Tips and advice for making the best out of your time, while sailing in Puerto Rico.
This article summarizes the following:
- When should you should visit Puerto Rico?
- Puerto Rico sailing: Some great places where it is worth to dock
- Islands in Puerto Rico: Wonderful islands, which you should visit
- Sail in Puerto Rico! Puerto Rico catamaran sailing itineraries:
- A week catamaran sailing to Culebra island
- San Juan sailing: Sail from Puerto Rico to St. Thomas
- 14 days sailing around Puerto Rico
- Catamaran tour in Puerto Rico: 7 days sailing plan
- Marine gas around Puerto Rico
Puerto Rico is the smallest and the easternmost island of the Great Antilles and it is surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean and the Caribbean Sea. The climate is generally pleasant, balanced throughout the year. June is the hottest month in Puerto Rico, with an average temperature of 27 °C. Even in the coolest month, January the temperature is around 24 °C.
For sailing in Puerto Rico, it is important to know that the “hurricane season” lasts from June to November in this area. While the season extreme caution is required. In the winter months (November to January) the wind is typically northeast with 15-20 knot strength. Christmas winds are even stronger, often reaching 25-30 knots. From February to June, the wind eases, then it changes to the southeast direction with 10 to 15 knots; the weakest winds come in September and October. The change of the water level during tides is very small, only 12 to 18 inches (one to two feet), so it doesn’t really affect the sailing in Puerto Rico.Check the sailing conditions and wind rose diagram of Puerto Rico
If you do not have time, or opportunity to sail for a week, we can offer you some great places, which are worth visiting for a day, or two.
If you are in Puerto Rico, of course, the capital city of San Juan is a must-see attraction. Because of its friendly inhabitants, bustle and sparkling nightlife, we will surely lock this city into our hearts, which we described here.You can find here also some other ports, where it is worth spending a few hours.
San Juan Cruise Port
With two terminals, San Cruise Port is one of the largest and busiest ports in the Caribbean. The two terminals can accommodate up to 9 cruise ships at the same time. Due to its geographical location, the port is safe even during hurricane season. The port offers several services like towing, drinking water access and electricity, telecommunication services and shops. The city’s tourist attractions are easily accessible by public transport.
Marina Puerto Chico ( Fajardo )
The marina of Fajardo is located on the east coast of Puerto Rico. It is a natural, quiet coast, the depth of the water is 5-6 m. Despite its small size, it has a great infrastructure: water, electricity and refuelling are available. You can easily visit Culebra, Vieques and the British Virgin Islands from here.
Port of Mayagüez
The third busiest port in Puerto Rico is northwest of downtown Mayagüez, stretching for 6 km along the coast. The depth of the water is 8-9 m. Despite being one of the smaller ports, it can accommodate boats up to 150 m in length. The communication infrastructure is also outstanding.
Port of Ponce
Founded in the 18th century, the port is located at the southern tip of Ponce. It can accommodate smaller boats with a length of 13 m. It has a total of 26 berths, but it provides free mooring for inflatable boats. If your boat needs cleaning or maintenance, the port of Ponce is the right destination for you. Their eco-friendly attitude is also outstanding in this region.
Port of Arecibo
The port is located 80 km west of San Juan. It is an important fuel and chemical port. However, the crescent-shaped bay is only partly protected, so this destination is only recommended for experienced sailors.
Port of Guanica
Although the port of Guanica is small, the coastline is protected, thanks to its natural features. This is the best port to use during hurricane season. The maximum water depth is 7, 3 m. Technically it is well-equipped, it has a 0/24 port elevator and several fixed cranes. In addition, there is water access, electricity and refuelling.
Port of Jobos Bay
Jobos Bay is located on the east coast of Puerto Rico. It is the second-largest estuary in the country. The port is perfect for sailors looking for calmer waters. Jobos Bay has beautiful natural surroundings. Thanks to modern equipment, the port is very popular among sailors.
Guayanilla Harbour is on the south coast of the island. It is easily accessible for boats with a maximum draft of 12 m. The harbour of Guayanilla is protected by wide reefs at the entrance. The harbourmaster is responsible for maintaining order..
In addition to the main island of Puerto Rico, there are many smaller and larger islands, more than 140. Many of them have already been mentioned in this article, but there are still some more that is worth to know and discover.
It is about halfway between the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico, 66 km from the main island. It is uninhabited, the total area of a protected natural site. About two hundred caves can be found here, traces of the ancient aboriginal peoples and the Spanish explorers. There is a lighthouse, which is more than a hundred years old, and somewhat looks similar to the Eiffel Tower. The island can be approached by a small boat, as the lagoon entrance is narrow and the water is only 6 feet deep.
