Puerto Rico is blessed to still have beaches with healthy coral reefs. The main island offers good snorkeling spots, but in case you didn’t know Puerto Rico possesses offshore islands with some of the best snorkeling beaches in the Caribbean.
Whether you’re an advanced snorkeler or beginner traveling with children, there’s a snorkeling beach for you in Puerto Rico. Glide over crystal clear waters from shallow to deeper water with excellent visibility. When most reefs are dying across the Caribbean, Puerto Rico is still blessed with healthy coral reefs with colorful and abundant sea life.
Note: If you wish to get acquainted, we created a full-size and easy-to-use interactive map of Snorkeling in Puerto Rico
Table of Contents - Snorkeling in Puerto Rico
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Puerto Rico welcomes you to enjoy its coral reefs, when you visit, help us keep them healthy for future generations. Please follow these very important guidelines. It takes many years for coral to grow, a simple touch or scrape can damage them and put them at risk.
- Never step, kneel on, or stand on any part of the reefs.
- Never take, move or take away from the reef, alive or dead. However, if you see trash, remove it carefully. Each part of the reef contributes to its health.
- Before getting in the water, put your face down into the water and look for a place that’s sandy to walk in. Try to walk carefully, in a way that doesn’t disturb the sand or bottom.
- Do not feed fish.
- Swim horizontally.
- Wear a floatation device if you’re not a good swimmer.
- Be careful when you kick with your fins, you may create too much movement in the water or kick the coral by accident.
Bring your own snorkeling gear and get ready for some fun and memorable experiences under the sea. Following we are listing the best snorkeling beaches around the island of Puerto Rico.
Note: All the beaches mentioned on this snorkeling guide do not have lifeguards, you use the beaches at your own risk. Never go snorkeling alone, practice safety first.
+ See Video - How to Protect Puerto Rico's Reef
We’ll start off with San Juan, the most visited tourist destination in Puerto Rico. If you’re staying in San Juan for a long weekend, you’ll be glad to learn that you don’t have to drive far to have a great snorkeling experience. Right on one of the beaches of the city, one can enjoy a world-class snorkeling experience.
Best Snorkeling Spots in San Juan, Puerto Rico
At Balneario El Escambron, the most beautiful beach in San Juan, you can swim in calm protected water where you can swim with sea turtles and schools of a variety of tropical colorful fish. San Juan is proud that its beautiful beach of Escambron and a local hard-working friendly tour guide won #21 spot at the coveted TripAdvisor’s Traveler’s Choice “Top Overall Experiences in the World“ & #4 “Top Overall Experiences in the Caribbean“. See tour “Learn to Snorkel with Fish & Turtles“.
Playita del Condado is another nice beach for doing a little snorkeling in San Juan. From late spring until late fall, the water is more shallow and calm, allowing families with children to take them along. Snorkeling spots are easily accessible from the beach.
+ See Video of Sea Life at Escambron Beach - San Juan, Puerto Rico
Top Rated Escambron Beach Tours - San Juan
The offshore island of Culebra has been on lists of the “best snorkeling islands in the world”. Between the Navy possessing parts of the island for decades, low development and protection laws, it has helped preserve the coral reefs in great condition. Both the main island of Culebra, Culebrita, and the offshore cays will give you weeks worth of excellent snorkeling experiences on the clearest waters Puerto Rico possesses. Culebra is a world-class destination, this tiny island is home to Flamenco Beach, one of the top beaches in the world; and some of the healthiest coral reefs left in the Caribbean. Culebra offers beaches with shallow waters great for smaller children to snorkel and join the magical experience.
Best Snorkeling Beaches in Culebra
Carlos Rosario is the best snorkeling beach in Culebra, among others are Tamarindo Grande Beach, popular for sea turtles; Flamenco Beach, Melones Beach, and Punta de Soldado Beach. If you’re traveling with children, Punta Soldado is among the best snorkeling beaches in Culebra, also a great diving site, a great beach for beginners to intermediate snorkelers, the waters are typically calm. This beach is very quiet, it is a bit of a hike but worth the effort and you won’t find tour groups, you’ll have it most likely to yourself. The landscape is rugged and that’s why we love it; cliffs line the shore, the sand is a mix of ivory sand, covered with tiny polished black and white pebbles. At one end, there is no sand, the shore is covered with bleached dead coral contrasting with black boulders and the blue shades of the sea. We hate to include this beach here because we really enjoy having this “secret” beach to ourselves when we go to Culebra.
+ See video
Top Rated Snorkeling Tours to Culebra
Best Snorkeling Beaches in Vieques, Puerto Rico
There are no rivers flowing into the waters of Vieques, so the waters are very clear and the visibility is great even on a cloudy day. One of the best snorkeling beaches in Vieques is Bahia de la Chiva (also known as Blue Beach) right off the rocky point of Punta Conejo. You’ll see a nice variety of fish, coral, spotted eagle rays and hawksbill turtles, and more. Other popular beaches for snorkeling are Mosquito Bay Pier (see the video on page) Punta Arenas (Green Beach), Pata Prieta, and Gringo Beach among others.
