The little town of Maunabo is located precisely at the point where the east of Puerto Rico meets the south. The town is flanked by the last two legs of the Cordillera Central (Central Mountain Range) as they tumble into the Caribbean Sea.
One of its best-known attractions is the lighthouse at Punta Tuna, still in operation. It was built by the Spanish in the late 19th century, shortly before Puerto Rico was turned over to the United States as spoils of the Spanish-American War.
Although its antique fresnel lens has been supplanted by modern technology, the Punta Tuna lighthouse still warns ships of the risks of sailing too close to Maunabo’s shores. It is the only lighthouse of a dozen or so on the island manned by U.S. Coast Guard personnel.
What do you see besides an empty building? A spectacular view of a magnificent beach, the unbelievably blue waters of the Caribbean, and on the distant horizon, a hazy view of Vieques. This is the place for classic photographs of a brilliant white lighthouse, shimmering in a picture postcard setting.
When you can finally pull yourself away from the view, drive down to Playa Maunabo, which is almost a mile of lovely beach encircling a tiny port. Small stands sell seafood fritters, and ice cold coconuts in their shells. Here you will find Puerto Rico at its most unspoiled: a genuine seaside village where nothing much happens. Don’t be surprised if you are the only visitor in town!
If you want to surf, ask about El Cocal, Inches and Sharkey’s, three popular surfing breaks within minutes of the lighthouse.
How to Get There
From San Juan, take Road 52 south, exit on Road 30, then exit on Road 3.