Sailing and Boating Near Puerto Rico

Puerto Rico's visitors have plenty of places to enjoy island sailing

Photo credit: © Olga Bogatyrenko | Dreamstime.com
 

Warm weather, calm waters, and beautiful islands to visit make the Caribbean one of the world's top sailing destinations. As an island in the Caribbean Sea, Puerto Rico benefits from these conditions.

Vacationers looking to spend some time at sea during their Puerto Rican vacation have plenty of options, from enjoying a night on a party boat, to chartering a yacht to sail into the island, to renting a simple boat for a day of relaxation and water sports.

Boat Trips and Day Sailing

Many of Puerto Rico's vacationers want to spend some time at sea, but aren't willing to commit such a huge portion of their trip to sailing. These people are better suited to renting a boat for a few hours or so. Day rentals are great for relaxation, fishing, water sports, sea tours, and for pulling into secluded little cays for a private swim.

The following types of boats are typically available for day rentals:

  • Waterski boats. These are small vessel that hold up to five people. They are ideal for short tours and water sports.
  • Family cruisers. They seat six people, and include a cabin for food preparation and shelter from the sun.
  • Runabout. This vessel will be roomy enough for eight passengers, and include a cabin that 2 to 4 people can sleep in, as well as a food prep area.
  • Cruiser. The Cruiser seats and sleeps up to 10 people. This vessel provides a comfortable setting for multiple days at sea.

If you merely want to spend some time on the water, without the stress and cost involved with renting a boat you can take an excursion. Take a look at the chart below for names and phone numbers for area day sail providers.

Boat Excursions
Name Phone Location
Capital Water Sports Sailing Charters (787) 823-2789 Rincón
Castillo Tours (787) 791-6195 101 Calle Doncella - Condado District
Catamaran Getaway (787) 550-3138 Villa Marina Yacht Harbour - Fajardo
Coastal Marine Boat Tours (787) 310-8458 La Parguera
East Island Excursions Sailing (787) 860-3434 Puerto del Rey Marina - 3.4 mi. (5.4 km) South of Fajardo
Erin Go Bragh (787) 860-4401 Puerto del Rey Marina - 3.4 mi. (5.5 km) South of Fajardo
Fondo de Cristal (787) 899-5891 Route 304 - La Parguera
Katarina Sail Charters (787) 823-7245 Black Eagle Marina - Rincón
La Paseadora Cruise to Monkey Island (787) 316-0441 7.4 mi. (11.9 km) Northeast of Humacao
La Rumba Party Cruises (787) 375-5211 Old San Juan
Maragata Yacht Charter (787) 850-7548 Palmas del Mar Yacht Works - Palmas Del Mar
Sail Old San Juan (787) 340-7567 San Juan Marina - Miramar
Sail San Juan Bay (787) 667-7778 482 Avenida Fernandez Juncos - Viejo San Juan
Salty Dog (787) 717-6378 1 El Batey, Calle 1 - Fajardo
San Juan Water Tours (787) 624-6295 Pier 6 - Viejo San Juan
Serenity Sea Tours (787) 435-1358 Marina Puerto Chico - Fajardo
Spread Eagle II (787) 887-8821 Villa Marina Yacht Harbour - Fajardo

Boat Rentals and Charters

There are plenty of different charter companies serving the Caribbean. To help differentiate between them there are a couple of classifications. Larger companies and smaller companies alike offer travelers most of the same services. However, smaller companies often choose to stay small to promote a closer company/customer relationship, while larger companies may have the best ability to care for the customer in the event that, for example, a ship suddenly becomes unavailable. The larger fleet of larger companies more easily provides a replacement ship.

Companies can also be defined by their "tier." A first-tier company has the newest boats, often with the most extras - but don't be confused by the name, tiers have nothing to do with a company's quality or service. These first tier companies do not use boats older than four or five years. Usually second tier companies pick up these older boats from first tier companies, but these second tier shops tend to have fewer extras and a lower cost.

If you're serious about a boat charter, you can contact one of the following firms:

Charter and Rental Services
Name Phone Location
Rincon Sailing (787) 421-4700 Rincón
Sail Caribe (787) 889-1978 Ceiba
Sea Wave Charters -- Fajardo

Chartering a boat leaves travelers with a few options. Experienced sailors may wish to charter a bareboat, while others would prefer a crewed charter. An option for sailors who want to have the chance to try their hand at sailing the Caribbean but aren't experienced is to book a skippered bareboat.

