Vieques, Where the Horses Roam Free


Before we visited Vieques, a small island east of Puerto Rico that is part of the island grouping sometimes known as the Spanish Virgin Islands, we knew very little of the island except that it had been used in the past for naval exercises.  As we read more about Vieques, we learned that although there is a population of around 9,350, it has no stoplights and there were herds of wild horses roaming the island.  Cool, we thought. But, as excited as we were to spot some of these horses during our visit, we eventually learned we were only half right about them…

Horses in Vieques - copyright Rum Therapy
 As we roamed the charming island on our way-too-short day visit, we were not disappointed in our wild horse sightings! Horses were lazily grazing along the road to the Vieques National Wildlife refuge.

Horsesin Vieques - copyright Rum Therapy
Horses walked right by us as we hiked to the black sand beach.

Horses in Vieques - copyright Rum Therapy

And there were lots of horses in the area around Sun Bay (find Sun Bay on our Puerto Rico Map). These two were enjoying a stroll on the pretty beach.

Horses in Vieques - copyright Rum Therapy

So what were we only half right about? Apparently, although the horses on Vieques roam freely, most of them actually do have owners. Hmmm…there’s definitely got to be a benefit to the owners in savings on feed (and not having to pick up horse doo), but there is certainly a benefit to residents and visitors alike who love to see the beautiful horses roaming freely on this beautiful island.

Horses in Vieques - copyright Rum Therapy
Have you seen the horses on Vieques? Tell us about it!

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A Day Trip to Vieques

A Day Trip to Culebra


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A Day Trip to Vieques

A few days after our day trip to Culebra (read “A Day Trip to Culebra” here), we headed back to Fajardo to board the ferry to the other main Spanish Virgin Island – Vieques. Vieques lies about 8 miles east of Puerto Rico, and is an easy ferry ride from the mainland. Although there were a few raindrops on our ride over, we were greeted with a full day of warm sunshine upon our arrival.

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Wanting to explore as much of the island as we could in a day, we rented a Jeep from a small car rental agency just a few blocks away from the ferry.

So what did we do during our day on Vieques?

Vieques is known for its beautiful beaches, and our goal was to see as many on the south side as possible. We left Isabel Segunda and headed down island, entered the US Fish and Wildlife Reserve on the east side and took the road as far as we could. There are still some areas of Vieques off limits due to the cleanup of former military exercises (see a brief history here) and several of the beaches in this area were closed during our visit. It was a pretty, but bumpy ride through the Reserve and the area had an abundance of horses roaming around.

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We got a chance to peek at several beaches, including Pata Prieta, Red Beach (or Caracas Beach), Navio Beach, Media Luna and Sun Bay. Our favorites that day?

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Media Luna because it was shallow, sandy and calm…

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And Sun Bay. A beautiful long expanse of tan sand with calm clear water. Sun Bay also had a small restaurant/bar/gift shop and a bunch of wild horses meandering the area around the beach.

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After an hour or two in the surf and sun, we wandered into the small beachside town of Esparanza. The town was quiet and laid back – just the type of town we could see ourselves hanging around for a while. Thirsty, we stopped at a colorful place called Bananas for a beverage.

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Rum Punches were the Happy Hour special, so we ordered a couple.

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The drinks were delicious and the view across the street wasn’t bad either.

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We could have stuck around Bananas enjoying a few more cocktails and chatting with the locals and other visitors, but we were determined to find the black sand beach – and headed west. We took a hike down to the beach on a dry river bed and spent a couple of minutes enjoying the contrast of colors with the sand and the cliffs.

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The afternoon was flying by and we started back to Isabel Segunda to return the Jeep. We made a stop at Al’s Mar Azul (read more) to grab some dinner and a drink and enjoy a phenomenal sunset before heading back the the ferry for our ride back to the mainland.

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copyright Rum Therapy
As wonderful as our day on Vieques was, we just couldn’t squeeze everything we wanted to see into just one day, including more beach time, time to roam around some of the towns to check out the local shops, restaurants and bars, learn more about the history of the island, enjoy more wild horse sightings and take an evening excursion through the Bioluminescent Bay. Another visit of several days or more will remain on “our list”!

Have you been to Vieques? Tell us about it!

 Find Vieques on our Puerto Rico Map


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Al’s Mar Azul, Vieques

Sometimes the best thing about a beach bar is not the beach, or the food, or even the drinks, and even though the beach is beautiful and the drinks are good, there is something even better about Als’ Mar Azul in Vieques.

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Al’s Mar Azul, Vieques

After spending a day exploring the beaches and sights on Vieques, we stopped at Al’s Mar Azul to enjoy a little grub and few drinks before catching the ferry back to Puerto Rico.

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Al’s Mar Azul Bar

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Warning sign at Al’s Mar Azul. Use of Rum and Tequila Authorized.

We were waterlogged, hungry and thirsty as we walked in to Mar Azul and were cheerfully greeted by the staff.

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Al’s Bar

We made our way to the back of the bar and requested a table on the open aired deck that overlooks the ocean and the ferry dock – and wow, were we glad we did.

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View to the back deck at Al’s Mar Azul

We ordered some sliders, a chicken wrap, a rum punch and a Mar Azul Special (a tasty green drink with rum in it) and settled in to watch the sun set from our choice seats on the deck.

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Mar Azul Special on the deck

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View of Vieques Ferry Dock from the deck


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A Rum Punch and the sunset at Al’s Mar Azul

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Amazing sunset from the deck

We sat there until we saw the ferry arriving from Puerto Rico (white light in the middle of the picture), reluctantly said goodbye and walked back to the ferry dock for our ride back to PR.

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Ferry making it’s way back to Vieques

Whether vacationing on Vieques or just spending the day there, we’d say it’s definitely worth enjoying a beverage and taking in a sunset at Al’s Mar Azul, Vieques.


Check them out on Facebook: Al’s Mar Azul, Vieques

Find Al’s Mar Azul on our Puerto Rico/Vieques Map

 

To see more posts on Vieques and other islands, check out our Island Blog Directory

 

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Pictures and other content may not be re-used without written consent from Rum Therapy, LLC