Vieques is a small island off the east coast of Puerto Rico, along with its sister island, Culebra. It’s only 6 miles off the coast of Puerto Rico, and is 21 miles wide and 5 miles long. Isabel Segunda is the main town, where you will find shops, restaurants, festivals and events. Esperanza is popular with tourists and expats; it’s a sleepy little town on the waterfront with good restaurants and bars.
In the first half of the 20th century, the US military used much of Vieques as a bombing and target practice range, an idea that’s hard to even believe now, considering Vieques’ natural beauty. There’s still plenty of live ordnance being found on the island despite cleanup attempts, so it’s very important to heed all warning signs and not go off trail on the island!
Puerto Rico took a substantial hit from Hurricane Maria in 2017, and Vieques bore the brunt of it. While the island will still be recovering for some time, most businesses have reopened and the power grid is much more reliable. Tourism is an important part of the island economy, and the locals are happy to welcome visitors to this beautiful, friendly place.
We stayed on Vieques in 2014 and were so in love we considered moving there. It’s still on our minds constantly! If you’re looking for a quiet, romantic retreat surrounded by nature, this is the perfect place. There are few large hotels, no chain restaurants, and there are views of the ocean from every angle. It’s the ideal spot to get away from it all.
Getting to Vieques
The easiest way to get to Vieques is to fly from San Juan International airport; there are a few small airlines that service the island regularly. Rental cars are available at the airport, but it’s wise to book well in advance since supply is very limited.
There is also a ferry that runs daily from Ceiba (note that it was moved from Fajardo), on the east side of Puerto Rico. While the trip is quicker than it used to be, service can still be somewhat sporadic.
You can also arrive via private plane or boat.
Top Experiences in Vieques
Night Kayaking in the Bioluminescent Bay
Vieques has one of the best bio-bays in the world, not only because there’s so little light pollution. This is an experience not to be missed; even the van trip to the beach is a wild ride. Try to go during a new moon so there’s as little ambient light as possible.
Have an Entire Beach To Yourself
This is a very real possibility in Vieques! Some of the beaches are only accessible with an offroad vehicle like a Jeep, but be sure to stick to the known trails – live mines are still sometimes found in the scrub.
Experience the wildlife
Vieques is teeming with wild horses – you’ll see them everywhere you go. Take a diving or snorkeling trip to see the abundant sea life. Visit the National Wildlife Refuge, which is also home to beautiful secluded beaches and picnic areas.
From traditional Puerto Rican food in Isabel Segunda to lively waterfront fare in Esperanza and innovative upscale cuisine in the hills, Vieques has far more dining options than you’d expect on such a small island!
Visit the Ceiba
La Gran Ceiba is over three centuries old and has withstood multiple major hurricanes.