Snorkeling on Vieques

If you like snorkeling, you can find some different and interesting spots around Vieques. This island, just to the east of Puerto Rico, sits in the Caribbean Sea, surrounded by coral and limestone rock formations. Because of that, there are lots of great nooks and crannies for fish and other sea critter to enjoy. It also has protected coves with sea grass that turtles adore, and man-made structures that are encrusted with sea life. While snorkeling in Vieques might not be world-class, it is enjoyable and worth checking out while you are there.

Vieques is an island municipality of Puerto Rico, located about 8 miles east of Ceiba (on Puerto Rico’s east side). Vieques is known for its secluded, unspoiled beaches, and clear water. Many of these beaches have reefs that offer opportunities for snorkeling.

Vieques Snorkeling

We have not had a chance to snorkel every possible spot on Vieques (we have to leave something new to do for our next visit), but we have tried a few places around the island. While there are not huge underwater forests of corals stands, there are a lot of small hard and soft corals around, tons of colorful sea fans, and fish, turtles and other sea creatures large and small to be seen.

It has been our experience that the north side of the island is usually rough with waves, and therefore not conducive to snorkeling. We have found the best snorkeling on the edges of the protected coves on the south side.

Here is a list of snorkel spots that we have enjoyed …

Mosquito Pier & Playa Rompeolas

Vieques Snorkeling

When you approach Mosquito Pier, you will see a little beach on the left side. If water conditions are right, you will have flat, crystal clear water, and loads of starfish in the sea grass just feet from shore.

For more advanced snorkelers, if you go to the end of the pier (just before the locked gate), there are steps that lead down to the water. One can snorkel out to the end of the pier, where there are pilings. All along the way, there are rocks, and the water gets very deep very quickly.

Vieques Snorkeling

Among the rocks, there are fish, star fish, urchins, etc. The best spots here are the pilings, which are encrusted with hard and soft corals. Sea turtles frequent this area often (we saw a hawksbill), as well as some fish.

But there can be a current, and be careful if you choose to go under the pier as waves could raise you up and you could hit your head on the underside of the pier. Our recommendation is to stay out from under the pier.

Punta Arenas (Green Beach)

Vieques Snorkeling

Punta Arenas is located on the western tip of Vieques. Go left at the Y and park at the last spot. We went out to the reef via a sandy spot and then turned south (left) where the beach is off-limits. We saw turtles and different fish, even a stringray. We didn’t go too far, but others say that you can go all around the point. There could be a current, so be aware of that. And the road to get here is long and in bad shape.

Playa Media Luna

The reef at Playa Media Luna is on the left side of the cove, pretty far out from shore. If you don’t go out far enough, all you’ll get to see is sea grass!

Playa Caracas (Red Beach)

Vieques Snorkeling

The best spot at Playa Caracas is to the left (east) side of the cove, along the rock wall around the edge. There are lots of sea fans and fish. We went out around curve until waves and current became too much for us, we turned around and swam back to shore.

Playa Chiva (Blue Beach)

Playa Chiva has many “entrances”. We parked at parking #15 ,and went along the left (east) edge of the covee, all the way around to the next beach area. We saw lots of sea grass, and areas of coral/rock formations with lots of sea life — including sea turtles!

Playa Plata (Silver Beach or Orchid Beach)

The best area at Playa Plata is along the left (east) edge of the cove, where you can follow the rocks out around point.

Other Places on our To-Do List

Vieques Snorkeling

The old Sugar Pier in Esperanza, to see what has made a home among and on those pilings.

A copule we met on our list trip to Vieques Playa Plata had great snorkeling on the right (west) side of the cove. We didn’t get a chance to check it out.

Supposedly, the island off shore from Playuela is pretty good. We’ll have to wait and find out later.

Finally, Playa Chiva is supposedly good if you park at last spot and go around the left (east) side of the cove.

Use Caution

As always, be careful! You need to watch water/weather conditions and currents. Sometimes places that are usually calm and clear have waves and murky water. And make sure someone is watching your valuables on the beach. We usually take along a bright yellow dry bag. It lets us go snorkeling with a buddy and keeps our valuables with us and safe, and it also acts like a marker, so boats can see us snorkeling in the water.

Where to get Snorkel Gear

For snorkeling, we recommend the obvious equipment (mask, fins, snorkel), as well as a rash guard (to protect from scrapes and sunburn), a dry bag, and some sort of surface marker/buoy (so boaters can see you in the water). If you’re not a strong swimmer, we recommend that you also use some type of personal flotation device (or sit on the beach and read a book while your friends go in the water).

It’s probably best if you bring your own gear, preferably something you’ve used in the past. That way, you’ll be comfortable with the gear, and familiar with how it works.

You can buy snorkel gear on the big island at WalMart, Kmart, Sams and Costco (in season). Walgreens and CVS sometimes have a small selection, too.

There are snorkel rentals available at Fun Brothers in Esperanza, and at Black Beard Sports in Isabel II. And a number of companies have snorkel tours available from shore, via kayak, and boat trips.

Use this map to locate places mentioned in this article. You can click on a placemark to view the GPS coordinates for that place.

PuertoRicoDayTrips.com assumes no responsibility regarding your safety when participating in the activities described in this article. Please use common sense! If your mother or that little voice in your head tells you that you are about to do something stupid … then don't do it! Read more about Safety →

Comments & Discussion Leave a Comment »

There are 6 comments on this article. Add to the Discussion »

Some of them you will be able to see things standing in the water. But most will require a little swimming/wading.

Comment by Gwenn on 03 Apr 2017

we don't know swimming, does these snorkeling tours leave on the shore or you have to snorkel your way to the shore?

Comment by indianguy on 02 Apr 2017

I assume you will be on Vieques (one of the out islands of PR). I do not believe the taxis will go to Blue beach. Without a rental car, other than a long, hot bike ride, I don't know of a way to get there.

Comment by Gwenn on 16 Mar 2016

Hi we would like to go snorkeling on Blue Beach. What is the best way to get to this location? We will not have a rental car, are there taxis readily available for a trip like this? How do you recommend getting to and from Blue beach? Thanks!

Comment by Ashley M Esterline on 16 Mar 2016

We don't have any tours...we just write about our adventures here in PR and share info. You will be staying on the main island of PR....getting a boat to Vieques is possible- contact East Island Excursions, or right in Humacao there is Maragata Charters.

Comment by Gwenn on 17 Feb 2016

I am traveling with a group of college tennis players. We will be a party of approximately 15-20. We are looking for a day of sailing, snorkeling & swimming. We are staying at the Wyndham Garden Del Mar. Do you have a tour that would take our group? Is there a group discount? What would the cost be? Details? We are looking to book the trip on Thursday, March 17th. Thanks!

Comment by Kathy Torrence on 16 Feb 2016

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