep waters of Guánica Bay. This same bay some years later helped the Guánica zone to become one of the most important sugar cane producers in the world. Its location and protected harbor gave the invading forces the time to adapt to the land and the people in Puerto Rico on their march toward the most populated areas of the Island, Ponce, and Mayagüez. In a matter of weeks, these forces were peacefully lowering the Spanish flag from the surrendered centennial forts of San Juan.
Take a stroll through Guánica’s Malecón and see La Piedra Histórica (the historic boulder) in which the American soldiers carved a rustic proof of their arrival.
West of Guánica Bay, a dry forest kept its millennial beauty safe from the cannons of war and the sugar cane plows. Now a UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve, Guánica Dry Forest is considered one of earth’s best kept subtropical forests. Its bonsai-like vegetation, its centennial Iron Wood (Guayacán) trees, and its many rare bird species make for a great visit that can very well end at the emerald tinted waters of its coastal canals.
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