Escape the ordinary and embark on an adventure to the breathtaking island of Vieques, a mere ferry ride away from Puerto Rico. Immerse yourself in a world where horses run freely along the roads, play on the beach, and graze in fields. With picture-perfect beaches, a rich culture, and an intriguing history, this secret spot promises a vacation like no other.
Follow our insider’s guide to the must-see spots and secret treasures, and get ready to fall in love with this tropical paradise. So, grab your sunscreen and join us on a journey to pure enchantment!
Get from San Juan to Vieques
In order to travel from San Juan, Puerto Rico, to Vieques, there are several options available:
- The most convenient and quickest method is to take a flight from Luis Muñoz Marín International Airport (SJU) or Antonio Rivera Rodríguez Airport (CEI) in Ceiba.
- Another alternative is to book a catamaran or private boat excursion, which departs from various locations in Puerto Rico.
- Finally, the most popular option among locals is to take the public ferry from Ceiba to Vieques, a 1.5 hour journey.
Places to Stay in Vieques
Vieques is home to numerous hotels, bed and breakfasts, and guesthouses. The following are some of the prettiest places for tourists to stay:
● El Blok Hotel is a sleek, modern architectural masterpiece designed by the award-winning architect Natanial Fuster. It is situated directly across the street from the beach in the central area of El Malecon in Esperanza.
● Nestled on a hilltop surrounded by lush greenery and serenaded by the melodies of native Coqui frogs, Finca Victoria offers a farm-style bed and breakfast experience like no other.
● Hix Island House is a harmonious blend of luxury and zen-inspired design, which seamlessly integrates with its natural surroundings to create an architectural marvel.
In addition to hotels and bed and breakfasts, you can also check out vacation rentals via Airbnb or VRBO for access to kitchens and other amenities.
Things to Do in Vieques
No matter where you stay in Vieques, you won’t have to venture far to find adventure and excitement. Thanks to the island’s compact size, you’ll be close to a variety of thrilling activities. Check out these must-do experiences on the island:
Vieques is home to Puerto Mosquito or Mosquito Bay, the brightest bioluminescent bay in the world.
At night, this bioluminescent bay glows with an intriguing blue light thanks to organisms known as Pyrodinium bahamense dinoflagellates (or dinos). When “dinos” come into contact with other microorganisms or are shaken, they produce their signature blue light.
Many businesses in Vieques offer nighttime boat tours (via kayak or electrically powered boat) of Mosquito Bay.
! Pro tip: According to local law, it’s forbidden to venture out on the bay the day before, during, and after a full moon.
Try a horseback riding tour if you’re looking for a unique way to explore Vieques. Vieques is home to over 2,000 Paso Fino horses, which can frequently be seen walking along the beach (or roadside) or grazing in nearby fields.
Many business owners in Vieques offer horseback riding tours and guide travelers through tropical forests and secluded beaches. Some well-known touring companies include Esperanza Riding Company, Sailh’s Paradise Horseback Riding, and Jurutungo Tours.
Snorkeling and Scuba Diving
If you want to spend time in the water during your trip, consider a snorkeling or scuba diving experience.
The island’s pristine waters are perfect for snorkelers and scuba divers of all levels. You’ll get to see all kinds of fish, as well as other marine life like turtles, manatees, and even sharks!
For those interested in snorkeling, the following businesses offer fun, exciting, and cost-effective tours: Salty Spirit, Crystal Clear (this business is also dedicated to coral reef preservation), and JAK Water Sports.
A boat charter is another fun way to explore the waters around Vieques. Businesses like Nauti Mermaid Charters offer luxury yachts with kayaks, stand-up paddleboards, and other activities to help you have an exciting day at sea.
