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Vieques Snorkeling The Ultimate Guide

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Vieques is a part of Puerto Rico. It is a small island off the eastern coast. It is easily accessible via ferry. Vieques Snorkeling is some of the best in Puerto Rico.

Snorkeling is one of the most popular things in Vieques because there are so many beaches to explore. Therefore, you will be satisfied with the many options.

You will see so much sea and marine life. When you snorkel in Vieques, you will see sea turtles, sea fans, brain coral, colorful fish, and much more! It is a great place to enjoy snorkeling, spend the day beach hopping, and enjoy island life.

Nature lovers will regret a trip here!

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Vieques Snorkeling: What to Expect

When visiting Vieques, you will find some of the best beaches, reefs, and snorkeling in Puerto Rico!

You can expect to encounter a variety of sea life. In addition to tropical fish, you may see manta rays, sea turtles, and other marine life.

This guide will give you a list of the most popular places to snorkel in Vieques, the best tours, and essential information for excellent snorkeling.

Top 8 Beaches for Snorkeling in Vieques

Two women snorkeling

Playa Rompeolas/Mosquito Pier

(4.7 Stars, 141 Google Reviews as of 10/22)

Mosquito pier goes out for miles into the ocean. You can snorkel along the pier or under it.

Under the pier and further out can get pretty deep. If you are not so experienced, use a flotation device. This snorkeling location is better for more advanced snorkelers.

The turquoise water here is clear and offers excellent visibility. As a result, it is common to see plenty of starfish, sea turtles, colorful fish, and sea urchins.

There are no bathrooms, so come prepared for that.

Mosquito Pier is a great place to pass the day and enjoy the views. The sunset here is stunning, so if you find yourself here later in the day, stay until dusk and watch the sunset.

Punta Arenas, aka Green Beach

(4.8 Stars, 42 Google Reviews as of 10/22)

The road to get to this beach can be pretty bumpy, but if you handle the rough ride it takes to get there, prepare to be blown away! However, the drive is beautiful, and you may even spot wildlife along the way, like wild horses and mongooses.

This beach is lesser known and off the beaten path. As a result, you can expect fewer crowds.

The water is calm and clear, but the sand is a bit rockier than some beaches in other parts of the island.

Not only is the view here breathtaking, but you will also see a variety of marine life. When you snorkel, expect to see rays, sea turtles, cucumber, barracudas, tropical fish, and octopuses.

Esperanza Beach

(4.7 Stars, 12 Google Reviews as of 10/22)

This beach is close to Esperanza, a town on the island’s south side. You can easily walk here if you are visiting and many restaurants nearby.

The water is very calm, and this beach does not get too crowded. It is common to have the beach to yourself most days. If you love to snorkel, you will be so pleased to find clear water with will see plenty of fish and coral.

It is also typical to see many wild horses on this beach!

Blue Beach

Sun Bay Beach

(4.7 Stars, 346 Google Reviews as of 10/22)

This beach is well-known, but you will never find a crowd here. It is peaceful and clean. The palm trees and powdery sand make this place look like a postcard!

Sun Bay Beach is an excellent place for kids. The water is clear and calm. It is common to spot fish, turtles, and even starfish!

Esperanza is close by, so it is easy to reach if you stay in town.

Secret Beach/ Playa Plata Prieta

(4.8 Stars, 176 Google Reviews as of 10/22)

This beach is remote and secluded. The ride to get here can be rocky, so be sure to have a car that can handle a few bumps, but once you arrive, it will be worth it.

This beach offers some of the best snorkeling in Vieques. The waves are so gentle that they are almost non-existent. The white powdery sand and turquoise waters make this a beautiful place to spend the day.

You will find coral, tropical fish, and even stingrays here.

There are sparse amenities, so come prepared if you plan to spend more than a few hours here.

Beach Sunset

Playa La Chiva, aka Blue Beach

(4.7 Stars, 18 Google Reviews as of 10/22)

If you are looking for a picturesque Caribbean beach, you will love it here! The water is beautiful, and the sand is soft. There are wooden cabanas with covered picnic tables, so arrive early to snag one.

This beach is excellent for beginner and advanced snorkelers because the water is shallow for quite a distance. In addition, kids will love snorkeling here. The water is super clear and calm.

There are also small islands within swimming distance of the shore. While it is not a far swim, it is probably better for Advanced swimmers and snorkelers to attempt this. So, it may be helpful to use a flotation device.

Here you will see turtles, octopuses, colorful fish, coral, stingrays, starfish, and pufferfish.

This beach does get a bit more crowded, especially on weekends, so plan accordingly.

Playa Caracas, aka Red Beach

(4.8 Stars, 608 Google Reviews as of 10/22)

Playa Caracas is great for families. The water is clear with little waves, and you can spend hours on the white sand.

A few trees and some cabanas provide relief from the sun. It rarely gets crowded here, so there is ample parking.

Snorkeling at this beach, you will see coral, colorful fish, stingrays, sea urchins, and more!

La Plata Beach, aka Silver Beach

(4.8 Stars, 52 Google Reviews as of 10/22)

This beach is the last one you can access on the island’s south side. Unfortunately, the road to get here is rocky, making this one of the more secluded and isolated beaches in Vieques.

