Visiting Vieques - Puerto Rico+ (2023)

Vieques is an approximately 52 square mile island, 21 miles long and 3 miles wide. Being 16 miles from the mainland of Puerto Rico, it takes 30 minutes to reach by ferry. About half of the island is part of the Vieques National Wildlife Refuge. You will find horses roaming the island, beaches to visit and cultural experiences to participate in.

Check out our map of things to do, transportation options and places to stay: here.

Things to do

Puerto Mosquito Bioluminescent Bay

The bioluminescent bay in Vieques is considered the brightest in the world. While the bay has the same amount of plankton as Fajardo or La Parguera, the lack of light pollution is what makes this bay such a treasure. The best time to experience bioluminescence is around the new moon when the night sky is the darkest possible. An overnight stay on Vieques is required if you want to experience the bay. Using one of the many operators in the area for a guided tour by kayak is the best way to explore the ethereal environment. Your guide may share information about the ecology, science, constellations and research projects happening in the area. There are about 14 different operators to choose from. Tours won’t happen the day before, on or the day after a full moon. Check the lunar calendar before scheduling your excursion.

Abe’s Snorkeling

$60 for a kayak tour. Tour times are 7, 8 and 9pm. You can schedule your booking on their website.

Melayas Tours

They offer clear-bottom kayak tours. You can make your reservation online. It costs $70 and you’ll spend about an hour on the water. Set aside about 1.5-2 hours total. Tours are at 7:30 and 9:30pm.

Black Sand Beach

Visit Playa Negra, one of only two black sand beaches in Puerto Rico. The beach is accessible via a 15-20 minute hike from the road. The trail can get muddy when it rains, so be sure to wear shoes you don’t mind getting wet. There are no amenities at the beach, pack light to hike to the beach but be sure to wear a hat and sunscreen, and bring water. Because the sand is black, it can be very hot on your feet! The beach is not swimmable as there are numerous rip currents. The trail is accessed here: Playa Negra Trail

Vieques National Wildlife Refuge

(Video) Puerto Rico | Vieques | Travel Guide | Beaches | Food | Drone

Hike in the National Wildlife Refuge; the refuge is over 17,000 acres and is considered one of the most ecologically diverse in the Caribbean. There are numerous beaches and trails to hike in the area. View on a map or use the Alltrails app to decide what route you want to take!

Museo El Fortín de Conde Mirasol

(787) 741-1717

Open 8am to 4pm Wednesday through Sunday. Closed for a lunch break from 12pm to 1pm.

The 18th-century fortress turned museum is a great place to learn about the history of the island. El Fortín de Conde Mirasol was the last Spanish fort built in the Americas. You’ll be able to see parts of the fortress wall, cannons and a garden on the grounds. Inside it contains an art gallery, many indigenous artifacts, books to purchase and a gift shop. With amazing views from the fort overlooking the Atlantic and the nearby island of Culebra, it's worth visiting. Entry is free, but donations are recommended and welcomed.

Puerto Ferro Lighthouse

The Ferro Lighthouse ruins provide a snapshot of the Island's history and great views. The lighthouse became operational in 1899 but was abandoned after an earthquake in 1925. During its tenure, it provided light to guide merchant ships carrying sugar cane and cattle. Take Rt. 997 until the gravel road ends at the “Do Not Enter” sign and park in the area to the left. Be sure to stay on the one-mile path as you walk to the lighthouse. It offers beautiful views of the Caribbean and the drama of waves crashing on rocky cliffs.

El Malecón La Esperanza

Stroll the Malecón, watch the sunset and eat dinner at one of the many restaurants along the waterfront. Vendors often set up their wares for some shopping as you explore.

Parque de la Ceiba de Vieques Reserva Natural

The over 300-year-old Ceiba tree is the oldest tree on the island, famous for its large size and age. The Ceiba is sacred in the Taíno culture; indigenous people used the Ceiba tree to build their canoes. It blooms every five years making it a rare sight to see. It can be seen on the way to Mosquito Pier so you can visit both on the same drive.

Mosquito Pier

(Video) The Ultimate Vieques Travel Guide | BLACK SAND BEACH, BIO BAY, SUN BAY BEACH, AND COST BREAKDOWN

Mosquito Pier is a long pier left from when the Navy was on the island. Colorful tropical fish and sea turtles can be seen right from the pier. The nearby beach makes for a great place to snorkel and view sea life.

