La Cueva Del Indio Marine Reserve
For some amazing sea cliffs with ancient history, head over to La Cueva del Indio on the north shore of Puerto Rico. This natural attraction is located near the town of Arecibo, about halfway between San Juan and the west coast.
Jagged rock formations line the sea here, creating craters, caves, natural arches, and steep drops to the water below. Within the caves, you can still see petroglyphs, or ancient cave wall art, created by the indigenous peoples of the island hundreds of years ago.
To access these caves, visitors must climb some steep climbs on rough surfaces that even require using a ladder at one point. If you visit Cueva del Indio, you will definitely want to wear proper shoes and watch the children closely.
Even if you dont decide to descend into the caves, there are still amazing views to be had and other interesting geological formations to see from the surface. One of the most photographed is a massive arch over the sea below. Be careful here as well, though the drops are steep, and the ground is uneven!
If youre looking to get away from the city of San Juan for a really secluded beach, the hidden gem of Playa Sucia should be perfect.
Dont let the name fool you: while Playa Sucia means Dirty Beach in Spanish, this is one of the cleanest, white-sand, blue-water beaches youll find on this island. Maybe the name is meant to keep it a local secret?
El Fortn Conde De Mirasol Museum
This is the last fort built by Spaniards in the Americas, built between 1845 and 1855. El Fortín Conde de Mirasol has a colonial-style restored house, a beautiful art gallery, and a collection of indigenous artifacts in its museum. The building also has an impressive conference room that can accommodate over 100 people. Outside you can find cannons that were once a crucial part of the fort.
At the fort, you can learn all about the history of the island of Vieques. The gift shop is the perfect place to buy books about the island and the Caribbean.
Stunning views of Puerto Rico and Isla Culebra are a guarantee from the site. The Puerto Rican Institute of Culture administrates Fuerte Conde de Mirasol a small entrance fee helps maintain the museum.
Visit The Conde Mirasol Fort
bastchild / Flickr
The largest and most important historic monument on Vieques, the tiny Fort Count Mirasol is not quite like the magnificent castles of Old San Juan. Still, it’s a lovely landmark located in the town of Isabel II and perched on a hill overlooking the Atlantic. The fort was built by the Spanish between 1845 and 1855 to repel British and Danish attacks. The attacks never materialized, and the fort would prove to be the last military fort ever built by the Spanish empire. The fort later served as a barracks, and then a jail, before becoming a museum that now displays artifacts and chronicles of the island’s history.
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Vieques National Wildlife Refuge
The Vieques National Wildlife Refuge occupies more than 60% of Vieques total land mass and encompasses several beaches, bays, mangroves, and trails to explore. You can spend a whole day hiking, beach hopping, snorkeling, birdwatching, kayaking, paddle boarding, and horseback riding. Keep in mind that Vieques is popular for its abundance of wild horses, so inside the refuge youre likely to spot a few.
Visit The Gran Ceiba Tree
The site of the Grand Ceiba tree is considered a sacred spot for many locals and is surrounded by a nature park, complete with interpretive signs. Over three centuries old, this tree is the second most visited spot on the island . Ceiba trees, with their thick trunks and knobby limbs, are located throughout Vieques and were once used by the indigenous people to make canoes. If you go in February, expect to see the Grad Ceiba abloom in pink flowers, and make a little wish while you stand under its enormous branches.
Most people visit Vieques as a way to escape everyday life and relax on a sandy beach with aqua blue water. But choosing from one of the island’s many beaches is dictated only by the experience you’d like to have. For those looking for the action of a big, public beach, head to Sun Bay, known for its beautiful turquoise water and swaying palm trees. Those longing for privacy should check out Secret Beach in Pata Prieta. Kids will love Playa Negra, with its black, magnetic sand. Just make sure to pack along a magnet.
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Playa La Chiva & Playa Negra
Vieques wild, pristine beaches frequently rank among the worlds best. On Vieques southeastern shore, La Chiva Beach is a textbook Caribbean fantasy, a beautiful swathe of soft white sand protected by mangroves and scrub trees. Christened Blue Beach by U.S. forces, it stays true to its moniker with hypnotic swirls of crystal-clear water cast in shades of turquoise, azure and royal blue. Towards the eastern end of the beach, coral-studded waters alive with tropical fish beckon snorkelers. Myriad coves dot the coastline between Playa La Chiva and Playa Plataduring the week youll rarely see another soul. For drama and solitude, head to the otherworldly Playa Negra , a slither of black sand resulting from the volcanic activity of Monte Pirata peak. To access the beach, its a 15minute stroll through tropical forest and along a riverbed.
