Tuesday, April 05, 2005
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.
- The Good: Our favorite restaurant by far was Bili. The service was good, the food tasty, and it wasn't horribly expensive. La Sirena was inexpensive and pretty good Mexican food, and it was also very fast relative to most restaurants.
- Middle of the road: We ate a light dinner at Banana's on the first night, which has reasonably good and reasonably priced. We ate at TradeWinds our last night, which was ok but for the price you can do better.
- The Bad: We ate at a couple of local joints, Richard's Cafe and Taverna Espanola, which we didn't care for. The prices were about average, the service was incredibly slow, and the food was served in small portions and over cooked.
- Supposedly Good: If we'd known, we would have tried Uva or Cafe Media Luna, which are supposed to be excellent, according to an ex-pat bartender I spoke with.
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.
- Green Beach - We went here the first day. It's on the West side of the island, and apparently was hit bad by the last major hurricane. It isn't so much a beach as pockets of sand located near dirt roads. Green Beach is by far the hardest one to get to, and the least impressive. If you don't have time for it, you aren't missing anything.
- Sun Bay, Media Luna, and Navio - This is a public beach complex close to Esperanza. Sun Bay is a huge beach with bathrooms and a snack stand. The water is gorgeous and there are lots of palm trees to sit under to stay in the shade. We never actually went to Media Luna though we drove past it twice. This is a large shallow bay that is popular with families. Navio is my favorite beach. It's the last in the chain starting at Sun Bay, and is also the smallest. It makes up for that with some great body surfing waves and the best atmosphere. Navio seems to be popular with the 20-something crowd, and was where we spent our final day on the island.
- Red, Garcia and Blue Beach - Red Beach and Blue Beach are closer to Isabela Segunda, the other city on Vieques. They are both pretty beaches, but we always wound up at Garcia or Blue Beach. Garcia was a small, quiet beach. It's a good place to go if you want a little privacy. Blue Beach, on the other hand, was a large beach with an island that you could swim out and snorkle around. The snorkeling wasn't as good as Cayman, but it was pretty good.
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.