This post is dedicated to one of my favorite islands, Puerto Rico. A few weeks before Hurricane Maria hit, I took a trip to Vieques, a small island just a few miles east of Puerto Rico.
How to get there
The cheapest option is to take a ferry from Fajardo, but I’ve read that it is unreliable. I’m all about convenience so we took a small plane from San Juan airport–it was a short 20 minute flight.
Where to stay
We stayed at the W Hotel which is literally a 3 minute car ride from the airport. The location could not have been more perfect. The hotel has a waiting room right in the airport, complete with snacks and refreshments. They send a staff member in a Jeep to pick you up to bring you to the hotel. We were early to check-in so we hung out at the wet bar. The bartender took care of us and was so helpful. He made us a list of what to do on the island. Locals always know what’s best.
What to do
The best thing to do on the island is rent a jeep and drive around the whole island. The scenery is jaw-dropping. There is so much vibrant green vegetation on the island. You can rent a jeep right from the W Hotel’s parking lot. We saw a few tourists rent mopeds, but I think a Jeep is a better idea because in order to get to the really nice beaches you have to drive on extremely bumpy dirt roads.
There are so many beaches all around this island. I loved how the beaches are secluded. At any beach that we went to, there would be no one or one other small group there. Oh, and the beaches can be nude beaches too. For all you adventurers, skinny dipping is allowed.
I highly recommend going to Playa Negra (Black Sand Beach). I have never seen black sand before, so it was absolutely beautiful to see. The black sand is really fine, and we were told it’s magnetic. When it rains, the volcanic material gets washed down to the beach, which is why you see the black sand mixed with tan sand.
Definitely feed the wild horses! All over the island, wild horses roam free. A tour guide happened to drive by and gave us some plantain chips to feed the horses. At first I was scared of them because I didn’t want to get kicked by one. All they want is to eat all day. Who knew wild horses are so friendly?
I highly recommend doing the Bio-luminescent Bay Tour. You can book with Blackbeard Sports Tours; they have an office right in the W Hotel which is so convenient. These organisms called dinoflagellates live near the surface of the water and charge up during the day. At night when agitated, they illuminate—think the world of Pandora from the movie Avatar. The glow only lasts a few milliseconds, which is why it’s hard to capture with a regular phone camera and why I don’t have any pictures.
Where to eat
The best food we had on the island were from little huts or mobile trailers on the side of the road. I highly recommend Horta’s BBQ. The ribs were sweet and spicy and you can never go wrong with fried pork. I got the steamed broccoli on the side, which were just as tasty as the main dishes.
When I travel, I leave a piece of my heart in all the destinations I go to. It broke my heart to see on the news the damage Hurricane Maria did to all of Puerto Rico. A month has gone by and millions of people on the islands are still without electricity, food and water. If you would like to help, please donate to any of the links below: