Written by Scuba Instructors ~ DIVEIN.com’s Complete Guide to:
The Best Diving In Puerto Rico In 2022
Puerto Rico should be on just about everyone’s bucket list. It’s one of those destinations where the old world is intertwined with the modern.
This island is located at the heart of the Caribbean and offers some of the most incredible sightseeing and adventures fin the area. The mountainous land is brimming with a rich history, vibrant culture, delicious food, and beautiful beaches. Whether you visit for a weekend or a month, you will soon feel right at home.
The people of Puerto Rico are extremely welcoming and will surely make you feel as part of the family. There are plenty land-based and ocean related activities to keep you mesmerized for the duration of your trip. If not everyone on your trip is a diver, there are ample surfing spots and nature trials for them to enjoy.
Best Time to Visit Puerto Rico
The islands are warm weathered and stunning all year round, but the best time to visit Puerto Rico is November to December. Although June to November is equally beautiful. This period is just before the heavy tourist season, has warm water, and good weather perfect for visiting beaches and diving.
The average air temperatures in Puerto Rico range from low 70 °F to 83 °F, while the water stays between 79 °F and 84 °F. This means, all you will need is a 3mm wetsuit and some reef friendly sunscreen to dive some of the most beautiful sites in the Caribbean.
Fortunately, Puerto Rico only gets hurricanes rarely. The last two severe hurricanes were in 2017 and 1931. Even so, hurricanes come with plenty of warning so there is no need to worry about your trip.
The 15 Best Dive sites in Puerto Rico?
This underwater paradise is located a 50-mile ride from the coast of Puerto Rico and promises to be one of the best dive locations you have ever visited. It’s a great location to visit when on a liveaboard boat since day-based operators rarely venture this far out. The Mona island is at a spot where the Atlantic Ocean and Caribbean Sea unite bringing together amazing sites. The currents can be strong, but the clear water with almost 165ft of visibility makes up for it.
- A dive site attracting incredible megafauna
- Some of the best visibility in the Caribbean reaching 165 ft.
- A beloved dive destination for travelers on liveaboards
What you will see: This incredible dive destination promises visitors an incredible variety of caves with astonishing collections of wildlife. The strong currents attract a large variety of large animals, including sharks, humpback whales, turtles and more. While the biodiversity is similarly diverse as the Galapagos, it has the additional benefit of having warm waters. Enjoy your dive among the spectacular coral including hard and soft varieties.
If you enjoy exploring swim throughs and caves, then this is the ultimate dive spot for you. Las Cuevas translates to caves, and this dive site is filled with canyons and arches. See how many you can swim through and what creatures you can find in this dive site.
- There is a triangular looking window that looks like Darth Vader’s Mask
- A great spot for beginner divers to explore
- The caves and swim throughs promise sightings of unique critters
What you will see: Caves provide ample shelter for many marine animals who enjoy the safety of this natural topography. Check out how many moray eels, shy shrimp, camouflaged crabs, lobsters, species of bony fish, and sand dwelling sharks. Bring an underwater torch to get the best possible views of these critters. Invertebrates particularly enjoy the small cracks and crevices and can be easily seen by their reflecting eyes from the torch light.
This incredible Candyland of a dive site promises divers exquisite views of mesmerizing collections of coral and accompanying marine animals. There is a large funky shaped coral mound inviting divers to the center of the dive site. It is a relatively shallow dive site that allows intermediate level divers to take advantage of the stunning landscapes. Grab your camera and try and capture some of the bright colors found here.
- Thriving reef with large collection of coral species
- The Gigantic Sea Fans here make great subjects of underwater photographs
- Large amounts of reef fishing swimming around this dive site
What you will see: This dive site is well known for its rich collection of coral. The bright colors are fascinating to watch on the intertwined soft, hard corals, and large sea fans. There are lettuce corals, sponges, with darting tropical fish among them. See how many butterfly fish, damsel fish, bat fish, trumpet fish, moray eels, and dancing parrotfish in the clear warm waters.
This wall dive features a sandy slope that descends from 15 ft down to 80 ft. It has dense and thick coral cover and offers divers the chance to spot some truly rare marine animals. This dive site is located on the eastern side of San Juan.
- Manatees have been spotted at this dive site
- This dive site has plenty of healthy coral cover to swim through
What you will see: The dive site is covered in brightly colored corals and has large collections of gorgonian fans, sponges, and hard and soft corals. There are also plenty of hawksbill turtles, and eagle rays. While dolphins are regular visitors to the area, they are typically spotted form the boat during a surface interval.
