Dramatic Cliffs and Arches in Cabo Rojo
I consider the cliffs of Cabo Rojo, near the lighthouse, to be one of the most beautiful places in Puerto Rico. We have found that, as you explore the area around the lighthouse and head northwest, you will see how these rugged cliffs have been worn and sculpted by the ocean waves over time. There are all sorts of arches, little caves, and other amazing rock formations along this coastline. The photo opportunities are endless!
Cabo Rojo is located in the south-western corner of Puerto Rico. To get to the cliffs, you first need to head to the Cabo Rojo lighthouse. We have explored this area in the past, but we have usually gone to the east, toward La Playuela Beach.
But recently, I saw a picture of a natural bridge (arch) in Cabo Rojo, and I knew that I had to find it! As it turns out, this natural bridge, and many other beautiful rock formations, can be found found by following the small trails to the northwest of the lighthouse (that would be to the right if looking at the ocean with the lighthouse behind you).
Caution! The cliffs around the lighthouse represent a danger to anyone in the area. This isn’t a National Park. There are no railings to keep you from falling over the edge and into the ocean. A couple of people meet their maker every year in this area (seriously!). If you survive the fall, you’ll probably drown in the ocean. The memorial markers at the cliffs’ edges should remind you to stay a safe distance from the edge. The limestone is fragile and it is prone to breaking off. What seems like sturdy ground may actually only be a couple inches thick with nothing but the ocean below. There are also open holes in the limestone that go straight through to the ocean, so watch your step as you’re walking around. We don’t recommend that anyone try to go out onto these rock formations. If you go to this area, use common sense and don’t be stupid.
The Natural Bridge
As you walk up the driveway from the parking lot to the lighthouse, you will notice a number of small paths that lead to the west (to the right). We didn’t take these, though they will all (eventually) lead out to the water.
By looking on the map, I was able to see that the natural bridge is not that far from the lighthouse. So we walked all the way up to the lighthouse (or you can take the trolley up if it is available), and then started walking along the cliffs to the northwest until we saw the cove with the arch.
The bridge part that connects the rocks is only about 3 feet wide in the middle — it’s a little bit scary and a big bit dangerous. If you choose to walk across this natural bridge, and you fall into the water, you’re probably not coming back to finish the rest of the walk. So leave your wallet, car keys, and cellphone with the sensible person in the group, just in case. We do not recommend that people attempt to go out onto the natural bridge. Look, take photos, and admire it from the safety of solid ground.
Besides this cool arch, there are all sorts of little caves, blow holes, and other formations. We spent a couple hours just exploring this area along the coastline path. As you walk more toward the north, the cliffs get shorter and shorter until you are eventually able to step right onto the beach. But watch out for the waves!
You can eventually make your way back to your car (parked at the base of the path to the lighthouse) by walking along a path eastward, away from the coastline.(Note: we hear these paths can be mosquito infested, so be prepared with repellent!)
We picked a random trail and eventually popped out of the trees that are on the right side of the parking area, just a few steps from our car.
Be warned that there are loads of tiny, unmarked paths (made by mountain bikers) that criss-cross all over this area. We used Google Maps on our iPhone to help us figure out when to turn to the east for the shortest trail back to our car.
To get there, take Route 301 in the Cabo Rojo area all the way to the end.
Use this map to locate places mentioned in this article. You can click on a placemark to view the GPS coordinates for that place.