Water Sports & Activities, Puerto Rico
We traveled to Puerto Rico during a time with lots of rough, windy weather and unfortunately our first plans were cancelled because of rough seas. The only trip East Island Excursions was running was the Icacos Beach and Snorkel trip. They had open spots on the boat that morning and we had our minds set on spending the day in the water so we decided to go. The boat was pretty packed with about 50 people but there seemed to be enough room for everyone to sit on the upper deck. It's a smooth ride to Icacos Beach and you get a nice view of the waterfront and mountains. The trip was well-organized and the crew had fun, laid-back vacation attitudes.
Icacos Beach is very pretty with fine white sand and has decent snorkeling where we saw reef fish, turtles and squid. It was one of the most beautiful beaches we visited on our trip. Then it's back on the boat to a much better reef with all kinds of reef fish like parrotfish, blue tangs, pufferfish, and even stingrays. Towards the end of our time there, other touring companies arrived and it got pretty crowded.
But, the biggest downside of going on a big touristy boat tour is that there are things that inevitably go badly when you have a bunch people who don't know what they're doing in the water, and some of whom don't care. We saw people feeding fish processed cheese slices and potato chips from the buffet lunch; as a result, the fish are very aggressive and some were nipping at our fingertips looking for food. Others were kicking and stepping on the coral with no real concern for their surroundings. It was hard to enjoy the reef while watching it get trashed. I hope some of these companies figure out a way to address this kind of thing before there's nothing left to tour.
I was staying in the hotel Cafe La Plage in Isla Verde for the weekend with my wife. While we were chilling out in these really cool beds that they have right on the beach, a bunch of Kite surfers went out to ride. It was really impressive to see them jumping and doing tricks right in front of us. What a show!
We later found out that although this is a very well known spot for kiteboarding, we were lucky enough to have witnessed a free exhibition of 5 Pros that came down to Puerto Rico for this special event.
Hopefully next time we'll get to try it.
(continued from above I ran out of room!)
We went on the Las Tortugas tour. Our guide Alvin was great. It was about $80 for the two of us. I highly recommend this tour. We saw other tours with people that had straggled behind their group and their tour guide just left them! Alvin would rescue them and tow them out. They also appeared very unorganized and slow, and they wouldn't pull aside to let us pass, as we would do for other companies.
There are 2 more Bio bays on the island. the brightest is on the island of Vieques, the other is in the southwestern corner of PR. It used to be the brightest, but now since so many motorboats have gone through it and killed off alot of the microorganisms, it is the dimmest of the 3. please if you go on a tour, kayak, or take a boat with an electric motor.
Check out the second link for fantastic shots of the glowing waters!
went diving in Guanica with Island Scuba. the place is hard to find but I called while driving and they helped me find it, even waited for me. English and Spanish spoken. Staff was friendly, helpful, and even emailed me pics of the dive. We saw two giant green morays, two nurse sharks, and several huge lobsters. there are lots of sponges, coral, and anemones with little fish, crabs, and shrimp to find in every crevice. I would recommend this wall dive (the place was called falling rock) and Island Scuba. there were only 6 people or so on the trip and it was quiet with no other boats. But call for directions!
I think diving in Puerto Rico must be the best kept secret of the Caribbean! There are only a few dive centers spread along 500 km of coastline. Puerto Rico is full of beautiful beaches, clear water and unbelievable healthy coral reefs. For scuba diving tours or even scuba diving lessons, i recommend to travel to the east coast.
In Palmas del Mar you will find a relatively new dive center called East Puerto Rico Diving. You can get on a diving tour to Viequez Island, dive with dolphins and manatees and enjoy dive the most beautiful dive spots of the Caribbean without bumping in to other divers. And if you are very, very lucky.. you might even have the chance to see whales!
The staff is well trained, they know their turf, and everybody is friendly and helpful.
If you're not up for scuba diving, go for a snorkeling tour. The east coast of Puerto Rico is shallow and the warm Caribbean water hosts more healthy coral reefs and tropical fish than you could ever explore in one single Puerto Rico Vacation. For me, this is not the only reason to come back to Puerto Rico. There are so many things to do here, but that is subject to another page.
Taino Divers in Rincon, PR will take you on an awesome scuba diving adventure to Desecheo Island. It's a 30 - 35 minute trip but well worth it. We actually saw some mahi, barracuda and some huge conch shells. The dive master was great, he took us into a few caves near the island and gave us a chance to really explore. Can't wait to go back.
If you go to Puerto Rico, you simply have to squeeze in some water-time.
The possibilities are endless: scuba, boogie boarding, snorkeling, surfing, snuba, para-sailing, and plain old swimming.
The NW coast, near Isabela, provides some of the most beautiful beaches and scenery I've ever seen. They are fairly clean, with great tides and plenty of room. Wonderful.
If you are a little more adventurous, go for snuba. It's a cross between scuba and snorkeling. The extensive cost and training for scuba is not necessary, but the deeper underwater exploration is still possible. There are several places on the NW and NE coastlines that provide the service. Aquatica, near Isabela, is a friendly place that will schedule an excursion if requested.
Our host at the villa suggested a snorkle trip out to Culebra, which he said was really just gorgeous, it was. He booked us with East Wind Tours, a high speed catamaran, it takes just about a half hour or so to get to the first snorkle stop at the Luis Peña Nature Preserve. On the ride out, snacks and yummy rum beverages are served. The rum punch was delicious. When you get to the reserve you have an hour or so to snorkle around, you can bring your own gear but if you don't have any, snorkles, masks and flippers are provided for you. We saw all kinds of fish, including parrotfish, trumpetfish and stingrays. Another passenger saw a sea turtle, we were not as lucky :( We also saw a barracuda, luckliy it was from the safety of the boat! We were told they won't hurt you, but they still scare the bejesus out of me, all those big teeth!) After this stop, the boat continues onto beautiful Flamenco beach, supposedly the 2nd most beautiful beach in the world, I think they said the 1st was in Hawaii. Lunch is served on the boat, and you are given a couple of hours to snorkle and enjoy the beach. After that, it's time for the return trip to Farjado Marina. I don't remember that bit so well, I fell asleep on a bench (All that rum punch!)
