“Caja de Muerto” Island (Coffin Island) is located in southern Puerto Rico off the coast of Ponce (only 8 miles away). This island is only 1/2 mile in width (at the widest part) and 1 1/2 miles in length. It offers many things such as a lighthouse, an old hidden pirate cave, a few hiking trails, and gorgeous beaches. The whole island is also a well-protected natural reserve. Many believe that it got its name because it resembles someone lying down as in a coffin when seen from a distance. Others believe its name derives from a legendary coffin found inside the island’s cave.
The hiking trails on the island take you among other places to the old lighthouse, which has a wonderful platform for a perfect view of the island. This platform is located right on top of the Almeida Cave. You cannot go inside the lighthouse, but the trek to the platform is well worth the view.
The Legend and the Cave
The legend that surrounds this island has to do with a pirate named José Almeida. He once fell in love with a Basque lady when he visited Curaçao. He married her and took her to sea, where she, sadly, was killed. He buried her in the cave mentioned above and visited her each year to leave some of his new treasure with her. When her coffin was found many years later, the island became known as Coffin Island.
The beaches on this island are idyllic. Pelican Beach has the designation of a Blue Flag Beach. These beaches have particularly high standards and are concerned about hygiene, conservation, and amenities. They are guaranteed to be administered in a way that is safe and environmentally conscious.
Some of the beaches located on the eastern side of the island are blocked off from the public when giant turtles are nesting. These beaches are not ideal to swim at for the most part because of the rough seas.
This island offers no fresh drinking water, so travelers are encouraged to bring their own water, food, and beach gear for their visit.
“Caja de Muerto” Tour
Tours departing for Caja de Muertos do so either from Ponce or from the town of Salinas. From Salinas it takes approximately 45 minutes in a speedboat catamaran to get to Pelicano Beach. Once onboard, most companies have hosts who will offer complimentary snacks, beverages, and even lunch.
There are numerous optional activities on the island, such as: enjoy the beautiful scenery, spend time at the beach, and/or go on a walking tour or hike. You are free to hike numerous trails and learn about the rocky terrain, the many cacti along the way, a few fun creatures, and the limestone rocks. You may also visit an old lighthouse from 1887, tour the legendary cave, and stop by the island’s tiny flora and fauna educational open-air museum. During your beach time, some companies may allow you to use a kayak and/or a paddleboard.
Make sure your company has the necessary permits to enter the island. Caja de Muertos Island is a very secluded natural treasure visited by few travelers and ready to amaze you. For more information, contact us or visit Island Ventures for additional details.