The black wall dive is famous for all divers since it is a dive site on an impressive 22 miles long of thriving coral reefs. This wall dive descends from 60 feet to well past the recreational limits and is well suited for intermediate and advanced divers. The wall is covered with astonishing coral growth including black coral, black and red gorgonians, and massive purple tube sponges. The whole cacophony of colors provides an impressive backdrop to your deep dive.
- The unique and rare black coral covers the slopes of this wall
- This deep wall dive is a great spot for intermediate and advanced divers
- This dive site usually has fantastic visibility
What you will see: Some of the most common species of fish you may see include Hogfish, triggerfish, trumpetfish, and rays swimming around. If you are lucky, you may also see some turtles or occasional pelagic fish. This dive site has been featured in the Scuba Times, the PADI underwater journal along with plenty of TV documentaries!
One of the most densely fish populated spots, the Cayo Raton is a semicircular reef. It begins at a shallow depth and descends all the way to 60 feet. What really sets this reef aside from many others, is that the visibility can frequently be over 100 feet! This reef has a rich biodiversity of coral along with resident fish.
- Frequently has some of the best visibility in Puerto Rico
- Beautiful coral reefs thrive in this semicircular reef
- Well suited for intermediate level divers
What you will see: This coral reef is the home to plenty of queen angel fish to butterfly fish. There are also large schools of parrotfish and horse eye jacks that swarm around divers. If you look closer at the sandy patches near the reef, you will find camouflaged peacock flounders.
This dive sit is most well-known for a large amount of nurse sharks living in the area. The depth is around 75 ft and features plenty of opportunities for intermediate level divers to explore this beautiful reef.
- Popular hangout spot for Nurse Sharks
- Great visibility and opportunity to see barracuda and other pelagic fish
What you will see: Along with coral reef and its common residents include nurse sharks and other pelagic fish. Expect to see the occasional barracuda, jacks, and other fish in the blue. There are also plenty of healthy corals around and fantastic visibility.
This dive site is an explosion of coral and life. There is a canyon carved out of a wall where gorgonians have taken over. This is a relatively deep dive where the reef begins at a depth of 55 feet and drops down to 100 ft. Along your dive you will be swimming among whip coral, large golden zoanthids, green finger sponges, and rope pore sponges.
- Beautifully healthy dive site with magnificent coral
- Great spot for intermediate and advanced divers
- Bring your camera to capture the beauty of this dive site
What you will see: This dive site offers plenty of spots for many reef fish to swim and hide, along with cracks and crevices for invertebrates to hide in. There are brightly colored crabs, cleaner shrimp, and starfish. There are also large black coral forests where slipper lobsters, schooling black surgeons, and striped parrot fish live.
One of the easiest dive sites in Puerto Rico best suited for beginner divers. The reef is located at a shallow depth of 20 to 40 feet and is close to the shore. The topography here features elkhorn and staghorn coral. There are also plenty of colored sponges attracting brightly colored reef fish.
- Unique topography featuring cuts, and chasms with abundant camouflaged fish life
- Fantastic dive site for beginner divers
What you will see: Along with magnificent coral, here you will see plenty of nurse sharks, mackerel and other pelagic fish. You can also expect to see some moray eels, camouflaged sting rays, butterfly fish, and sea snakes. The abundance of marine life makes this a fantastic and easy dive site for new divers to become acclimated to their diving adventures.
This is an easy shore dive off one of the most beautiful beaches in Puerto Rico. Crash Boat is a loved destination for locals and travelers who visit the town of Aguadilla. The dive begins from the old navy pier that stretches out from the beach. There tends to be no current in the area and provides fantastic visibility.
- A fantastic dive for novice divers or ones in need of a refresher
- The old Navy pier attracts a large amount of fish and invertebrates for shelter
What you will see: The navy pier attracts a whole variety of marine life to it including plenty of coral, reef fish, and the occasional turtle. Both divers and snorkelers alike can enjoy this thriving marine ecosystem. So, use the shallow depth and great visibility to snap photos of hard and soft corals, along with large collections of reef fish.
If you are looking for a truly untouched reef to take you back in time, then this is the dive site for you. It is a shallow dive site with a maximum depth of 60 ft. It is a spur and groove reef, with most of its corals in pristine condition. Dive guides know this site well and will be able to show you some old Spanish anchors among the rock and reef.
