Snorkeling is favorite pastime of locals and visitors alike in Puerto Rico, but if you’re ever in Rincon then Tres Palmas Marine Reserve has to be one of your stops. Trip Advisor reviewers consider it the #1 attraction in Rincon and snorkeling is just one of the things you can do there.
The Tres Palmas Marine Reserve was established in 2004 as part of the effort to preserve the rich marine biodiversity of Puerto Rico. It was a product of the community, and it was the first of its kind in the Puerto Rico mainland. It protects some of the healthiest Elkhorn corals in the world.
The Tres Palmas Marine Reserve is in the west coast of Puerto Rico, and its coral reef lies parallel to the shore for about ¾ of a mile. You may want to check out some of the areas such as Little Malibu Beach and Dogman’s Beach, but the best, most accessible and most popular area is probably Steps Beach.
It’s easy enough to see if you’re in the right area, as the name comes from the set of concrete steps right there on the beach. The road to Steps Beach is just off of Route 413, at KM 1.7, and at the end of the street there’s some parking space available.
First you’ll need some gear though. In some places in Rincon you can rent what you need, and it will set you back just 15 to 20 dollars a day. You can just ask the staff in your hotel where you can rent some gear. Some of the hotels may even have the gear you can rent. Some places may also sell snorkel gear, and this may be preferable if you plan to go snorkeling for more than several days.
The best time to go to Tres Palmas Marine Reserve starts from the middle of April to October. During these months, the waves aren’t all that huge so the visibility underwater is better. However, each day brings different weather conditions, so you need to be patient. Sometimes the waves can be huge and the water can be rough, and the next day the conditions can be very calm.
And when the water is calm, the experience is like swimming in an aquarium. The corals are truly magnificent, and the fish are spectacular. You may even get to see some turtles too.
Just make sure you go there early in the morning, as the waves become stronger as the day passes.