Monito and Mona ISLAND

In Puerto Rico, visibility sometimes reaches 165 feet (50 meters) around Mona Island, making it home to the clearest waters in the Caribbean Sea.

Desecheo Island

This small, remote, island is about 45 minutes by boat from Rincon (a popular surfing destination) on the west end of Puerto Rico. Its relatively isolated location results in healthy, vibrant reefs. One dive site, Candyland, is particularly well named. Caves and swim-throughs are other popular features and visibility frequently exceeds 30 metres/100 feet.

Mona Island Some 60 kilometres/40 miles off the west coast of Puerto Rico,  Mona Island boasts some of the clearest water in the region with visibility that can reach more than 50 metres/165 feet. Stunning coral reefs, caverns, and vertical walls encircle the island. Large pelagics such as whales, dolphin, and marlin are regularly sighted and share the space with the usual array of reef species. The island itself has been compared to the Galapagos, thanks to its unique ecosystem and the endemic ground iguana which can reach a length of one meter/three feet. Plan for a long boat trip through the Mona Passage, but rest assured that it’s worth every minute.

Vieques Island

About 11 kilometres/7 miles east of the big island, Vieques offers clear water, coral reefs and the possibility of meeting up with turtles, spotted eagle rays and bottlenose dolphin. A variety of dive sites mean that local PADI dive shops can always find a perfect sheltered spot. Vieques and nearby Culebra Islands are relatively laid-back locations and divers can choose to either stay locally or opt for a longer (a couple of hours) boat trip from the big island.

La Parguera

Best known for its bioluminescent bay, La Parguera is a small village in southwest Puerto Rico with a reputation as a summertime water sports hotspot. A resident dinoflagellate population literally lights up the bay at night by putting on a bioluminescent show when disturbed. Other dive opportunities here include coral reefs and walls, considered by many to be the best in the region. There are also mangrove islands, which while relatively shallow, offer divers an opportunity to interact with a different and diverse cast of characters, headlined by the manatee.


As the most popular local dive training site in San Juan, it’s a great place to introduce someone to Puerto Rican diving or refresh rusty dive skills before heading elsewhere. There’s plenty to see here, but visibility can be affected by rain and bad weather, so check with local dive shops.