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Puerto Rico Diving

Discussion in 'Greater Caribbean and Bermuda' started by myshadeofred, Sep 18, 2019.

  1. myshadeofred

    myshadeofred Nassau Grouper

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Virginia
    Flamingo Nudi.PNG So...I went to Puerto Rico the weekend of Labor Day flying from Baltimore to San Juan. For the Saturday dive I went with Sea Ventures out of Fajardo, which is over an hour drive if you are staying in San Juan.

    Dive center is at a marina that has a lot of tour boats not just diving so showing up on time helps with getting out much quicker. Late people made us late coming back.

    It was an all day Saturday to Culebra Island. I didn't go on the island because you needed shoes due to stickers.

    Equipment: If you take your own, you have don't get much of a discount...but I still like my gear. However, I had to carry everything for a long walk due to the boat being docked quite a distance from the shop, not to mention you can't park near the shop.

    The boat is not a small, and there were discovery divers, snorkelers and regular divers. So a little tight but not terrible for a tour company.

    Staff was friendly and they had water, soda and some snacks on board which was nice. You can bring your own as well.

    Dive guide: We had a local dive guide however, he wasn't the type to show you stuff, but if you found something he would slow up in order for you to explore. I did not have a buddy assigned however, we were grouped accordingly and he was diligently about ensuring he had everyone throughout the dive. I was the only one with a camera taking photos and he would slow so I could get my shots. Because there were a lot of vacation divers, when we would do a our turn around, we didn't have to surface all at once, those of us with air still could finish near the tag line.

    The dives: Temp was quite nice, 84, and the viz was ok for me. I am a crevice checker and nudibranch finder so I was content. Lots of decent marine life but nothing big. If you're looking for turtles and sharks...I was told it is better off Fajardo then Culebra.

    This particular dive shop is really geared towards beginning or vacation divers. So it all depends on what you want. For me I like to dive at least every 3 months and this is an easy flight for me.

    If I go back, I want to stay on the Island of Culebra and go with a charter of just divers.
    Schwob, wnissen and drrich2 like this.
  2. drrich2

    drrich2 ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Southwestern Kentucky
    What led you to go to Puerto Rico, and did you do anything fun topside? Is Puerto Rico a place you’d like to go back over other options?
  3. myshadeofred

    myshadeofred Nassau Grouper

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Virginia
    I like to take vacations where I know there is a potential for a dive opportunity even if it's cold or lake. I was offered a last minute trip to Puerto Rico tagging along with friends and did some research and seemed feasible.

    San Juan is great, I can say some of the best food I have ever had. I was only there 3 days and one was out on a boat. I love the ocean and beaches and spent time there...however, it's super humid and hot (or at least for Labor Day Weekend).
    I would go back but to Culebra, and do some solid diving there with more of a company that is just more focused to diving and not snorkeling. But before I do I would like to see other Caribbean places as this was my first. I don't mind bubble breathers...just like more options for the boat when the majority is divers.

    Still nice diving and it got me in the ocean which I need about every 3 to 4 months.

    Costs are not terrible and the diving was expensive, I guess nature of the hobby.
    Lorenzoid and drrich2 like this.
  4. ibj40

    ibj40 ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: I just don't log dives
    Location: Texas
    We've been to Puerto Rico three times. First trip was to Rincon (Desecheo and La Parguera), second to Playa Santa (La Parguera Wall), and the third to Culebra.

    The first two were land-based, for the Culebra trip we flew over. Only issue there was the weight limitation for the small plane. We actually spent the night before at the San Juan Airport Hotel, where we repacked into one bag each (we usually travel with a suitcase and two gear bags) and left our primary suitcase with the hotel.

    On each trip, we always try to stay two or three days in Old San Juan. We love the old city charm and history, and you are right, the access to great food is incredible.
    myshadeofred likes this.
  5. jonhall

    jonhall Manta Ray

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Indianapolis
    The positive I see on this is that Sea Adventures is still in business from when I was there almost 5 years ago. We stayed in Humacao on the SE side of the island and the only dive boat (supposedly) was out of the water for repair. Another op wasn't going out everyday but I had asked them to give us a days notice. They called me one morning to say they would be going out in ½ hour - we were that far away by car and I reminded them about the days notice.

    We only dove 1 day with Sea Adventures as my buddy didn't want to go back. The diving was underwhelming that day (I would have given it one more day) - dives were less than 40 minutes although I stretched the time out by being last on the boat to 43 and 55 minutes (this was just hanging out doing nothing), little sea life, and not much in the way of terrain/coral.

    Although I haven't seen much on SB lately about PR, this is the area where the better diving takes place according toast threads.

    Old San Juan is great (going back for a few days, before going on a cruise.) El Yunque, the only tropical rain forest in the U.S. National Forest system can be a day trip/tour with some great scenery/views. If diving isn't number 1 on your list, or if you happen to stay on the SW side where diving is reportedly better, PR is a close Caribbean tropical locale for people in the U.S.

    GREAT picture by the way!!
  6. myshadeofred

    myshadeofred Nassau Grouper

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Virginia
    Thank you..I enjoy sea slugs, nudies, and so forth. As for the SW side, I may do that. Cheers!
    jonhall likes this.
  7. purbeast

    purbeast Barracuda

    # of Dives: 0 - 24
    Location: Rockville, MD
    If you don't mind me somewhat "hijacking" this thread, I am curious about the diving in PR in general.

    My wife and I are going somewhere next month and PR is on the list that my wife wants to check out. I personally would rather go elsewhere, but if there is somewhere I can do some more diving there that isn't too far fro where we want to stay, I wouldn't mind going. I'm still a newb diver though.

    For now we are looking at Isla Verde section, and from what I read, it's like an hour away from the boats that take you out to dive. Do you know if there are any other places closer to that area of PR that you can go diving? I'd like to stay in the 30-50ft range just because I still want to gain more experience and confidence/comfort before I go deeper regularly.

    I was also wondering if Vieques would be something we should look into as well and I kind of have those same questions about that.

    (Sorry I did not read the full thread so if these answers are in here I will see them later - in a rush and have to run out!)
  8. wnissen

    wnissen ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 50 - 99
    Location: Livermore, Calif.
    I think there are places closer, but they tend to be more exposed to the trade winds coming from the east or slightly northeast. We really liked Isla Verde, close to San Juan, lots of restaurants, nice beaches. Vieques is supposed to be be great for general tourism and diving, but we didn't go there.
  9. ibj40

    ibj40 ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: I just don't log dives
    Location: Texas
    I'll lead with the observation that we've been to PR three times, and based on very thorough research, we've chosen not to base our diving out of San Juan.

    I'm assuming that your "hour away" refers to Fajardo. Our understanding is that the one dive shop there will only take a boat out (which will be a mix of divers and snorkelers) if they are full (or near full).

    I'm not sure if Vieques would be a good idea, either, as we understand that most of the time they take divers over to Culebra.

    We did dive Culebra, but that requires some planning in order to make it a successful trip. Of course we both have our own full sets of gear, and weight restrictions for the flight were a consideration.

    If you don't have to haul gear, taking an early flight from the Municipal airport might be a thought, but a lot of effort for just one day of diving.

    If you look at what we have posted, you'll see that if you are serious about diving, staying somewhere other than San Juan is your best bet.
  10. sunshower

    sunshower DIR Practitioner

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    OP, if you make it to Culebra, I might suggest checking out Culebra Divers. It's run by a couple of friends of mine, Trevor is very solid, will take good care of you.

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