Snorkeling in Rincón

Posted by Cassie

Hanging out at Steps Beach before snorkeling

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.

Close up of an Elkhorn coral

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.


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5 thoughts on “Snorkeling in Rincón

  1. Barbara Schutt

    I discovered Steps Beach snorkeling on just this last trip and can’t believe I hadn’t done it before. It was amazingly beautiful with so many different kinds of coral and fish to see. Your above photos look like it wasn’t busy at the time you were there. It is a bit entertaining to watch people try to get in and out of the water :)

  2. Cassie

    Haha! Yah it can be quite entertaining watching the newbies try to enter or leave the water. We were swimming/snorkeling near the edge once as a woman from Asia who spoke no English or Spanish had a near fit freaking out slipping and sliding and we could do little to help her calm down. Con calma….It takes a little, but just go slowly and carefully.

    We try to go during mid-week when there are fewer people. On the weekends it’s just too packed for us. I am surprised when I hear people have visited Rincón but haven’t snorkeled there. It is like one of the best hidden treasures ever!

  3. Barbara Schutt

    It certainly is a hidden treasure! We snorkeled at Crash Boat by the pier and there were fish but no beautiful coral to see.

    That poor Asian woman. It can be a bit tricky to get into the water at Steps but once you figure it out, you are good to go.

  4. Nell


    Just wondering if you know what the snorkeling is typically like in early to mid March? I’ve read that the ocean can be a little rough at that time of year.

    Thanks so much!

  5. Cassie Post author

    The winter months (including March) can be a bit rougher and are generally the months for surfing. But that’s not always the case and you have to play it day by day. Good luck! The snorkeling in Rincon is fantastic!


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