Cayo De Tierra

Accessible by a spigot of sand between the main island of Vieques and this small cay, if the weather and conditions are right you can walk to Cayo de Tierra. From Playa Esperanza to the cay it is about 1.5 miles round trip. The short hike to the unspoiled location is a treat with views, birds and wildlife around you.

Crab Island Rum Distillery

Crab Island Rum Distillery is open Thursday through Saturday from 12pm until 8pm.

The handcrafted rum distillery is the first of its kind on Vieques. The distillery is open to the public if you’d like to experience the workings of the facility. It’s a great place to enjoy local food and the bar offers a selection of beverages. On Saturdays, there is live music.

Getting to Vieques

Take the ferry or a plane to the island, information for the ferry and flight options are also available in our article, Visiting Culebra.

It takes about 30 minutes by ferry from Ceiba to Vieques. Cargo ferries take longer, about 45 minutes. Tickets are $2.00 for adults, $1.00 for children, seniors and residents. www.puertoricoferry.com

The first boat departs Ceiba at 5:30am and the last boat at 7pm. From Vieques to Ceiba the first boat is at 6am and the last boat is at 8:30pm.

Flying to Vieques is quick and a viable alternative if you don’t want to make the trek to Ceiba for the ferry.

For a commercial flight from San Juan it is $87 round trip per person. From Ceiba it is a $50 roundtrip to fly to Vieques via Vieques Airlink.

For a private charter try Taxi Aero. It’s $945 each way to charter a flight to Vieques and takes about 30 minutes to get there from San Juan. From Ceiba airport the 15 minute flight is $385 each way.

(Video) Exploring Two Different Islands of Puerto Rico | Culebra and Vieques

For day trips to Vieques there are numerous boat charters that depart from Fajardo to take you on snorkeling, guided excursions and beach trips: check out our article about boat charters on the East side of PR.

Transportation on Vieques

There is very little public transportation on Vieques and they won’t go to beaches and fringe areas as they stick to the towns or supply transportation between towns. Renting a vehicle is highly recommended. There are steep hills and dirt roads if you want to sightsee outside of a town area. Talk to your rental agency to make sure you get the vehicle that suits your needs.

Look for the Yellow Taxi tag on top of the vehicle, Públicos will meet you at the ferry terminal or airport and take you to your hotel, car rental agency and many bars and restaurants on the island. It costs about $3-$5 per person depending on the distance.

UTV Rental

Explore Vieques by clubcar with this outfitter. They will pick up and drop off at the airport and ferry if you provide your arrival details ahead of time.

Vieques Car Rental

They rent out jeeps, SUVs and golf carts. They will pick up and drop off at the airport or ferry.

Scooters for Rent by Vieques Inc.

A scooter rental can be a fun and economical option. They also rent out golf carts and UTV’s.

Coquí Car Rental

They offer jeep rentals, the office is next to the ferry.

Staying in Vieques

The two main towns to stay in on Vieques are the larger town Isabel Segunda, where the ferry terminal is and Esperanza, a smaller town on the waterfront. Most excursions to the bioluminescent bay jump off from Esperanza, making it a popular place to stay if that is your main objective. There are a number of selections to choose from if you refer to Google maps or Airbnb.com. Check out a few of our favorites below!

(Video) What is Vieques really like?.

Isabel Segunda

Casa La Lanchita

Casa La Lanchita is a small hotel on the beachfront, offering 12 different rooms and suites.

The Wave Hotel, Vieques

The hotel is a 9-minute walk from the ferry. Set in the town proper, it is within walking distance of amenities and the nearby glass sand beach.

Casa Ladera

They offer a small boutique hotel with a pool and 2-3 bedroom suites with kitchens. Jeep and boat rentals are available.

Esperanza

Blue Horizon Boutique Resort

The small luxury hotel has 10 rooms. The adult-only resort is oceanfront and overlooks the water. They also have a pool and restaurant on site.

Esperanza Inn

The reasonably priced inn is near beaches and less than a one-minute walk to the Malecon with numerous bars and restaurants. They have several guest rooms as well as full apartments with kitchens, great for traveling with family.

Vieques Guest House

Vieques Guest House has 12 rooms, including a wheelchair-accessible option. It is a 5-minute walk from the Malecón, making it easy to go out to the nearby restaurants and walk to beaches.

(Video) Real Talk Travel - About Our Stay on Culebra and Vieques Islands in Puerto Rico

FAQs

Can tourists go to Vieques now? ›

Vieques is a generally safe destination for tourists and visitors. The crime rates usually involve petty crimes that visitors can easily avoid by taking common safety precautions.

