uerto Rico, an emerging destination for scuba divers of all levels, offers a diverse array of activities both below and above water. The island’s surrounding waters offer an adventure-filled collection of spectacular reefs, walls, caverns, cays and mangroves, all filled with marine life. What makes Puerto Rico unique is that activities are boundless beyond the ocean and the island’s diversity can be enjoyed through its history, culture, entertainment, nightlife, nature, adventure, golf and other sports. Divers can explore all the great wonders of the underwater world while having the opportunity to enjoy the authentic Latin experience of Puerto Rico.
Puerto Rico’s Diving Regions
On the eastern side of the island, the coastal towns of Fajardo and Humacao are wonderful places to dive. Fajardo offers exciting dive sites such as Superhero and Palomino Wall, where divers can explore small caverns, reefs, mini walls and channels decked in a variety of splendid corals. Off the coast of Humacao, more than 30 sites within a five-mile radius dazzle divers with beautiful caves, colorful marine life, overhangs and tunnels.
In the southwestern part of the island, paralleling the coast from Cabo Rojo to the town of Guánica, a magnificent 20 mile-long wall is abundant with marine life. One of the Caribbean’s hottest dive sites, the black coral La Parguera Wall descends in slopes and sheer drops from 60 to 120 feet before disappearing into 1,500 feet of sea. In this region, the reefs are virgin, virtually undiscovered, offering the unique opportunity to explore the waters once dominated by Spanish Galleons and Pirate Ships. Muskets, cannons and gold coins are some of the most recent finds in the area.
La Parguera, a sleepy seaside area in the town of Lajas, is also where you will find the region’s biggest draw of all: the Phosphorescent Bay. A microscopic life form called dinoflagellates, makes the water glow in the dark like an inverted sky. Puerto Rico is the only place on the planet that has three sites where you can depend on this phenomenon to occur every night, La Parguera being one of them.
On the western side of Puerto Rico, experienced divers will find small, uninhabited islands including Desecheo, located 13 miles off the northwest coast city of Aguadilla. This untouched island features 24 dive sites including a “fore reef” formation. Mona Island, another pristine treasure, is located 40 miles west of the city of Mayagüez. Divers refer to Mona as the Galapagos of the Caribbean for its outstanding underwater caverns, more than 270 species of fish, and large marine animals such as turtles, whales, dolphins and more than 60 reef fish species. In Aguadilla, Crash Boat Beach is a great location for snorkeling and night dives.
In the northern region of Puerto Rico, novice divers will find many sites from which to choose. At the Condado reef in San Juan, divers can enjoy a great variety of small tropical fish including French angels, jacks and butterfly fish, among others. Cerro Gordo, located five miles from the town of Dorado is another exhilarating beach dive, just a few yards off the shore. Near the town of Isabela, Shacks Beach features an open underwater cavern with cathedral-like displays of light and shadow.
Scuba diving in Puerto Rico is a quickly growing industry, making equipment and facilities increasingly accessible. The Hyperbaric Medical Facility, which provides hyperbaric oxygen therapy for the treatment of medical illness in a relaxed environment, is an example of how committed Puerto Rico is to this sport. Located in San Juan’s Medical Center, this facility is one of the most advanced in the world and the largest in all of Latin America, with the capacity to treat 18 people simultaneously.
Planning a Diving Trip to Puerto Rico
One of the best ways to research and prepare for a diving trip to Puerto Rico is to visit the online travel planner at www.travelandsports.com. Developed by the Puerto Rico Tourism Company (PRTC) and dive operators, the scuba diving/snorkeling section of the site provides scuba enthusiasts with an easy-to-use tool for accessing information on Puerto Rico as a dive destination. Whether amateur or expert, divers can learn more about the specific diving regions of Puerto Rico, and obtain information on diving tour operators endorsed by the PRTC, accommodations and other attractions of interest.
Scuba Diving Packages
What is the best way to spend a great diving vacation in Puerto Rico Scuba tour operators are currently offering affordable and convenient packages for divers. Scuba tour operators are currently offering affordable and convenient packages for divers. Packages are available for diving all over the island especially in Guánica, Parguera, Cabo Rojo, Fajardo, Humacao and the offshore island of Culebra. One good place to start is East Puerto Rico Scuba Diving, based in Palmas del Mar, from whom the photos on this page were gathered.
For more information about scuba diving in Puerto Rico, call (800) 866-7827 or visit the Puerto Rico Tourism Company at www.seepuertorico.com.
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