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My husband and I are spending four nights on Vieques in March. We plan to spend most of our time in Vieques relaxing and visiting the many beaches. We'd like to spend some time snorkeling. I've gone only once before in Mexico and my husband has never tried it. We don't have any equipment and my husband is a little nervous about getting used to the breathing. I'm thinking that joining a snorkeling tour for beginners may be a better alternative to trying it on our own. Any recommendations for a tour that would be right for us?

Also, any "must do" activities on the island other than beach hopping and the bio bay?

Thanks so much!

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1. Re: Snorkeling


you can contact black beard sports or abes kayak tours for a snorkeling tour. im assuming you will have a car so snorkeling the left side of mosquito pier is something you can do alone.

you can check out the museum light house and art galleries. or just sit around the malecon and watch whats going on.

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2. Re: Snorkeling

Thank you for the suggestions! I'll definitely look into both of those.

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3. Re: Snorkeling

I had an absolute blast snorkeling in Vieques and Culebra last year. The great thing is that once you are comfortable, you can just about snorkel from any beach on your own time. Just walk in and dunk your head. In many cases, you can snorkel in water that is only a few feet deep, so if you need a break, you can just stand up (dont step on the coral of course!)

One tip. Invest in some good tight fitting swimwear shirts (often called rashguards). Even waterproof sunscreen can only take so much and a bad sunburn on your back is almost inevitable if you end up really enjoying the snorkeling like I did. T-shirts become transparent when wet and are too loose to be comfortable when swimming. I will be returning in April and need to buy one for myself. I found this site - havent used it, but looks like a god option. I am sure that there are many others. joediveramerica.com/page/JDA/CTGY/rashguard

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4. Re: Snorkeling

You'll find that casual snorkeling is quite easy and comfortable, even for those who aren't strong swimmers.

Get your own equipment--all you really need is a snorkel (even if you aren't going to skin-dive, I still recommend getting a dry-top snorkel) and a comfortable, well-fitted mask.

Beginners don't need swim fins (they'll just kick other people and the coral and be another awkward thing to be anxious about).

Consider investing in an inflatable vest for anxious snorkelers or weaker swimmers.

Both of our children began snorkeling when quite small, and really enjoy it.

1. Start out by wearing your mask and snorkel for a while before you even go anywhere near the water!

2. Once that's comfortable, float on your front in a pool--don't attempt to swim, just float and breathe.

3. Next step in the pool is to swim on the surface and move around a little.

4. Once that's comfortable, swim and move around a lot--splash!--time to learn how to use that purge valve.

Note: Each step of the way, you should adjust the fit of your mask and the position and angle of your snorkel so it feels comfortable.

If you are feeling brave and confident, experiment with skin-diving in the pool, too.

Now you're ready for the real thing!

Begin snorkeling in very calm water and once you are comfortable, work your way up from there.

The biggest transition is from calm, still water to snorkeling in waves.

Both kids have snorkel vests, but they don't wear them very often, unless we are swimming a long distance to the snorkeling spot.

Having a Rash Guard or an SPF shirt is really good advice, since you spend a lot of time face down unless you are skin-diving.

I like the shirts that have a little collar--they look a bit odd, but protect the back of your neck from burn. My favorite right now are the O'Neill 'Skins' Rash Guards since they don't fit so tightly and the seams are fairly comfortable.

Do remember to look up and around occasionally--it's easy to drift if you're focused on what you see underwater!

We like to get our gear from Snorkel-Mart, especially the kids' stuff since they seem to outgrow their masks every couple of years.


Call them and they will help you select the right mask for your face and tell you how to know when it fits properly.

You aren't going to get the same fit with rental gear, and the snorkels are inexpensive disposable snorkels.

If you think you'll use your equipment more than once or twice, it will end up being more cost-effective to just buy it.

So, get your gear now, go to a local indoor pool and try it/get comfortable, and then start out easy.

Somewhere we have a book on snorkeling and skin-diving--mostly written for kids, but not childish.

I think it's called Snorkeling for Kids of All Ages, but it's older, and probably not in print anymore.

There are probably other how-to books available--check your library.

A couple identification books/'field' guides might be fun for you, too.

Have fun--you're going to really enjoy it!

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5. Re: Snorkeling

Thanks so much for the excellent, detailed information! Very helpful!

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6. Re: Snorkeling

We will be arriving in less than 3 weeks for our 3rd trip to Vieques. Our first trip back in March of 2010 was our first try at snorkeling. I have pictures and links to the snorkel equiptment we used here:


On our first visit we did most of our snorkeling off of Playa Chiva. I must stress that it is most important NOT to walk out to the cay off of Blue beach. We stopped part way and rested, just like we had been seeing other people do. But this is very harmful to the young corals, not to mention the possibility of stepping on a sea urchin.

There are pictures I took with an underwater camera on that entry from our first trip.

The second trip we snorkeled off of Playa Chiva, Caracas and Puenta Arenas. I have underwater video of us snorkeling from that trip here:


There are more snorkeling clips on the blog, you'll just have to search for snorkeling. We've also got pictues of the new snorkel vests we'll be using this next trip.

IMO you'll do fine snorkeling on our own. There were schools of fish that would come within 4 or 5 feet of the beachfront on Playa Chiva. The water there is only 3 or 4 feet deep and there is some coral very close to the beach, same thing for Caracas. Nice places to get used to breathing with the snorkel. I would recommend a "dry" snorkel.

Hope this helps you some


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7. Re: Snorkeling

Thanks! Great photos/videos! They make me even more excited for our trip!

8. Re: Snorkeling

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