Isla Ratones: An Island Too Pretty for its Name
I really love visiting the small out-islands around Puerto Rico. They are so pretty — just spits of white sand and palm trees surrounded by clear blue water. But with a name like Isla Ratones (Rat Island), this one kind of scared me.
But then I finally got to go, and it’s a cute little island. It’s a nice place to visit for a couple hours (or a day) if you are in the area.
This tiny island (about 1 acre total) is located about ¼ mile off the west coast of Joyuda in Cabo Rojo, in the south-west part of Puerto Rico.
You can only get there by boat, and I imagine that space on the beach can get limited, especially on weekends in the summer months. But during the winter months, you will probably have the island to yourself (as we did in February).
The island is managed by the DRNA (Departamento de Recursos Naturales y Ambientales). It has a boat dock, a white sand beach, a roped-off swimming area, some roofed picnic pavilions with BBQ pits (bring charcoal), fresh water showers, and a restroom (bring some TP).
The boat dock and the swimming beach are on the south side of the island. The "best" snorkeling area is off the beach, near the boat dock (though the snorkeling is not that impressive). On the north side of the island, the DRNA and some environmental groups have planted mangroves and installed some artificial reefs in an attempt to protect the island. The center of the island has trees that provide shade.
You must bring everything that you will need for your visit (food, drinks, etc.), since nothing is available on the island. We had tried to get to this island a number of times, but the water was always too rough for the boats to go out. So keep that in mind and call ahead to check on the sea conditions.
If you go into the water, be careful not to step on the reef, or the young mangroves. There was a fair amount of trash (bottles, construction debris) in the water on the north side, so be careful of that, too.
Before or after your visit to Isla Ratones, stop into one of the many seafood restaurants along Road 102 in Joyuda.
The island is "open" for visits Tuesday to Sunday, from 9am to 5pm. Closed on Mondays.
Parking along Road 102 is tricky, most lots are for restaurant customers only. We did find parking near the boat ramp (see map below) in a person’s yard. The charge a couple bucks to park while you go to Isla Ratones.
Adventures Tourmarine runs a boat back and forth to Isla Ratones. This is the boat that we used. Call Captain Elick (bilingual) at 787-375-2625 or 787-255-2525 for reservations. Cost for boat to island is $20 round-trip for up to 4 people. $5 for each additional person. The also rent kayaks and offer kayaking tours of the area. Their boat is docked near KM 14.1 on Road 102 (see map below).
There is another boat captain that runs trips to Isla Ratones. He docks at the DRNA wharf near KM 13.7 on Road 102 (near Island View Restaurant). We don’t know any details about him, but his number is 787-851-7708.
Once you drive to the Joyuda area, you’ll want to get to Road 102 around KM 14.1. You’ll see signs on the fence for the various boat captains and kayak companies.
Use this map to locate places mentioned in this article. You can click on a placemark to view the GPS coordinates for that place.