Divers and snorkelers, you're in luck. Puerto Rico's remarkable geographic diversity above ground extends beneath the surface to its aquatic kingdom. Whether you're taking your first plunge into shallow waters or a seasoned pro who loves the black depths of the ocean, you can find the perfect spot to scuba dive in Puerto Rico. Here are some of the best.
Off the coast of La Parguera, on Puerto Rico's southwest coast, lies the island's most famous dive destination. The Wall is 22 miles long, with drop-offs of more than 1,500 feet and visibility from 60 to 150 feet. Divers especially love Fallen Rock, an underwater promontory which separated thousands of years ago and carved a deep trench in the ocean floor. Today, this passageway is home to a plethora of marine life can be observed, including octopi, sharks, moray eels, and forests of black coral orchids.
Culebra offers several interesting dives:
- The Wit Power is a sunken tugboat resting a mere 40 feet below the surface. As far as shipwrecks go, this is certainly one of the most accessible, and because the Wit Power has been here since 1984, divers will find plenty of coral, turtles, fish and other marine life.
- Just off Carlos Rosario, a beach near the world-famous Flamenco Beach, is a vibrant coral reef that is much loved by both divers and snorkelers for its fabulous display of coral and fish.
- The Geniqui Caves gives advanced divers the chance to explore underwater tunnels and admire a unique underwater vista by lamplight.
- Finally, the many cayos or keys around Culebra are worth exploring. I checked out Cayo Luis Peña
Vieques is considered a great choice for "easy" or beginner dives because of its many abundant reefs. Among the best dive sites are:
- Anchor, Angel and Blue Tang Reefs, all shallow reefs offering a wonderful experience for novice divers who want to swim with the fishes ... in a non-mafia way.
- Cayo Afuera, plainly visible from Esperanza Beach, is also easy to get to, and has a great shallow reef to explore.
- Esperanza Pier is a great place for shore divers and snorkelers alike. You can swim out to the tiny Isla Chiva, about 200 yards off the coast, a small, easily accessible island. Off its western side is a lovely reef.
Known as Puerto Rico's own Galapagos, Mona is an uninhabited island about 50 miles off the coast of Mayagüez. Home to a veritable kingdom of iguana, seabirds and turtles, the island has even more to offer below the surface. Over 270 species of fish can be found here. In addition, dolphins, sharks, and - for a special treat during the winter months - humpback whales with their young can be spotted.
Want more? Mona has a diverse underwater geography, from caves, reefs, and walls. All in all, it's one of the more exciting dive experiences in Puerto Rico.
Rincón attracts every type of water-lover, from surfer to snorkeler to scuba diver. For the latter, Desecheo Island, about an hour off its west coast, is the place to be. Inaccessible to humans, the island offers dazzling coral reefs and plenty of marine life. Yellow Reef is prized for its bright tube coral, and Desecheo's underwater caves are great destinations for expert divers.