Snorkeling Destinations Around Puerto Rico
Explore cays, reefs, and mangrove coves around the island. Swim out from the beach or take a boat out to where sea turtles, tropical fish, and colorful reefs await just below the surface.
The archipelago of Puerto Rico offers some wonderful spots for snorkeling in tranquil waters with a diversity of marine life. Some reefs are an easy swim from the shore, while others are just a boat ride away – the perfect excuse for a day of sailing and snorkeling!
If you don’t have gear, don’t worry. Dive shops, gear rental facilities, and boat charters are widely available throughout the island.
The best way to explore the cays just off Fajardo on the east coast of Puerto Rico is on a catamaran! These daytrips include snorkeling gear and a picnic lunch as well as both alcoholic and nonalcoholic beverages. During the morning and early afternoon, you’ll sail to various atolls, reefs, and islands where you can enjoy swimming among the reefs and tropical fish, then lounge on the sandy beaches of Icacos or Culebrita. Numerous operators offer day sailing from Fajardo including East Island Excursions, Salty Dog Catamaran, Spread Eagle II Catamaran, Aqua Adventures, among others.
Part of the town of Lajas on the south of the island, La Parguera Nature Reserve is perfect for snorkeling in the turquoise waters of the Caribbean Sea. This area is well-known for having small mangrove laden coves with shallow peaceful channels, as well as a bioluminescent bay. Operators include West Divers and Paradise Scuba, both offering daytime and sunset snorkeling in the bio bay, reefs, and coves around La Parguera
On the west coast of the island is the surfer town Rincón. Great snorkeling is accessible just off Steps beach at the Tres Palmas Marine Reserve. For a guided snorkeling tour book the Rincón Snorkeling Adventure by Rincón Diving and Snorkeling which goes out right from the shore. For more advanced snorkelers, Taíno Divers offers snorkeling and diving excursions to the island of Desecheo where dolphins, sharks, and even humpback whales can often be spotted.
A popular snorkeling destination in San Juan is Escambrón beach, right next to the Caribe Hilton Hotel. This beach has several rock formations that protect it from the rough surf of the Atlantic Ocean. Also, since the beach is frequented by snorkelers and scuba divers the fish that live around the shore are used to people and you can come right up close. Scuba Dogs offers gear rentals and both snorkeling and diving tours and is located right on the beach. Aqua Adventures also offers snorkeling tours at this beach, including gear rentals.
Thanks in part to the Navy occupation of most the island until the early 2000s, the island municipality of Vieques is mostly undeveloped. Pristine beaches are home to forests of coral reefs where fish, turtles, rays, and nurse sharks are easy to spot. Some of the best beaches to visit include Blue Beach which contains the small island of Isla Chiva, Esperanza Beach, Mosquito Bay, Playa Pata Prieta, and many others.
Some operators offer snorkeling tours from both Vieques and Fajardo, including Black Beard Sports, Pure Adventure, Isla Nena Scuba, Abe's Snorkeling & Biobay, Melaya's Tours, Bieque Eco Trips, and Fin Time Adventures.
The shorelines and cays around the island of Culebra are some of the best snorkeling spots in Puerto Rico. Tamarindo, Flamenco, and Carlos Rosario beaches, and the Luis Peña and Culebrita cays are all surrounded by coral reefs teeming with fish, sea turtles, and rays just a short swim from the shore. For snorkeling gear and snorkeling tours visit the Culebra Snorkeling and Dive Center, Culebra Divers, or Culebra Island Adventures.
Departing from Fajardo, you can also take a snorkeling tour to Culebra through Pure Adventure, SS Tobias Snorkel and Beach Tour, or Culebra Island Kayak and Snorkeling Adventure, or charter a private boat with Culebra VIP & East.