One of our very favorite water activities here in Puerto Rico and Rincón specifically is snorkeling. It is inexpensive -all you need is a snorkeling mask and some fins. I often go out without fins because it is less of a hassle, but if I were to go out for a long session I would wear them as they help tremendously in propulsion underwater. It’s fairly easy to learn how to do too. Pretty much as long as you can swim in the ocean, you can snorkel. It takes a little bit to get your bearings, but once you’ve done it a few times it’s super simple. And it’s also something you can do basically all year round. It is sort of like the yin to the yang of surfing. They are both an ode to the sea, but in different ways.
Surfing needs waves. Snorkeling needs flat waters. Surfing is floating just above the waterline, snorkeling is just below it. Surfing needs plenty of space to move, snorkeling can be done just floating in one area if desired. Surfing is about focused power and snorkeling is about focused gentleness. Surfing is mainly about the action, snorkeling is mainly about the observation. Surfing is fast and snorkeling is slow. To me, that we have both world class surfing and snorkeling in Rincón is a perfect expression of these two complementary sides of life.
Our favorite place to snorkel is at the Tres Palmas Reserve that is right off Steps Beach. It’s a little of a challenge for some people to enter because it doesn’t have a sandy bottom, but once in, a magical underwater world opens up. It has one of the best Elkhorn coral formations in the world! And with that comes lots of fish and sea turtles too! This has been a long process of conservation and it has really paid off. It is just bustling with life as you can see in the above video. We float around completely immersed in this other world almost like spacemen with minimal gravity on another planet. And then we enjoy learning about and identifying the various strange life forms we see.
We have snorkeled some other places in Rincón, but Tres Palmas is by far the best. Over in Corcega or Almendros the waters are super clear with long sandy beaches, but there’s not nearly as many fish. The Marina can have some good snorkeling as it’s directly connected to Tres, but there are too many boats going in and out and that scares the fish away. At the balneario, there are sandy bottoms so it’s easy to enter, but pretty much only little fish like sardines.
On the other side of the point at Sandy Beach we have seen sea snakes (or maybe eels?) and a few other cool things, but it often has too many waves to have good clarity for regular snorkeling. Overall, though I always enjoy snorkeling pretty much anywhere because by simply putting on a small piece of transparent plastic we suddenly have a little window into a part of the world that is rarely visible. It’s pretty incredible and I am so grateful to live in a place with this wondrous space just under our noses.