Introducing El Combate
This gritty seaside settlement wedged incongruously between Boquerón beach and the Cabo Rojo lighthouse is at the end of Hwy 3301, a short spur branching west from Hwy 301. Those with limited time can skip it – it’s an untidy sprawl of tawdry guesthouses, backyard trailer-camping sites, beach houses and restaurants, all covered in Bacardi banners. But while the down-at-heel bar scene might be a little on the rough side, the thin 3-mile-long strip of sand that affronts the Pasaje de la Mona is a perennially popular vacation spot for Puerto Rican families and college kids looking for some fun on the weekends.
Named after a 1759 colonial turf war to control the lucrative salt flats to the south, El Combate (The Battle) retains its wayward and embattled image, sprawling at the junction of a couple potholed roads and the sea. Ask around enough and you might run into a couple locals who still pride themselves on being known as Los Mata con Hacha (Those Who Kill with Axes) for their historical penchant to wield sharp weaponry against rivals from the nearby town of Lajas.