Overview of Puerto Rico Snorkeling

by Michael
(Puerto Rico)

Escambron Marine Park

Escambron Marine Park

I figured I'd share the wealth of Puerto Rico snorkeling spots! This is the most brief of overviews; I'd be happy to answer any questions about these spots. I've been living on the island for seven years and have snorkeled in most of these locations several times. Cheers!

Culebra, which is a small sister island off the east coast, has some of the best snorkeling in the Caribbean. Carlos Rosario, Tamarindo, Flamenco and Punta de Soldado beaches all have amazing snorkeling. You will have to take a ferry or small charter plane to get to the island if you want to stay there, or you can take a snorkeling charter from the main island.

Vieques is another sister island, just south of Culebra, that has a few additional snorkeling spots. Bahia de la Chiva is the most popular, but there are several others. You can either stay on the island or take a charter.

On the main island, there are quite a few places! In the east, in Fajardo, the Cabezas of San Juan and Playa El Convento are great! Near El Convento, there is a beach called Playa Escondita. You may read that it is great for snorkeling elsewhere, but I assure you the currents and surge can be very dangerous; I do not recommend going in the waters of Playa Escondita.

In the south, there is La Parguera in the town of Lajas. It's a group of small islands and mangrove cays. This area has some of the best snorkeling on the island. Also in the south is Gilligans Island off of the town of Guanica and Isla Caja de Muertos off of the town of Ponce. These are both small islands that have great shallow water snorkeling. You'll have to arrange a local ferry or charter one of the small boats in the area to get to these islands.

In the west is Steps Beach in Rincon. This is really only good for snorkeling in the summer (due to world class surf waves in the winter), but it's worth it. It has one of the largest Elkhorn Coral gardens in the Caribbean. Rincon is a super relaxing and hospitable local destination. Off the coast is Isla de Mona. It's considered the Galapagos of the Caribbean. The island is a natural preserve, so it's uninhabited, the snorkeling is amazing! You do have to charter a boat.

Last but not least, right near Old San Juan, there is a place called Escambron Marine Park. There is snorkeling for all levels in this area, and it's super convenient from the tourist areas. It lies in a protected cove so the waters are usually pretty calm.

You can find out more info on any of these places by doing a search online. I'd also be happy to provide any more info that I can. Enjoy!

Comments for Overview of Puerto Rico Snorkeling

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Aug 26, 2017
Caribbean Snorkeling in Puerto Rico
by: Debbieo

Thank you so much for your excellent contribution on snorkeling Puerto Rico and the surrounding isles. I am looking toward next year's trip in that area. I needed this insider's look to help sort through info. I am hoping to stay for five weeks and will need snorkeling from the shore.

Snorkelers need snorkelers!!

Aug 27, 2017
by: Susan B

Thank you Michael for the info about snorkeling in Puerto Rico. I snorkeled Steps Beach a few years ago and the Elkhorn Coral was wonderful. I didn't have much info about other places at the time so your post is really appreciated. I'll have to think about planning another trip there in the future.

Aug 28, 2017
by: Michael

You definitely picked a great place to start! If you do come back and you have any questions about the the local snorkeling spots or the island in general, feel free to ask.

Nov 18, 2019
Is a Tour Necessary?
by: Aaliyah

Are we required to book a snorkeling tour of Escambron Park or can I snorkel freely in the area?

Nov 18, 2019
by: OP Michael

You don’t need a tour to snorkel at Escambron!

Nov 18, 2019
Thank You!
by: Aaliyah

Awesome! Thank you for your quick response! I'll be packing my gear with me :)

Dec 01, 2020
More Snorkeling Puerto Rico Info
by: Nicole & Galen

There are a few other pages on the site with snorkeling Puerto Rico info. Check out this snorkeling spots page. Another page is about snorkeling Culebra and Vieques after the 2017 hurricanes. And read this 2019 Vieques and Culebra trip report.

Jan 09, 2022
Early March trip
by: Jen

Hi Michael, I am headed to PR with my kids (19 and 22). We definitely love to snorkel and would like to take a surf lesson, but heard snorkeling in Rincon could be tricky that time of year.

Do you suggest we stay in Rincon and drive to snorkel spots? Or stay the week in Culebra? Or split it?


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