Trip Report Puerto Rico - June 2022 - Trip Report

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shopguy

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We started our trip in Seattle on June 17th, 6am flight, it was a super long day of travel and we got to San Juan airport around midnight. Getting our rental car from Enterprise was super easy/fast and after a short drive to our AirBnb in Condado, we got a nice sleep. Over the weekend we wanted to dive at Escambron while in San Juan, but I guess Scuba Dogs (dive shop) doesn't rent tanks, so the best we could do was snorkel (without snorkels since we don't carry those or dive with them) -- not so great, but the water was a warm 85, which was a nice break from the humid 85 degree air. It was still a great weekend, but would have been better if Scuba Dogs rented tanks, kind of sad that the only dive shop (without a 20+ minute drive each way) there doesn't rent tanks.

Monday we checked out of our San Juan AirBnb and drove to our AirBnb near Crash Boat Beach. We rented tanks from Crash Boat Watersports, which worked out great this trip. On a previous trip I couldn't rent from them because we only had DIN and the guy at the shop didn't know how to work his pro valves (thought if he took out the insert the air would rush out) -- this time we came ready with DIN/Yoke adapters. The tanks were like new condition and consistently 3000 psi, I would recommend this shop to anyone, but I still much prefer PR Dive if you are in that area or don't mind the drive.

We (group of 3) dove five times at Crash Boat Beach and once at Playa India (aka El Natural). See for yourself here:
The surface was much calmer in June 2022 compared to February 2021. The only other difference I noticed was that all of the sea turtles we saw in Feb were replaced with large Manta Rays in June. I guess it was nice seeing something different here, but personally I much prefer sea turtles.

The beaches everywhere were super crowded by about 10am-11am until just after sunset. Early morning diving or night diving is not crowded at all, with free and easy parking, except at Escambron where you pay $5 for the close parking (or carry your gear about 150 to 200 yards from free parking).

I booked a boat dive with Tiano Divers out of Rincon for a Friday morning, hoping to finally get to dive Desecheo Island, but they called me the day before to let me know nobody else was booked so the trip was cancelled, and even if someone did book last minute they would not be going to the island because of sea conditions. Bummer.

I tried to book a dive to the Parquera Wall with Island Scuba, but I didn't plan far enough ahead and they were all booked up (well, they had 2 spots open, and I didn't want to leave one of our group behind). Same deal with trying to book a boat out of Fajardo to Culebra, all booked up weeks ahead, I should have booked a couple months in advance. It was a much different experience in winter, no need to book ahead, your biggest risk was just that boats were not running because of lack of interest.

I'd love to return and dive the wall and more of the islands, but it is too hit/miss if you can actually get on a boat that will not be cancelled or changed, so I think two trips might mark my last visit to PR, unless someday I have my own boat or good relationship with someone/shop that does. It is a nice place for doing other stuff, but if I'm not going diving I think I'd just go to Baja Mexico for a similar experience much closer to home, and better food (much prefer Mexican food over Puerto Rican).
 

drrich2

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I tried to book a dive to the Parquera Wall with Island Scuba, but I didn't plan far enough ahead and they were all booked up (well, they had 2 spots open, and I didn't want to leave one of our group behind). Same deal with trying to book a boat out of Fajardo to Culebra, all booked up weeks ahead, I should have booked a couple months in advance.
Nice to see a Puerto Rico trip report with good detail. How far in advance do you figure one needs to book to have good odds of securing spots on a dive boat?

I'd love to return and dive the wall and more of the islands, but it is too hit/miss if you can actually get on a boat that will not be cancelled or changed, so I think two trips might mark my last visit to PR, unless someday I have my own boat or good relationship with someone/shop that does. It is a nice place for doing other stuff, but if I'm not going diving I think I'd just go to Baja Mexico for a similar experience much closer to home,
That is an interesting observation. I only had 2 dives in Puerto Rico back in 2006, and I've never dove Baja Mexico, so my next question is based on the trip reports of others. I thought Baja Mexico (well, Cabo San Lucas and Cabo Pulmo) was mostly about medium-large fish (e.g.: big schools of jacks) as opposed to tropical coral reef diving (which is what I though Puerto Rico featured, and I saw on my 2 dives - where were out of Fajardo).

So, you found the sites you dove in Puerto Rico and Baja California to offer similar diving? Or was it something else that led you to call it a similar experience?

What led you to hit Puerto Rico over other options? Just curious, as the decision-making process may be of use to others.
 

wnissen

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Thanks for the report. I believe this is the third consecutive one where Taino has not gone out. Not that I want to be the one on the boat when they should have cancelled and didn't, but it does seem like a trend.
 
OP
shopguy

shopguy

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How far in advance do you figure one needs to book to have good odds of securing spots on a dive boat?
3 to 4 weeks.

So, you found the sites you dove in Puerto Rico and Baja California to offer similar diving? Or was it something else that led you to call it a similar experience?
In this case I'm thinking about San Carlos, shore diving from Pierdras Pintas beach, and boat diving local spots and San Pedro island. I guess I'm mostly referring to water temperature (in late summer/early fall) and visibility, and about the same number and size of fish (we didn't see anything large in San Carlos either). Good point about the coral, I do love seeing the black coral off Puerto Rico. I suspect there is better diving in Puerto Rico than what I have seen also, but the difficulty of getting to the small island and wall sites causes my hesitation to return.

What led you to hit Puerto Rico over other options? Just curious, as the decision-making process may be of use to others.
In Feb 2021 it was mostly because of covid related travel restrictions, a lot of other options were totally closed or off limits to the US, and Puerto Rico only required a test before we left, which we did at home and was very easy. I've also mostly limited my search/plans to places where the water is 78F+, for my wife. Headed to Bonaire this fall, now that travel restrictions have been removed/less.

Edit/Added: In June 2022 it was my wife's birthday, and she likes the people and experience on land, and the sun and warm weather/water.

Late replies, been too busy diving at home the last several weeks, in 50F waters, without the wife.
 

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