Is it worth it to go to Vieques? ›

Is Vieques worth visiting? Vieques is home to the brightest bioluminescent bay in the world, amazing paradisiacal beaches, and breathtaking scenery. People who travel to Puerto Rico should definitely make time to visit Vieques.

How much time do you need in Vieques? ›

The island is known for its amazing beaches. A lot of tourists also come to Vieques to experience Bioluminescent Bay (sometimes referred to as Puerto Mosquito or Mosquito Bay). What is this? Whatever brings you to the island, we know from experience that you'll enjoy visiting Vieques for three days.

Can you go to Vieques for a day trip? ›

While there is plenty to see and do in Vieques, Puerto Rico, it's close proximity to the main island makes it a popular day trip for many vacationers.

Who is the missing tourist in Vieques? ›

On Dec. 11, 2021, the US Coast Guard suspended the hunt for missing snorkeler Joanna Rebis, 38. She was last seen four days earlier on the Punta Arenas shoreline of Vieques, Puerto Rico. Composite image by Coffee or Die Magazine.

Do I need a Covid test to enter Vieques? ›

Domestic travelers are not required to present proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test prior to arrival on the Island. International travelers are not required to provide a negative COVID-19 test result upon entry.

How walkable is Vieques? ›

Vieques is a small island but not so small that you can walk the entire thing in a day, so having some kind of transportation is key.

Which is better Culebra or Vieques? ›

Vieques is a better destination for families or couples looking for a combination of great beaches, kayaking, and horseback riding. The island has museums, a rum distillery, and historical ruins worth visiting. Meanwhile, Culebra is a more laid-back destination for relaxing at the beach, snorkeling, and diving.

What is the number 1 beach in Vieques? ›

La Chiva beach in Vieques is often ranked as one of the best beaches in the Caribbean.

What are 3 activities you can do at Vieques island? ›

You can spend a whole day hiking, beach hopping, snorkeling, birdwatching, kayaking, paddle boarding, and horseback riding. Keep in mind that Vieques is popular for its abundance of wild horses, so inside the refuge you're likely to spot a few.

Do I need a car on Vieques island? ›

Do you need a car in Vieques? No, you don't need to rent a car in Vieques. Many resourceful people go to Vieques and get around the island just fine using taxis and vans that commute around the island. If you're on a tight budget, this is something you might consider.

Can you swim in Mosquito Bay Vieques? ›

Swimming is not allowed in Mosquito Bay and Laguna Grande; you can swim and snorkel in the bay at La Parguera. Remember to plan and book your tour around the moon cycle, the darker the night, the brighter the bioluminescence. Tours are available all year-round; prices range from $45 to $135.

Is food expensive on Vieques? ›

Food: At bars and cafes on Vieques, meals are $8–$15 per person. Upscale restaurants average $25–$50 per person. Some travelers save money by bringing coolers to the beach, but doing so is considered impolite by locals. Activities: Vieques National Wildlife Refuge is free and open to the public, as are most beaches.

What is the best month to visit Vieques? ›

The best time to visit Vieques is April-May

April-May is the best time to go to Vieques due to the excellent all-round climate conditions, and it's not likely to be at its busiest as it's not during the height of the peak travel season.

How much is an Uber from San Juan to Vieques? ›

Take Uber to the ferry

It's the price for a ride from San Juan to the Vieques ferry terminal. What is this? $82.00! And that's the price for non-tippers!

Is Vieques still contaminated? ›

The Navy has completed cleanup on nearly all sites contaminated with hazardous materials on Vieques, but substantial work remains for the Navy and the Corps on both islands at sites with munitions, especially underwater sites where unexploded munitions are buried in the sea floor.

Is it safe to swim in Vieques? ›

Most beaches in Vieques are safe for swimming during the spring and summer seasons when the tides are calmer. But, during the winter season, Sea Glass, La Chiva, Pata Prieta, Sun Bay, and Media Luna tend to have safe tides.

Why is Puerto Mosquito on Vieques special? ›

“The Mosquito Bioluminscent Bay on the Island of Vieques, Puerto Rico is the most bioluminescent in the World. It contains up to 160,000 microscopic dinoflagelates per liter of water.

Why is Vieques famous? ›

Vieques is famous for its amazing beaches and there is a lot of them, ranging from pure white to soft black. Playa La Plata (Silver Beach) is among the most popular beaches in the island and named accordingly because of its bright white sand.

