Located about 7 mi/11 km off the east coast of Puerto Rico, Vieques Island (along with its smaller and even quieter neighbor, Culebra) has lovely, uncrowded, palm-lined beaches.
Vieques Island has little commercial development compared to the main island, but it is a hot spot for Puerto Rico real estate. It's perfect for those who just want a relaxing beach experience. Most visitors stay in hotels or guesthouses near the beaches of Sun Bay and Esperanza.
Some of the best beaches on Vieques Island are Sun Bay and the more secluded Media Luna and Navio. Also popular are Green Beach for its coral reef and Blue Beach for its cabanas.
Don't miss a visit to Mosquito Bay at night (boats depart from the town of Esperanza). The marine plankton in the water glow when disturbed. The effect is especially eerie on a moonless night. The luminescence is much more spectacular than at the overvisited Phosphorescent Bay in La Parguera on the southwest coast.
Other sights on Vieques Island include a lighthouse and a fort—Spain's final military building effort in the New World—in the old port town of Isabel Segunda.
Sights nearby include plenty of beaches, a boardwalk and museums, along with the Vieques National Wildlife Refuge, which protects endangered plants, animals and sea life, including the Caribbean West Indian manatee.
Vieques can be reached by air from Isla Grande, San Juan or Ceiba, and there is also ferry service from San Juan aboard the Island Hi-Speed Ferry or on a public ferry from Fajardo.
Note: Vieques Island sustained severe damage during Hurricane Maria in September 2017. The Vieques National Wildlife Refuge and all visitor facilities—including hiking trails, boat ramps, fishing access, and other recreational uses—has posted temporary hours and limited openings. Consult directly for current status. A number of hotel and inn openings remain up in the air, including the trendy W Hotel. And the permanent power supply may not be fully in place for two years; many are turning to solar power instead.
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