Often considered as the 51st state of the United States, Puerto Rico is a gem of an archipelago in the Atlantic. Beautifully blended with the richness of colonial Spanish, Indian and African heritages, Puerto Rico has much to offer in its isles, be it hiking in tropical rain-forests, swimming in delectable beaches or snorkeling in its pristine waters.
The latter has become a top draw in recent years, with more and more adventurers landing here to taste the joys of snorkeling in its unspoiled reefs and tropical climes. If into snorkeling, the best time to visit the islands here are the dry season months of November to February, when the skies are less cloudy offering better visibility for snorkeling. Here’s a list of the must-visits for the Best Snorkeling in Puerto Rico:
• Mona Island (Isla de Mona): Undoubtedly the biggest draw here, Mona Island is located west of Puerto Rico, and offers some of the best snorkeling possibilities. The reefs around Mona Island claims to contain the richest and most diverse marine life in Puerto Rico, and is fecund with bright hued fishes, turtles, octopus, mantas and rays, and of course the quintessential charms of all reefs – clownfish amidst the anemones. While popular with tourists, there are not much facilities here, so remember to carry all your gears with yourself
If you do get more time to explore this island, look out for the hawksbill sea turtles – the island is apparently one of the largest breeding ground for this endangered species. The island is also famous for its caves, replete with native rock art and designs
• Caja de Muertos: Off the southern coast of Puerto Rico lies the uninhabited island of Caja de Muertos (or Coffin Island). The name, albeit creepy, comes from some 18th century writer who apparently found a strong resemblance if the island’s shape with that of a coffin (some imagination!) There are also a few legends of pirates prancing on the island from the 16th century. But despite its name and history, it is still a tropical paradise. It is best to organize a day trip from your base location to this island through a tour operator (there are plenty of options) which will lead you to snorkel in the northern waters off the island. If you have some more time, you can go for some beautiful hikes on the hills, visit the island’s lighthouse or just laze on some pristine beaches
• La Paguera: In southwest Puerto Rico, lies the sleepy coastal village of La Paguera – yet another fine spot for snorkeling and being enthralled of the marine life. Given its proximity, boat operators from the main town will happily provide rentals for boats with guides as well, or even provide hop on hop off services, so long as you have arranged for the times of pick up once you are in La Paguera
• Fajardo: If you do not want to leave the mainland of Puerto Rico, this is the place for you – bang on the eastern coast of Puerto Rico, the transparent blue waters of Fajardo are considered the best for snorkeling on the mainland. The best beaches here are very close to the Seven Seas public beach and makes for a brilliant day out from San Juan in case you are based out of the capital