Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Vieques, PR 
This is the final version of my review of our trip to Vieques. I hope you enjoy, and let me know if you have any questions.

Vieques - We had a great time on the island. It's about a 70 minute ferry ride from the island of Puerto Rico, and you have to take about an hour cab ride from the airport to get to Fajardo to take the ferry. Vieques is where the Navy used to conduct weapons testing for the Atlantic Fleet, and as such the tourist boom is just taking off. I imagine in 5-10 years people will say the same about Vieques as they say about Prague today, which is that they wish they went before the commercialization. So, with that in mind, go to Vieques! You won't regret it!

Restaurants - Unfortunately, most restaurants on Vieques operate on Island Time, which means they are slow. You can expect to wait ten minutes to order and then another 40-60 minutes to get your food, irrespective of how crowded it is. If you plan your own trip to Vieques during a busy period like Spring Break, I would highly recommend making reservations before you go. These places fill up fast. I'll seperate places into two groups, those we liked and those we didn't.
Accommodations - We stayed at Hacienda Tamarindo while in Vieques. It's a neat little B&B with an ocean view (it's on a hill overlooking the ocean and the bay in front of Esperanza), with about 16 rooms. They had a delicious breakfast each morning (good sized menu, not a buffet) that was included in the room price. They also have a great pool, an honor bar, and very friendly service. They arranged our rental car and transportation to and from San Juan for us (not the ferry, the cabs), and they even picked us up from a remote beach when our rental car broke down and had to be towed. HT is on the high end of island B&B accommodations in terms of price, but I honestly think it's worth it compared to the quality on much of the island. Let's face it, this is not yet a resort island and as such doesn't have many resorts (only one, in fact). If we were to go back I would definitely stay at HT.

Beaches - This is the real reason to go to Vieques, as there just isn't a whole lot else to do on the island. Luckily, the beaches here are varied and top notch, so you'll be able to find what you're looking for.
Bioluminescent Bay - Vieques is home to one of (and supposedly the) brightest Bio Bays in the world. There is little artificial light to detract from the natural luminescence of the micro-organisms in the water, and so it has remained bright while bays in much of the Caribbean have been ruined by resortification. You can't go to Vieques without seeing this, though it's best to go with a tour operator to get the full effect. We went with Blue Caribe, but would probably try Island Adventures instead next time.

That's it for my review of our trip to Vieques. It's the perfect place to go to relax and enjoy yourself, which is just what we needed. I would definitely recommend it as an island destination. Check out The Enchanted Isles website for a lot more information.

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