Even if you’ve never snorkeled in your life, if you don’t add snorkeling in Puerto Rico to your trip’s to-do list, you would be missing out on a lot.
You see, there are a lot of fun things to do in Puerto Rico, but not many of them can compare to the exhilarating experience that is touring its underwater world. Puerto is home to clear beaches with high visibility and developed reefs worth exploring.
I am a Puerto Rico local. And in this guide I’ll share where to find the best snorkeling in Puerto Rico. So, whether you are an expert or a curious beginner, these are the 13 best places to go snorkeling on the island!
Table of Contents
- 13 Best Places to Go Snorkeling in Puerto Rico
- FAQs About Snorkeling in Puerto Rico
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13 Best Places to Go Snorkeling in Puerto Rico
More than 200m (656 feet) of artificial coral reefs in shallow waters to explore
You don’t have to go far from Old San Juan to get to some of the best snorkeling spots in Puerto Rico. Escambron Beach is located right at the entrance of Old San Juan’s islet.
To the east side of Escambron, you’ll find artificial reefs known as Atlantis and Taino Reefs, with more than 200 meters (656 feet) of man-made reefs that are home to many reef fish.
Farther out the San Juan beach, close to the Hilton Pier, more experienced scuba divers can explore open caves and caverns on the north coast, where it’s common to see manatees.
A marine reserve with the largest elkhorn coral gardens in the Caribbean
Steps Beach is one of the best things to do in Rincon for many reasons, and one of them is the wonderful snorkeling experience it offers. Located in the Tres Palmas Marine Reserve, Steps Beach is home to the largest elkhorn coral gardens in the Caribbean.
The beach offers great scenery above and below the water, where you can see varied marine life like the blue tang, live coral, sea turtles, and angel fish.
👉 Pro Tip: Only go snorkeling during the summer months, as the tide is too strong during other seasons.
A beautiful beach where it’s easy to swim with sea turtles
While Flamenco Beach is often rated as the best beach in Culebra and Puerto Rico, nothing beats Tamarindo Beach when it comes to snorkeling with green sea turtles.
Tamarindo boasts a pebbly shore and a floor full of seagrass. It’s generally shallow and you don’t have to go far offshore to spot a sea turtle or stingrays which makes it a great experience for kids.
👉 Did You Know? Culebra is an archipelago with a few of the best sites to snorkel in Puerto Rico. Besides the Culebra beaches on the main island, like Flamenco Beach, smaller islands like Culebrita and Cayo Luis Peña sport great beaches for snorkeling.
Playa Carlos Rosario
The beach with the best coral and sea life in Culebra
Carlos Rosario Beach is one of the best snorkeling spots in Puerto Rico, but few visitors know how to access the coral reefs correctly. You can see the best of Carlos Rosario about 15-25 meters (50 – 80 feet) offshore.
When you arrive at the beach through the trail you should continue walking a few meters to your right. You will reach a point where there isn’t any seagrass at the bottom, and that’s where you should access the beach.
You can easily see the best access point through satellite view. Here you’ll get to see colorful fish and varied sea life.
👉 Local Tip: You will find the start of the hiking trails to Playa Carlos Rosario and Tamarindo Beach at Playa Flamenco’s parking lot.
Seven Seas Beach
A calm beach on mainland Puerto Rico for snorkeling beginners
Your Puerto Rico snorkeling adventure doesn’t have to be outside the mainland. Seven Seas Beach is located just an hour away from San Juan, and it’s one of the best snorkeling beaches for beginners.
Sevens Seas has a small coral reef to the right side of the beach, where fish like to swim around. You will also find a seagrass bed that hosts a variety of marine life, including sea cucumbers and conch.
This is also a great spot to visit if you need to rent snorkel gear.
Vieques is known for having some of the best snorkeling beaches in Puerto Rico
🗺️ Google Maps | Amenities: Most beaches lack amenities
It’s hard to decide which of the snorkeling sites in Vieques is the best as it boasts pristine beaches all around.
To the north of the island, beneath Mosquito Pier, advanced snorkelers will find sea turtles and pools of fish swimming around. Other great snorkeling beaches in Vieques are La Esperanza, Blue Beach, and Punta Arenas, where it’s easy to spot turtles eating on the shore.
Also, Pata Prieta is a picturesque beach that boasts shallow waters during the summer and is home to manta rays and beautiful gardens of reefs.
Other species you might see while snorkeling in Vieques are spotted eagle rays, hawksbill turtles, and nurse sharks. Vieques beaches are also great for beach combing.
👉 Pro Tip: Most beaches in Vieques are isolated, so you won’t find any rentals on them. Make sure to bring your own snorkeling gear or rent it on the island. The ZEEPORTE Mask Fin Snorkel Set is a great option to pack for your trip to Puerto Rico.
