When planning our trip to Puerto Rico, the one thing Ladybug wanted to do the most was go to the beach. D wanted to spend a day at one of the smaller islands. We knew we only had three days in Puerto Rico so we set aside a whole day to visit the beautiful island of Vieques.
Though I usually plan our travels more thoroughly, I went against my norm and didn’t plan anything besides figuring out the logistics of getting to the island. It was a much needed, relaxing beach day in a beautiful location.
Getting to Vieques
There are two options to get to Vieques from the main island. The first option is a quick half hour flight from the Luis Munoz Marin International Airport to Vieques. The second option is to take the ferry from Fajardo to Vieques. The ferry takes a little longer but is the cheaper option. A more detailed post about the ferry system is coming in the next few weeks. So stay tuned for that.
How to get around on the island
Getting around on the island is fairly easy and straightforward. If you like the freedom of driving yourself, a few different rental car companies are also available to you. We chose not to rent a car so I can’t say how easy or hard the process of renting a car is, but the option is there.
Taxis are available to take you where you want on the island. Keep in mind, you may need to look up a number for a taxi company beforehand because we really didn’t see many driving around.
A cheaper option is to take a guaguas públicas, which is a 10-seater passenger van that offers service around the entire island for a small fee. When you arrive on the island, just outside the ferry terminal, many guaguas públicas are parked along a fence waiting to take you wherever you want to go. We found the guaguas publicas to be a good way to get around. Just make sure you speak to your driver to arrange a time to be picked up to make getting back to the ferry terminal less stressful.
After hearing that the beaches on the south side of Vieques were the best, D asked our driver to take us to the best beach on the island. As it turns out, the best beach, although beautiful, has no bathrooms or eateries. Because we have young children, going to a beach without bathrooms or food establishments isn’t an option for us. So our driver decided to take us to Playa Esperanza on the south side of Vieques. As soon as we arrived we knew that Playa Esperanza would be the perfect place to spend our day.
After an excellent lunch of sandwiches at Café del Mar, we changed into our bathing suits, lathered on a generous amount of sunscreen and made our way across the street to the beach. The water was perfect for swimming and the smooth sand was awesome for building sandcastles.
Once we had our fill of swimming and playing in the sand, we dried ourselves off and went in search for a little treat. We found the perfect place in Belly Buttons, a cute little ice cream stand with friendly workers who had moved to Vieques from the US in search of island fever and just never left. We had just enough time to finish our ice cream before catching a guaguas públicas to take us back to the ferry terminal.
Things to Know Before You Go
In case you are looking for more to do in Vieques than just lounging around on the beach and splashing around in the water, there are activities available for the more adventurous travelers, such as renting bikes and kayaks. If you are planning on staying overnight on Vieques, don’t miss the Mosquito Bay, the brightest of three bioluminescent bays in Puerto Rico. We did not have the pleasure of seeing it but we are already planning on returning to Vieques at a later date and staying overnight so we can see it.
Make sure to apply and reapply sunscreen. The sun is hot on Vieques and will burn you quickly if you’re not careful. The waitress at Belly Buttons told us that she can always tell when tourists haven’t been to Vieques for more than a day because they’re not burned to a crisp.
If you’re looking for beautiful beaches, perfect blue water, charming outdoor restaurants and interesting people, the island of Vieques is a must visit place on your next trip to Puerto Rico.
Have you been to Vieques?
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