Sharks of Puerto Rico: What You Need to Know
What shark species are in Puerto Rico
The most common shark species that is found in Puerto Rico is the Caribbean Reef Shark. This type of shark can grow up to 8 feet long and feeds mainly on fish and small marine animals. They are not considered dangerous to humans, but they may become aggressive if provoked.
Other types of sharks that can be found in the waters around Puerto Rico include Bull Sharks, Tiger Sharks, Oceanic Whitetip, and Blue Sharks.
On very rare occasions, Great White Sharks were seen in Puerto Rico. It even came to a non-fatal accident in 1966. Since then, no further Great White incidents were reported.
In addition to native sharks, several species of ray can also be found in Puerto Rican waters. The most common species of ray is the Southern Stingray, which can reach up to 5 feet in length. Rays are generally passive when it comes to humans and pose little threat.
The waters around Puerto Rico offer a great opportunity for divers and snorkelers to encounter some of the most beautiful sharks and rays on the planet. While swimming or diving in these tropical waters, it’s important to stay aware of your surroundings and take precautions against any potential dangers. With just a bit of caution, you can enjoy an unforgettable experience with some unique aquatic wildlife!
Known shark attacks in Puerto Rico
Since 1990 there are 2 reported non-fatal shark incidents in Puerto Rico. In both cases, it’s not identified which shark species caused the accidents.
As you can see on the above map, two of the four accidents happen closer to the British Virgin Islands than to Puerto Rico, but we wanted to include those here. One attack was by a Bull Shark in 2003 and the other from an unidentified shark species.
When zooming out, it’s interesting to see that there are no reported shark attacks in the Dominican Republic and Haiti, but on the other side of Puerto Rico towards the Virgin Islands. It’s also noticeable, that more shark encounters were reported in Florida, the Gulf of Mexico, and the Bahamas.
Best places to find sharks while scuba diving in Puerto Rico
There are numerous spots to find sharks while scuba diving in Puerto Rico, but the most popular one is La Paguera in Arecibo on the northern coast. It’s considered a prime location for Caribbean Reef Sharks, and even Tiger Sharks.
Other destinations include Desecheo Island off the west coast of Puerto Rico, which is home to Bull Sharks and other large species. Mona Island, just west of Puerto Rico, is also a hotspot for diving with sharks. The surrounding waters are full of sharks and rays that can be seen by snorkelers as well as divers.
Sharks of Puerto Rico can be found in most island waters, from the Caribbean Reef Sharks to the Bull and Tiger Sharks. Although shark attacks are rare, divers should use caution when exploring these waters and follow guidelines for safe swimming. With a bit of knowledge and understanding about these majestic creatures, visitors to Puerto Rico can have an unforgettable and safe experience with the sea life of this Caribbean paradise.