La Plata beach is suitable for kids because the water is so shallow and gentle. You will see clear water with flat white sand and can walk out quite a distance before the water gets deeper.

The snorkeling is fantastic here. It’s an excellent place for beginners or children. In addition, you will see schools of fish and other marine life!

There are just a few trees for shade, so bring an umbrella. And there are no amenities, so be prepared for that.

Vieques National Wildlife Refuge

Map of the Best Snorkeling Beaches in Vieques

Where to Get Snorkel Gear in Vieques

There are a few places in Vieques to pick up snorkel gear. However, please note that if you come during a busy time, gear may be limited, and you may have difficulty renting. 

Black Beard Sports and Jak Water sports are shops in Vieques where you can buy or rent gear. You can call ahead for availability and pricing to know what to expect before you arrive.

If you plan to buy snorkel gear before arriving, Amazon has excellent options, or you can stop at Wal-Mart on the main island. There are plenty of Wal-Mart stores on the island, but Fajardo and Humacao are the closest locations (near the ferry). 

Also, most tours will provide gear for you, so ask when you book! Of course, you can also always bring your own equipment!

Top-Rated Vieques Snorkeling Tour Operators

There are many snorkel tours to choose from when planning your snorkeling trip to Vieques.

You can choose from tours that visit local beaches, but others will take you to small islands off the coast of Vieques.

Tours are available that also combine snorkeling with other activities like paddleboarding, hiking, and kayaking.

There is something for everyone!

Snorkeling with Sea Turtles

Best Place to See Sea Turtles When Snorkeling in Vieques

Mosquito Pier is the best place on Vieques Island to see sea turtles. Esperanza Beach is another popular place to spot these beautiful animals.

It is common to see turtles snorkeling in Vieques at most beaches. You will also see other sea life, such as starfish, colorful tropical fish, and manta rays.

Vieques’ variety of marine life is one reason people love to snorkel here.

Tips for Snorkeling Responsibly in Vieques

Here are some tips to help you snorkel responsibly and lessen human damage to the ocean, marine life, and its ecosystems:

  • Do not touch coral or marine life
  • Use reef-safe sunscreen to minimize the destruction of coral reefs
  • Do not feed fish or marine animals
  • Look down as you walk to make sure you are not stepping on coral
  • Clean up after yourself and dispose of garbage in proper receptacles

Things to Do in Vieques Besides Snorkeling

Palm Trees on Vieques Island

There is so much to do in Vieques besides snorkeling. Here are some favorite activities and things to explore while on the island.

  • Take the Playa Negra Hiking Trail to the Black Sand Beach
  • Stroll along the Malecon for incredible views of the Caribbean. Grab a bite to eat at one of the restaurants!
  • Hike the old Sugar Mill Ruins
  • Spend the beach hopping, swimming, and lounging beneath shade trees

How Do I get to Vieques?

You can reach Vieques by flying from San Juan or taking the ferry from Ceiba, on the east coast of Puerto Rico. You can also charter a private boat. I prefer the ferry! It is quick and inexpensive, but it does require a bit of planning.

Vieques Island Ferry

The ferry books quickly, so you want to head over to the ferry website to make sure you reserve your seat as early as possible. Tickets are released in advance for the following week and sell out.

Some additional tickets are available at the ferry terminal on the same day, but you must arrive at least an hour or two before they open.

The ferry is super affordable ($2 for adults and $1 for kids/seniors), easily accessible, and takes about 30 minutes!

There is a cargo ferry that brings over cars, but you are usually not allowed to bring over a rental car- check all rental care policies before attempting this!

You can ride the cargo ferry without a vehicle! So if you see these tickets available, you can purchase them without a car!

Getting to Vieques Island By Plane

If you prefer to fly, the flight is only about 20 minutes from San Juan, but keep in mind that the aircraft will be tiny, and flight options may be limited.

In addition, there are no direct flights from the Continental U.S., and you will need to catch a connecting flight in San Juan.

Ceiba Tree on Vieques Island

How to Get Around Vieques

Once you are in Vieques, you can rent a car, jeep, 4-wheel all-terrain vehicle, or golf cart. Remember that the roads to some of the best beaches can be pretty rocky and bumpy.

You will want a car that can handle unpaved dirt roads, especially if you plan to go to some of the more remote beaches.

There are taxis on the island, but they may not service far-out beaches like La Plata. So, having your vehicle will allow you to beach-hop and explore all parts of the island conveniently.

Summary of Vieques Snorkeling

There is no shortage of beautiful beaches on Vieques for snorkeling and exploring. You will find so many fun spots with so much marine life that it will blow your mind.

Vieques is a great place to stay or add on as a day trip to your Puerto Rico vacation.

Only a 30-minute ferry ride from the Ceiba, Vieques is an excellent place to snorkel as a beginner or for those with experience.

All you need is your ferry ticket and snorkeling gear!

There is something for everyone, and there are so many beaches for you to fall in love with! Vieques is the perfect place to visit if you want to snorkel at some of the most beautiful beaches in the Caribbean.

Check Out My Other Puerto Rico Guides:

4-Day Puerto Rico Itinerary

Ultimate Guide to Uber in Puerto Rico

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