Admire The View From Ferro Ruins Lighthouse
One of the best things to do in Vieques for landscapes lovers is to hike to the Puerto Ferro Lighthouse Ruins, abandoned after the 1925 earthquake. The ruins surrounding landscape is worth every step of one of the best hikes in Puerto Rico.
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How To Get Around On Vieques
Renting a car or Jeep is the best way to get around on Vieques, even though rentals can be quite pricey . But having the freedom to explore all corners of the island makes it worth it in my opinion.
Jeeps are the most popular rental vehicles on the island, and are sometimes a good idea to tackle the bumpy roads to some of the island’s best beaches. But Jeeps are the vehicles that will book up first. If you can’t rent a Jeep , you absolutely can still get around Vieques in a regular car, too.
We rented a Kia Soul from , and it was just fine!
So there you have it: more than you probably ever thought you needed to know about planning a trip to Vieques.
We loved our trip to this little slice of paradise, and definitely recommend it for anyone looking for a tropical getaway. Right now especially, your tourism dollars can really help the local economy on Vieques.
Have you ever been to Vieques? If not, do you want to plan a trip there now?
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Best Things To Do In Vieques
Your trip to Puerto Rico isnt complete without checking out the many things to do in Vieques.
This municipal island to the east of Puerto Rico is among the best Puerto Rico destinations for nature and beach lovers, but also for history enthusiasts.
Im a San Juan area local who has been to Vieques myself. And, I can tell you, theres a lot more to do than just swimming on the beach. So you can enjoy the best of the island, here are the 27 things to do and activities you cant miss during your visit to Vieques.
PS if you need accommodation still, be sure to bookmark my guide to where to stay in Vieques!
Disclosure: Travel Lemming is an independent reader-supported blog. You can support us by purchasing via the affiliate links on this page, which may earn us commissions. Thank you!
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Can You Visit Vieques On A Day Trip
Technically, yes, you can visit Vieques on a day trip from the main island of Puerto Rico. There are day-long snorkeling and sailing trips you can book, or you could conceivably fly/take the ferry to Vieques in the morning and leave in the evening.
I would not recommend this, though you really need more than just part of a day on Vieques! AND, if you want to take a tour of the bio bay, this is something that has to be done at night, meaning you really do need to stay over.
Popular Types Of Attractions In Vieques
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Find The Ruins Of The Cane Industry
The Old Sugar Mill Ruins
Vieques had a strong sugar cane economy before the US Navy and the Marine took over the island. Although no longer existent, the industry left ruins around the island and history lovers can track them down! The Sugar Mill Ruins, the Abandoned Pier at Esperanza Beach, the railway on the side road, and the train tracks underwater at Green Beach are some of these ruins.
Map It: Isabel II
If youre using the ferry to arrive at Vieques, youll be arriving at Isabel II town center, where youll find restaurants, bakeries, art galleries, and shops. A visit to Vieques isnt complete without a visit to the souvenir shops to buy keepsakes, snacks, and local art to take back home.
Want More? Check out all our free Vieques travel guides.
Am: Hike Through The Wildlife Reserve
If youre exploring, most of the good stuff in Vieques is in the wildlife reserve. Go back, and when you enter at Highway 997 theres going to be a little road on the right, Puerto Ferro Peninsula Road, that takes you to the Puerto Ferro bay where there is a beautiful lighthouse. You can walk around the lighthouse, and just sit there and chill and look out over cliffs. If you leave the reserve, you can also drive to the Black Sand Beach, which is an adventure because you have to leave your car on the little road leading up to it, and walk 20 minutes to find the beach. Its not a crazy hike though if you have hiking sandals or any comfortable shoes youll be fine. Once you get there, its a beautiful place for a walk and for photos, but the surf is really strong so its not the best place to swim. Its more like a scenery stop.
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Walk To Hidden Playa Negra
Map It: Playa Negra
If youre looking for unique and astonishing landscapes in Vieques, head over to Black Sand Beach or Playa Negra, two of the best beaches in Vieques. The trail to the beach is a bit solitary, but after 15 minutes or so, the trail opens to one of the most beautiful beaches youll find in Vieques. Playa Negra is the only beach with black sand in Puerto Rico.
Best Luxury Hotels In Puerto Rico
Fairmont El San Juan Hotel
Address: 6063 Isla Verde Avenue, San Juan, Puerto Rico 00979
The Fairmont brand is always a good choice, and for a bit of luxury in the famous Isla Verde neighborhood, their El San Juan Hotel will not disappoint. It sits on 15 acres of beachfront land, hosts San Juans famous BRAVA nightclub, and contains plenty of shopping outlets.
