Officially Cayo Aurora, Guilligan’s Island is an idyllic outcrop of thick mangroves bordered by white coral sand, just off the Guánica coast. The sobriquet recalling the US television series Gilligan’s Island was added in the late 1960s as a marketing gimmick (but retaining a Spanish twist), and today it falls under the same DRNA management as the forest reserve.
A ferry plies back and forth from the main island, where you’ll find a few barbecue huts and plenty of shade, but this isn’t really a beach – being completely hemmed in by mangroves is what makes the lagoon so magical. Swim or just drift around in the incredibly clear (and shallow) water, where shoals of parrot fish and crabs huddle beneath the roots, or snorkel over the reef just beyond the jetty.
The ferry (787/821-4941) sails from the pier in front of the San Jacinto restaurant, on the narrow road that splits off PR-333 towards Mary Lee’s by the Sea (taking just 10 to 15 minutes). Note that at weekends and holidays, especially in the summer, cars begin to line up at the ferry car park at around 6am, and the island can get swamped (the ferry takes 45 people per trip, with a maximum 350 allowed on the island). Taking the private launches from Copamarina or Mary Lee’s (both charge around the same price) is a good idea, as you can set your own pick-up time and combine the trip with a visit to Ballena – you’ll have to be a guest to organize this, however.