Vieques: The Caribbean's Best Kept Secret
Happy Friday everyone!
We've been recapping our time in Puerto Rico all week, and we've saved our favorite for last!
After spending a few days exploring the main Island, we jumped on a plane with Vieques Air Link and made our way to Vieques- an island just off the eastern coast of Puerto Rico. We'd been hearing about this hidden paradise for years, so we were excited to finally be experiencing it ourselves! Unlike Puerto Rico, Vieques is quiet, secluded, and has practically no feeling of tourism. It was hard to believe, having just come from San Juan's party beach. Don't get us wrong- we love a good party beach- but, if we had to choose a vibe, we'd always land on the side of tranquil, luxurious and romantic. Vieques completely blew our minds! It's an unspoiled tropical island measuring a measly 21-some miles long by 4 miles wide, with a population of less than 10,000 people and full of free-roaming semi-wild horses. It's like nothing we'd ever seen in the United States, let alone so easy to get to from NYC (less than 5 hours in total)!
As we always try to do when we visit a new place, we've put together a Guide of what to do in Vieques! This was one of our favorite trips yet, which makes it even more exciting that it's so close to home. If you're looking for your next tropical vacation, look no further! Watch our video recap, and then check out our Vieques guide below!
HOW TO GET THERE
Take a flight to San Juan, and then book a separate flight from SJU to Vieques on Vieques Air Link. It's only 25 minutes away!
WHERE TO STAY
There are a number of small hotels, resorts and guest houses on the Island, but none of them compare to the calibre of The W Retreat and Spa when it comes to luxury and comfort. Our only regret was that our stay was too short! The W's property is a sprawling oasis that stretches along the northwestern coast of the Island and is nothing short of stunning. Everything is impeccably decorated (we were totally obsessed with the incredible interior design), the service is warm and professional, and our experience was magical from touch-down to take off. Quite literally, actually, as the W has their own lounge at the tiny Vieques airport where you can sip a delicious cocktail as you wait for a jeep from the resort to come pick you up! Our favorite thing about the W Retreat and Spa was the sense of tranquility. This property certainly lives up to it's name as a "Retreat"- it's impossible to be there without relaxing! We could go on and and on, but instead here's a list of our favorite parts of the stay:
- The couples massage at Away Spa (enter through a garden, massage to the sound of crashing waves)
- The Sunrise and Sunset Yoga on the beach (for some serious zen vibes)
- The volcanic rock plunge pool (the stones heat up all day and keep the water balmy)
- The beautiful dinner menu at Sorcé (loads of healthy and vegetarian dishes)
- Snorkeling and kayaking right from the beach (included in your stay!)
- Afternoon cocktail reception (every evening!)
WHAT TO DO
If you're looking to get away just to relax and recharge, you never have to leave the W Retreat and Spa. They have everything you could want and then some for a perfect vacation. If you're like us, though, and like to get out and have some of your own adventures, then we recommend these things to do on the Island:
- Explore the Island and beaches on horseback with Esperanza Riding Company
- Kayak in Mosquito Bay: reportedly the most magnificent bioluminescent bay in the world
- Rent a Jeep and explore the island the local way
- Bar-hop down Calle Flamboyan in Esperanza
- Visit the endless beaches (Red Beach, Playa Negra and Secret Beach to name a few)!
WHERE TO EAT
One of the best parts of Vieques is the chill vibes. You're on island time, and everyone has a minute to stop and give you a recommendation. Ask a local where to eat in the area- we guarantee they'll be thrilled to tell you the best spots!
If you take our advice and stay at the W Retreat and Spa, Sorcé is the perfect choice for a romantic dinner or a healthy breakfast. While you're out exploring, have lunch at Belly Buttons or Bananas in Esperanza- and if afternoon becomes evening and you're looking for a party, visit the bar at El Bloc down the street. If the rum punch really draws you in and night becomes late night, head over to Duffy's to party with all the local bartenders after they get of their shifts!
OKAY, enough from us! Check out our Photo Journal of the trip and GO PLAN YOUR VIEQUES GETAWAY!
-Zach + Tara