Puerto Rico’s capital city, San Juan, is the beating heart of the island. It’s a hub for culture, food and drink, nightlife, and shopping. Visitors are enthralled by San Juan’s historic forts, fascinating art museums, and tropical beaches located right in the city. There’s no need to choose between the amenities of a city and the serenity of a beach town – you can have them both in San Juan! That means activities like swimming and snorkeling are right at your fingertips. In fact, some of the island’s best snorkeling beaches are either located in San Juan (maybe even walking distance from your hotel!) or are just a quick day trip from Puerto Rico’s metropolis.
San Juan Snorkeling Beaches
Don’t worry about traveling around the island – some of Puerto Rico’s best snorkeling beaches are a short walk from the San Juan city center, and there are several tours that can help you make the most of your time at the city’s main beaches.
Playa El Escambrón
Located just five minutes away from Luis Muñoz Rivera Park and several dining options, Playa El Escambrón is a great choice for families with young kids who want to experience snorkeling for the first time. This metropolitan beach is located right by the Caribe Hilton Hotel for easy access. Plus, it’s within walking distance from Old San Juan! El Escambrón is protected by rock and coral formations, sheltering it from the rough surf of the Atlantic. The coral formations also make for very exciting snorkeling, especially for families who want to get up close to the coral and its inhabitants with little effort. Looking for more challenging snorkeling? Walk east of Luis Muñoz Rivera Park and you’ll come to another part of the beach known as Playa 9. Here, you’ll find less crowds and a deep drop-off next to the concrete boulders where you can find more fish.
While this scenic beach is one of San Juan’s top snorkeling spots, it’s also the perfect place to get away from the city and relax in the shade. There are direct transportation options from the city as well as free parking. When you’re done with snorkeling for the day, be sure to check out Luis Muñoz Rivera Park, where you can take the kids to the playground or find a quiet bench to enjoy the scenery.
The Condado district of San Juan offers an array of beachside restaurants, shopping boutiques, and even casinos, all within walking distance. Condado is also home to one of San Juan’s most popular beaches, Condado Beach. This beach certainly has more of an urban feel, with high-rise hotels and bars lining the shore. It’s also important to note that the water here has stronger tides, so it’s not suited for young snorkelers.
Ocean Park Beach
Ocean Park Beach stretches along the coastline of Condado, offering plenty of spots to lay out your beach towel, plant your toes in the sand and relax in the sun. This beach is known for its crystal clear waters, making it great for snorkeling! There are some reefs located about a half mile offshore. To snorkel at these reefs, rent a kayak or paddleboard to get out past the waves.
While Playa El Escambrón is certainly your best bet for snorkeling in San Juan, you can make any beach a snorkeling spot if you pack a mask and snorkel in your beach bag! There are also snorkeling day tours from San Juan to nearby spots like Cayo Icacos. Explore snorkeling tours and start planning your trip today.