How long is the ferry ride to Vieques? ›

How long is the ferry ride? The ferry from Ceiba to Vieques takes about 30 minutes. The ride from Ceiba to Culebra is about 45 minutes.

Can you go to Vieques without a passport? ›

Do I need a passport to go to Vieques? Fortunately, you don't need a passport to travel here if you live in the United States.

Can you flush toilet paper in Vieques? ›

#6 – Toilet Paper Goes in the Trash Bin

But it's an important one if you don't want to flood your hotel's loo: Do NOT flush toilet paper in Mexico.

How do you dress in Vieques? ›

Casual wear is accepted everywhere, swimsuits are acceptable at the beach, but if you go into a place such as the Post Office, government office or shopping I recommend that you wear shorts and a tank top over your swimsuit.

Do they have Uber on Vieques? ›

Take a Taxi or Publico

You might be surprised to find there are no rideshare services in Vieques like Uber or Lfyt, but what you will find are local taxi companies and public transportation vehicles known as Publicos.

Can you drink tap water in Vieques? ›

Water in Vieques & Puerto Rico

The tap water in Puerto Rico is safe to drink, water is tested just like it is in the United States.

What is the prettiest place in Puerto Rico? ›

What is the most beautiful part of Puerto Rico? The most beautiful parts of Puerto Rico include the west area of the island, for its beaches and breathtaking sunsets. Other beautiful areas include Vieques, Culebra, Fajardo, Utuado, and Manatí.

What is the nicest part of Puerto Rico? ›

The most beautiful parts of Puerto Rico include Old San Juan, Ponce, and Arecibo for history lovers. Cities like Manatí, Isabela, Aguadilla, Rincón, Cabo Rojo, Vieques, and Culebra sport the most beautiful natural landscapes and beaches.

What is bluest beach in Puerto Rico? ›

Pelícano Beach

The protected sanctuary Caja de Muertos has one of the most crystalline waters in the south of Puerto Rico. It received the first Blue Flag distinction to a beach located at a natural reserve.

Can you snorkel off the beach in Vieques? ›

Blue Beach

You can snorkel right off the beach and spread out along the length of the shoreline so you'll feel like you have the place to yourself. Grass beds along the beach draw colorful schools of fish close to shore, and the waters are calm year-round, making this a top Vieques snorkeling spot for beginners.

Does Vieques have bioluminescence? ›

The brightest bioluminescence effect in the world can be found on the magical island of Vieques, but don't take our word for it— it was recognized by the Guinness World Record in 2006.

Can you swim in Vieques bioluminescent bay? ›

The bioluminescent bay in La Parguera is the only bay in Puerto Rico where swimming is allowed and it adds to the true magical experience of the bay tour.

What is the restricted area in Vieques? ›

(a) The restricted areas. (1) A strip, 1,500 yards wide, off the naval reservation shoreline along the east coast of Puerto Rico extending from Point Figuera south to Point Puerca, and thence west to Point Cascajo and the mouth of the Daguada River.

Does Vieques have mosquitoes? ›

The risk for mosquito activity is low.

How much does it cost to take the ferry in Vieques? ›

Ferry tickets cost $2 per person. Ferries typically take about an hour and a half to reach Vieques, but the duration can vary based on weather conditions. Ferries often depart later than scheduled.

Are ferries to Vieques reliable? ›

Ferry schedule, trips, & travel information to make getting to Vieques by ferry a breeze! Whether you're visiting the island of Vieques for a day trip or a full week, the ferry is an affordable option. While it is not as reliable as flying, with some planning it can be done smoothly.

Can you sleep on the beach in Vieques? ›

Description. Sun Bay is the only designated campsite on Vieques Island. The waters are warm and crystal clear, and because the island has not yet caught on with the tourists, you can often have the campground and beach all to yourself.

Why can't you swim in Mosquito Bay? ›

At the most famous bioluminescence location in the world, the Mosquito Bay in Puerto Rico, swimming with the organisms is no longer permitted. Although the organisms glow when disturbed, it is best to leave nature to its own devices, in case of any damage caused, and to protect the marine life.

What time of year is best for bioluminescence? ›

When Can I See Bioluminescence? Bioluminescence is a year-long phenomenon. In the summer months (June – September) and into Fall, we see a bioluminescence produced by a plankton called dinoflagellates. In the winter months, we see a bioluminescence produced by comb jellies.