Address: State Road 187 Kilometer 4.2, Rio Grande, PR 00745
This St. Regis has everything you could want in a luxury resort: direct beach access, a golf course, a spa, pools, a tennis school, and a water sports center. You wont be missing much despite being in a remote spot slightly east of San Juan, enjoying all this five-diamond luxury resort has to offer.
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Toro Verde Adventure Park
For some adrenaline-inducing fun in the jungle, theres the Toro Verde Adventure Park, high in the mountains of central Puerto Rico.
A drive of just over an hour from San Juan will bring you to this wilderness adventure course that became even more famous after Jimmy Fallon filmed an episode of his show from the park.
Toro Verde is a network of ziplines, suspension bridges, cable bikes, and other fun ways to get around the trees and jungles. This area of Puerto Rico has some of the most beautiful mountain views and greenery, and there are few better ways to take it in than from above.
The biggest hits at Toro Verde are their ziplines. One favorite is called The Beast, which will have you flying 1.5 kilometers across the treetops! And if youre up for that, you will definitely want to try The Monster, running for 2.5 kilometers thats over a mile and a half, one of the longest ziplines in the world!
Think of Isla Verde as Puerto Ricos Waikiki. This is the touristic neighborhood of San Juan, just next to the airport and east of Old San Juan, where many of the large resorts are located along a beautiful beach.
Beyond the beach, youll find plenty of entertainment, restaurants, and necessities along the main strip in Isla Verde.
The Abundant Natural Surroundings Of Vieques
Vieques is breathtaking. From the cliffs towering over the ocean and verdant greenery to the pristine white-sand beaches and turquoise water, its obvious why so many have fallen in love with the rugged beauty of this island.
Unlike other islands in the Caribbean, much of Vieques has been preserved and untarnished by development. This is because the US Navy occupied two-thirds of the island until 2001. When they left, they transferred all of the lands they used to the US Fish and Wildlife Service who now have designated that land a wild refuge, some of which is open to the public to enjoy.
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Things To Do On Vieques
Once you finally GET to the little island of Vieques, you’ll be happy to know that there are plenty of things to do if, like me, you aren’t really the lay-on-a-beach-for-days type of traveler.
Vieques is home to less than 10,000 people, and only has two cities: Isabel II in the north, and Esperanza in the south. The latter is the touristy town where you’ll find most of the island’s guesthouses and restaurants.
Here are some of the top things to do on Vieques:
Vieques Puerto Rico Best Things To Do
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Nature is the star of Vieques attractions. Its beauty entices people from all over. The overall feeling is of going back in time to a primeval world where the traces of todays current hustle and bustle disappears and the world becomes a clean and wild place. Time stands still and allows you to enjoy Natures wonders.
The history of Vieques is much older than the Spanish and even older than the original native Arawak tribes. Archeologists have found bits of evidence that very ancient people dwelled on this tiny island, perhaps as old as the worlds earliest cultures of Egypt and India. We encourage you to visit Vieques historical places, it is a great way to connect with the island.
Renting a jeep to drive around the island is an adventure on its own. This also will enable you to access some of the places off the beaten path, where dirt roads lead to extraordinary finds. Although very tempting to drive around the island to explore every spot, be sure to take the time to simply be still, take it all in. You can always go back to Vieques to see and experience more.
Following are the best things to do and the most interesting places to visit in Vieques.
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New Years Eve 2023 In Holiday Deals
The best way to celebrate the New Year within the most memorable way is always celebrate within the luxurious and foreign place. With zero other place becomes more opulent and chic than Vieques in. is changing into a central festival for the eve within the New Year , a majority of places are competing to host the largest New Year party. However, it might be disastrous to be aware of which party to participate in. Youll find therefore reduced it to a couple of choices. These evenings are the most useful and will eventually ensure that your 2023 New Year celebration is memorable and memorable.
Which means that the new year is going to be regarding the . Whats more, it ensures that it will be huge celebrations, events, crazy reductions and a lot more, exclusively for Vieques. We already know just thats a month of celebration of being the commercial center on the planet, but to attract more people, the retailers organize parties, organize concerts british along with other big events. So, you have the guarantee that this current year too, there is a large amount of events on Vieques , and you may had opted here and spend time, instead of spree. There will really be live music, dancing, drinks and food, as well as the company of lovely young people. What else do you really need?