A remote beach in Culebra with shallow waters for snorkeling
Punta Soldado is one of the best snorkeling beaches in Culebra, particularly if you’re traveling with kids or beginner snorkelers. Punta Soldado is located to the southwest of Culebra, and to visit, you have to hike a bit from the parking lot.
This beach is usually shallow and uncrowded. There is a reef to the left of the beach you can reach if you enter the water right where the large boulder is on the shore.
An offshore island with shallow and clear waters
The Caribbean sea offers some of the best snorkeling spots in Puerto Rico, and Gilligan’s Island is clear proof of it. One of the top Puerto Rico islands, Gilligan’s Island is a mangrove island surrounded by shallow waters under 2 feet.
It doesn’t offer any reefs, but you will see plenty of fish and your kids will love it. As of August 2022, you can reach the island by kayaking or with a boat tour.
👉 Did You Know? Caja de Muerto, or Coffin island, is another island you can find off the southern coast of Puerto Rico which is also considered a great destination for snorkeling. Check out the top things to do in Ponce to learn about it.
An uninhabited cay where the top-rated snorkeling tours take place
If you’ve ever read a Puerto Rico travel guide, then you’ve heard about the beautiful Icacos. This tiny island outside the east coast of Puerto Rico boasts sandy beaches and clear waters.
You can only visit through boat and catamaran tours, but Icacos is worth the extra effort.
Surrounding the secluded island, you’ll find shallow waters with coral reefs, tropical fish, and manta rays. Most tour operators include snorkeling equipment and lunch for your day trip.
Crash Boat Beach
A beach with a pier home to a beautiful variety of fish
Crash Boat is one of the most popular beaches in Puerto Rico. But, snorkeling fans should know that beneath the famous pier it’s possible to see hundreds of tropical fish.
This snorkeling spot on the northwest is easy to access for kids and beginners. But beware, the summer is the best season to visit. The autumn and winter currents underneath the bridge are strong.
One of the best diving destinations in the Caribbean
La Parguera Nature Reserve is one of the best scuba diving and snorkeling spots in Puerto Rico. This area on the southwest coast includes natural pools, mangrove islands, salt marshes, and a bioluminescent bay.
La Parguera is also home to The Wall, an area underwater where you can find marine species including turtles, jellyfish, barracudas, and manatees. This is also one of the best areas to do sunset snorkeling.
Forbidden island with underwater caverns and caves
🗺️ Google Maps | Amenities: None
Desecheo Island is outside the west coast of Puerto Rico. Although you can’t really visit the island itself, the surrounding waters are full of coral reefs teeming with marine life you can explore only through a snorkel tour.
Divers will love exploring the surreal underwater caves and caverns on Desecheo’s coast.
Nature reserve with breathtaking beaches, caves, and coral reefs
🗺️ Google Maps | Amenities: None
Isla de Mona is one of the many offshore islands that belong to Puerto Rico and getting there takes a 4-hour boat ride. But, if you’re an adventure and outdoor lover, Isla de Mona promises unforgettable snorkeling experiences.
Outside the coasts of this Puerto Rico nature reserve, you’ll find healthy reefs with colorful marine life. Here you’ll see rainbow-hued fish, octopus, rays, and clownfish swimming calmly through the turquoise waters of the Caribbean.
🛥️ Read Next: 13 Epic Boat Tours in Puerto Rico
FAQs About Snorkeling in Puerto Rico
Is there good snorkeling in Puerto Rico?
Is the snorkeling good in San Juan Puerto Rico?
San Juan is home to Escambrón Beach, which is considered one of the best snorkeling spots in Puerto Rico. This San Juan beach has an underwater marine park with artificial reefs, statues, caverns, caves, and elkhorn corals.
Are there any coral reefs in Puerto Rico?
Puerto Rico’s coasts are home to multiple types of coral reefs. Some of the healthiest are found surrounding the islands and cays outside mainland Puerto Rico like Culebra, Vieques, and Icacos. La Parguera boasts an underwater depression known as The Wall, where divers can find diversified marine life.
What kind of fish do you see snorkeling in Puerto Rico?
Some of the Puerto Rico fish that visitors can see when snorkeling include barracuda, yellowfin tuna, lionfish, eagle rays, nurse sharks, snapper, mahi-mahi, tarpon, wahoo, blue tang fish, and yellowmouth grouper. Sharks, manatees, and dolphins are other species that inhabit the coasts of Puerto Rico.
Now you know the top places for snorkeling in Puerto Rico! You will find Puerto Rico is as beautiful underwater as above the water. In case you don’t know them yet, these are the other best spots to visit in Puerto Rico.
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