Isla de Vieques is one of the most popular Puerto Rican tourist spots in recent years, and for good reason. The entire island is gorgeous and fresh and there’s a palpable feeling of romance in the air. It’s not surprising that the island is fast becoming the most popular destination for weddings on the entire Caribbean.
Amazing may be an understatement to describe Isla de Vieques. Nicknamed “Isla Nena,” or little girl island, Vieques is heaven on earth if you want to spend a leisurely weekend doing practically nothing yet get to experience everything in this tiny island in Puerto Rico.
Where else in the world can you choose multiple amazing beaches to visit? In Vieques, you have a plethora of them with interesting names such as Green, Navio, Caracas, Blue, Sun Bay, Blue, Playa Caracas, Black Sand, Media Luna, and Secret.
Thanks to environmental authorities, Vieques has remained one of the world’s most protected natural reserve as well as an American wildlife and fish refuge. Simply put, Vieques will never see condominiums or casinos, the better for everybody, including you, to enjoy and explore.
On this island there are lots of things to do and plenty of picturesque spots to visit. Yet of them all, reviewers in Trip Advisor has chosen Blue Beach as the #1 attraction in the entire Isla de Vieques. When 320 out of 404 reviews give it an “excellent rating” and an additional 64 regard it as “very good”, you know it’s a spot that you need to check out. Here’s a brief rundown of what to expect.
Its formal name is Bahia de la Chiva, but the US Navy used to call it Blue Beach and the name stuck. Once you see it though, you’ll understand just how apt the name is. There are so many different shades of blue everywhere you look that it feels like a divine artist played around with just the color blue to create the scenery.
Here you have 9 miles of beach once you go past Caracas, and the deeper you go in the fewer people there will be. Usually the water is so clear that the underwater scenes play out before you in spectacular splendor.
But if you’re already snorkeling, you can find lots to see underwater even just 50 feet from the shore. But whether you’re snorkeling or just taking a walk on the shore with your sweetheart, the entire area seems like the very idea of scenic paradise. You may see some pictures of Blue Beach to give you an idea, but you won’t be able to fully understand its visual appeal until you get there.
Getting to Blue Beach is easy enough, especially if you have a rental car. But if you don’t, you can always get a taxi. Just make sure you’re fully supplied with what you need.
For one, you’re going to need to bring your own food and drink. In some spots there are gazebos with picnic tables for you to use, but you won’t be able to buy your own food. Also, some areas may have some trash bins, but it’s best if you bring your own trash bag so you don’t leave a mess behind.
The best spots for snorkeling are along the rocky areas, so proper footwear is important. And of course, bring lots of sunscreen! In Blue Beach, you will want to spend the whole day out in the sun. And you won’t feel blue at all.
Hemingway’s Ghost and Volcanic Black Sand
Where Culebra has rare lizards peppering grassy pastures, Vieques has wild horses. The island is more populated than its northern twin island and has no single traffic light to interrupt endless hours of cycling in and out of settlements like Esperanza and Isabel II. Vieques has a total of 40 beaches to six of Culebra’s and is more apt to take the challenge of a night life.
Swim, snorkel or scuba dive in Black Sand Beach in Esperanza, a swathe of pristine gold sand with streaks of black volcanic sand. But the open-air deck of Mar Azul is where you want to be when the sun sets in Vieques. Al’s Mar Azul has been rated the best dive bar in the Caribbean, and it’s been said that it houses the ghost of Ernest Hemingway.
No McDonald’s here but foodies will find Vieques a haven for delicious Caribbean food. Off Esperanza’s malecón or boardwalk are Bananas and Tradewinds, two of the best restaurants in Isla Vieques.
In spite of these concessions to modernity Vieques is rustic through and through, the one thing that transports you to another time and place when life was so much simpler.
Don’t Forget Bioluminescent Bay
If there is only one thing you could do on your Vieques trip, however, make sure it’s to visit the Bioluminescent Bay of exquisite beauty and a sight to behold. See how dinoflagellates and oceanic plankton generate trigger the water’s luminescence with a breath-taking ultramarine illumination whenever it is agitated physically.
The only thing you should never forget to bring when going to Vieques is your bathing suit, unless you want to miss that once-in-a-lifetime experience of soaking up the sun and sea on its fabulous beaches. Shorts and t-shirts make up the dress code here but bring some warm apparel in case it gets cold. Sun block is essential in Vieques as well as a camera of course.
The nicest thing about Vieques is that you can enjoy all the water sports and activities that you want without the usual “tourist” trappings such as t-shirt shops and fast food joints. A day or two spent on this island, in fact, brings out the natural explorer in you as it offers opportunities for sailing excursions, dive trips, riding “taxi” horses, and fly-fishing from a paddle board.