If chartering a bareboat, travelers will often be required to show credentials. Some companies may, based on a traveler's experience, insist that they hire a skipper for at least the first couple days of their journey. This can also be a help if travelers are unfamiliar with the region. There are two types of bareboat charters. A voyage charter is when the owner of the boat accompanies on your trip (still giving you full control of the vessel), but if you take the boat out free of the owner it is called a demise charter.

Chartering a crewed boat means you'll have captain and crew, including a cook; you can sit back and relax. However, remember that the captain has final say. If anything, such as inclement weather, should come up to cause problems with the intended itinerary, the captain will need to change the plans. He or she can help you find a suitable itinerary.

Somewhere in the middle of the two is a skippered charter, in which a skipper is present on the boat to help you with anything that may come up. This is ideal for sailors who are experienced, but don't feel comfortable traveling through international waters alone, or prefer to have someone familiar with the area in their presence.

If you're traveling in a group too large to fit on one boat, with numerous experienced sailors, flotilla sailing is an option to think about. In flotilla sailing a group of boats sail in the same course, led by a hired captain who is very knowledgeable about sailing and the area. Other members of the group with sailing experience skipper the other boats.

When chartering a boat, you will also have to decide exactly which type of boat you'd like to travel aboard. The most common options are yachts and catamarans.

Traditionally, the yacht has been the most popular chartering choice. A yacht is a single hull luxury craft that ranges from as small as 20 feet long to as large as hundreds of feet long. Dingies, pocket yachts, and cruisers are all different types of yacht that are named for their sizes and the amount of time one could remain comfortably in them at sea.

Newer to the scene is the catamaran, which differs from a yacht in its maneuverability and the fact that it has two hulls. Catamarans are also known to be designed with the comfort of the passengers in mind.

Individual Charter Boats
Name Phone Location Island
Sail Puerto Rico (787) 645-9129 Porto Chico - Central Fajardo Puerto Rico

Many charter companies also offer passengers the ability to have food provided by the charter company for an additional fee. While this may be more expensive than providing your own food, it will often be more convenient. However, should you provide your own food remember that you will need to feed the crew as well as yourselves.

Docking

There are several ports of entry for Puerto Rico, however, sailors should be aware of the island's unusual status as a Commonwealth of the United States. Despite its political affiliation with the U.S., travelers sailing to Puerto Rico from the U.S. must still gain clearance from customs. Since September 11, 2001 there have been some changes to the security measures for port entry into the United States and its territories.

Boats arriving from outside of Puerto Rico's territorial waters should contact Customs 24-hours ahead of time at any of the following telephone numbers:

International Sailing - Puerto Rico Contact Information
LocationHoursPhone Number
San Juan Monday - Saturday:
8:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.
1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.
787-729-6850
787-729-6802
Fajardo Monday - Saturday:
8:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.
1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.
787-863-0950
Mayagüez Monday - Saturday:
8:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.
1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.
787-831-3368
Ponce Monday - Saturday:
8:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.
1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.
787-841-3130
U.S. Customs Service (after hours) After business hours, Sundays, and holidays 787-253-4538

Non-U.S. residents must obtain a visa for entry to Puerto Rico, as they would for entry into the U.S. Travelers should request a multiple-entry visa when traveling from the U.S. Virgin Islands or other U.S. territories.

Sailors may pick up a free 12-month cruising permit in the U.S. Virgin Islands. If you do not get one there, you will have to buy one when you arrive in Puerto Rico. The cost is $37(USD) for non-U.S. ships and $25(USD) for U.S. ships. This fee exempts sailors from other customs charges for one calendar year. Overtime fees will be charged outside of the working hours 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Monday through Saturday.

Are you going to sail to Puerto Rico in your own vessel, or a charter from a different location? Check out the table that follows to get summary information concerning area marinas.

