The stunning island of Vieques is home to a pristine wildlife refuge, wild horses, and the world's brightest bioluminescent bay.
The biggest of the islands sometimes referred to as the Spanish Virgin Islands, Vieques lies six miles southeast of the Puerto Rico mainland. The Puerto Rican poet Luis Llorens Torres dubbed it la Isla Nena (“Little Girl Island”), alluding to its perception as Puerto Rico’s little sister.
Vieques offers breathtaking scenery, unparalleled beauty, adventurous spaces, and laid-back experiences. The trade winds that blow directly over the island also provide a perfectly tropical marine climate with minimal temperature fluctuations.
Getting to Vieques
Reaching Vieques can be done by air or sea. The fastest way is to catch a small plane departing from either Luis Muñoz Marín International Airport (SJU) or Isla Grande airport. There is also a ferry that departs from the town of Ceiba, about 40 miles (70 km) from San Juan.
Things to Do
More than 60 percent of Vieques is covered by the Vieques National Wildlife Refuge, including bays, mangrove forests, salt flats, and trails, making it a popular spot for hiking, horseback riding, diving, sailing, and more. The refuge also encompasses some of the Puerto Rico's most astonishing beaches, like Sun Bay and Playa Negra.
Dive into the history and culture of Vieques by visiting Fortín Conde de Mirasol, the last fort built by the Spaniards in the Americas, or Faro Punta Mulas, an 1890s lighthouse turned maritime museum.
Where to Eat
Fresh seafood, farm-to-table fare, and traditional Puerto Rican cuisine are all awaiting you on Vieques. El Quenepo offers fine dining that showcases the freshest ingredients in dishes such as traditional mofongo and tostones de pana, as well as whole lobsters, grouper, and scallops. For Mexican fusion with a Puerto Rican twist, try Coqui Fire Café (make sure to try their signature margarita).
Where to Stay
Stylish, laid-back El Blok is one of the hottest tickets in town, with its beachfront location and unique design. Crafted to look like coral removed from the nearby sea, its open spaces and intricate cutouts in the concrete create lots of natural lighting.
Hix Island House is an eco-chic guesthouse where the outdoors become the indoors. Derived from the Japanese wabi-sabi philosophy, the self-contained lofts surrounded by forest allow the trade winds to drift through the open, glassless windows and draped balconies.