In early November, on somewhat of a whim, as my palm itched for island adventure (again) and my mind rebelled the idea of 17 days at home looking at my kids looking at their devices, I checked our Delta miles. After a few calls and some crazy internet hoops plus a few miles purchased. We had 4 tickets to Vieques Puerto Rico for over New Years week. I have been following the rise of this small island for quite awhile. As usual, my travel file had a few recommendations. So armed with tickets, I set out to find a hotel. From my list of hotels, which included The Hix House, Bravo Beach Hotel and The W Vieques, none were available for a week, one didn’t take kids under 16 and the W was outrageously expensive during this time, high season. So on to Flipkey where I found a house by the same architect of Hix House (John Hix). Concrete, symmetry, ocean views, breezes and outdoor showers. Done.
Ocean views and sweetness.
Oops, did I mention the pool?
Next was the task of getting a car. No cars available on the island. Some people actually laughed at us. We had been too late to the rental rodeo. Well, so what, we thought. Bikes? Taxis? Adventure. So we get there and we really needed a car on Vieques. It is very hilly and the beaches (most of the great ones) are hard to get to on foot (even a stretch in a car). And the island is pretty big. We did have a few nice Puerto Ricans have pity on us and give us rides. But Josh did not give up. Armed with his Spanish language and his persistence, we found an underground car. It was like we had won the lottery. We were so happy. It really made our week.
The best beach to go to when your prayers have been answered and you have a car? Playa Verde. Awesome snorkeling and lovely, lovely, lovely. My favorite. But leave by 2 or the noseeums get you. Mose here with Go Pro ready.
The beach bums bumming.
We had a list of beaches for snorkeling and a few just for swimming and sand. Media Luna was the swimming beach and was just beautiful. The kids loved it. We are here. Building castles.
I had read on a travel website I love, fathomaway.com about a few food stands on the island to try. Our first stop was Sol Food, a food truck run by some Americans. We got there a little late, and were the last ones to get food. We considered ourselves very lucky.
Yumminess. Fish and beef empanadas and carnitas.
We also checked out one of the pinchos stands on the list. Mose was in heaven. Chicken on a stick and no waiting. Loved the soft bread addition on the top.
Good food everywhere!!
We booked a sailing snorkeling trip. Captain Judy took us out.
It was pretty rough and we got some rain, but the snorkeling was fun. Mose captains the ship.
We checked off another site on my list. The great 375 year old Ceiba tree on the island. It was very cool. To my surprise, I am a sucker for archeological sites.
The painting of it on site.
Another site, not quite as cool, but still fun to see was the rock formations they call Puerto Ferro. They supposedly found a 4000 old skeleton near this site. No one is sure where the rocks came from. Puerto Rico’s StoneHenge.
There were 2 major interests for me when I was researching things to do on Vieques. 1. I read that they had wild horses roaming the streets and countryside. And if any of you know my horse crazy daughter Mathilda, you know how psyched I was to get her there. 2. There was a beach called Seaglass beach. It is island lore that a vessel carrying glass sunk off the shore and loads of seaglass wind up on the beach everyday. We like to go shelling, Mose especially has a knack for finding cool stuff. Both of these came to be true for us on Vieques. Here is Mj on Rico, who she rode one day on the beach with the girls from Esperanza Riding.
Overlooking Black Beach. (I’ll get to that in a minute)
And Yes, there were lots of wild horses. Here is one looking for something cool to drink.
Back to Seaglass Beach. It did not disappoint. It was very different from the other beaches. Very rocky. Lots of heart rocks were found, as well.
Some of the seaglass here along with some of the shells, etc that we collected.
The town of Esperanza is where we spent New Years Eve. Walking the Malecon with Pina Coladas and buying poppers. Dinner at El Quenepo.
Sparklers were lit and fireworks were on view from up at our house. Casa Cascades.
We spent the early part of New Years eve in kayaks on the Bioluminescent Bay tour. The bio bay is caused by a micro-organism, the dinoflagellate Pyrodinium bahamense, which glows whenever the water is disturbed, leaving a trail of neon blue. (we call it phospheressence when it appears in Florida’s waters) It was the perfect beginning of the the new year. The sparks flying in the water as we paddled and watched fish dart around like fireworks. It is an amazing thing to see. Pictures do not capture the colors so we left our cameras at home.
I wanted to see Playa Negra or Black beach. This beach is black, in spots, because of the ancient volcano that is on the island. It was a hike along a river bed to get to, but worth the trip. It was a really fun beach with good body surfing. Mose loved it.
The boys played football in the surf. Check out the cliffs. Like I said all the beaches are different on Vieques.
I just liked the graphics.
We adopted the friendliness we found on our first day hitch and parlayed it into what we called “the Puerto Rican way” and gave lots of walkers rides to their destinations. One couple was staying at the W, so we checked it out. I love the designer who did the interiors. Patrica Urquiola. It was very cool.
A house in Isabel. Same vernacular? Yes?
Mose and Josh got in a little fishing with hand lines. Sweet. We ate this guy on the grill.
At Sun Bay there were some very cool lifeguard stands. I am now enamored with lifeguard stands.
My favorite here. Well, two favorites!
Navio Beach. Hanging and tossing in the surf.
So there you have it. We loved Vieques. Really loved Vieques. So much to see and do. Amazing snorkeling. We saw sea turtles at Mosquito Point, starfish at Starfish Bay and anemones at Blue Beach. Sea urchin shells at Green beach and wild horses everywhere. Mathilda was head over heels in love.
Great food, friendly people. Beauty. Lots of love for Vieques.
All good. Yes, so good.