The great thing about snorkeling is that you can do it almost anywhere. Deb talks about snorkeling in a foot of water right at the shoreline in a calm section of La Chiva, seeing all the tiny fishes and plants at the edge of the water. Another thing I will say is that sometimes the greatest snorkel spots are just cloudy. Maybe it rained the night before, or maybe the wind and waves are coming off the same side of the island you’re on, stirring up sediment. I’m the first one to bail out on a snorkel, when you can’t see a foot in front of you, or when there are jellyfish, or both. The solution? Go to the other side of the island and your luck will likely improve quite a bit. And to prevent a bad experience, simply use your eyes before going in. Can you see the bottom from the shore more than a couple feet down? If not, the snorkeling probably isn’t going to be very good. So, pretty much any beach can be snorkeled from, except maybe Navio or some other rare beach with rough conditions.
One of our favorites on the north side has been the right side of El Gallito, and around the rocks at Airport Beach, where you will see the whole aquarium of fishes, and maybe a lobster or two. On the right day, Starfish Beach is really nice around the pilings toward the west – we’ve seen rays, turtles, and all kinds of fish there. From Starfish, it’s easy to hop in the car and go out to the deep water of the pier if you like. Punta Arenas is also very popular with everyone in Vieques, and for good reason.
Of the south beaches, we really love to snorkel around the Sugar Pier at Playa Esperanza – I saw a goliath grouper there, a really big boy; there are plenty of other fish and rays in this area as well. We’ve also had a great time at La Plata around the rocks on the left, over toward Platita, seeing conchs cruising around the bottom. Because it’s so huge, La Chiva pretty much has everything, and snorkeling is really good there as well. La Chiva’s Punta Galindez has some good underwater exploring, as does #14 around the rocks to the right. La Chiva #7, straight out, has a nice small reef and if you continue out to the cayo, there are a lot of great things to see.
But with a twisted arm, we have to give up Pata Prieta as our Favorite Beach in Vieques, for snorkeling. We loved what we saw underwater there, way out around the rocks at the point on the right (it’s a bit of a swim, or a semi-scary climb from the rocks near the point). There were Yellowtail Snapper, Lobster, and beautiful little Blue Tangs, Angelfish, Grunts, Parrotfish, etc. Friends have told us there is more to see on the left side as well, so we’re heading back to Pata Prieta soon to see more!