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Vieques is a Caribbean island belonging to Puerto Rico, also known as Isla Nena or Little Girl Island. It is a relatively small, rural island about 8 miles east of Puerto Rico. It is about 22 miles long and 4 miles wide. Vieques maintains a rural character, despite increasing tourist interest. Horses and chickens run wild in the streets. Expect to hear roosters and dogs during the night and morning while you're trying to sleep.
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Points of Interest in Vieques
- The Bioluminescent Bay, or Mosquito Bay, is one of the most brilliant displays of the micro-organisms that light up in a blue-green glow whenever there is movement in the water. There are several boat tours out to the bay, including kayak trips (which are more ecologically sustainable). Any visitor to the island should arrange a trip. Those who wish to visit the Bio Bay should arrange their trip around the lunar calendar. The micro-organisms are not visible under a full moon. During the two or three days before and after a full moon there are usually no boat tours of the bay.
- Isabel Segunda has the last Spanish fort built in the Caribbean (an interesting contrast to El Morro in San Juan).
- A stonehenge built by the Taino indians is incredible--if you can find it.
- The "Mosquito Pier" or Rompeolas is mile-long seawall extending from the north side of Vieques, west of Isabella, towards main island of Puerto Rico. It was built during WWII, as the beginning of a breakwater intended to shelter the British fleet if the British Isles had been conquered.
- Vieques Conservation and Historical Trust (Esperanza), ☎ (787) 741-8850, fax: (787) 741-2844, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Hours: Tu-Sa: 10AM-3PM, Su: 11AM-3PM. The VCHT is a small, but dedicated and fairly interesting museum, whose goal is to educate visitors about the cultural history of Vieques and Vieques' ecological system. Vieques Computer Systems provide internet access for visitors of Esperanza. Entrance is free.
- El Fortin Conde de Mirasol, Isabel II, ☎ 787-741-1717. Hours: W-Su: 10AM-4PM. Constructed between 1845-1855 on a hill overlooking Isabel II, this fort was built with the intention to protect the port. It originally housed the Spanish militia, who would guard the island of Vieques against invading countries and pirates. However, it was never used in defense of Vieques. Today, the Institute of Puerto Rican Culture manages the fort and has completed a restoration of the building and the surrounding grounds.
The Navy Bunkers at the west end of Vieques provide a glimpse into that era. Beware: the roads are unmarked, single lane dirt roads that wind around. It is easy to get lost but also relatively easy to eventually find your way out, since it is an island. It is unlikely that you will meet another person so make sure you have enough gas and the number for a local service station in the event you break down. Do not go on a time-table!
Popular events in Vieques in the near future
The bioluminescent bay of Vieques, known as Mosquito Bay, is said to be one of the most spectacular bioluminiscent bays in Puerto Rico and the world. The bay has large numbers of dinoflagellates, who when stimulated glow to scare off predators.
Several businesses run tours to the bay for an average $30 per person. The best time to go on a night tour of the bay is when the sky is not very cloudy or if it is dark. If the moon is out then it will most likely be impossible to see the bay as it becomes illuminated. Even if the sky is cloudy and the moon is out your experience is very likely to be dull compared to moonless nights.
Also, do not use any chemicals such as lotions or bug spray (especially those containing DEET) because they harm the dinoflagellates. There are many kayaking tours to the bay so visitors will have to know how to paddle a kayak.
- Blue Caribe Kayaks, 149 Callle Flamboyan (Esperanza), ☎ (787) 741-2522. Blue Caribe Kayaks' tours to the Bio-bay start at 6:45PM and last about two hours. $30 per person.
- Island Adventures, Near Esperanza, ☎ 787-741-0720. Island Adventures Biobay Tours offers nightly excursions aboard an electrically powered double-pontoon boat through the amazing glowing waters of Puerto Mosquito. Their bilingual guides explain the fragile ecology of the plants and animals of the bay, give interpretive star lectures, and then park the boat in an area of high bioluminescent concentration, giving visitors the chance to view the millions of glowing creatures.
