8 Best Snorkel Spots In Vieques (2023) – All You Need To Know

Vieques is an island located off the coast of Puerto Rico.

The calm, clear water combined with the diversity of marine life makes snorkeling on Vieques an unforgettable experience.

I lived in Vieques for several years and one of my favorite things to do was snorkeling.

Below are the 8 best snorkel spots in Vieques, Puerto Rico:

 

1. Mosquito Pier

Mosquito Pier is the most popular snorkeling spot in Vieques, and as long as you have a sunny day with calm water conditions, you will not be disappointed here.

 
 
 
 
 
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Mosquito Pier is a mile-long pier that is located on the northwestern side of Vieques, accessible by driving down and parking on the designated areas on the side of the paved drive.

The best area to snorkel is under the pier as the pillars attract many types of sea life.

You can access this area at the pebble beach with stairs after driving past the boat ramps.

However, snorkeling under the actual pier can prove challenging for beginners as the water quickly drops from around four feet to forty feet and which can make some people nervous.

 
 
 
 
 
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If you are with young children or a beginner there is still plenty to see here. Just stick to the beach at the beginning of the entrance to the pier, known as Rompeolas Beach, or Starfish Beach. 

It is recommended to snorkel under the pier with an experienced guide if you have never snorkeled before.

You can find many interesting tropical fish and stingrays swimming throughout the area. Sea turtles frequent this spot as well. Starfish are found at the beach at the entrance to the pier but don’t bring them out of the water or they will suffocate.

Check out this video of snorkeling at Mosquito Pier:

If you would rather snorkel Mosquito Pier with a guide, read our article about the 13 Best Tours & Excursions on Vieques.

 

2. Punta Arenas

Punta Arenas is a remote beach located on the far western corner of Vieques. This is a very popular snorkeling spot with good reason. 

 
 
 
 
 
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Getting to Punta Arenas is an adventure in itself. 

You will need a 4×4, high-clearance vehicle to enter this area, as the dirt road leading to the beach is very challenging. It is best to visit on a weekday to avoid boat traffic on the weekends.

 
 
 
 
 
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This beach has a diverse variety of marine life, with many people reporting seeing sea turtles and a beautiful variety of fish swimming around the reefs. Depths range from 3 to 18 feet.

Check out this video of snorkeling at Punta Arenas:

Tip: Visit this beach during the early morning or afternoon as sand flies tend to come out later in the day.

Snorkeling with sea turtles at Punta Arenas is mentioned in our 30 Best Things to Do in Vieques article.

 

3. La Chiva

La Chiva is a pristine beach located in the Vieques National Wildlife Refuge. It is continually rated as one of the top beaches in Vieques and has amazing snorkeling.

 
 
 
 
 
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Parking spots are numbered here, and each area offers something different.

The best snorkeling spots are found at parking spots #1 and #8-11.

Spot 1 offers three different reef systems on a rocky beach. Entry points are located at the east, west, and front of this beach.

You can snorkel to Cayo La Chiva from spots 10-11. There is great snorkeling here, but don’t walk on the cayo itself.

Check out this video of snorkeling at La Chiva:

Tip: The Parks and Wildlife Services have located the very poisonous Manchineel Tree at spots #13 and #20, so be aware of this when you visit.

For more information about Vieques’ most beautiful beaches, read our 17 Best Beaches In Vieques article.

 

4. Cayo Afuera

Cayo Afuera is a small island visible from the malecón (boardwalk) located in the southern town of Esperanza.

 
 
 
 
 
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This area is one of the more accessible snorkeling spots if you are traveling to Vieques and do not have a rental car. 

There is excellent snorkeling to be had, and getting there is a fun excursion.

You can reach the small island by swimming if you have lots of experience, but most people take a kayak with supplies like water and snacks to spend some time after snorkeling. You can rent a kayak from a vendor in the main parking area of Esperanza.

 
 
 
 
 
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The south side of the cayo can have rough waters, so it’s generally recommended to stick to snorkeling around the west side of this area. Bring water shoes as the area has many sea urchins.

