Best time to visit Puerto Rico

Snorkeling in Puerto Rico

Discover the incredible marine life of coral reefs and mangrove coves of Puerto Rico

Gilligan’s Island, Guanica, Puerto Rico

Turquoise transparent water and pristine beaches make Puerto Rico a wonderful destination for snorkeling. With about 700 fish species living in Puerto Rican waters, you can fully enjoy its biodiversity. Encounter sea turtles and colorful schools of fish bustling among reefs. You can explore secluded mangrove coves, tiny cays, and Instagram-perfect bays. Snorkeling is possible all year round. However, the period between April and August is the most suitable due to the calmer seas. Some reefs can be easily accessed from the coast, while others have to be reached by boats. Many tour operators in Puerto Rico offer snorkeling trips to the archipelago's most isolated and untouched spots.

The beautiful island of Culebra, located off the eastern shore, is small and quite undeveloped. Its beautiful cays and coral reefs make it a premier snorkeling destination in Puerto Rico. Flamenco Beach, Tamarindo Beach, Playa Carlos Rosario, Cayo Luis Peña, and a tiny uninhabited Isla Culebrita are the most popular with snorkelers due to beautiful reefs rich with eels, rays, and sea turtles.

Fajardo, located nearby, is an excellent snorkeling destination due to many cays and atolls, where visitors can enjoy swimming along with the schools of fish. The island of Vieques is not only home to the unique Bioluminescent Bay. There's a lot to see here during daylight hours as well. Blue Beach, Isla Chiva, Playa Esperanza, and Playa Pata Prieta are top places to see turtles, harmless nurse sharks, and rays. La Parguera located near Lajas on the southern shore of the main island, is another turquoise beach paradise with mangrove coves and reefs to explore during the daytime, while at night it becomes alive with bioluminescent plankton.

Practical info

When is the best time to go snorkeling in Puerto Rico?

Puerto Rico offers snorkeling opportunities all year, but April through August is the best time to go as the seas are calm, and you can easily spot marine animals such as sea turtles, nurse sharks, and rays. However, it's important to note that hurricanes and stormy seas can hinder snorkeling activities. So, check the weather forecast before snorkeling. Show more

Where are the most popular snorkeling spots in Puerto Rico?

Culebra Island, situated off the eastern shore of Puerto Rico, is the most favored destination for snorkeling enthusiasts. Must-visit snorkeling spots on Culebra Island include Flamenco Beach, Playa Tamarindo, Playa Carlos Rosario, Cayo Luis Peña, and Isla Culebrita. Other popular spots outside of Culebra Island include Fajardo, Vieques, and La Parguera. Show more

What marine life can I encounter while snorkeling in Puerto Rico?

Puerto Rico's coral reefs and mangrove coves provide habitat to over 700 fish species. These include sea turtles, rays, nurse sharks, schools of colorful fish, barracudas, eels, crabs, and lobsters. It's worth noting that while not all of these animals are harmful, some can be dangerous. So, familiarize yourself with local marine wildlife before going snorkeling in Puerto Rico. Show more

How can I access the most secluded snorkeling spots in Puerto Rico?

While some of Puerto Rico's snorkeling spots are accessible from the shore, boat travel is required to access many of the most secluded spots. Several tour operators offer boat trips to the island's secluded coves, isolated reefs, tiny bays, and less frequented spots. If you want to explore the archipelago's hidden underwater paradise privately, you can rent your own boat. Show more

What is bioluminescent plankton, and where can I see it in Puerto Rico?

Bioluminescent plankton is a microorganism that glows in the dark. When unsettled, the plankton emit a blue-green light, creating an enchanting underwater spectacle at night. Vieques and La Parguera Bio Bays are the ideal locations to observe bioluminescent plankton, which is formed through a buildup of light-producing Dinoflagellates. Night excursions to the Bio Bay, where you can swim or kayak with glowing plankton, are available from some operator tours. Show more

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Last updated: by Olga Valchyshen