Marinas
Name Phone Location
Aguadilla Town Docks -- 2.0 mi. (3.2 km) North-Northwest of Aguadilla
Arecibo Yacht Club (787) 878-8465 2.6 mi. (4.2 km) East of Arecibo
Bahia de Guanica Dock -- 8.1 mi. (13.1 km) East of La Parguera
Black Eagle Marina -- Rincón
Boqueron Bay Marina -- 9.6 mi. (15.4 km) West-Northwest of La Parguera
Boqueron Yacht Club (787) 851-1336 Boqueron
Cana Gorda State Park Docks -- 2.9 mi. (4.6 km) Southeast of Guánica
Cangrejos Yacht Club (787) 791-1015 Isla Verde
Caribbean Images Marina (787) 244-6283 3.0 mi. (4.9 km) South of Ponce
Cayo Obispo Marina (787) 643-2180 Isleta Marina Resort - 1.8 mi. (2.9 km) East of Fajardo
Club Deportivo Marina (787) 851-8880 Club Depotivo del Oeste - 7.5 mi. (12.0 km) South-Southwest of Mayagüez
Conquistador Beach Marina (787) 863-1000 El Conquistador Resort, A Waldorf Astoria Resort - Las Croabas
Fisherman's Pier Marina -- Puerto Real
Jobos Yacht Club -- 12.3 mi. (19.9 km) South of Cayey
Laguna La Torrecilla -- Isla Verde
Marina Boqueron (787) 255-3130 Cabo Rojo
Marina Pescaderaa (787) 851-4200 Cabo Rojo
Marina Puerto Chico (787) 863-0834 Fajardo
Mendeec Marina -- Puerto Real
Palmas del Mar Yacht Works (787) 285-1510 Palmas Del Mar
Playita Salinas Docks -- Salinas
Ponce Yacht and Fishing Club (787) 842-9003 3.2 mi. (5.1 km) South of Ponce
Puerto del Rey Marina (787) 860-1000 Road 3 Km 51.4 - 3.4 mi. (5.5 km) South of Fajardo
Punta Jacinto Dock -- 2.2 mi. (3.6 km) Southeast of Guánica
Rancho Marina (787) 894-8034 4.8 mi. (7.7 km) North-Northeast of Utuado
Salinas Marina (787) 824-3185 Salinas
San Juan Marina (787) 722-0938 Miramar
Sea Lovers Marina (787) 863-3762 Carr 987 Km 2.3 Sardinera - Fajardo
Sea Rescue (787) 801-2557 Muelle Villa Marina - Fajardo
Sunbay Marina Inc (787) 863-0313 Parc Beltran Bo Sardinera - Fajardo
Villa Marina Yacht Harbour (787) 728-2450 Carr 987 Bo Sardina - Fajardo
Nearby Anchorages
Location Latitude Longitude
Salinas 17.9606339563 -66.2928986549
2.7 mi. (4.4 km) East-Southeast of Guánica 17.9506984259 -66.871676445
2.2 mi. (3.6 km) Southeast of Guánica 17.9513312326 -66.8801307678
Bahia de Guanica - Guánica 17.9638644219 -66.908712429
1.0 mi. (1.6 km) Southeast of La Parguera 17.9637827754 -67.0380592765
La Parguera 17.970002826 -67.0476293773
1.0 mi. (1.7 km) South of La Parguera 17.9595166699 -67.0449471474
Green Beach - 9.1 mi. (14.7 km) West of Isabel Segunda 18.1173692869 -65.5771780014
Isla Palominos 18.3512417568 -65.5738627911
Cayo Lobos 18.3781410237 -65.5712717758

Those interested in sailing to and around the Caribbean won't have a hard time finding the perfect choice in charter yachts for them because there are so many options available. Puerto Rico makes for an interesting stop on your sailing itinerary. 

As you finalize your vacation plans, make sure to read the local guides that focus on specific areas within Puerto Rico. Some of the most popular sailing guides can be found below.

Sailing in Specific Areas
Guide to Arecibo Sailing
Guide to Boqueron Sailing
Guide to Condado Sailing
Guide to Culebra Sailing
Guide to Dorado Sailing
Guide to Fajardo Sailing
Guide to Isla Verde Sailing
Guide to La Parguera Sailing
Guide to Luquillo Sailing
Guide to Mayagüez Sailing
Guide to Palmas Del Mar Sailing
Guide to Ponce Sailing
Guide to Rincón Sailing
Guide to San Juan Sailing
Guide to Vieques Sailing
 

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