Making Bubbles on Vieques – Dive In!
Puerto Rico is a very populated place and its north coast can be very rough and silty. So in order to get the best underwater diving experience, I have found you need to get away from the crowds. It also helps to get away from river mouths. Heading to an out-island like Vieques is a great idea. One of the first things you will notice when you get to Vieques is the amazingly water. And in this clean water lives an ocean of wonderful sea life, just waiting for you to dive in and explore.
Vieques is a small island about 6 miles to the east of the big island of Puerto Rico. Vieques is known for its clear water and great beaches, and there are reefs all around it.
The north side of the island usually is too rough for swimming, but you will find some nice scuba and snorkel sites on the south side of the island. Some are accessible by shore dives (like around the Esperanza pier or even Mosquito Pier on the north), but most require a boat trip.
Many of the sites are easy for everyone, and relatively shallow, though some are more deep or have some current. The water runs from about 75°F in winter months to 82°F in summer. Visability varies with weather, but it is usually pretty good — better in summer months, much more variable in winter months.
We dove a 2-tank dive here a few years ago in March. The seas were a bit rough, but not too bad. We dove on Patti’s Reef and Anchor Reef. I can’t say I thought it was the best diving I have done, but they were enjoyable dives.
The coral reefs and limestone are not too colorful, but the sea life, such as rays, turtles, barracuda and lobsters and lots of different fishes, are usual sights. We had a turtle swim right up to us and hang out with us for a while on a safety stop at Patti’s Reef. That was pretty cool.
Of course, being the ocean, if you are lucky you may see almost anything from sea horses to sharks. We noticed it was sandy bottoms with limestone and coral mounds all around. So take your time underwater and explore on, under and around these formations nooks and crannies for some amazing things.
Something to point out … Diving in Puerto Rico is not cheap — be prepared for $100+ for a 2-tank boat dive. Shore dives are a little less.
Note: the operator we used has since changed hands, so we can’t comment specifically about any operator now. However, they all get great reviews, so pick one and DIVE IN!
No matter which of these operators you choose for your day of diving, don’t forget to bring your C-card!
Vieques Dive Company
Vieques Dive Company is a PADI-certified dive operator, that offers PADI training for all levels/certifications and specialties. Guided shore and/or boat dives daily. They have a small boat to comfortably fit 3 divers, but can schedule a larger boat for larger groups.
You can call Fitz 443-206-3770 or Moxi 443-206-6033 or write an email to email@example.com for more information or to make a reservation.
You can visit the Vieques Dive Company web site for more information.
Also available: guided snorkel trips, open-water check-out dive referrals, night dives, and even a free Discover Diving pool course (for non-certified divers) to see if you like it. All needed Scuba equipment is included in the price of dive. Scuba rental equipment and map of dive sites available for unguided dives. Nitrox available. Discounts for multiple dives and parties of 3 or more. CPR, AED & First Aid training available.
Thanks to Fitz at Vieques Dive Company for info on the dive operators in this article. Their motto is "It is not what we do, but how we do it that makes the dive difference". He has been extremely helpful and super-good with email communication.
This company has been acquired by Vieques Dive Company in Summer 2012. Use contact information provided above.
Black Beard Sports
This is a sport and activity store, and a PADI dive center, located in Isabel Segundo. They offer sales and rentals of snorkeling & diving gear. They also have both guided shore dive and boat trips. They have a small boat, they take out a maximum of 6 divers at a time.
You can call (787) 741-1892 for more information or to make a reservation.
You can visit the Black Beard Sports web site for more information.
They can repair SCUBA equipment. They offer PADI certification classes. Also available: open-water check-out dive referrals, resort courses (for non-certified divers). Note: SCUBA equipment rental is extra (not included in the price). They also have snorkel trips. The store also offers rental of mountain bikes,camping equipment,beach stuff (like chairs/coolers) and sales of beach clothing.