Vieques is the perfect place to get away from the noise and chaos of life, the bright lights of urban living and the breakneck speed of most of our daily schedules. Slow your pace and lower your blood pressure on this gorgeous island that offers a little bit of everything. There is so much to do, you’ll want to stay for a couple weeks, and rent a Jeep to enhance your adventure. Here are some ideas to get you started on your vacation planning.
Snorkeling and scuba diving
The snorkeling and scuba diving around Vieques are second to none. Some of the nicest spots on Vieques are Isla Chiva that you can swim to from Blue Beach (please do not walk there through the water, the coral below is very fragile), and Pirate’s Cove which is just past Secret Beach. You may see angelfish, parrot fish, rays and possibly hawksbill turtles. The northwest side of Isla Chiva hosts a gorgonian coral forest with a rainbow of colors, as well as hard coral.
Mosquitio Bay is one of the brightest bioluminescent bays in the Puerto Rico archipelago, so check it out at night with a snorkeling or kayaking trip in a glass-bottomed kayak. This is one of the best bioluminescent bays in the world. Unless you have a special camera, you cannot take pictures, so just go and enjoy and be in the moment. If this is a high priority excursion for you, check your vacation dates and do not schedule around a full moon. The darker the skies, the more vibrant the dinoflagellates in the water and the better the night skies.
Kayaking and other watersports
There is a multitude of water activities for everyone’s energy level. Try kayaking, paddle boarding or SUP (Stand-Up Paddleboard) or jet skiing. Book a fishing charter and get out on the waters with a guide, then relax upon your return with a fresh fish dinner that you caught. Try a blissful catamaran trip around the island during which you will stop at different cays and parts of Vieques, sip rum drinks and enjoy some fine cuisine.
Vieques is settled but rustic and reserved, so there are many nature sights to see. According to BigPockets.com, “a week spent birding on Vieques will usually net you approximately 60 species, including the Puerto Rican endemics–Puerto Rican Woodpecker, Puerto Rican Flycatcher, and Adelaide’s Warbler as well as a bunch of Caribbean species.” Had a couple days in the sun and need some indoor time? Check out Fortin Conde de Marisol, a Spanish fort completed in 1855 that has been restored and is not only a great place to learn about the history of the island, but also to see some beautiful art in the gallery. There are two other art galleries on the island you must check out, the Siddhia Hutchinson Fine Art Gallery and Luna Loca Art Gallery and Gift Store.
Horses run wild on Vieques, and are a beautiful sight to see on the roadsides and beaches, and there are also many places from which you can set up some horseback riding on the beach or trails, or both, whatever your preference.
Of course there are so many incredible beaches on Vieques. It is home to some of the most beautiful beaches in the world. You can spend two weeks on the island and go to a different beach every day. Some of the most popular are Blue Beach, Playa Negra (Black Sand Beach), Media Luna Beach and Playa la Chiva. Whether you want to just float and sun or snorkel and swim, these beaches have what you need.
There are only 10,000 residents on Vieques and, while it is comfortably developed, it still has a rustic primitive vibe so in the evening there is very little light pollution. Grab a beach chair and search the skies with your naked eye or binoculars and check out the constellations. If you are really into stargazing, bring a telescope and follow your favorite heavenly bodies throughout the night sky.
Hiking and biking
There are a number of places on Vieques where you can rent bikes, or you can bring your own over on the ferry. Vieques has many different hiking trails too, in the National Wildlife Refuge and the Vieques Hidden Trails. Hike up to the lighthouse or check out Monte Pirata.
The ceiba tree
Hurricanes Irma and Maria really did a number on this majestic 300-year-old ceiba tree, but it is recovering and is a testament to the resiliency of nature and a symbol of the strength of Puerto Rico and its people. All visitors to Vieques must see this ceiba tree and take a moment to think about all the stories these branches and roots could tell.
Vieques is so breathtakingly beautiful that it makes you want to just celebrate life, and its multicolored-sand beaches and turquoise waters provide the perfect backdrop for those lifetime moments. Make Vieques your destination wedding location or the perfect venue to renew your vows. Celebrate birthdays, anniversaries, reunions or just life in general.