This was Lou's first snorkling experience, he loved it, we'll have it do it again ;)
We adventured over to the biolumenscent bay near Farjado in the Cape San Juan Nature Reserve. Most of the trips to the bay are kayaking tours, which is good because motorboats leak fuel and kill off the very microorganisms that you are there to sea! So please if you can manage it, take the kayak tour. It's a two person kayak so you will have help. Little kids and old ladies were on our trip, so certainly you can do it! The tour takes you lazily through a mangrove forest at dusk, where the guide will give you information on mangroves and the wildlife which includes iguanas and herons. Eventually the winding mangrove maze opens up to a large expanse of water. By this time, night has fallen. Follow the blinking green light the guide wears on his back. You will paddle out until you reach the middle of the bay, where you tether up to all the other kayaks and hear from your guide the history and science of the bay. As he talks, watch his feet splash in the water, you will see the beautiful sparkling blue/green of the organisms glow in the black water. After the talk, you will get a brief opportunity to have a swim in the water. Be sure not to wear bugspray with DEET in it. It will kill the little sparklys. It really is an amazing experience! We felt like the glowy aliens in the movie "Cocoon". After your swim, you will paddle across the bay to an island where the snowy egrets sleep. In the pale light, you will see the ghosly white forms of sleepy birds in the trees. Watch as they wake and soar over your head. After boating around the island, you will begin your trip back across the lake to the mangrove channel. As you paddle the fish get spooked and swim away from your kayak causing bright blue steaks in every direction through the water. It's incredible. Truly this was an experience of a lifetime!
Find a Snorkeling tour off Fajardo and they will take you to the many cays that lie off the coast. The water is beautiful and the tours will give free rum drinks and an elaborate lunch. It's the way to go!
This was the only 1 day tour that I found that gets you to Culebra fast (from Fajardo or San Juan) and gives you time to snorkel in the reef and later spend 2.5 hours on Flamenco Beach. The tour includes BBQ lunch, which is hamburgers, grilled chicken, and hotdogs. The tour includes all you can drink rum punch, pina coladas, and soft drinks. Wear your swimsuit with shorts over it, bring a towel, and clothes to change into. I must warn you that because the trip is so fast on the way over there and is against the wind, it is a very bumpy ride. I don't normally get seasick, but this time I wasn't feeling well. But the ride is only 40 minutes and it is well worth it. Anyway, the ride back is not bumpy, because it is going in the same direction as the wind. It costs $89 per person if you meet them at their marina in Fajardo. You can pay more if you need transportation from your hotel. We met them at the marina dock at 9 am and they returned us to the dock at 4 pm. I would not suggest taking a ferry over to Culebra, because you should have seen the lines. I heard that those people have to wait for 4 hours in the morning just to secure a seat on the 11 am ferry. This tour was very efficient and always on-time to take us from one place to the next. They provide the snorkel equipment for you. They also have a water hose you can use to wash off at the end of the day. They have 2 restrooms on-board - men's and women's.
You must go on a bioluminescent kayak tour while in Puerto Rico. It was amazing, something I plan to go back again in the future to see and take my children to (and I don't even have kids yet!) We were just kayaking along when suddenly the water was glowing, I cannot even explain it, it was so amazing! From what I've read and heard, there are only 5 of these bright biobays in the world, 2 in Australia and 3 in Puerto Rico. Brilliance is measured by plankton population.
The Bioluminescent Bays of Puerto Rico
• Mosquito Bay in Vieques has 750,000 plankton per gallon
• Las Croabas Lagoon in Fajardo has 500,000 plankton per gallon
• La Parguera near Guanica has less than 300,000 per gallon
We went to Las Croabas Lagoon using the hotel to book the trip. It was $70 per person which included transportation from my hotel in Isla Verde to the kayak site near Fajardo. At the time I was clueless about how to take pictures of the glowing. My pictures were all failures. Now I found this website http://www.islavieques.com/biolinks.html . So maybe someday I'll go back again and successfully get pictures.
I never really saw biobay tours advertised, maybe because they're trying to preserve the ecosystem? But I arranged my Las Croabas Biobay tour through the Ritz Carlton's concierge 787-253-1700. If you want to see an even better glow at Vieques, http://www.eastwindcats.com can get you there and back from the Puerto Rico mainland. I didn't get to do the Vieques biobay tour because there weren't enough people (should be at least 8 on the boat) and they canceled the tour.
Go sailing, deep sea fishing, snorkeling, jet skiing, swiming, tanning, you name it. My favorite time back home is Dec-March. It's nice, sunny, cool (70-80) and dry. The beaches are lonely and quiet because summer is the party time. So, if you like the beach to yourself...
This is 'mice island' in Joyuda, Cabo Rojo. It's managed by the DNR. You can take a boat to it and spend the day. You can also eat good seafood in this neighborhood. My High School friend owns a small restaurant-Miramar, there. Eat Mofongo relleno de Mariscos. While you wait for dinner, get pina coladas, or beer, and surrullitos and sit in the back and watch the sunset over 'mice island.'
Beaches in Aguadilla and Rincon are known for the surfing. These towns are on the northwest corner of the island. Here is my best friend at Crashboat Beach in Aguadilla.