Marvel at the alien landscapes of bright white salt mounds, striking red lagoons and brilliant green mangroves in Cabo Rojo’s haven for migratory birds.
One of the most striking natural features of western Puerto Rico is the Cabo Rojo Salt Flats. This spectacular area, sometimes known as the Corozo Salt Flats, is part of the Cabo Rojo National Wildlife Refuge. Every winter the area welcomes thousands of migratory birds. Explore a landscape of strange beauty, where shallow layers of water form colorful lagoons over beds of salt deposits.
Start your journey outside the huge piles of salt that have been extracted from the flats. This mineral-rich landscape has been used for salt extraction since about A.D. 700, when Taino Indians benefited from the natural deposits here.
Learn about this part of the wildlife refuge in the Cabo Rojo Salt Flats Interpretive Center. Exhibits and videos explain different elements of the wildlife and geology of the region. Some displays show how the salt is extracted and used around the island. Book ahead to join one of the salt flats tours that leave from the center.
Follow the walking trails around the salt flats and marvel at the different ecosystems along the way. The hypersaline lagoons are easy to spot, as the presence of brine shrimp gives them a dramatic red color. The refuge also includes coral reefs and mangroves near the ocean, where you may spot turtles.
Find your way to the observation tower for the best views of the salt flats. Bring your binoculars to experience some of the best bird watching in Puerto Rico. Endemic species such as snowy plovers and the endangered yellow-shouldered blackbird share the flats with dozens of migratory species. Come here in winter to see about 40,000 birds migrating to the warmth of the Caribbean.
Drive for about 25 minutes to reach the Cabo Rojo Salt Flats Interpretive Center from downtown Cabo Rojo. The center is free to enter, although donations are welcome. It is open from Thursday to Sunday. Hike along one of the trails on any day of the year. Bring plenty of water and bug spray to be well equipped to roam the wildlife refuge.