Vacation always becomes equal parts relaxation and adventure. Getting to Vieques, Puerto Rico and to its beautiful beaches is the adventure and then spending time on the beach becomes your relaxing reward. In the first part of my Vieques vacation recap, I’m highlighting some of the destinations and activities that you can find here on the island.
To get to Vieques you have two options, ferry or plane. Though the ferry is less expensive, you’d have to get in a taxi from the airport to the ferry location, wait for the ferry (they give precedence to residents and reservations can only be made in person), and the ride takes up to about 90 minutes. Instead, we hopped on a Cessna plane for a 20 minute flight. I have never been on a prop plane so I was a little apprehensive, but once we took off, it was a smooth and enjoyable ride with breathtaking aerial views. For those who have also never had the pleasure, here are a few tips to manage your expectations:
- Keep an eye on luggage size and weight – It’s a nine-seater plane with limited storage space so pack efficiently
- They will ask you for your weight – They need to account for your weight and balance it throughout the plane (this is when one shouldn’t be modest about their weight!)
- You’re on island time – Boarding time is approximate and they will wait for the other two guys (you know who you are) that haven’t made it to the gate so be prepared to wait
Like anywhere else in the Caribbean, Vieques offers beautiful turquoise waters and sandy beaches. Vieques was once used by the Navy for testing and a bombing range, therefore there is still some clean-up and closed off portions of the island. Not to worry though, the open parts offer many beach options, especially on the southern end of the island. My favorite spot was Playa Prieta (Secret Beach). It is quiet, small, and not too many visitors (yet). Unlike some of the other spots, there is a good amount of shore and sand to plop down for a siesta. We found a palm tree for some natural shade, the perfect solution.
For ease and convenience, renting a car is highly recommended. The roads are not hard to follow, just go slow given the curvy roads and wild horses, yes horses. Once you get close to your destination, it is likely you will have to off road it for a bit so a Jeep is the way to go and what rental car companies will offer as the standard vehicle. Things are not well signed so talk to your hotel and locals who will tell you things like “Take the third right after gate”, it sounds vague but turns out to be really helpful since there isn’t a whole lot of signage.
In addition to sun bathing, there are many wonderful water activities for when you are tired of just laying around. The easiest sport is snorkeling. Green Beach and Media Luna are great spots. Green Beach has stronger currents whereas Media Luna has calmer waters. If your stay involves a weekend without a full moon, a night tour of the bio bay is an absolute must. Located in Sun Bay Beach, Vieques has one of the best bioluminescent bay. Given the ecosystem – warm waters and plant life – it’s the perfect condition for microscopic organisms that give off a glow at night. The tour is limited to only weekends to preserve the environment and it’s a quick trip out to the bay by kayak. The glow is a defense mechanism and so you will see it when your hand or paddle hits the water or when fish swim through. It’s truly an awesome sight. I wish I could have captured it by camera but it wouldn’t do it justice, you’ll just have to go there and see it for yourself!