Caja de Muerto means “coffin” in Spanish but the name refers only to the shape of the cay, which lies 8 miles off the coast of Ponce in the south of Puerto Rico. Other than its reputation as a pirates’ den many years ago, there is nothing funereal about it. Indeed it is a favorite destination for people who seek unspoiled natural beauty.
The 2 by 1 mile island has foliage, fauna and a climate similar to that of the Dry Forest in Guánica. It rarely rains in Ponce and its environs, so perfect beach weather is almost guaranteed every day of the year. It is the largest of the three cays that make up the Caja de Muerto Nature Reserve. The others are the tiny Cayo Morillito nearby, and Cayo Berbería, about 3 miles from the mainland. The islets were declared a natural reserve by the Puerto Rican government in 1978, and with the onset of eco-tourism in recent years they have become a favorite among travelers, who arrive by boats hired at Ponce’s waterfront.
For those in search of spectacular SCUBA diving and snorkeling, the shallow reefs surrounding Caja de Muerto will provide an unforgettable experience. For those more interested in landmark monuments, the lighthouse, built by the Spaniards in 1887, will make for memorable sightseeing between swims.
How to Get There
From San Juan take Road 52 towards Ponce. Take the Ponce Playa exit and continue on Road #14