Coral Reefs, Mangrove Nurseries and More
Swim from shore or take a relaxing boat ride. Either way, the coral reefs of Puerto Rico and its offshore islands are easy to reach and a pleasure to explore. Turtles and rays glide through the shallows in protected bays, while marine parks immerse swimmers in clouds of colorful tropical fish. For a different take on the underwater world, snorkelers can glide through mangrove-lined channels in sand-bottom lagoons, seeking out the many juvenile fish that hide among the tangled tree roots. In addition, Puerto Rico is also the only place in the world where snorkelers can immerse in the waters of a bioluminescent bay.
- Best for: Everyone, from rainforests to watersports and spas, Puerto Rico has something for everyone
- Best season to visit: Year-round
- Weather: Puerto Rico enjoys a tropical climate, with temperatures ranging from the 70s in winter to summer highs in the upper 80s. Inland mountains remain cooler, and east coast sites enjoy trade winds. Winters are dry. Rain is more common from April through Nov
Puerto Rico Information
Snorkeling in Puerto Rico Overview
The best snorkeling conditions in Puerto Rico are usually found on the island's east coast in the Fajardo region, and on nearby islands such as Vieques and Culebra, where bays and barrier reefs create calm waters. Another prime area is along the main island's southwestern coast, where mangrove lagoons and coral reefs lie close to shore.
Snorkeling in Puerto Rico Tips
Puerto Rico offers a unique adventure for snorkelers who want to see more of the underwater world, but don't have the time or inclination to become a certified diver. The system known as SNUBA provides swimmers with an airline that is tethered to a floating air tank. This allows participants to take guided underwater tours at depths of 20 feet or less without wearing heavy tanks and dive gear.
Best Places for Snorkeling in Puerto Rico
The protected reefs of Cayo Lobos Marine Park are convenient to many of Puerto Rico's east coast resorts. The islands of Culebra and Vieques offer miles of shallow reefs to explore. The Biosphere Reserve at Cayos de Caña Gorda provides clear-water lagoons surrounded by mangrove forests. La Parguera Nature Reserve delivers snorkeling adventures that include reefs, mangrove lagoons and a unique opportunity to snorkel in a bioluminescent bay.
What to Pack for Snorkeling in Puerto Rico
A form-fitting swim shirt to provide sun protection when in the water. Sunscreen, sunglasses, a brimmed hat and light cover-up for boat rides. An extra towel and sandals that can get wet. A mesh bag for bringing personal snorkel gear, and a waterproof case for keys, wallets and mobile devices.
Passport and/or Visa Requirements
Entry Requirements: No passport necessary for U.S. citizens to enter Puerto Rico. No visa is required for U.S. Citizens.
Vaccinations are not required for entry into Puerto Rico. Check with your doctor and the Centers for Disease Control on recommended vaccinations for travel at cdc.gov.
Culture and Customs
When you arrive in Puerto Rico, you are still on US soil, but also very much in the Caribbean. No passport is needed, and English and Spanish are spoken in equal measure, but the culture is a blend of island styles and Latin-American traditions. San Juan is a cosmopolitan and thoroughly modern commercial center, but also a city with a long and storied history dating back to the days of Spanish treasure galleons and the real pirates of the Caribbean. The posh resorts and trendy boutiques of the Condado District are just a short stroll away from the narrow cobblestone streets and colonial-era buildings of Old San Juan. Drive into the mountains and as four-lane highways transition into cliff-hugging single lanes you step back into an era of village life, and then into settings where nature still takes center stage. El Yunque is the only tropical rain forest in the US National Forest System, and surrounding mountains hide an eco- adventurer's dreamscape of canyons, caves and waterfalls. At Toro Verde, the mile-and-a-half-long Monster is the world's longest zip line, and the Camuy River Cave Park features the world's third longest underground river. Surfers flock to world-class breaks near the west-coast town of Rincon, paddlers explore the mangrove lagoons of Parguera, and big game fishermen depart San Juan Harbor to do battle with trophy sized blue marlin. Those who prefer luxury over adventure can relax at premier resorts, play tour-worth golf courses, indulge in five-star spa services and sample the island's vibrant culinary scene.
Electricity, Phone and Internet Access
Electricity in Puerto Rico is 110 volts, 60 cycles, so no adapter will be needed for US visitors. The country code/area code for Puerto Rico is 787. Some U.S. providers include calls and data usage from Puerto Rico so be sure to check with your provider to see if additional costs will apply. Many hotels offer WiFi.
The environmental standards that apply to water in the U.S. apply to Puerto Rico. The water is safe to drink and bottled water if preferred is available for purchase.
Language & Currency
Both English and Spanish are the official languages in Puerto Rico, however Spanish is more frequently spoken by the people of Puerto Rico. The currency in Puerto Rico is the US Dollar.
Puerto Rico is on Atlantic Standard Time (AST) and does not observe Daylight Savings Time. Puerto Rico is 4 hours behind Greenwich Mean Time (-4 GMT).
Location, Size and Population
Puerto Rico is an archipelago in the Caribbean and part of the Greater Antilles. The islands are located west of the Virgin Islands and east of the Dominican Republic. The Northern coast faces the Atlantic Ocean while the Southern coast faces the Caribbean Sea. Puerto Rico is 30 miles wide North to South and 90 miles long East to West, 3,515 square miles total and includes a number of small islands, Mona to the west, along with Culebra and Vieques to the east. The capital and most populated municipality is San Juan, located on the northeastern shore of the main island
The population of Puerto Rico is 3.68 million (2016).