You can find the rare elkhorn coral here, along with sea turtles, nurse sharks, and maybe even a manatee if you are lucky enough to go at the right time.

Check out this video showing snorkeling at Cayo Afuera:

 

5. Pata Prieta

This area of La Chiva was once referred to as the “secret beach” due to its remote location in the Vieques Wildlife Reserve.

 
 
 
 
 
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The best snorkeling spots at Pata Prieta are on the east and west sides of the beach. Keep an eye out for the sea fan garden and manta rays.

The water here is generally calm and clear.

 
 
 
 
 
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There is little to no shade at this beach so make sure to bring an umbrella to escape the midday heat.

Check out this video of snorkeling at Pata Prieta:

 

6. Playa Caracas

This is a beach with calm waters that is good for snorkeling with children, there are pavilions with shade making it a good place to spend the day. 

 
 
 
 
 
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The best place to snorkel is around the eastern side.

Playa Caracas is a part of the Vieques Wildlife Reserve, and the most popular destination inside the reserve as it has some facilities and it is the first stop off the main road. There are also BBQ pits and restrooms.

This beach is very popular on holidays, so if you are planning your trip during a holiday take note you will probably want to join in the festivities.

Check out this video of snorkeling at Playa Caracas:

 

7. Esperanza Sugar Pier

This is the most accessible place to snorkel on the list if you do not have a rental car.

You can access this area directly from the Malecon in Esperanza, on Vieques’ southern shore.

 
 
 
 
 
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The historical pier serves as a reminder of the Vieques’ sugar industry which was booming prior to the 1940s. 

Many people walk out over the pier and jump off to start their snorkeling adventure. Different types of fish call this area home as they feel protected by the pillars of the old sugar pier.

Because this is one of the most populated spots on the list, I recommend getting to this spot early if you want to have privacy as the area fills up with visitors and fishermen later in the day.

Check out this video of snorkeling at Esperanza Pier:

 

8. Bio Bay

While you can’t snorkel in the bio bay, no list mentioning water sports in Vieques would be complete without talking about Mosquito Bay, the world’s brightest bio bay.

There are only five bio bays in the world, and three of them are in Puerto Rico. 

This once-in-a-lifetime experience could be the perfect way to end a day of snorkeling.

Check out this video of Mosquito Bay:

Check out our article about Bioluminescent Bays to learn more about this majestic spot.

 

 

FAQ section

Is there good snorkeling in Vieques?

Yes, you can find a huge diversity of sea life and snorkel for every experience level on Vieques.

Where can I see sea turtles in Vieques?

Mosquito Pier and Punta Arenas are areas where sea turtles are spotted most often in Vieques.

How do you snorkel in Mosquito Pier Vieques?

Drive to the parking area before you reach the end of the pier, climb down the ladder and swim out under the pier. This is only recommended for experienced snorkelers because of how deep the snorkeling area is, however you can find wonderful shallow snorkeling at Rompeolas Beach located at the entry of the pier.

 

Final thoughts

Vieques has many great snorkel spots. 

My favourite snorkel spots in Vieques are Mosquito Pier and Punta Arenas.

Before you arrive in Vieques, you can purchase snorkeling gear at any of the large stores that offer sporting equipment in Puerto Rico or bring it with you in your luggage. 

Several shops in the town of Isabel II offer snorkeling gear, and you can find it at smaller stores on occasion such as the Green Store in Esperanza or Mambo in the center of the island.

Read our article on How To Get To Vieques From San Juan to assure your trip goes smoothly.

Puerto Rico is a snorkeler’s paradise, so be sure to check out our article 25 Best Snorkel Spots In Puerto Rico for more amazing snorkel spots around the island.

Article by

Brittany Ashford

Writer at PuertoRico.com. After living in Puerto Rico for seven years, I opened a guesthouse in Rincón and welcomed over 400 guests to the island from around the world. When I’m not writing about travel or spending time with my dog, I’m working towards becoming a pilot with dreams of flying around the islands.

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