Marine life is as dynamic as life on land.
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For all the allure of Puerto Rico – there is art and music in almost every corner, and welcoming locals eager to show off the beauty of their island wherever you go – you might wonder if the reefs corals here can follow the good vibes above the waves. The answer is final if.
With over 300 miles of coastline to explore, you’re never far from a vibrant coral reef for snorkeling or an exciting vertical wall for diving in Puerto Rico, home to over 700 species. of fish, turtles, sharks and even whales. home in the warm Caribbean and Atlantic waters that surround the island.
Read on to discover some of the best places around Puerto Rico to snorkel and dive.
Desecheo National Wildlife Reserve
Rising from an expanse of seriously sapphire Caribbean Sea about 12 miles (or 35 minutes by boat) off the west coast of Puerto Rico, Desecheo Island is home to a few goats and no humans and is a wildlife refuge. protected and a marine reserve since 1976.
With fishing prohibited here, marine life is abundant in waters where visibility can reach 150 feet underwater. You are not allowed to set foot on Desecheo Island as it was used as a military firing range in the 1960s and dangers may still be present. But all you want to see is underwater anyway, covered in turquoise waters lapping the shore.
Among the 20 dive sites to explore is one called Candyland on the leeward side of the island which is teeming with towering rocks and sea fans. Divers often spot leatherback turtles, green turtles, and spotted stingrays patrolling 40 to 80 feet of water here. Snorkelers revel in the incredibly healthy coral reefs populated with parrotfish and angelfish. Experienced divers can explore caves and underwater cave openings at the dive site called Las Cuevas.
How to Scuba Dive at Desecheo National Wildlife Refuge
Taino divers runs two-tank guided scuba diving charters to Desecheo Island that cost $ 140 for divers and $ 115 for snorkelers. Rental equipment costs an additional $ 35 and there is a charge of $ 20 per person for Marine Park fees.
Tres Palmas Marine Reserve
Closer to shore in Rincon, one of Puerto Rico’s main skateboarding capitals for surf set, the Tres Palmas Marine Reserve convinces surfers to try a snorkeling session or dive among the reefs. thriving coral reefs home to some of the healthiest stands in elkhorn coral In the Caribbean.
Fishing is also prohibited there and the marine biodiversity of the region thrives. You will likely see huge spiny lobsters peeking out of reef crevices among many other typical coral reef creatures, such as angelfish and moray eels. And leatherback turtles are often seen cruising the colorful shoals.
To snorkel from shore, bring your mask and fins to Steps Beach and go on your own, or book an underwater tour and let guides who know the waters help you spot all manner of swimmers among the corals. and fans, including surgeonfish and yellow striped growls.
How to Scuba Dive and Snorkel in Tres Palmas Marine Reserve
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Diving and snorkeling in Rincon offers two-tank guided shore dives with all equipment for $ 95 per person ($ 60 for single-tank dives) and private guided snorkeling tours with all equipment starting at $ 79 per person .
South of Rincon, in the southwest corner of Puerto Rico, the municipality of Lajas attracts ocean lovers of all kinds for fishing and paddleboarding in a lush setting fringed by mangroves facing the Caribbean Sea and the Underwater adventures just off the coast of the fishing village of La Parguera.
For experienced divers, a visit to the area involves blowing bubbles over coral-covered walls and outer reef platforms marked by trenches and slopes that plunge more than 100 feet off the wall of La Parguera. . The famous dive site is eight kilometers off the coast of La Parguera and its promenade lined with restaurants. And you will likely see triggerfish, turtles, and various reef fish as well as the occasional reef sharks partying with the corals. You can also see pelagic species like barracudas, dolphins and even manta rays passing by.
Several companies organize regular excursions to the wall and reefs of La Parguera and also take snorkelers through the mangroves to a bioluminescent bay where you can enter the water and swim in the blue-green glow. (This is the only Bioluminescent Bay tour in Puerto Rico where you can actually enter the water, and not to be missed).
How to Scuba Dive and Snorkel in La Parguera Wall
Paradise Dive and Snorkeling Center runs dual tank dives to the wall of La Parguera with all equipment included for $ 125 per person and takes snorkelers to local reefs for $ 50 per person, with all equipment. The company also runs tours of the bioluminescent bay for $ 40 per person.