Can you see bioluminescence without a tour? ›

If you're staying in Lajas or the surrounding area, La Parguera offers a chance to see the bioluminescence without traveling far. While it isn't the best example of a bio bay, it's still better than not seeing one at all.

Do you tip in Puerto Rico? ›

Tipping in Puerto Rico is just as common as in the U.S. It is part of the service economy and taxation system. Tipping is generally the same as it would be here in the United States. Gratuity may be included in bills in restaurants for parties of six or more.

Can I use US dollars in Puerto Rico? ›

Since Puerto Rico is a territory of the United States, locals are American citizens, and American travelers can enter the Island without carrying a passport. Nor do U.S. travelers require international calling plans for their phones. The currency used in Puerto Rico is the U.S. dollar.

Is snorkeling better in Vieques or Culebra? ›

Culebra has less rain and therefore less run off so, for the most part, they do have better snorkeling and diving from shore. It is important to know that Vieques has more variety. several piers including mosquito pier which is pretty amazing. has very healthy coral growth.

Is it worth going to Vieques? ›

Is Vieques worth visiting? Vieques is home to the brightest bioluminescent bay in the world, amazing paradisiacal beaches, and breathtaking scenery. People who travel to Puerto Rico should definitely make time to visit Vieques.

Is Vieques worth going to? ›

Vieques is a generally safe destination for tourists and visitors. The crime rates usually involve petty crimes that visitors can easily avoid by taking common safety precautions.

When can you see bioluminescence in Vieques? ›

While the bio bays have some bioluminescence year-round, the best time of the year to visit them is during the dry season, from December to mid-April.

How long do you need for Vieques? ›

Personally, I think you need at least 3 days to explore all of Vieques. A longer trip of 5-7 days would be great, too, especially if you like to take things a bit slower, but 2-3 nights is perfect as an add-on to a longer trip in Puerto Rico.

Is it easy to drive in Vieques? ›

Driving Safely in Vieques

The roads in Vieques are narrow, they may seem as if they are a one lane road, especially the roads on the hillsides on the interior of the island, THEY ARE NOT! So please drive slow, take your time, enjoy the beautiful scenery.

Is Vieques open to the public? ›

It is open to the public year round. The Vieques NWR is the most ecologically diverse wildlife refuge as well as the one with the largest land mass in the Caribbean.

Are Vieques beaches open? ›

The beaches in the F&W Reserves are open 7 days a week from 7am – dark (until 7:30pm March-Aug, until 6:30p, Sept- Feb) Gates close automatically.

What are the restricted areas in Vieques? ›

(a) The restricted areas. (1) A strip, 1,500 yards wide, off the naval reservation shoreline along the east coast of Puerto Rico extending from Point Figuera south to Point Puerca, and thence west to Point Cascajo and the mouth of the Daguada River.

What are the current travel restrictions for Puerto Rico? ›

Anyone arriving to Puerto Rico will be required to present negative PCR test results, no older than 1 day. Arrivals from the US are exempt.

Is Vieques or Culebra better? ›

Vieques is a better destination for families or couples looking for a combination of great beaches, kayaking, and horseback riding. The island has museums, a rum distillery, and historical ruins worth visiting. Meanwhile, Culebra is a more laid-back destination for relaxing at the beach, snorkeling, and diving.

Can visitors take the ferry to Vieques? ›

No. The only ferries that run from the Puerto Rico mainland to the islands of Vieques and Culebra at this time are the ferries that depart from Ceiba. Note: As of May 2023, all visitors must pay a $2 fee to reach Culebra by air or sea.

What are 3 activities you can do at Vieques Island? ›

You can spend a whole day hiking, beach hopping, snorkeling, birdwatching, kayaking, paddle boarding, and horseback riding. Keep in mind that Vieques is popular for its abundance of wild horses, so inside the refuge you're likely to spot a few.

Why is there no hospital in Vieques? ›

Vieques has not had a functioning hospital since the facility was destroyed during Hurricane Maria more than three years ago. Emergency funds to rebuild the small island's only hospital were approved two weeks after Jaideliz's death, but it still hasn't been rebuilt.

Is Puerto Rico ready for tourists? ›

Puerto Rico is relatively safe for tourists and travelers as long as they stay out of dangerous areas. Common tourist-friendly areas in San Juan include Old San Juan, Isla Verde, Condado, Ocean Park, Hato Rey, and Miramar.

What documents do I need to travel from Puerto Rico to USA? ›

If your driver's license or government-issued ID isn't a Real ID, then you'll need your passport to travel to both Puerto Rico and other states of the United States.

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