Puerto Rico is often regarded by many as one of the best scuba diving locations in the world. Whilst diving here you can expect to see vibrant, healthy reefs which are teeming with tropical sea life. Sightings of large pelagic species are not uncommon, and you can even observe some marine life that can be seen nowhere else in the world. Another aspect to scuba diving in Puerto Rico which makes this destination so popular is the crystal clear and unmatched visibility underwater. Reaching up to 165 feet (50 meters) in places, Puerto Rico has some of the clearest waters that you’ll dive in the Caribbean Sea.
The scuba diving in Puerto Rico is varied and able to cater toward most people. Easy shallow reefs which are perfect for beginner divers also happen to be bustling with life. Caves and arches cater to those who are explorers at heart, who enjoy gliding through the interesting underwater topography, and for the drift divers out there, Puerto Rico offers some truly stunning wall dives which showcase some vibrant and even rare corals. Whilst there are many amazing dive locations to be explored here, in this guide we’re going to cover what we consider to be the top 5 best scuba diving spots in Puerto Rico.
Mona Island is known as probably the best scuba diving in Puerto Rico, but also considered amongst many as one of the best dive sites in the world. Situated 45 miles off the west coast of Puerto Rico, where the Carribean sea and the Atlantic Ocean meet one another, remote Mona Island can only be reached by boat. The fact that this little island is mostly uninhabited and therefore largely untouched and unspoilt means that you are sure to see plenty of marine life whilst diving here. Its unique ecosystem and endemic species of iguana that is native to the island (known as the ‘Mona Iguana’) are why this area is also known as the “Galapagos of the Carribean”. With marine life as diverse as the galapagos, (but with warmer waters!) and with amazing visibility of up to 150 feet, make sure you add Mona Island to the top of your dive itinerary.
Marine Life At Mona Island
Just some of the marine life which can be seen here are: Dolphins, marlin, sharks, whales, manta rays, sea turtles, eagle rays, lobster, eels, mona iguana.
The name Candyland is in reference to the uniquely shaped coral mounds which can be seen here which are bursting with a kaleidoscope of vibrant colors. Desecheo island itself is an uninhabited nature reserve which means this location is largely untouched, unspoiled, and has a really healthy reef system because of this. This extremely unique dive spot is well known for its ample collection and variety of corals, and the huge sea fans, colorful sponges and hard/soft corals here are absolutely teeming with tropical fish. Make sure to bring a good underwater camera with you in order to capture all the beautifully vivid colors on display here, and snap a selfie or two with its inhabitants!
Marine Life At Candyland
Butterfly fish, damselfish, batfish, stoplight parrotfish, trumpetfish, moray eels
Las Cuevas, which translates to ‘The Caves’ is an intriguing location for the many arches, canyons and caves that cry out to be explored. What’s more is that with a maximum depth of only 30 feet, Las Cuevas is a fantastic location for beginner divers. Divers here can swim through caves and underwater arches whilst looking at the many corals, fish and invertebrates who love to hide within them. And for the Star Wars fans out there, don’t miss the opportunity to swim through the triangular window which resembles Darth Vader’s mask!
Marine Life at Las Cuevas
There is less marine life at Las Cuevas, but it’s mainly about exploring the interesting underwater caverns. Still, some of the marine life which can be seen here include: Crabs, lobsters, moray eels, and shrimp.
Black Wall, La Parguera
Another of Puerto Rico’s best dive spots, and also one of its most famous is the Black Wall on the southwest side of the Island. ‘The Wall’ as it is most commonly referred to covers an astonishing 22 miles and reaches as deep as 1,500 feet! Offering excellent visibility, the area is dominated by rare black coral gardens and gorgonians (hence the name), with bursts of color from the yellow and purple tube sponges. Home to vast amounts of tropical fish and you may even spot the odd sea turtle and shark if you’re lucky, The Wall is a must-do dive spot when visiting Puerto Rico.
Marine Life At The Wall
Octopi, black coral gardens, black and red gorgonians, Triggerfish, Trumpetfish, Hogfish, Sea Turtles and Black Durgons
Angel Reef, Vieques
Angel reef is an excellent location for beginners and a popular location to get PADI certified. This shallow reef offers a maximum depth of just 60 feet, and is home to some truly pristine condition corals. Amongst the beautifully well preserved ‘spur and groove’ coral reef here you will not be disappointed in the sheer amount of marine life which calls it their home. Interestingly, there are also old spanish anchors wedged into the reef, relics of old spanish ships which once passed through these waters.
Marine Life At Angel Reef
Gray Angelfish, Damselfish, butterflyfish, wrasse
When To Go
Scuba diving in Puerto Rico is excellent year round as the water temperature only varies by a few degrees between the summer and winter months. The dry season of December to May is the high season for tourism in the Caribbean so make sure you plan your vacation early in order to get the best deals and avoid disappointment. The water temperature during these months ranges between 75 – 79℉, and from November through until May is the best time to visit Mona Island, and when you may get the chance to spot a migrating humpback whale!
Diving in Puerto Rico during June to November offers the opportunity of much less crowded dive sites, and warm water temperatures of 79 – 83℉. No matter which time of year you choose to visit Puerto Rico, you’re sure to encounter fantastic underwater visibility and tropical warm waters.
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