A Weekend Trip To Vieques, Puerto Rico  

Author: | Last Updated: 22 Aug 2019

My family and I spent a week in Vieques, a small island off of mainland Puerto Rico, for the holidays in 2016. A week of sunshine,  beaches, hiking, and amazing food. I was in paradise and struggled with the idea of coming home at the end of the week, especially because we flew home to one of the worst blizzards New England saw that year. I fell in love with this island as soon as I set foot on it. I was in paradise and wanted to spend much longer than a week there. 

If I could go back, even for a weekend, these are the places I would visit and activities I would do again. 

Puerto Rico Itinerary – Arrival Day: 

2 PM: We boarded our nonstop flight to San Juan in Boston. The two people I was traveling with both hated flying and therefore were super anxious, but it ended up being a fairly smooth flight with only a few minutes of panic from those I was traveling with. 

6.30 PM: Our plane touched down in San Juan. We gathered our luggage and walked through the airport, which boasts a mall practically, to the ground transportation area. Here we boarded a cab and began our 1.5 hour ride to the ferry terminal in Ceiba.

We loved the ride because it let us see San Juan from a passenger perspective. I’m so glad we weren’t driving because it was a hectic ride due to rush hour traffic. Cars everywhere and horns blaring. I couldn’t imagine driving in a place like this. The cab driver was extremely nice and pointed out both important places as we passed them and local gems. It was a great little tour of the city while still getting us from point A to B.  

8.00 PM: Our cab dropped us off at the ferry dock and gave us directions on the next steps. We bought ferry tickets for the last ferry of the night and waited to board. While we waited we got dinner at one of the port restaurants. We each had something different, but they were all good. 

8.30 PM: We boarded the ferry surrounded by other tourists and locals who had spent the day in San Juan buying household supplies and groceries. They boarded the boat with arms full of goodies. The boat we took was two levels, one covered and the other open on top. We sat on top because the bottom was super crowded with locals trying to prevent their new goodies from getting splashed with ocean water.  I ended up getting sea sick on the boat ride, not necessarily because the water was choppy but it was pitch dark by the time the boat departed and therefore I couldn’t see the shoreline. The two people who were traveling with me loved the boat ride and met some interesting people onboard.  

10.00 PM: Our ferry docked in Vieques and we were met by the neighbor of the house we would be staying in, who was also the caretaker of the property. She took us to the one small convenience store on the island that was still open, in a town called Isabel Segunda, to pick up a few staples to keep at the house. The store was small but staffed by a friendly gentleman. The shelves were lined with staples from the American diet; frozen pizza, soda, and chips. They also had snacks that were common in Puerto Rico. 

11.00 PM: We finally arrived at the house we would spend the next week at. A beautiful two-story house that had been separated into two vacation houses. The property was stocked with all sorts of amenities including kitchen supplies, a grill, bedding, beach chairs, and a binder filled with the attractions on the island and the best places to eat. This binder would prove to be one of the best amenities there. The house also boasted a pool that overlooked the yard, fruit trees, and parts of the island. We looked around the house, put the few groceries we had bought away and then went to bed, it had been an extremely long day of travel. 

Puerto Rico Itinerary – Day 1: 

8.00 AM: We woke up to make breakfast and sit on the porch, taking in the beautiful views of the island. The island is fairly small and therefore you can almost always see the ocean, my favorite landscape to look at. The property manager came down to see how we were settling in and brought us some fruit she had picked in the short distance from her house to ours. It was some of the most delicious fruit I’ve ever tasted. This morning she brought us Quenepa, Spanish Lime. It looks like a ball of orange sherbert when the skin is removed, but tastes like a sweet lime. It has a weird texture but once you get over that it is so good and so easy to eat way too many of them.

9.00 AM: We hopped in the pool to cool off, coming from single digit numbers in the Northeast made the mild temps seem unbearable at first. 

11.00 AM: Our group piled in the Jeep we rented from the owners of the house and set off towards Esperanza, the tourist “town” on the island. The property manager gave us some tips for getting around the island and we were off. While driving she had warned us to watch out for the wild horses and dogs. These animals lined the streets and we had noticed them on the streets around the house that morning. Most were super nice. In fact, one morning a dog came down the road and out onto the porch to see what we were doing. He came back every morning after that and poked his head around before continuing on his daily journey, wherever that might have taken him. The wild horses were also beautiful and friendly, but less sociable. They, like many horses who are not used to people would let us get relatively close, but then would run away. Esperanza is more of a street rather than a town, but it was still a ton of fun. One side of the street is placed against the beach while the other is lined with little shops and restaurants. We walked up and down the street looking at the menus at different places before deciding on a place to eat lunch.

12.00 PM: For lunch we decided to stop at a little restaurant called El Guayacan. Here I ate some of the best Asopao with a side of tostones. Asopao is somewhat similar to a gumbo. This one was super flavorful and left me wanting to have more even though I was stuffed from the food I had eaten. Across the street from the restaurant there was a man selling coconuts out of the back of his truck while another one sold alcoholic beverages out of his. 

