Just seven miles off the east coast of Puerto Rico lies Vieques, a rustic island of lush verdant mangroves and forests, idyllic beaches and a glow-in-the-dark aquatic wonder of the world that must be seen to be believed.
Vieques is affectionately known in Puerto Rico as Isla Nena (“Baby Girl Island”) and is equally beloved by locals and visitors. It is truly a destination to unwind, slow down to island time, and beach-hop, swim and snorkel your way through life.
A mere 21 miles long by 5 miles wide, Vieques has only two small districts: Isabel II, where the ferries dock, and Esperanza, a beachfront hangout with a boardwalk, quaint guesthouses, and restaurants.
The United States Navy has played an important role in shaping Vieques. It controlled the majority of the island for over 50 years, which kept Vieques largely undeveloped. As a result, the island has remained a pristine paradise for visitors to explore and enjoy.
Vieques’s crown jewel is Mosquito Bay, recognized as the brightest bio bay by the Guinness Book of World Records. A visit to this rare ecosystem is an unforgettable experience as visitors can kayak or take an electric pontoon boat out into the bay to watch the surrounding water glow neon green in the dark.
The eastern shore of Vieques contains the largest national wildlife refuge in the Caribbean, covering half of the island. Once inside, you can spend all day hiking and beach hopping to explore incredible white sands and crystalline waters.
The Esperanza district is the island’s premier beachfront hangout and is located next to Sunbay, Vieques’s main public beach, which complies with all facilities and is listed as a Blue Flag, environmentally-friendly beach.
Vieques’s only fort is the island’s cultural focal point. Located atop a hill in Isabel II, the fort hosts frequent exhibitions and offers great panoramic views.
Vieques is full of ceiba (silk cotton) trees, but if you ask the locals where the ceiba tree is, they will guide you to one in particular. Located by Mosquito Pier, it’s more than 300 years old and probably the most photographed plant on the island.