- Great dive site for beginner divers
- You will have the chance to see some Spanish ship anchors laying on the ocean floor
- Corals here are in pristine condition
What you will see: This dive site is the home to many thriving corals who are the foundation for thriving underwater habitats. Another highlight in the area are the historic Spanish anchors that were left behind by ships in the past. There are also large groups of gray angel fish, butterfly fish, damsel fish, and more!
This dive site is one of the most popular dive sites, along with Mosquito pier. It is located along the breakwater on the north side of the island. There is plenty of sheltered water with minimal current, where beginner divers can frolic, while certain areas are best suited for advanced divers. The shallow parts of the reef are also snorkel friendly and offer sites of thriving marine creatures.
- This dive site is snorkel friendly
- You have a big chance of spotting resident hawksbill and green turtles in the area
What you will see: Sea turtles are common residents in the area and are frequently spotted by divers. You will also have the chance to see some eagle rays gliding through the blue water, sting rays, moray eels, and Caribbean lobsters. This reef has just about every species of fish found in the Caribbean waters with exquisite visibility and minimal currents. Bottlenose dolphins also can be spotted from onboard your boat or directly off the beach.
This uniquely shaped dive site is a 45-minute trip from La Parguera and is one of the “most sought-after destinations” in Puerto Rico according to Scuba Diving Magazine. It’s a V shaped notch in the wall where a large coral covered boulder broke off and formed a pinnacle. The dive site has steep drop offs descending well past 100 feet. It provides spectacular opportunities for photography, deep diving, and challenging dives. It is only a 12-minute boat ride from Playa Santa, making it a great day trip!
- Great spot to spot open water animals such as barracudas and spotted eagle rays in the deep blue
- Well suited for advanced divers
- Large collection of reef fish aggregate around the colorful coral
What you will see: The wall where you begin your dive is covered with coral with a magnitude of marine animals. Crabs and other invertebrates hide among the coral structures while reef fish swim around in the blue. There are plenty of Chromis around along with Caesar grunts, schoolmasters, and Spanish Hawkfish. Once you are near the deep descent you are also more likely to spot ocean triggerfish and pelagic including mackerels, jacks, barracuda, and spotted eagle rays.
Three Rocks Horse Shoe
This dive site is in the shape of a horseshoe and features a narrow ledge, for beginner divers along with deeper sections for more experienced divers.
- This dive site is suited for divers of any level
- There are two sunken cannons divers can explore
- Resident Moray Eels live here
What you will see: This dive site features a healthy shallow reef where plenty of nurse sharks, lobsters, and reef fish live. There are two sunken historic cannons and communication cables that have now been covered in coral growths. They provide a unique photo op.
While this is one of the most highly prized destinations from Puerto Rico, Sail Rock is part of St. Thomas. However, it is such a great dive, that you should consider doing it! It’s located 10 miles from Culebra. The pinnacle begins at a depth of 140ft and offers great visibility. There are large schools of fish that swirl around the pinnacle, along with plenty of other marine animals. To reach this dive site, there will need to be calm weather conditions to travel the distant.
- A fantastic pinnacle with abundant marine life in St. Thomas
- Great chance to see eagle rays and large sharks
- The weather needs to be calm to allow boats to reach it
What you will see: These massive pinnacles in the middle of the deep blue always attract large numbers of marine animals. At this one, you can expect to see large schools of jacks, swirling barracudas, and even some jacks. If you keep your eye out into the deep blue, you will be able to spot some sharks or a small collection of eagle rays.
Diving in Puerto Rico
The dive sites around Puerto Rico offer a large variety of diving opportunities. The southern coastal town of La Parguera are incredible, while the isles of Desecheo are world class. Each of these locations has dozens of dive sites the guides can take you to.
Mona Island is particularly renown for incredible visibility, often reaching 165 ft. It is situated on the western side of Puerto Rico and has a large collection of caves, walls, and reefs teeming with wildlife. The area has been considered the Galapagos of the Caribbean due to its rich biodiversity and marine fauna.
The country is also famous for its bioluminescent bay in the southwest of Puerto Rico in Parguera. This is thanks to the dinoflagellate population that puts on a nightly show.
Did we miss your favorite dive site in Puerto Rico? Drop us a line below and tell us about it!