Vieques was a delightful island. Within two days, I felt comfortable getting around in my jeep. There are about 5 main roads and a bunch of dirt ones. Wild animals, particularly horses but chickens, dogs, and cows are free to roam as they please.
I was lucky enough to fly in from San Juan and got some overhead views. I was slightly worried because the weather was rather stormy when I arrived. Once I finally got my Jeep and got settled (which partially means acclimating to Island Time an example of which: my car rental company made me wait and hour while a sign hung in the office that says “No hurries, No worries, Island Time” - okay I get it!) I hit the beaches.
The beaches there are the nicest I’ve ever seen. The water is so clear when you’re close and so turquoise when you’re away. The sand is soft and white. The temperature is cool enough to refresh and warm enough to be able to jump right in.
I had some excellent food in my two days on Vieques. Sol Food is traditional Caribbean food, updated. The chef is not Puerto Rican but she has been there for years perfecting her various recipes like the Bob Marley (Habanero Jerk Chicken with pineapple salsa on brioche).
El Resuelve is where I got my empanadas. Simple but very tasty!
Tin Box is a hip farm to table joint that has a garden growing down the hill. I got the watermelon juice and their own cured bacon salad. It felt like it was really in the rain forest.
Bili was great for dinner. It’s located on the main drag (if you could say that) of Esperanza. I had an incredible salad and pulled pork on croquettes - another current take on classic Caribbean food.
I stayed at Hix Island House which is a green retreat. Meaning, it was powered entirely with natural resources and built in such a way that everything was open. I slept with essentially only two walls along the sides and the trade winds blowing through to cool and aerate the place while the sounds of coquis (native frogs) and crickets serenaded me. The shower has a modesty wall but was open to the outside. It was the best combo of luxury and nature I’ve experienced.
I made a point to get to the Bio Bay. I didn’t bring a camera so let me paint the picture: it’s very dark and you are in a kayak near a bunch of other people being led by a friendly tour guide. Every time your row hits the water it lights up. At first, it seems like maybe a reflection but then you realize you are at a rave on the water and stuff is glowing everywhere. The bioluminescent organisms only illuminate during stress, which is sensed by pressure. So splashing water makes a great show. We kicked our hands and feet, rocked our kayaks, and use oars to make it glitter. I found by waiting quietly, I’d see fish zig zag through the water making Z patterns. Great experience with Abe’s Snorkeling Tours.
But the beaches! This place was all about the beaches for me.
Sun Bay, La Plata, Caracas, Media Luna were the ones I enjoyed. More, please.
I was enchanted with small island life and wouldn’t have minded staying longer. Once I realized all I wanted to do in PR was enjoy these postcard beaches, it became difficult to leave the island.