Puerto Rico: Scuba Diving

Coming in to the tail end of my Puerto Rico trip now. The last day’s main event was an intro to scuba diving lesson right in San Juan. This was actually at the same spot where I’d been considering going snorkeling, so it’s nice to be able to have some firsthand experience with the area to evaluate whether it would have been better to snorkel there instead of in Vieques.

The simple answer? Definitely snorkel in Vieques.

The San Juan area is basically just a little spot along the edge of a park in the city. It’s beautiful, but there are a lot of people there the whole time. (Denisa and I were in the area for about 3-4 hours.) There are multiple different companies running snorkeling and diving operations there, so you get into an area that feels fairly full of other people and groups. Beyond that, the water wasn’t nearly as clear, and the diversity of wildlife (that I saw that day at least) was much less. No turtles. No shark. No sting rays. Maybe I was unlucky, but our dive instructor also said Vieques would have been much better.

The big perk about the scuba lesson was that it was a much smaller group. It was Denisa and I and one other couple for a roughly 2 hour lesson. That 2 hours wasn’t diving the whole time: we had to get set up with the equipment, put it on, and figure out how to use it, plus go over safety measures. For scuba diving, this area was perfect. It was right on the beach and easy to get to. No need to pay money to go get a basic scuba lesson somewhere exotic. You aren’t going to be doing that much scuba diving anyway.

I had a blast doing it. I had a short lesson in a pool back when I was in . . . 7th grade? Something like that. This was (obviously) way better than that. I felt comfortable diving right away, though the amount of pressure you felt underwater took some getting used to. We were in the water for about 45 minutes, and I thought it was more like 5. They didn’t have goggles with prescription lenses, but the bottom wasn’t that far off, and since I could actually dive down, I didn’t struggle to see the things there too much. (It was also murkier, which meant I couldn’t see things farther away anyway.)

It was a fair bit more expensive than snorkeling, but the instruction was much more personalized, and after doing it, I now feel much better prepared to go snorkeling as well. I loved both, and I would happily do either again the next time I can. (Honestly, I would consider getting scuba certified even. Yes, it might be expensive, but it was just so much fun. I think Denisa’s more on the fence with it. I suppose it depends how often we end up traveling places where we could put the certification to use.)

For reference, we used the tryscubadiving San Juan outfit. They were essentially operating out of a minivan, but it all worked out, and I would use them again.

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