Because of the islands size, the dive sites in Puerto Rico can be separated into discrete geographical areas. But it is not just their geographical positions that are different. The diving environment in each area has unique characteristics, giving Puerto Rico a wide variety of diving both in terms of the underwater terrain and the diving conditions.
The North and East (Area 1):
Being exposed to northerly swells, the north coast has only a few dive sites and divers staying along this coast are usually taken by road to the east coast for diving. East coast diving is easy as the sites are relatively shallow and the seas rarely rough. Fine white sand creates idyllic beaches but reduces visibility after ground swells. The diving terrain is typically gently sloping fringing reefs with both hard and soft corals, especially bushy gorgonians.
Culebra (Area 2):
Although east coast and San Juan based dive stores make occasional excursions to Culebra, the length of the boat ride (2 hours or more) means it is by special arrangement. It is easier to take the ferry and dive with a Culebra operator for a day.
The South East and Vieques (Area 3):
Diving off Vieques is on relatively shallow (usually 60 feet or less), gently sloping reefs and around coral islands. Few divers mean uncrowded and undamaged sites. Again there is a cheap efficient ferry service to Vieques, allowing you to travel across from Fajardo in the morning, make two dives and return on the afternoon ferry.
The South (Area 4):
Puerto Ricos Wall runs parallel to the south coast, within reach by dive boat. Boat trip times vary from 5 to 20 minutes to reach the Wall depending where along the coast you are diving. Well served by dive stores and resorts, the area from Guánica to La Parguera is slowly becoming recognised as a major asset in Puerto Ricos diving portfolio.
The West, Mona, and Desecheo (Area 5):
The jewels in the crown of this area are the offshore islands Mona and Desecheo. A trip to Mona needs careful planning and lots of advance warning and even then the weather may thwart your plans. Desecheo is much more accessible but the best side to divethe north westis only diveable in calm conditions. Along the west coast of the mainland there are sites a short distance from shore as well as some enjoyable beach dives.
See the book for over 100 pages describing Puerto Ricos 108 dive sites and 28 dive stores, plus lots of information about the island, aprčs dive activities, diving rules and regulations and marine life.
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