This part of Puerto Rico is very lax on laws surrounding alcohol that we find normal in the United States. More than once while eating lunch, I saw a person climb in their car with an open beer and start driving. Not once did we get carded or see anyone else get carded (granted the drinking age is 18).

1.00 PM: We finished up lunch and decided to walk around on the beach. While doing so we met all sorts of people and got some great ideas for an afternoon of adventures. The wild horses also enjoy the beach, lounging in the sun and galloping up and down the long stretch of sand. 

2.00 PM: While walking on the beach we ran into another family that told us about a beach they had just come from. So we decided to check it out. About a mile away, down a very muddy path that looked more dangerous than it needed to was Blacksands Beach. It is a relatively small patch of beach that is hidden from the main road by a wall of overgrown trees and bushes. The beach is covered in black sand unlike all of the other beaches on the island which has beautiful fine, white sand. This place was beautiful, sitting in a little cove on the edge of the island, the only reminder of civilization is one lone house sitting on the cliff overlooking one side of the beach. 

4.00 PM: We trekked back to our car and head back to the house to hop in the pool and relax before continuing to explore after dinner. 

6.00 PM: For dinner we made ribs that we got at the store the night before. They were already marinated in a mix of spices. We grilled them and had a side of corn and potatoes which we also grilled. They were some of the best ribs I’ve ever had. 

8.00 PM: We had dinner somewhat earlier than normal due to wanting to go on a kayak tour of Mosquito Bay. While in Esperanza earlier in the day we signed up for a tour. It is a bioluminescent bay, at night the water appears to glow due to a microorganism that grows in the water. This bay is beautiful ad I highly recommend everyone doing this. The best time to see the bay in during the new moon phase, but anytime is good. We were warned that for four days around the full moon they don’t do tours of the bay due to the sky being to bright. 

11.00 PM: One last dip in the pool, which is lined with underwater lights. The house we are staying at is on the side of the hill away from the small “towns” on the island, so you can see millions of stars in the sky while floating in the pool this late at night. 

Puerto Rico Itinerary – Day 2

8.00 AM: We once again got up, went for a quick dip in the pool and made breakfast, making sure to keep an eye out for our new canine friend. Sure enough he came to visit, today laying down next to us for a bit basking in the warm sun. 

10.00 AM: We set off on another adventure, this time to the other side of the island. Here we picked coconuts off of a tree on the beach, explored the old sugar cane buildings, and got within a few feet of many wild horses, these ones seemed to be much more used to the concept of human touch. While here we also visited the Ecological Park. 

1.00 PM: We drove back to Esperanza for lunch, this time at a restaurant called Lazy Jacks where we grabbed some quick sandwiches and a drink before continuing. The food was decent, but American fare so could have been gotten anywhere. However, the atmosphere was fun and playful, something that definitely improved the experience. 

2.00 PM: We drive the short distance from the restaurant to the Vieques National Wildlife Refuge, a protected environment similar to the National Parks in the United States. You must carry out what you carried in. We hiked up a fairly easy path to one of the most beautiful views I’ve ever seen. At the top was a cliff that dropped off over clear blue waters, waves crashing against the rocks beneath us. We stood there for a while just taking in the view and the sounds of the ocean. We leisurely hiked back down another trail taking in all of the plant and animal species we could see through the tropical forest. 

5.00 PM: We drive back to the house, stopping to get dinner on the way a little stand on the side of the road. I’m not even sure the place had a name, but they served some of the best grilled chicken, tostones, and soup I’ve ever had. We got it to go and brought it back to eat next to the pool. Relaxing by the pool, swimming, and eventually watching the sun set down over the ocean. A beautiful and relaxing end to a day full of walking. 

Puerto Rico Itinerary – Departure Day:

11.00 AM: The property manager brings us to the small airport on the island, where we go inside and get on our 9-person hopper plane without going through TSA or security of any kind. The plane is loaded by having everyone walk out onto the tarmac and balancing the plane with people who are proportionally the same size opposite one another. We fly low over the ocean still able to see people on boats far below us. 

12.00 PM: We land at the San Juan airport after a 25 minute flight and are escorted inside. From here we must go through TSA security before getting to our terminal. From there we will take the nonstop plane ride home, landing approximately three hours after take-off. 

Until next time Vieques. You will forever hold a special place in my heart. 

Notes About Traveling to Puerto Rico:

You don’t need a passport to fly to Puerto Rico but it is highly recommended that you carry one, some excursions from here may take you to places that are not US Territories. 

Hurricane Season is from August to October, avoid traveling here during this time.

Know at least a few basic spanish words for getting around. None of us speak spanish well but I did find myself using a few key words from high school Spanish while on this trip, specifically while in the airport in San Juan and when in Isabel Segunda. 

Make sure to give yourself enough time between when the hopper plane lands and your flight takes off. You must go through TSA at this point and not before your first flight.  

Wellness By Miranda

A very special thank you to Miranda Handy for sharing her recent trip weekend trip To Vieques, Puerto Rico. If you would like to read more from Miranda, you can check out her travel blog here:

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