Fajardo is the most popular place in Puerto Rico, although it is the best snorkeling destination because of its proximity to San Juan and the number of tours available for visitors to book.
Icacos Cay – The Most Popular & Accessible Snorkeling Offshore Trip for Tourists staying in the San Juan / Metro Area
Icacos Cay is among the most popular tourist natural attractions in Puerto Rico and for good reason… a secluded island without development, where the only thing surrounding you is the most beautiful water in endless tones of aquamarine and emerald greens accentuated by the soft light ivory, almost white sand. On the way to Icacos Cay, the tour guides will stop at reefs teeming with colorful fish both adults and children will enjoy the experience. Once on the island, you can walk towards the rocky side of the beach to enjoy snorkeling at Icacos.
There are a number of 5-star snorkeling tours from private charters to fun catamarans that leave from the marinas in Fajardo, most offering pick-up service in major hotel areas such as San Juan, and Rio Grande. We’ll get the following video created by a traveler like you to show you the beauty of the island.
Top Rated Snorkeling Tours to Icacos Cay
Best beaches to go snorkeling in Aguadilla, Puerto Rico
Crash Boat Beach
Seeing the photo of that old pier may not seem like the paradisial place to snorkel, but right underneath you’ll soon be transported to one of the best snorkeling spots that’s easy to access with teeming with colorful fish and coral on an artificial reef. This is a very family-friendly beach where the kids can also snorkel safely (with parental supervision of course). Even toddlers can enjoy snorkeling at Crash Boat, the north side of the pier nearest to the beach have some shallow spots for the little ones to perhaps being to learn the magic of snorkeling. During the winter months the water gets rough and becomes a popular spot for surfing, but from late spring til late fall, is almost always a great time to go snorkeling at Crash Boat. The water is very clear and at a nice temperature at a balmy 82 degrees. The pier at Crash Boat is also a very popular spot for scuba divers looking for a fun and easy dive.
Playa Peña Blanca
Playa Peña Blanca is also a great beach to go snorkeling where you’ll often spot beautiful sea turtles in crystal clear waters. Playa Peña Blanca is only accessible during the summer months.
See videos below of snorkeling in Crash Boat Beach & Playa Peña Blanca in Aguadilla, Puerto Rico
Top Rated Tours to Crash Boat Beach & Nearby
Best Snorkeling Beaches in Rincon, Puerto Rico
During the summer months when the surf is down and the water is calmer, head to The Tres Palmas Marine Reserve (Steps Beach), one of the top snorkeling spots on the west coast of the island. The beach offers easy access to the marine reserve where you can float above one of the largest Elk Horn Coral gardens in the Caribbean. Explore a reef with beautiful rocks, live coral, sea turtles, gorgeous schools of Blue Tang, colorful Angelfish, and more. Please Note: Do not attempt to snorkel in the winter, the waters are actually known worldwide for surfing in the winter months. The best time to snorkel at Steps is during the month of July.
Top Rated Tours to Steps Beach, Rincon, Puerto Rico
La Parguera Nature Reserve
La Parguera Nature Reserve is a group of mangrove islands, coral reefs, natural pools, salt marshes, and small cays offering clear waters with underwater playgrounds where you may encounter dolphins, turtles, barracudas, manatees, and much more. You can book a water taxi or tour when you get there, you’ll find various staff offering you a tour or boat ride to the offshore keys.
The popular mangrove cays are Caracoles and Mata La Gata, they’re right next to each other you can visit both on the same morning. Tour guides will take you to other snorkeling sites in La Parguera. The fishing village has a variety of restaurants where you can enjoy eating fresh fish and traditional Puerto Rican fritters after a day of snorkeling, swimming, and exploring.
See Video of Snorkeling at La Parguera, Lajas, Puerto Rico
Top Rated Snorkeling Tours in Lajas & Nearby
Gilligan’s Island / Cayo Aurora
Gilligan’s Island officially named Cayo Aurora in the town of Guanica makes it one of our top snorkeling spots for being kid-friendly. Gilligan’s Island is like a giant clear pool with clear shallow waters perfect for children to snorkel. Your children can sit in 2 feet of water and have schools of tiny fish circle their feet. We have not seen a variety of fish, not much coral, but we’ve often seen many barracudas and schools of fish. Our son loves to snorkel here because the surrounding mangroves give him a sense of “safety” in the water. There are mangrove channels with easy access to additional snorkeling spots.
Top Rated Snorkeling Tours to Gilligan's Island & Nearby
Top Rated Tours to Caja de Muertos & Nearby Islands on the South Coast
Mona Island often called “The Galapagos of the Caribbean”, a nature reserve uninhabited by humans but home to iguanas, healthy coral reefs with the riches underwater world. Getting here is a fun expedition not for the faint of heart, you may face pretty high waves on the way there, you must book a charter boat to get you there. Once you get there, you can snorkel crystal waters, swim with turtles, and most likely be the only ones there.