Vieques Guide

Vieques Island Guide

El Blok Vieques Puerto Rico

The small island of Vieques, an easy 15 minute puddle-jumper flight from San Juan, Puerto Rico, is something of an unspoiled paradise. Unpaved roads lead to hidden beaches, wild horses roam free, and you can follow your nose to delicious local food at every turn. Most of the island was owned by the US Navy until 2003, so it remains refreshingly undeveloped and ruggedly captivating.

It’s a place where you’re forced to unplug. A place where there’s lots to do and not much to do at all – at the same time. Vieques is overflowing with character and gorgeous scenery, full of locals who are passionate about the island they call home, and heavy with island treats like mofongo and spiny lobster. For a complete itinerary of how to make the most of a weekend in Vieques, look no further than our guide below. IMG_8308

EAT|EAT|EAT|EAT|EAT|EAT

El Quenepo

Our favorite restaurant on the island, El Quenepo never disappoints. Be sure to make a reservation, as the place is popular with locals and tourists eager for a delicious meal. The menu is an interesting mix of island food and inventive dishes from the chef’s travels. The mofongo, for example, a Puerto Rican dish typically made with mashed plantains, is made with a combination of local bread fruit and pumpkin. Topped with spiny lobster, shrimp, and a deliriously delicious garlicky sauce, it’s a dish we keep coming back for.

Vieques Guide

Cafe del Mar

Relax on the cushioned bench and enjoy the breeze as fans whip the salty air around this Esperanza restaurant. Ideal for breakfast, the egg and sausage burrito is delicious and lays a good foundation for a day full of cervezas. For lunch, the cubano is our favorite, the salty pork and ham pairing perfectly with the spice of the mustard and tang of the pickles.

Duffy’s

This open-air spot right on El Malecón, the main drag in Esperanza is great for lunch. The specials typically range from flavorful house-made soups to sweet, freshly-caught spiny lobster. The fish tacos are the best thing on the menu, perfectly fried and topped with pickled red onions, tarter sauce, and a spicy red salsa. Pair any lunch choices with Duffy’s rum punch and you’ll be right as rain.

Vieques Guide

Choli’s

Ask a local for directions to this place, tucked along the winding back streets of Esperanza. It looks like a house except for several tables set out front and a chalk board that lists out the day’s menu. If they have it, get the pork. It’s the house special and falls apart with even the slighted fork-poke. The yellow rice and beans are tasty and well seasoned, and a few arepas are the perfect addition to your meal.

Vieques GuideVieques Guide

DRINK|DRINK|DRINK|DRINK|DRINK|DRINK

Lazy Jack’s

Pony up to the bar here after a day in the sun, and enjoy a few painkillers. The island drink of choice is a mix of pineapple and orange juice, rum, and cream of coconut, topped with a sprinkle of freshly grated nutmeg.  It tastes like the Caribbean and will take the sting out of any sunburn.

Vieques Guide

Rooftop at El Blok 

Head up the twisty stairs of the boutique hotel, El Blok, just before sunset and snag a seat by the bar. The spicy margaritas made with roasted jalapeños hit the spot – a little sweet, a little sour, and perfectly smoky. The rooftop here is an ideal spot to watch the sun burst into flames as the sun sinks into the water.

El Blok Vieques Puerto Rico

DO|DO|DO|DO|DO|DO

Beaches

Vieques is known for its beautiful beaches and there are no shortage of them scattered around the island. Though some take a little effort to find, the vistas are beyond worth it and you’ll most likely have the turquoise blue water all to yourself. We love a good beach and narrowing down our favorites on Vieques was tough, but if you only visit a few, make sure these are on your list.

El Blok Vieques Puerto Rico
NAVIO BEACH: A jeep is necessary to take on the dips and puddles on the dirt road leading out the beach — and be sure to bring some chips to feed the wild horses on the way. Head in the direction of Media Luna, then follow the signs to Navio. White sands and cerulean waters will greet you, while a rocky cliff will tempt you to climb up and take the leap. Just around the bay from the cliffs, you’ll find a cave. Swim in and explore, then go plop your booty under an umbrella and relax the day away. *Perfect for: spending the day soaking up vitamin-D and cliff jumping, for the adventurous.
Vieques Guide
PLAYA NEGRA: Spoiler alert– the sand isn’t really black here, as the name would suggest. More tea than licorice colored, the 10-minute walk from the road twists through the jungle and feels exotic. Once you’re at the beach, stunning cliffs dotted with palm trees will catch your eye. Partially submerged boulders create a hop-scotch walkway out to the point. The contrast of colors and views make this one of the prettiest beaches on the island. *Perfect for: evening walks along the beach.
Vieques Guide
SECRET BEACH: A dirt road lined with friendly, wild horses leads you to a cove of beaches. At the end of the road, you’ll find Secret Beach. It’s small and when the tide is in, you won’t find much sandy space for your beach towel but it’s beautiful and secluded and usually void of other beach-goers. *Perfect for: A romantic, private afternoon with your boo.
Vieques Guide
GREEN BEACH: Located at the western most tip of the island, Green Beach is in the National Wildlife Refuge El Buey. Also known as Punta Arenas, this beach offers beautiful views of Puerto Rico in the distance. *Perfect for snorkeling.
Playa Plata
PLAYA PLATA: Plata translates to ‘silver’ and is the perfect name for this beach. When the sun hits the sand just right, the soft white grains glimmer a stunning, silver color. *Perfect for swimming and wading in the water because the shallow sand stretched for a long distance.
VIeques Guide
BLUE BEACH: Also know as La Chiva Beach, this long stretch of sand and ocean is picture perfect. Little coves separate semi-private beaches along the stretch and, in our opinion, numbers 10-20 offer the prettiest views. *Prefect for: walking, relaxing, snorkeling.

Bioluminicent Bay

Beyond it’s outstanding beaches, Vieques is actually most famous for its bioluminescent bay (affectionally known as Mosquito Bay). This magical body of water has organisms that produce a burst of bright blue light when they come into contact with other organisms. In other words, the water lights ups and glows at night. The Guinness Book of World Records named Vieques’ bio bay the brightest in the world.

Go Dancing

By mid-day on Saturday, you’ll see the folks start setting up for a night of dancing at La Nasa in Esperanza. Once the sky is dark, the music turns up and crowds flock to the dance floor. A couple drinks at the bar will keep you twirling away for hours.

Vieques Guide

Visit the Ceiba Tree

Located just outside the National Wildlife Refuge El Buey, you’ll pass this tree on your way to Green Beach. Almost 400 years old, it’s certainly worth hopping out to admire.

Vieques Guide

stay|stay|stay|stay|stay|stay

El Blok

This boutique hotel located right in Esperanza is ideal for a weekend on the island. Comfortable rooms and a killer rooftop, the hotel’s modern design stands out against the tropical backdrop. Interesting art lines the walls and the building itself seems more like a sculpture than a hotel. We love the young vibe of the space and the location couldn’t be better. Read more about it here.

Vieques Guide

W Retreat & Spa

Only a 2-minute drive from the airport, the W Retreat & Spa is swanky and vibrant. Bright colors and fun music greet you upon entering the lobby. The rooms are spacious and beautiful, but with a beach right outside the door, we bet you won’t be spending too much time indoors.

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterPin on PinterestGoogle+Share on LinkedIn

Comments