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Isla de Vieques, Puerto Rico Travel Guide

Isla de Vieques Summary


  • Sleepy, undeveloped island off the coast of the mainland Puerto Rico
  • Pristine, deserted beaches (Sun Bay Beach is a favorite)
  • An up-and-coming destination spot in Puerto Rico
  • Excellent snorkeling, especially at Blue Beach (Bahia de la Chiva)
  • Interesting landmarks and historic spots, such as Count Mirasol Fort, built by the Spanish in the mid-1800s
  • Magical Bioluminescent Bay (also called Mosquito Bay), glows in the dark -- a must-see
  • Cool Black Sand Beach


  • Lack of attractions
  • Difficult to access (no international airport)
  • Some anti-American mindset due to heavy US Navy presence for 60 years

What It's Like

This unique little island offers travelers pure, undeveloped land, mainly thanks to the US Navy's former use of a good portion of the island for a bombing range. After a series of protests, the Navy left in 2003, and the Navy land is now a national wildlife refuge.

A fair number of restaurants, pubs, and even coffee shops can be found on the island -- but no chains. There are no casinos, golf courses, or any typical tourist attractions, and much of Isla de Vieques' attractions are nature-oriented: Its stunning, untouched white-sand beaches and famous bioluminescent bay are the highlights, but it also features walking trails, 300-year-old trees, and some of the top snorkeling spots in Puerto Rico. Kayaking tours of the bioluminescent bay at night are very popular, and visitors can watch the water glow as they dip in their paddles, or jump in to swim.

Where to Stay

Although the island is tiny (about 20 miles long), there are still certain areas that are better for certain travelers. Most high-end and all-inclusive hotels can be found along the northern coast of the island, conveniently located near the Antonio Rivera Rodriguez Airport. The northern side also has most of the restaurant and dining scene, as well as some museums. On the southern side, visitors will find the island's best beaches (including Sun Bay Beach), top snorkeling spots, and the famous Bioluminescent Bay.

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