There’s a magical little island off the coast of Puerto Rico where horses roam free, the beaches are pristine, and the bay glows in the dark. It was our first time leaving the main island, and our trip to Vieques did not disappoint!
My husband and I have a tradition of visiting Puerto Rico every year around this time, and we always experience a different part of the island. This year our focus was the bio bay in Vieques – touted as the most luminescent bay in the world. You can take the ferry ride (a little over an hour) out of Fajardo, or fly in to Vieques from San Juan directly. There are no ferries leaving the island after 6pm, so you have to plan to stay in Vieques overnight if you go that route.
We rented out the penthouse apartment of a lovely little house that we found on villas.com. Acacia House even boasts a rooftop deck that is perfect for nighttime stargazing.
We were advised not to take our car rental on the ferry because there is limited room and locals are given preference. So the first order of business in Vieques was to acquire a mode of transportation. We rented a scooter from Fun Brothers Hut in the Malecon (downtown area) which was walking distance from our little apartment.
We only rented one, and I rode around holding on to Pierre’s back the whole time. This, my friends, was the scariest thing ever in life. Seriously. I am not faint hearted, but I was pretty terrified the entire time. There were a few fleeting moments of exhilaration, riding off into the sunset with my love – but the majority of my time was spent praying while trying not to get bugs in my mouth. Pierre, of course, loved every moment.
Before leaving for Vieques, I read an article in the NY Times about the bio bay no longer glowing. I was freaking out because this was the only reason we were going to this island. Had I missed my opportunity forever? We met some dudes who were going to the bay that night that agreed to let us know the deal. In the meantime, we decided to take our scooter for a spin and check out Media Luna. This beautiful clear bay around the corner from the bio bay is at the end of a very bumpy winding dirt road, but definitely worth almost losing our transmission over.
The owner of Acacia House let us know that the bay in fact did go dark last year for the first time, but has since recovered and is now brighter than it has ever been – so we booked our tour for the next night with Abe’s. Contrary to what the boys we met reported, the bio bay was AMAZING. It is called Mosquito Bay, but I learned this was due to the name of a pirate ship that docked there. Indeed, no mosquitos (phew!). The water was very warm and I totally wanted to dive right in to swim with the glowing dinoflagellates, but swimming in the bay is no longer permitted due to last year’s outage.
I wasn’t able to take pictures of this portion of our trip because we were in a small kayak with water splashing everywhere and my camera is not waterproof. Pierre said we’ll purchase a GoPro camera and go back so I could properly document it. However, I am truly grateful that I got to experience it the first time without a camera. I described it in my vlog below.
We went to Vieques solely for the bio bay, but ended up finding an island that is full of natural beauty, great food, and gorgeous sites. We experienced my birthday dinner at Bili’s Restaurant where I had the absolute best vegetable gnocchi I have ever tasted. My mouth is watering just thinking about it.
Everywhere we went, there were horses roaming free.
We followed a fully paved road (halleluyah) to the wild life reserve and experienced the most beautiful beach I have ever seen. The water was truly clear turquoise like a swimming pool. There was a time that the Navy occupied Vieques and they gave all the beaches names of colors – but these beaches now go by their original names. If you are looking for this one, it is Caracas, but the old Navy name is Red Beach.
On our last full day in Vieques, Pierre and I drove to the north side of the island through narrow winding roads to visit this 375 year old Ceiba tree. Again, the pictures don’t do it justice.
On our way back from the Ceiba tree, we passed this amazing sunset as the perfect end to our Vieques visit.
There are so many stories I can tell about our very first trip to Vieques, but I’ll save those for our personal memories of a time well spent. I highly encourage you to make a trip out to this stunning little island and experience the beauty for yourselves. You will have the time of your life!