Caja de Muertos
This small island is located near Ponce at the southwestern coasts. The name of the island is a bit creepy (“Coffin Island”), but it refers to an old tragedy from hundreds of years ago, to a pirate’s attacks that happened here. Nowadays only peaceful turtle colonies live here.
Seven acres of a small land plot just 50 meters from the south-western coast of Puerto Rico. It’s like a big zoo. Cuban-origin iguana colony lives here undisturbed along with mangroves and agave bushes. The island gives a home to many unique bird species as well. To protect the animals, dogs and cats are banned from the island. Even tourists can enter only in limited numbers.
This is not just a title of a famous American television series, but a hidden treasure in the Caribbean. The official name is Cayo Aurora, one UNESCO World Heritage southwest of the coast, near Guanica. The crystal clear seawater here creates ideal conditions for trying snorkelling even when you are a complete beginner.
Let’s start our journey from the largest port in the Caribbean. And if we are here, let’s have a look around. The environment is impressive, the port can accommodate up to a thousand yachts, under excellent conditions. If you feel hungry before departure, you can find here a restaurant with great views of the bay. This port is not open all year long, it is closed in September, and so it is important information for planning your trip.
Day 1. Fajardo (Puerto Del Rey Marina) – Ceiba
14, 70 km (9, 13 mi)
On the first day, we will head towards Ceiba. The city can be found on the north-eastern coast of the city, and it got its name from its rich ceiba (kapok) forest. It is surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean and the Rio Grande; its capital, San Juan can be reached in one hour. We can dock just west of the docks where the sea bottom is soft and muddy.
Day 2. Ceiba – The Island of Vieques
20, 98 km (13, 04 mi)
It is worth getting up early to get to the largest member of the archipelago called the Spanish Virgin Islands as soon as possible. We are heading in a south-east direction and our main destination this day is the Mosquito Bay and Esperanza. Esperanza is one of the two cities on the island. It is located on the southern shore and it’s popular amongst the tourists, with its cosy restaurants, boutiques, and seaside promenade.
The Mosquito Bay is a must-see speciality. It has the so-called bioluminescent water, which means that water is almost continuously phosphorescent for natural reasons. About the phenomenon, which is well visible in the night. Interestingly, there is also a bay called Ensenada Honda, which is just as beautiful as the close namesake bay.
Day 3. Vieques – Culebra (Dewey Harbor)
22, 39 km (13, 91 mi)
We continue our journey to the east to reach the island, which is a true paradise for those who would love to swim. Here you can find Flamenco Beach, which was chosen as the world’s second most exotic beach in a survey. Of course, there are plenty of choices, there are nine major beaches on the island and in its immediate vicinity.
Culebra is also worth visiting if you would like to dive, or you like fishing beside sailing in Puerto Rico. The biggest experience awaits you when we arrive at the Ensenada Honda Bay. This is an eco-tourism destination and the largest local port While admiring the beauties of the environment we can have a nice meal at one of the restaurants.
Day 4. Culebra – St.Thomas
41, 41 km (25, 73 mi)
When approaching Saint Thomas, we will feel like the island is “swimming into” the sea. We should definitely head to the capital, Charlotte Amelie first. The waters surrounding the Virgin Islands can easily be accessed from Yacht Haven Grande. The dock can be reached on foot from the historic downtown of Charlotte Amalie, and we can also find one of the most beautiful beaches, Magen’s Bay in the area here.
Day 5. St.Thomas – Cruz Bay (Virgin island)
16, 04 km (9, 97 mi)
Cruz Bay leads us to the entrance of Saint John and the western part of the island. This is the commercial centre of the area which is very popular among tourists. We can find boat stops at most bays, and if we have some spare time and feel like exploring, we can visit the Virgin Islands National Park.
Day 6. Cruz Bay – Hans Lolik island – Culebrita and Culebra island
57, 52 km (35, 74 mi)
Culebrita is small, the one-mile-long coral island is a conservation area; it is part of the Culebra National Wildlife Reserve. Here you will find one of the oldest lighthouses in the country, from which you can enjoy a wonderful view if the weather is clear. We can also enjoy the beach; the most popular one is the Tortuga Beach, which was named after the island’s native turtles. If you like swimming, or you would like to try paddleboarding, the picturesque, Almodovar Bay, which mangrove trees surround, will not disappoint you.
It would be a mistake to miss the opportunity, so let’s have a restful day on Culebra. The program is nothing but enjoining the beach. Let’s explore the Flamenco Beach was, Playa Tamarindo to ourselves, and everything else that this beautiful place can offer to us.
Day7. Culebra – Arrecifes de la Cordillera Natural Reserve – Fajardo
39, 41 km (24, 49 mi)
Before returning to Fajardo, we will take a detour to Arrecifes de la Cordillera Natural Reserve. Here you will find beautiful white-sandy beaches and azure-blue sea , where you can also explore the wonderful wildlife of the 10-island archipelago.
