Considered one of the two main Spanish Virgin Islands, Vieques is probably best known for either its Bioluminescent Bay, said to be the brightest in the world, or its history with the US Navy as a former bombing test range.
Not as well known is the fact that Vieques has not been overly commercialized, has a good number of beautiful unspoiled beaches and retains its small island charm. Want huge resorts, nightlife, casinos or crowded beaches? You’ll have to look elsewhere, but if you want a quiet island with friendly people where you can get away from the grind, you might just fall in love with Vieques.
Thinking of visiting? Check out this list of 8 Things You Shouldn’t Miss on Vieques to help you start your planning.
1. Sun Bay Beach
Just one of the beautiful beaches on Vieques, Sun Bay has a long expanse of soft, golden sand and calm shallow water, making it a great beach for the whole family. A snack bar and restrooms are close by too. You may find horses wandering the grounds and enjoying the beach and scenery as well.
Speaking of horses… (see above) It may seem an odd addition to the list, but be sure to watch for the horses that roam freely on Vieques. Find out more about these beautiful creatures here: Vieques, Where the Horses Roam Free
3. Mosquito Bay (Bio Bay)
Mosquito Bay, on the southern side of Vieques, is a bioluminescent bay. Best observed during the New Moon phase, the waters of Mosquito Bay, that are rich in a single celled dinoflagelate organism, “light up” at night when they come in contact with another organism, such as a boat, oar, or person. There are several bio bays in the world, but Mosquito Bay has claimed the title of “the brightest” bio bay in the world by the Guiness Book of World Records.
4. Hike to Playa Negra – a black sand beach
Playa Negra is a black sand beach just west of Esperanza. The color of the sand is a little surprising given the goldens, tans and whites of the other beaches on Vieques, but the pretty hike down a riverbed to the beach made it worth it to us. We were the only ones on the path except for a mare and her foal who walked right past us.
5. Enjoy a rum punch at Bananas
Thirsty after your hike to Playa Negra? Stop at Bananas Beach Bar & Grill in Esperanza for a delightful Rum Punch. Want to stay a little longer? Check into Bananas Guesthouse – a no frills place that’s close to the Bio Bay.
6. Enjoy the shops, museum and restaurants at El Malecon, Esperanza
The coastal side of Experanza is known as El Malecon or “The Strip”. Here you will find a few small shops, some restaurants, a museum, a beach and a beautiful view. This is probably the busiest area on Vieques and a favorite hangout for visitors. Tours for the Bio Bay leave from this area.
7. The Rest of the Beaches
We visited a number of Vieques beautiful beaches during our visit and were pleasantly
surprised with the beauty and solitude of many of them. If you have the time, rent a jeep and see how many beaches you can visit. They’re all a little different, but none are crowded.
8. Catch a sunset at Al’s Mar Azul
Before catching the ferry back to Puerto Rico, stop and enjoy a sunset (with your favorite cold drink) at Al’s Mar Azul – just a block from the ferry. The sunsets here are spectacular and it’s a beautiful way to end your day on Vieques.
Have you been to Vieques? Tell us about it!
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