Until quite recently, my Stand Up Paddleboard (SUP) experience was limited to the tame gym pool. Now that I live on a tropical island, I am hooked on SUP! During the Women Who Live on Rocks writer’s retreat, we were invited to a fabulous morning adventure of SUP and kayaking on Condado Lagoon in San Juan, Puerto Rico.
SUP is a great way to see the lagoon! Our group of 10 included first timers, experts, and every skill in between. And due to someone in our group with a broken foot, we added a kayak to the morning adventure.
The water was pretty calm requiring moderate balance and arm strength to paddle across the Lagoon. The most difficult part was trying to hold my GoPro level while paddling, next time I will skip the video and enjoy the experience. The difficulty increased when we encountered manatees playing and swimming alongside our paddle boards. Our entire tour stopped to admire the manatees and watch them play while we squealed with delight.
Manatees are an endangered species that live in the shallow water of the Caribbean. These gentle “sea cows” are playful herbivores and pose no danger to humans. They swim gracefully through the water adding a few well timed rolls and flips for our underwater viewing delight. The lagoon water offers limited visibility, so manatee viewing is limited to only a few feet below the water. I wonder what other amazing creatures were hiding in the murky water? Thanks to Brittany from Windtraveler for getting the perfect close-up photo of this cutie!
Our tour consisted of paddling down to the end of the lagoon and returned on the opposite side to our starting point. This route provided great views of the San Juan skyline and back out towards the Atlantic Ocean. Along the way our tour guides provided information about the lagoon, the local manatees, the area of San Juan, and helpful tips for paddling. In the hour long outing we laughed and learned, and no one fell off the paddleboard!
Condado lagoon is conveniently located minutes away from San Juan (SJU) airport and the San Juan cruise port, making this a great activity for a short-lay over in San Juan, as well as a must-do activity for any visit to San Juan! The convenient taxi stands around Old San Juan include passenger vans which easily accommodated our group of 10 Women for a 10 minute taxi ride and drop off mere steps from the Lagoon.
What to wear:
Swim suit, sunblock, and sunglasses. Optional (secure) hat and UV protection swim top aka rash guard, are also a good idea for the fair skinned.
VIP Adventures provided us with a locked dry case to store items while we were out on the water.
In addition to Stand Up Paddleboards (SUP) rentals, VIP adventures offers kayaks (single and double), a massive water slide in the lagoon, plus bicycle, snorkel gear, jet skis and more rentals!
Disclaimer: Although my SUP tour was sponsored by VIP Adventures, all opinions are my own.
20 thoughts on “Stand Up Paddleboard on Condado Lagoon | Adventure in San Juan Puerto Rico”
I would love to master SUP! I have only tried once but kept falling and it’s deterred me away from trying again! I was told the board may have been too small for me. This is the inspiration I needed to try it again!
Definitely try it again! SUP is so fun, and you may see manatees!
I always wanted to do a paddleboat and now after seeing your pictures and reading your post , it made me feel jealous lol. I guess I should try this in this hot summer
You should! It is so much fun.
I did the exact same activity in el Condado when I visited Puerto Rico a couple of years ago! My friends and I had a lovely time exploring the lagoon while catching some sun rays 🙂 It was so peaceful! – Mariella
I have seen people doing SUP in Seattle but have always been terrified of trying it! Now that I have read about it, thanks to your blog, I might give it a try next summer. Seems like such a fun and thrilling experience!
I have been wanting to try SUP for a really long time; I would love to experience the core workout! I love that manatee image so much. I’ve had a deep obsession with them since I was a child as my grandparents lived in Florida and I self-taught myself lots about them. Still love them just as much 20+ years later!
Very interesting post. I have never been to Puerto Rico since I live in another corner of the world. I never knew about the paddle-board experience being available there. Thanks to your post, now I know.
Stand Up Paddleboard is great exercise and can be enjoyed in open water, lakes & Lagoons, and even swimming pools!
Have yet to try paddle boarding, but it sure seems like an amazing experience especially while paddling next to manatees. The view isn’t so bad as well! It would be amazing to get out in the Caribbean waters.
This lagoon looks beautiful and thrilling too. I don’t know paddling but may be I find someone professional with whom I can cross the lagoon. Good to know about Mantees and also they are herbivorous, so no danger. Nice tips about what to carry and distances from airport.
When I originally heard about SUP, I didn’t think that it sounded very fun but lately I began to change my mind and your post has definitely made me more interested as well! I am so jealous that you saw a Manatee – how amazing!!
I went paddle boarding for the first time in Mallorca a few months back. It was a lot harder than it looked!! I ended up sitting down half the time 😉 Haha!
Haha, I know what you mean. I switch between standing and kneeling, depending on wind and how rough the water is.
I’ve always wanted to try SUP but haven’t had the chance too! I had no idea that manatees were called sea cows or endangered. The underwater photo of the manatee is so great!
Stand up paddling sounds like such a challenge. Kudos to you for completing the entire tour without falling off. I bet that requires a lot of balance and core strength to pull off. But it’s also great to know that the tours are welcome for starters!
I really want to try SUP. However I need to find somewhere a little warmer than the Uk. Cool manatee pic
This looks like a lovely way to enjoy a morning out in a scenic area with great climate. The photos and video complimented your post really well as I haven’t been to Puerto Rico as yet.
Have never done SUP, bit from what I have read in your post and some others, I gather that is a thrilling activity. I would love to try it, though I am sure that I will plunge into the water a hundred times before I get the hang of it.