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Home > Interests & Activities > Beaches > Scuba & Snorkeling
As lovely as our beaches are, we invite you to leave them and dive into our crystalline waters.
With an underground kingdom of coral reefs, sea grass beds (a favorite feeding ground for turtles) and marine habitats, visibility to rival any Caribbean destination, and plenty of tour operators around the island to get you to your underwater destination, you’ll love discovering what lies beneath the waves in Puerto Rico.
What will you find here? Look for hundreds of species of marine life, from blue tang to barracuda, starfish to sharks, and turtles to teeming reefs alive with puffers, jacks, angelfish, butterflyfish, octopi and much, much more.
Icacos, Lobos, Ratones
This trio of islets off the coast of Fajardo present some of the best snorkeling in Puerto Rico. For one, the journey is half the fun. Most tours include two stops at popular snorkeling spots, virtually guaranteeing you a chance to see your share of marine life.
Choose your ride
From Fajardo’s marinas, you can visit the islands via catamaran, motorboat or even sailboat. From party boat to leisurely voyage, they each offer a different experience.
A beach interlude
While you’re here to snorkel, a visit to the idyllic beaches of Icacos Island should not be missed.
Gear not required
Most tour companies that offer trips to Icacos, Lobos and Ratones provide all the snorkeling gear you need, along with refreshments.
A wildlife refuge located a boat ride away from Rincón, Desecheo is a seldom-visited paradise for snorkelers and scuba divers. The island boasts vibrant reefs (one of which is known as Candyland for its colorful coral and sea fans).
Welcome all divers
With depths starting at about 20 feet and extending to over 100 feet, Desecheo is a destination that can be enjoyed by divers of all experience levels.
A variety of dive sites
Desecheo offers more than one dive experience: you can explore reefs, visit gardens of sea fans, and check out swim-through caves.
Protected land and water
The island is maintained by the US Fish & Wildlife Services, and its waters have been designated a marine reserve.
The town of Guánica is home to a tiny island that has earned the catchy nickname of “Gilligan’s Island.” While its beaches have long attracted the locals, it is equally beloved for its reefs, which provide excellent snorkeling.
The Guánica Dry Forest
Gilligan’s Island is part of the Guánica Biosphere Reserve, a fascinating combination of ecosystems that boasts a stunning diversity of flora and fauna. A visit to the island should be accompanied by a hike through the incredible Guánica Dry Forest.
You can get to Gilligan’s by boat or kayak from the town of Guánica. A local ferry makes several trips daily, while kayaking only takes about a half hour. Companies that offer tours to the island include Pino’s Boat & Water Fun (787-484-8083, email@example.com), Island Scuba and Encantos Ecotours.
Don’t forget the bug spray
It’s not only the locals who love Gilligan’s Island. The place is very popular with mosquitos; bring bug spray and apply liberally!
Mona Island has been called the “Galapagos of the Caribbean” for its fantastic wildlife and marine life. Small surprise, then, that the island topped Scuba Diving Magazine’s list of top 10 dive sites in Puerto Rico. The ride there is a good 5 to 6 hours, which keeps most people away from Mona… but if you do make the journey, the idyllic Playa Carmelita and the wild underwater kingdom await.
Dive with the big boys
Divers love Mona for the chance to swim with sharks and even migrating humpback whales. It’s not the best destination for beginners. Companies that offer tours to the island include Adventures Tourmarine and Encantos Ecotours.
Bring your snorkeling gear
Understandably popular with divers, Mona is also a terrific snorkeling destination. With visibility exceeding 100 feet and a network of coral reefs, it’s considered to have some of the best snorkeling in Puerto Rico.
Mona Island is not entirely uninhabited. You’ll find a few rangers and a resident biologist from the Department of Natural Resources here year-round.
Carlos Rosario Beach
Culebra offers a smorgasbord of dive sites, but many locals will tell you the best snorkeling can be found off Carlos Rosario Beach, a secluded spot accessible by a hike from Flamenco Beach. Bring your gear and enjoy exploring the vibrant reef just off shore.
Bring (and take back) what you need
Unlike Flamenco Beach, there are no facilities or services at Carlos Rosario. Bring water and any supplies you need, and make sure to bring them back with you.
A common site around the reefs at Carlos Rosario are turtles, which have a particular fondness for Culebra Island. See if you can spot one in its natural habitat.
Don’t worry about the fence
To get to Carlos Rosario, you’ll need to slip through a fence that’s chained and locked. Don’t be shy about crossing this “entrance” to the trail. Everybody does it!
Similar to Culebra, Vieques Island has no shortage of dive and snorkeling destinations. One of the most accessible places to snorkel is Esperanza Beach, just steps from the malecón, or boardwalk, in Esperanza. A small key called Cayo Afuera faces the beach, and the reefs around its shores offer excellent snorkeling opportunities.
Kayak and snorkel
A fun way to explore the marine life around Cayo Afuera is to take a kayak tour to the island. By kayak, you can reach your destination in 20 to 30 minutes. Among the companies that offer kayak excursions in Vieques are Abe’s Snorkeling & Bio-Bay Tours, Blue Caribe Kayaks and Aqua Frenzy Kayaks.
If your snorkeling efforts build up an appetite, enjoy walking along the malecón in Esperanza, which is lined with beachfront restaurants serving everything from burgers to gourmet fare.
Watch for boats
The waters off Esperanza Beach are dotted with small boats; if you venture out, be mindful of the nautical traffic in this area.
How good is the diving at La Parguera? Among the world-class dives along the famous La Parguera Wall are Fallen Rock, Efra’s Wall, and Black Wall. Teeming with coral, fish and other marine life, it’s the underwater jewel of Puerto Rico.
Not to be outdone, La Parguera beach offers snorkeling gear for those who want to explore its underwater treasures without strapping an oxygen tank on their backs.
Not all of La Parguera’s magnificent sea creatures can be spotted during the day. Wait until night and head out to the biobay to watch the water glow in the dark.
About that Wall
The famed Wall at La Parguera is considered one of the best wall dives in the Caribbean. With depths ranging from around 50 feet to over 100 feet before dropping 1,000 feet to the sea floor, it is an underwater metropolis of sea life.