GETTING THERE & AROUND
Vieques is off the beaten path, but very easy (internationally speaking): you don’t need a passport, everyone speaks english, and currency is the US dollar. You just fly into San Jaun and then there are about 5-6 small airlines (like 8-person size), which you book ahead of time, that fly you the 20min from San Juan to Vieques. We flew Air Sunshine.
You MUST rent a car, preferably a jeep type, because you have to drive to all the different amazing beaches. The rentals aren’t cheap. We payed $65/day back in 2009. But the many palm-lined, azure blue watered beaches that you will basically have totally to yourself, are THE reason to go to Vieques. At one point, we used our jeep as a ladder of sorts to climb up a palm tree and get ourselves some fresh coconuts and limes. John got all “Survivor” with a swiss army knife (in his mind it was a huge machete). The limes were promptly squeezed into our beers, and poof, we’re living a real life Corona ad.
We stayed at La Finca Caribe in the family cabana (see main photo). It’s definitely rustic, in a Caribbean camping cabin chic kind of way. In 2009, it was $1200 for 8 days. It had a bedroom with a double bed on the second floor and two twin daybeds on the first floor. At the time, kids weren’t allowed to stay in the main guesthouse, but the place as a whole was definitely kid-friendly.
There are plenty of good restaurants, which are all a bit overpriced, but it’s an island so that’s to be expected. Our best two meals were at El Quenepo in Esperanza and Chez Shack, which was sort of in the middle of the island on Rt. 995 (no one really has a real “address” but it’s very easy to get around with a map). We also had yummy lunches at Banana’s and Duffy’s and breakfasts at Bellybuttons and Tradewinds, all in Esperanza. We had a really nice meal at Coconuts in Isabella Segunda, the desserts were outstanding, but it looks like that may be gone at this point.
Should you go, make sure to schedule either a kayak or boat trip to the BioBay. We used Island Adventures because they had a boat which seemed like the way to go because at the time, our son was a wiggly toddler. But we heard Abe’s was the way to go if you do the kayaks. Just be sure to make a reservation ahead of time because it’s dependent on the moon cycle (for maximum viewing of the bioluminescence).
We did dive while in Vieques, but honestly, it was not what we would consider good diving. Visibility was low and there wasn’t much to speak of in terms of interesting sea life or coral. This is likely the result of the United States military using Vieques as testing grounds for bombs, missiles, and other weapons from the 1940s until 1999. Vieques is now protected by the U.S. National Fish & Wildlife Service, but has a long way to go before it will be a diving destination. Apparently nearby Culebra island is much better for diving.