Vieques offers beaches for everyone. The following are some of the most popular ones to check out:
● Playa Esperanza: Located on the south side of the island, popular among families
● Sun Bay: A sandy, half-moon-shaped beach with a rocky shoreline on the left side
● Media Luna: A beach with calm, shallow waters, perfect for children
● Navio: A unique beach with gentle, bubbling waters and hidden caves
● Playa Grande: One of the island’s most remarkable beaches with coarse sand and lots of opportunities to see Paso Fino horses
● Punta Arenas: Formerly known as “Green Beach,” this is an excellent option for snorkeling and scuba diving with hidden ruins beneath its waters.
● El Gallito: A small beach with two rocky points, great for surfing, swimming, snorkeling, and paddle boarding.
● Wildlife Refuge beaches: These beaches are protected by Congress and are home to a wide range of plants and animals.
● Playuela: An all-natural beach that tends to be very quiet and peaceful.
● Caracas: An easily accessible, family-friendly beach
● Escondida: One of the smallest beaches in the Caribbean with picturesque turquoise waters
● La Plata: One of the only beaches on the island with pure white sand.
● La Chiva: Formerly known as “Blue Beach,” this beach’s stunning waters feature changing shades of blue.
● Punta Galindez: A small beach with many pieces of broken coral shaped like letters (which is why it’s sometimes described as “Alphabet Beach”).
Things to See in Vieques
Beyond the beaches and bioluminescent bay, Vieqeus offers many other attractions and things to see. Some of the most exciting attractions include:
● Fortin Conde de Mirasol: One of the best places to learn about the island’s history
● La Ceiba Tree: Home to one of the most beloved trees on the island
● Playa Grande Sugar Plantation Ruins: A former plantation overgrown by tropical plants
● Faro de Puerto Ferro: A lighthouse found on the southern coast
● Playa Negra (Negrita) / Black Sand Beach: An intriguing, black-sand beach
● Destilería Crab Island: The island’s first rum distillery
Places to Eat in Vieques
A vacation isn’t complete without some delicious food. Here are some of the best restaurants to visit during your trip to Vieques:
● Placita @ El Blok: Contemporary Puerto Rican cuisine
● El Quenepo: An open-air dining experience
● Tin Box: A barbecue restaurant
● Duffy’s: A seafood restaurant with tropical cocktails
● Lazy Jacks: An island bar with delicious cocktails and homemade pizza
● Buen Provecho: A breakfast and brunch restaurant
● Carambola Restaurant: An oceanfront restaurant with Caribbean cuisine
● Rising Roost (Guakete): A popular breakfast spot
● Arena Mar: A cafe serving burgers, pizza, ice cream, and more
● Mama Mia: An Italian restaurant
● Casa Nativo: A quiet restaurant serving Spanish cuisine
● Biekes Bistro: A seafood bar and grill
● El Local: A seafood restaurant
● Rincón del Sabor: A fun foodtruck experience
● Rincón del Café: A breakfast restaurant
Places to Shop in Vieques
If you want to pick up gifts or souvenirs from your stay on Vieques, head to one of these shops:
● Atrevida at El Blok: A gift shop at El Blok hotel
● Vieques Gifts: Handmade jewelry and other gifts
● Trade Winds Gift Shop: A gift shop at the Trade Winds Guesthouse
● Luna Loca: An art gallery and gift shop
● Scallywags: One-stop shopping for beachwear, accessories, and more
Getting Around Vieques
There are several ways to get around Vieques:
- Rental Cars: Rental cars are a convenient and popular way to get around the island. Renting a car gives you the freedom to explore the island at your own pace.
- Bicycles: Bicycles are another great option for getting around Vieques. You can rent a bicycle from one of the many rental shops on the island.
- Golf Carts: Golf carts are a popular mode of transportation on the island and offer a unique way to explore the area. They are a great option for those who don’t want to drive a car or ride a bicycle.
- Scooters: Scooters are also a popular way to get around the island. They are easy to operate and can be rented from several shops on the island.
- Taxis: Taxis are available for hire on the island, but they can be expensive. However, they are a good option if you don’t want to drive or if you need to get to a location that is off the beaten path.