- Travesías Isleñas, Malecón Esperanza, in front of Trade Winds Guest House (Esperanza), ☎ (787) 447-4104. Bio-Bay Tours at 6pm. $25 Adult, $15 Children.
One of the greatest things about this island are its beaches. Since the island was once a military training area, large parts of the island are now part of the U.S. Park Service. You can drive down dirt roads to isolated beaches with crystal clear blue waters. Park your rental truck under a palm tree and you may not see another person for the remainder of the morning.
The cons to the remoteness of Vieques' beaches lie in petty theft occurring at some of the beaches. Thieves can either hide in bushes or ride up on horseback (Horses are not allowed on the beaches) and take a tourist's belongings. So when visiting a remote beach in Vieques leave your valuables at your lodging area; don't lock them them in your vehicles. For a discussion on this topic, see Talk:Vieques.
Coco Beach at the west end of Esperanza should be avoided by women. There is a local serial rapist inhabiting that area, with his most recent known victim March 2012.
- Nan-Sea Charters. ( do great scuba trips from town.
Scuba and Snorkeling Trips from the South end in Esperanza. PADI instruction and Certifications. Specializing in New Divers, Families and the Experienced Divers
The Vieques Humane Society on the island is always looking for volunteers and being a tourist is not a problem. Come by and check out the facility and maybe even lend a hand.
- Carambola (near Esperanza at the Inn on the Blue Horizon (see below)). Tuesday thru Sunday for dinner. Fine dining – renowned for serving the best food in Vieques created by Chef Xandra.
- Chez Shack. Billed as a tree house located in the Pilon Jungle, this is truly a one-of-a-kind outdoor eating experience. While the surroundings are au naturale, the food is expertly prepared and exquisite. The place turns magic when the jungle turns pitch-black and the white Christmas lights brighten up the house in the jungle. Don't miss this experience.
- Chicken King. This local eatery has some of the best fried chicken and fries you can get on the island.
- El Quenepo, on the Malecon in Esperanza (The East end of the Malecon), ☎ (787) 741-1215. Tu-Su: 5:30PM-close. Fun funky island food on the Malecone in Esperanza. Classy casual dining with amazing food and fantastic service.
- Shauna's (Isabel II). If you want to dine with the locals come here. Brush up on your Spanish. They serve delicious, criollo Puerto Rican cuisine. Very reasonably priced, and some great flan.
- Trade Winds (Esperanza). A beautiful ocean-front restaurant in Esperanza. Wonderful breakfasts, lunches, and dinners serving traditional American fare, fresh seafood and tasty cocktails. This restaurant also has some of the best commercial ocean-front views on the island.
- Richard's Cafe, Road 200 (Isabel II), ☎ (787) 741-5242. Service seems attentive, however, the kitchen takes a painfully long time to cough up even the easiest food, like a fish sandwich. On the upside, the food was served piping hot.
- Chez Shack, Pilon, ☎ 787-741-2175. 5PM-1AM. It's the "In Spot" to rub elbows with the local ex-pats and party to the beat of a local Salsa band. $10 and up.
- Duffy's (Esperanaza, adjacent to Banana's Guesthouse), ☎ (787) 741-7600. Opens daily at noon, except Mondays when Duffy's is closed.
- Blue Moon Bar & Grill (Esperanaza). Open 7 days a week, Tropical fares menu begins at 11AM.
- Black Beard Sports, 101 Munoz Rivera, ☎ 741-1892. An outdoors activity shop with scuba, snorkeling, beach, biking and camping equipment. They also have a couple of computers available for Internet access for the decent price of $3 for 30 minutes. If you're looking to only use some equipment for a couple of days they have fair prices for renting equipiment by the day.
This article is based on Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike 3.0 Licensed text from the article Vieques on Wikivoyage.