Vieques, Puerto Rico by Stephanie Jurist and Patrick Rood
FROM THE ARCHIVES
Originally published January 2011
After Thanksgiving we took a trip to Puerto Rico and stopped in San Juan for a few days before continuing onto Vieques. In San Juan, we were lucky enough to stay at our friend Pia’s apartment overlooking the ocean and even had our own team of native tour guides to show us around.
Near San Juan, we went to the El Yunque rain forest and found a hidden waterfall that we swam underneath. We walked around in beautiful old San Juan and later were treated to a home made meal by some of Pia’s friends.
Next, we took a small 8 seat plane from San Juan to Vieques, which takes about 20 minutes, and Stephanie got to be the co-pilot. (Find San Juan to Vieques flights here.)
In Vieques we stayed at a beautiful modern loft recommended by a friend that was tucked in between a few farms off the main roads. (The Tower Lofts, http://www.vventivieques.com/). You could see both oceans from the each side of the apartment and it also had a beautiful swimming pool. The place was beautiful, but the area was full of wild roosters and dogs that crowed and barked throughout the night and into the morning. It wasn’t very relaxing. If you have the means to get a hotel, there’s a W Hotel on the island which we checked out one day and it was amazing.
We stayed for four nights and five days. The first evening we were directed to go eat in Esperanza. Located on on the south coast of the island overlooking the ocean, Esperanza is basically the most common and most touristy area to eat dinner, and there is a small strip of restaurants to choose from. Out of the handful of restaurants in Esperanza we ate at Duffy’s, Trade Winds and El Quenepo. El Quenepo was the best and the “fanciest” spot we tried. It’s worth noting that a lot of the restaurants are pretty over priced and run by Americans.
We rented a car (everyone has to) and we explored all the beaches through out the island, our favorite being Blue Beach and Red Beach. On the way to some of the wild life reserve beaches there’s a food truck called Sol Food, which had some great food and drinks, even for us vegetarians.
We also went kayaking at night in the Bioluminescent Bay, the most bioluminescent form of water in the world, which was wild! Unfortunately we were in a kayak in water and with no light so we didn’t get any photos, but imagine Tron meeting Little Mermaid.
At night, there’s not much to do since it’s a small town with only a few bars open. We heard of one club called Club Tumby out near the abandoned navy bunkers, but we never ventured out there.
All in all, the trip was great. The beaches in Vieques were some of the most beautiful we’ve ever seen. Most of the off shoot beaches were pretty desolate and we would be the only two people on the beach. Also, there are wild horses all over the island running around, lots of times walking along the roads or standing randomly near a beach or in a field, which is such a strange thing to see coming from NYC.
And Patrick’s favorite part of the trip was the cows that were in the road leading to our apartment that we had to shoo out of the road each time we wanted to get to our place.
Cliktrips Tips: There are quite a few design and wallet friendly houses to rent in Vieques if you don’t mind spending some time on VRBO and Home Away. And check out the NY Times “36 Hours in Vieques” guide for more information, including a stay at a modern lodge called the Hix Island House with rates starting at $135/night.