A small, uninhabited island located just a 15-minute boat ride from the Puerto Rican town of Fajardo, Icacos Island (Cayo Icacos) is part of Cordillera Keys Nature Reserve (Reserva Natural los Cayos de la Cordillera). Its white-sand shores, pristine waters, and colorful reefs make it a popular day-trip destination for snorkeling and diving.
A white sand beach rings a forested grove at the center of the tiny island, where waves and wind are almost the only sounds. Offshore, schools of colorful tropical fish inhabit a system of coral reefs. Snorkeling cruises to Cayo Icacos are a popular option for mainland visitors, and boat tours typically leave from Fajardo or even San Juan. Motor boat and catamaran cruises allow you to swim from the safety of the ship’s deck, explore the colorful reef below, and go ashore to stroll along the beach and visit the green center of the island. It’s also possible to visit Icacos as part of an island-hopping tour.
Things to Know Before You Go
- Cayo Icacos is a must-see for nature lovers.
- Aside from palm trees, there is no shade on the island; visitors should bring sun protection.
- Booking a tour ensures you’ll have access to restrooms and water on board the tour boat, as there are no amenities on the island.
- Visitors who book a simple water-taxi excursion will need to bring their own snorkeling gear; on guided tours, gear is typically included.
How to Get There
Cayo Icacos is a 15-minute boat ride from the port at Las Croabas in Fajardo. Catamaran cruises typically depart from Fajardo Marina, which is located roughly 90 minutes by road from San Juan.
When to Get There
Travelers who book a private tour can schedule for earlier in the morning, before other groups arrive. You can visit Cayo Icacos year-round, but weather in this part of Puerto Rico is best from December through April. The hurricane season typically last from June through November.
Snorkeling at Cayo Icacos
Walk-in snorkeling is possible off any of the beaches at Cayo Icacos, but the four best spots are off the popular beaches on the west side of the island. The area’s healthy coral reef is home to creatures such as blue tang, parrotfish, snapper, stingrays, and sea turtles.