If there really is such a thing as snorkeling paradise, you will find it in Puerto Rico. From the captivating coastline of the mainland of Puerto Rico to the best-kept secret Spanish Virgin Islands that are just a short cruise away, you can trust this top-notch vacation destination to deliver one-of-a-kind snorkeling experiences in the most pristine settings.
No matter where or when you drop fins in this secluded island oasis, 75-85-degree water temperatures and 60-80-foot range sea visibility are the norm, but certain spots are especially captivating and can’t be missed. For the ultimate underwater adventure filled with countless marine life sightings and the most magnificent coral reefs you’ve ever laid eyes on, put these six places at the top of your snorkeling bucket list:
One of the major Spanish Virgin Islands, Culebra boasts some of the best snorkeling in the world in various locations including top-ranked Flamenco Beach, Carlos Rosario, Culebrita, and Tamarindo Beach. There are endless opportunities for first-class snorkeling experiences around the coast of Culebra, some of which are in shallow waters ideal for underwater exploring with small children.
Caja de Muertos
Just off the southeast shore of Puerto Rico, there is an uninhabited natural reserve called Caja de Muertos, which is also known as “Coffin Island” or “Dead Man’s Chest” due to its unique shape. This prime snorkeling site is home to a protected turtle population native to the area and it even comes with a sign-guided underwater trail.
Located on the east coast of Puerto Rico and fairly close to San Juan, this popular snorkeling spot is surprisingly secluded and pristine. The thing that makes Fajardo such a unique destination for snorkeling enthusiasts is the variety of water depths, which range from “walking-shallow” to roughly 30-feet deep.
Isla de Gilligan
Isla de Gilligan, or “Gilligan’s Island”, is one of the top kid-friendly snorkeling spots because it resembles a massive shallow swimming pool filled with crystal-clear water. Surrounding mangroves offer picturesque feelings of seclusion and additional access to enchanting snorkeling routes.
Isla de Mona
One of the most notable places to snorkel during a Puerto Rico vacation, Isla de Mona is located about 40 miles west of the mainland and harbors some of the most impressive underwater encounters. Mona Island is a secluded and uninhabited nature preserve where about 250-300 different types of fish live safely among the most incredible and colorful coral reefs. Humpback whales have even been spotted by snorkelers at Isla de Mona during the winter months and during the spring and summer, endangered leatherback turtles nest there.
For a truly unique and unforgettable Caribbean snorkeling experience, La Parguera is a must-see spot. This nature preserve is one of three bioluminescent bays in Puerto Rico, but it is the only one that allows swimming and snorkeling. In addition to immersing yourself in nature’s magical glowing waters at La Parguera, there are also man-made mangrove channels to explore and plenty of marine life encounters.