Playa La Chiva, Vieques
With a name like chiva—GOAT in English — this beach has to be one of the most beautiful ever (sorry, we couldn’t resist). Playa La Chiva is one of the best white sand beaches for snorkeling and sunbathing along the southern shores of Vieques, an island off the east coast of Puerto Rico.
When you step off the beach for the first time into the shallow, clear waters rippling with seagrass, you might wonder if there is anything more to see than plants. But keep your eyes peeled as your chances of spotting green turtles feeding on seagrass are high – and large southern stingrays are often seen flapping their wings across the shallow, sun-speckled landscape. .
How to snorkel in Playa la Chiva
Isla Nena Diving rents snorkel gear for $ 15 per day ($ 10 per day for three or more days) if you want to scuba dive on your own and organize guided snorkeling tours in Playa la Chiva for $ 60 per person (equipment included).
Rompeolas-Mosquito Pier, Vieques
Stretching for nearly a mile in the open waters of Vieques’ north coast, Rompeolas-Mosquito Pier has all manner of beams and coral-covered underwater structures that attract an abundance of marine life.
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Built by the US Navy in the 1940s as a seawall, the north side of the pier is particularly interesting for snorkeling, with hawksbill turtles commonly seen (they like to munch on the sponges that grow on the pier stilts. ) as well as octopus and even eagle rays. Other tropical life forms you may spot include schools of Creole wrasse, angelfish, growls, and perhaps, on especially lucky days, manatees and dolphins.
How to Scuba Dive and Snorkel at Rompeolas-Mosquito Pier
Isla Nena Diving rents snorkel gear for $ 15 per day ($ 10 per day for three or more days) if you want to scuba dive on your own and runs guided snorkeling tours to Rompeolas-Mosquito Pier for $ 60 per person (equipment included). Divers can take guided dual tank dives at the pier with Isla Nena Scuba for $ 80 (add $ 50 if you need to rent all of your gear).
Playas Tamarindo and Carlos Rosario, Culebra
With rolling mountains as a backdrop and crystal-clear waters beckoning you in, the beaches of Tamarindo and Carlos Rosario draw divers and snorkelers to the small island off Culebra, off the east coast of Porto. Rico. Both beaches are located on the northwest coast of Culebra; you can drive to Tamarindo, but you will have to walk from Flamenco beach to Carlos Rosario.
The mangrove-fringed waters and protected coral reefs in Luis Peña Nature Reserve are home to a kaleidoscope of marine life. And on underwater excursions, you might spot sea turtles and huge groupers or find yourself finned in clouds of colorful reef fish.
You can dive right from Tamarindo Beach, but certified divers make a point of going out with operators who visit some of the more than 50 dive sites around the island. It’s also best to join a guided snorkeling tour to visit Carlos Rosario Beach, in the northwest corner of the island, accessible only by boat or by a steep hike from Flamenco Beach. Culebra, which is only seven miles long and two miles wide, has a good selection of small hotels, inns and cottages where you can spend a night or more.
How to scuba dive and snorkel in Playas Tamarindo and Carlos Rosario
Culebra divers rents complete sets of snorkel gear for $ 20 per day and offers guided snorkeling tours to areas around Culebra, including Playa Tamarindo and Playa Carlos Rosario, for $ 60 per person, with all equipment included. The company also offers two-tank guided dive trips to dive sites near both beaches for $ 125 per person, including all equipment.
Escambrón Marine Park
For urban snorkeling just a 10-minute drive from Old San Juan, Escambrón Marine Park is popular with locals and visitors looking to get into the water with sea turtles while admiring the caves and coral formations that lie just off the beach.
You can rent equipment and find out for yourself. But you’ll likely get more of the experience exploring alongside a guide who is knowledgeable about the area. On guided snorkeling tours that depart straight from the beach, you might spot things like blue ponds and damselflies as well as hawksbill and green turtles.
How to Snorkel in Escambrón Marine Park
Diving dogs offers guided snorkeling tours for $ 80 per person (or $ 50 per person for two or more people) that include all equipment.
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