• close family • small boat • big world •

Coffin Cactus

January 6, 2015

by Paula
At anchor, Caja de Muertos, Puerto Rico
written November 29

In the 18th century, the French writer Jean Baptist Labat visited a small island off the south coast of Puerto Rico and called it "Coffre A`morr," which translates to Caja de Muertos in Spanish and Coffin in English. This name refers to the shape of the island when seen from particular spots on the mainland -- it is thought by some to resemble a shrouded dead body lying prone. There are other speculations as to how this tiny island got its name, but this is the official version reported by the Puerto Rican department of Natural Resources. This previously inhabited island was designated as a natural wilderness reserve in the 1980s to protect native sea turtles.

During our stay at Caja de Muertos, we hiked the trail leading from Pelicano beach up to the 170-foot high hill on the southwest end of the island. Atop the hill sits a lighthouse, built in 1887 and automated in 1945. Our path meandered through dense flora, most of which were fierce higo chumbo cacti.

More pictures of Caja de Muertos below 

Looking south from the base of the lighthouse. Daystar at anchor is visible to the left.