This charming fishing village lies 78 miles (126km) southwest of San Juan and 26 miles (42km) west of Ponce, just south of San Germán. From San Germán, take Rte. 320 directly south and follow the signposts. Note that this route changes its name several times along the way, becoming Rte. 101, 116, 315, 305, and then 304 before reaching La Parguera—even though it’s all the same highway.
The name of the village comes from pargos, meaning snapper. Its main attraction, other than its coast and diving, is Phosphorescent Bay, which contains millions of luminescent dinoflagellates (microscopic plankton). A disturbance causes them to light up the dark waters. For dramatic effect, they are best seen on a moonless night. The Fondo de Cristal III (tel. 787/899-5891) is a glass-bottomed boat that trolls the bay nightly from 7:30pm to 12:30am from La Parguera pier, depending on demand. The trip costs $8 per person. There are also smaller boats (Johnny’s Boats and Torres Boats) that will take you out and let you swim at night. Paradise Scuba & Snorkeling Center also runs a kayak trip to the bay for $30. The bay here is not as shiny as those in Fajardo and Vieques.
Offshore are some 12 to 15 reefs with a variety of depths. The Beril reef goes down to 60 feet (18m), then drops to 2,000 feet (610m). This wall is famous among divers, and visibility ranges from 100 to 120 feet (30–37m). These reefs also provide some of the best snorkeling possibilities in Puerto Rico. Marine life is both abundant and diverse, including big morays, sea turtles, barracudas, nurse sharks, and manatees. Paradise Scuba & Snorkeling Center, Paguera Shopping Center, at La Parguera (tel. 787/899-7611), offers the best diving and snorkeling. A two-tank dive costs $120; a sunset snorkel and Bio-Bay combo trip costs $60 per person, with equipment and food and drinks included. Lessons and a variety of trips like the 2 hour Bio-Bay trip for $30 (including snacks and beverages) are available. The town has no natural beach, but its Playa Rosada is a swimming area with wooden docks, bathrooms, showers and picnic areas.
La Parguera takes on a carnival atmosphere on weekend evenings when families and young couples come into town for drinks and snacks and to blow off some steam. Most of the action is around the cluster of bars and food stands near the main dock. There is often live music at the bars by the waterfront, and children play games on the town plaza on the water. Make sure to go into Sangria Coño to try a glass of the fine Caribbean sangria made here, as well as the empanadillas. The interior is well air-conditioned, with photos of Puerto Rican patriots, local art, and independence slogans on the walls. There is a backroom game arcade for the kids. Grabbing a slice at Tony’s Pizza (thin crispy crust and super cheesy) is a ritual for most families.