There is a lot of controversy surrounding Isla Vieques, as the US Military used the island for target practice for over 50 years. Finally, tiring of it in 1976, the larger Vieques became the target to bomb. Finally, in 2003, the Navy left here and the 18,000 acre Naval Base became the Vieques National Wildlife Refuge. Even today there are some unexploded bombs in the Refuge.
But the beaches here are awesome, and there aren’t any unexploded bombs about. So you’re safe. We found the southern coast calmer than the northern shore. Sort of like Aruba, if you’ve ever been there. You know how the hotel side of the island is calm. Here it’s the same, only we have the mile and a half Bahia de la Chiva or “Blue Beach”. Don’t forget you can tan and burn here pretty easy because of the breeze makes it feel a little cooler than it actually is. Enjoy the sun but don’t ruin your stay in Puerto Rico.
Now you wonder why they name some of the beaches around the world. And most of the time we know exactly why. Well, here at Bahia de la Chiva, you’ll know exactly why. One look at the water as it is caressed in the white sandy bay will put an unforgettable image in your mind of the blue, blue water.
And it’s even more spectacular underwater. Blue Beach, Isla Vieques has top rated snorkeling right off the eastern tip. Hang around the rock outcroppings and just sit, or float. You’ll be amazed. Then work your way around the rock and enjoy the undersea abundant life.
Just east of Esperanza, we were told to look for Sun Bay, or as the locals call it, “Sombe“. It’s a beautiful balneario created in a semi-circle bay that will imprison you all day. The curve give you protected swimming here. Because of the angle, at least through the day – no open ocean waves to crash your beach party. And the sand is a delight to walk on. Sturdy enough to feel great on that afternoon walk, but not hard enough to make walking difficult. Close by we found an eatery – the Arenamar Cafe – inexpensive and the empanadillas are out of this world.
Find a kayak guide, which is real easy here, and kayak through the bay at dusk for a show you will never forget. These creature light up the water where you put your paddle. It’s truly amazing and recommended.
Close to Mosquito Bay is one of these Bioluminescence bays. Probably among the world’s best. So come here to see the magic. There’s a dirt road that will take you there.
Next to the Bioluminescence bay are a couple of beaches worth mentioning. Media Luna Beach (Half Moon), and Navio Beach (Ship), are so different and right near each other. Media Luna Beach is a tiny inlet with white powdery sand and few waves. Soft… And then Navio Beach is a quarter-mile strip which is downright rugged and full of breakers. Rough…
Come here to see the sunsets. You know those pictures of the sand and palms and sun setting over the ocean? This is your backdrop. So nice!
Isla Vieques – Beach Index:
- Sand – mostly powdery white sand, lightly packed
- Facilities – some, but not all beaches, plan ahead
- Shade – palms throughout
- Sports – few rentals, better to bring your own
- Notes – we highly recommend a bioluminescence tour!
We head to the southwest coast, Guanica, where dramatic rocky coast makes beaches hard to find. But we found some! Next! >>