Exploring Isla de Vieques: Puerto Rico’s Horse Haven

Wild horses at Playa Negra in Vieques, Puerto Rico – Photo: Flickr

From the beaches of San Juan to El Yunque National Forest, Puerto Rico offers plenty of beautiful sites for tourists to enjoy. If you’re looking for another fun attraction to take in during your stay, plan a trip to Isla de Vieques.

Isla de Vieques is located seven miles off the east coast of Puerto Rico. It’s well-known as the home of Mosquito Bay, the world’s brightest bioluminescent bay. However, it’s also home to thousands of Paso Fino horses that can be seen walking along the beach and grazing in nearby fields.

The Paso Fino horse breed, known for its “fine step,” was originally brought to the Caribbean from Spain – Photo: Esperanza Horseback Riding

Most of these horses are not technically wild.

According to an article by Vieques Insider, most of the horses’ owners do not keep them on their land. Instead, they’re allowed to graze and have free reign on the island. Because it’s such a small area and everybody — for the most part — knows each other, there’s little-to-no risk in letting the horses wander. Most of them are branded, too, for additional safety and security.

The horses in Vieques are allowed to roam freely rather than being confined to a specific area – Photo: Flickr

In addition to watching the horses wander the island, visitors will also get a glimpse into the distinct role that horses play in the social scene.

For example, they can witness cabalgatas or “group rides,” which feature a procession of horses and riders traveling from one location to another, often stopping for refreshments and socialization along the way. Cabalgatas happen year-round, but they’re especially popular on and around holidays.

Many of the horses’ owners offer horseback riding excursions to tourists, too. A horseback ride provides a unique view of the island and takes visitors to beaches, tropical forests, and other popular destinations.

Travelers can choose from many popular horseback riding businesses, including Colon Horseback Riding and Esperanza Horseback Riding.