Los Pistones : Shipwreck at María's Beach

Los Pistones : Shipwreck at María's Beach

Ramón (María's son) circa 1945. 

Our front yard at Stoked Rincón is María’s Beach: a world-class surf break, and also an amazing diving and snorkeling spot located next to the Tres Palmas Marine Reserve, one of Puerto Rico's natural marvels. 


María’s surf break has various peaks and take-off zones, one of the most popular being The Pistons; an engine that is lodged in the water from a shipwreck that occurred around the year 1945.

Surfer: Gaby Canals Photo: Darren Muschett

The Pistons are located about 50 meters from shore and it's a great area for snorkeling. They can be easily seen in low tides as they break the surface of the water and are surrounded by elkhorn coral, an important reef-building coral in the Caribbean.

Elkhorn species have a complex structure with many branches which resemble that of elk antlers; hence, the common name. Its branching structure creates habitat and shelter for many other reef species. 

Although Elkhorn coral dominated the Caribbean in the early 1980s, the species has since dramatically declined in numbers. Scientists have estimated that between 1980 and 2006, when it was listed in the Endangered Species Act (ESA), the population declined by around 97%. 

Snorkeling the Pistons area at María’s Beach is a fun and safe activity during summer season and flat spells. María’s Beach location is protected from the prevailing trade winds that predominantly blow from east to west, making the surface of the water smooth and friendly for swimmers.

Go out there an explore! 


Important: Even though María’s Beach and the Reserva Marina Tres Palmas are pretty safe during summer flat spells, it is important to note that there are no lifeguards on duty on any beach in Puerto Rico, except form some balnearios, so please always enter the water with caution and pay attention to others swimming in the area. Stay safe!