When you think of the Caribbean, the first places that come to mind are The Grand Cayman, Antigua, or Saint Martin. You will hardly meet anyone who has heard, much less visited, Vieques. But it is going to be one of the best decisions of your life to explore this little island, located seven miles off Puerto Rico’s capital, San Juan.
Vieques is a small island, just around 135 square kilometers or so, with an estimated 10,000 people. A significant number of them are expats who fell in love with the place and decided to settle there. But the island has raw and more pristine white-sand beaches than most tourist attractions in the Caribbean.
popular activities you can do on the island
1. Explore the sky. Fly over the island and get a tour from above by climbing on a glider. A US Air Force veteran pilots the glider, and the trip lasts for around 30 minutes. It is one of the most fun activities you can do in Vieques.
2. Explore the underwater. There are plenty of seagrass sanctuaries on the island, which explains why your Vieques has abundant marine life. If you have not tried scuba diving before, some facilities offer introductory lessons. They will bring you to dive spots that will make your experience worth remembering. Of course, the island also has places for experienced divers.
3. Explore its history. In World War II, the island became an extension of the United States Navy, building facilities and barracks there. You can still see remnants of the bunkers and these military installations on the island. Going further back, you will also find historical landmarks that point to its long history under Spain and British control. In the 19th Century, sugar plantations were the main drivers of Vieques’ economy. You can still find these spots today, although vegetation already swallowed these structures.
4. Explore its heart. The heart of Vieques is its people. It is impressive how colonised people hold no grudge against foreigners. They are friendly, welcoming, and always eager to help. You can buy fruits and freshly caught fish. They will open their homes to you and share what little they have. Ask a local if you want to find a scenic spot that is not frequently visited by tourists.
Take one of the Vieques tours being offered on the island and traverse the sky, land, and sea without burning a hole in your pocket.
One thing to remember about your Vieques tours is to be prepare yourself to stay longer. The place will surely captivate you and may interrupt your schedule. Another is to prepare for your next visit. It is truly a beauty to behold and a place you would want to keep returning to.
If you originally planned on being there for a short vacation of two or three days, you will likely scrap your other plans to stay on the island for a week or more. Ask the expats living there now. They were initially there for a vacation.
by Natalie Marie.
An Aussie girls guide to
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