The Journey ends in Fajardo, which is located in the eastern part of Puerto Rico. There are more than 5 docks in the city. Puerto Del Rey is among the largest ports on the Caribbean Sea; they provide great conditions and can accept a thousand boats. This is where we will begin our trip. If we would like to eat something before leaving, we can choose from great restaurants, offering a wonderful view of the bay. The port is not open during the whole year – it is closed in September – so we should plan accordingly.
Day 1. San Juan – Loiza 30, 98 km (19, 25 mi), Day 2. Loiza – Fajardo (Isleta Marina) 53, 34 km (33, 15 mi), Day 3. Fajardo – St.Thomas (Yacht Haven Grande) 76, 68 km (47, 65 mi), Day 4. Yacht Haven Grande – Red Hook (St.Thomas) 15, 84 km (9, 84 mi), Day 5. Red Hook – Hull bay (St.Thomas) 15, 12 km (9, 40 mi), Day 6. Hull bay – Culebra (Dewey Harbor) 41, 04 km (25, 50 mi), Day 7. Culebra – Playa Fortuna – San Juan 94, 80 km (58, 91 mi).
Marinas on St. Thomas:
- Benner Bay – GPS Coordinates: 18.318382, -64.866872
- Charlotte Amalie Harbor – GPS Coordinates: 18.338150, -64.939107
- Red Hook – GPS Coordinates: 18.326576, -64.848826
- Cowpet Bay – GPS Coordinates: 18.315725, -64.845299
- Hull Bay – GPS Coordinates: 18.369590, -64.953165
- Long Bay – GPS Coordinates: 18.336096, -64.921618
- Bolongo Bay – GPS Coordinates: 18.311830, -64.896309
- Elephant Bay – GPS Coordinates: 18.321052 – -64.957099
- Secret Harbor – GPS Coordinates: 18.318346, -64.852811
More information about sailing from Puerto Rico to St. Thomas
Day 1. Mayagüez – Puerto Real (Marina Pescaderia) 17, 98 km (11, 17 mi), Day 2. Puerto Real – Guanica 52, 23 km (32, 45 mi), Day 3. Guanica – Ponce 33, 22 km (20, 64 mi), Day 4. Ponce – Las Mareas 45, 16 km (28, 06 mi), Day 5. Las Mareas – Yabucoa 51, 00 km (31, 69 mi), Day 6. Yabucoa – Vieques 42, 76 km (26, 57 mi), Day 7. Vieques – Ceiba 20, 98 km (13, 04 mi), Day 8. Ceiba – Culebra 36, 77 km (22, 85 mi), Day 9. Culebra – Fajardo (Sunbay Marina) 35, 54 km (22, 08 mi), Day 10. Fajardo – San Juan 64, 70 km (40, 20 mi), Day 11. San Juan – La Boca Barceloneta 46, 16 km (28, 68 mi), Day 12. La Boca Barceloneta – Arecibo 19, 14 km (11, 89 mi), Day 13. Arecibo (Arecibo Harbor)- Aguadilla Pueblo 56, 05 km (34, 83 mi), Day 14. Aguadilla Pueblo – Rincon – Mayagüez 37, 38 km (23, 23 mi).
Day 1. Fajardo (Puerto Del Rey Marina) – Culebra 35, 24 km (21, 90 mi), Day 2. Culebra – Cruz Bay 54, 89 km (34, 11 mi), Day 3. Cruz Bay – Yost Van Dyke 13, 75 km (8, 54 mi), Day 4. Yost Van Dyke – Road Town (Tortola) 21, 28 km (13, 22 mi), Day 5. Road Town – Norman island 12, 31 km (7, 65 mi), Day 6. Norman island – St. Thomas (Charlotte Amalie Harbor) 34, 57 km (21, 48 mi), Day 7. St. Thomas – Culebrita – Fajardo 75, 97 km (47, 21 mi).
- GUAYANILLA: Depth: 9.14 m, Working time: 9-19, GPS Coordinates:17°59′52.00″N 66°45′55.00″W
- MAYAGUEZ: Depth: 11-12 m, Working time: 08-20, GPS Coordinates: 18°12′50.00″N 67°9′39.00″W
- PONCE: Depth: 7.1m – 9.1 m, Working time: 6-22, GPS Coordinates: 18°0′0.00″N 66°36′58.00″W
- SAN JUAN: Depth: 9.4 -10 m, Working time: 6-24, GPS Coordinates: 18°27′27.97″N 66°5′57.28″W
- YABUCOA: Depth: 14-15 m, Working time: 9-19, GPS Coordinates: 18°2′51.44″N 65°49′24.18″W