A Vacation Guide to Isla de Vieques

Beautiful beaches
Beautiful beaches | © Angel Xavier Viera-Vargas/flickr
Photo of Kris Pethick
7 February 2018

Isla de Vieques is one of the offshore municipalities of Puerto Rico just 7 miles (11.3 km) off the east coast. It has the brightest bioluminescent bay in the world, the largest natural wildlife refuge in the Caribbean, wild Paso Fino horses running free, beautiful uncrowded beaches, quaint hotels and inns, museums and historical sites. It is no wonder that Isla de Vieques is a destination location whether you are looking for fun and adventure, a romantic vacation, or fun with the whole family.

Bioluminescent Bay

Caῆo Hondo, commonly known as Mosquito Bay, is the brightest bioluminescent bay in the world. It truly must be experienced in person. You can swim or kayak in the bay and marvel at this phenomenon. Isla de Vieques also has over fourteen beaches with crystal clear waters. Many beaches are only accessible through hiking trails and are secluded. It is not unusual to have a beautiful beach cove all to yourself.

Cactus at Secret Beach, Vieques | © Mark Donoher/flickr

Nature Lovers’ Paradise

For nature lovers Isla de Vieques has it all. It hosts a 3,100-acre natural reserve that sports many hiking trails. The island is ideal for snorkeling, scuba diving, horseback riding, bird watching, bicycling, fishing charters, and kayaking through the mangrove channels. Paddle boarding and sailing charters around the island are also available to see the island from a different perspective. The 300-year-old ceiba tree is an inspiring work of natural beauty that you must experience. If you are a nature lover this is the place for you.

Pied-billed grebe found on Vieques | © Susan Young/flickr


Most activities are focused on the natural resources of the island. Isla de Vieques has many small hotels and inns to fit any budget. These are not cookie cutter hotel resorts that try to keep you on the premises. They have everything you need including the freedom to explore the entire island at your own pace.


There are also local museums that tell the history of the island and two art galleries that are worth seeing. The island has a lighthouse, archeological sites, and historical sites as well. There are many fine eating establishments that rival the cuisine of larger cities like San Juan.

Vieques Lighthouse | © Timothy J/flickr

What you won’t find on Isla de Vieques are crowded beaches, traffic lights, heavy traffic, billboards, big resorts, or strip malls. A vacation to this island is all about relaxation, fun, and activities while surrounded by the island’s beautiful natural resources. You can get to Isla de Vieques through a small plane charter at San Juan airport or the ferryboat in Fajardo. Bringing a car on the ferry will give you the ability to see more in a shorter amount of time, if time is a concern, or you can also rent a car when you get to the island. Make it a true island adventure and rent a Jeep. So, load up and get ready to disconnect from the modern world and enter the pristine beauty of an island that will make you feel like you are six centuries in the past.