One of several proudly traditional Puerto Rican seaside resorts on the southwest coast, PLAYA DE JOYUDA isn’t really a beach but a string of seafood restaurants, fishing shacks and faded hotels. Running for 2km along PR-102 south of Mayagüez, between a ragged shore of bleached coral and the mangrove-fringed nature reserve of Laguna Joyuda, it’s as unattractive as it sounds (most of the coral is dead and erosion has whittled away the seafront), but while its sobriquet of Milla de Oro del Buen Comer (“golden mile of good food”) is a little exaggerated, some of the seafood restaurants are genuinely excellent value and the tiny islet of Cayo Ratones just offshore makes an appealing target for a lazy afternoon. The island is completely undeveloped and is actually part of the Bosque Estatal de Boquerón, a protected nature reserve, with silky white sands and excellent snorkelling. You have to hire a boat to take you across: contact Adventures Tourmarine (t787/255-2525, at the small dock between the Vista al Mar and Vista Bahía restaurants, at PR-102 km 14.1. Captain Elick Hernández García ferries passengers to Cayo Ratones ($5, minimum four people). He also does fishing charters and diving/snorkelling day-trips to Isla Desecheo for $75 (minimum ten people) and Isla de Mona.

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