Puerto Rico Snorkeling
San Juan Snorkeling
The most popular destination in Puerto Rico, the San Juan area offers some snorkeling opportunities, but not of the same quality of the eastern and southern coast, or the outlying islands. The choppy waters of the Atlantic can make snorkeling a much trickier (and more dangerous) activity - as always, be careful when you head into the water and be aware of your surroundings. DIY snorkeling can be found near the San Juan bay marina (near the Caribe Hilton), and the nearby beaches of Luquillo and Isla Verde frequently have kiosks where you can rent equipment. Snorkeling on Condado beach can be dangerous due to the conditions, try the area near the Condado Plaza hotel for some calmer waters. Many San Juan hotels offer Snorkeling excursions that leave from the hotels and head to the calmer waters off Fajardo, about a one hour drive (see below).
Vieques and Culebra Snorkeling
Snorkeling on the islands of Vieques and Culebra is some of the best in all of Puerto Rico. What makes these locations especially great is that much of the snorkeling can be done from shore. Wade into the water and see eagle rays, sea turtles, pufferfish, and much more. The antler coral in the waters off Playa Esperanza on Vieques are particularly spectacular. Snorkeling charters are available in both Vieques and Culebra, with most of the charters being on smaller, private boats rather than large catamarans.
Other Puerto Rico Snorkeling Options
Playa La Parguera is a beach near Guánica that is popular with snorkelers. You can get outfitted with snorkel gear right on the beach. Off the coast of nearby Ponce on the West coast, the uninhabited coastal island of Caja de Muertos has a large coral reef teeming with colorful tropical fish. The nature reserve is 8 miles off the coast and has a very nice living reef on the south side of it protecting a turtle nesting beach. The reef averages between 3 feet to 10 feet in depth with great visiblity. The reef is teeming with an abundance of fish life. Nurse sharks, spotted eagle rays and schools of Blue Tang, several 100 in a school, are common sights. A snorkeling companyoperates 'guided and educational' snorkel excursions to this protected island.
The waters off the coast of Farjardo, on the main island's quiet east coast, feature large coral reefs and offer great visibility for snorkeling adventures. Many snorkeling charters are available from the docks of Fajardo, either on large catamarans or by hiring a local boat owner to take you to one of the small islands off the coast.