Vieques is a relatively undeveloped, off-beat Island. Its casual “vibe” is what we love most about it, and what we strive to maintain here at the finca. Although our location has been long overlooked by developers it feels like Vieques is being “discovered”; the secret is out. But don’t worry, we’re committed to life in our cut offs, without pretensions, or all the conveniences of home.
Are we on the beach?
We’re three miles from beaches in both directions, the Caribbean to the south, the Atlantic to the north. On Vieques, almost all our beaches are undeveloped and ten minutes away from anything. That’s what makes them wonderful. It also means you’ll probably want to rent a car or scooter, or use public/taxis no matter where you stay. Warning though, about looking for a place “on the beach.” More often than not, it means a place right in town with loud cars, roosters and boom boxes throughout the day, and often night. Lots of folks move in with us for quiet and beauty, after they tried a night or two “on the beach.”
What to do
The main activity on Vieques usually involves our remarkable wide open beaches. There are officially over 50 of them. Some are great for snorkeling, others for body surfing, kayaking or beach combing. Imagine walking for over a mile on white sand not a building in sight with only a handful of other folks at the beach. That’s not uncommon on Vieques. There are all kinds of other things to do for folks who like to keep busy: exploring our bio-bay, historical sites, diving, sailing, bone-fishing and other charters, as well as kayaking, paddle boarding, horseback riding, yoga on the beach, and mountain biking. We can help you with all. And the roads in our area, Pilon, are great for walking and running. — Did we mention just hanging out in a hammock? or the pool? Doing nothing is really nice for a real change!
What to eat
All kinds of cuisines are available. Dress is very casual and most restaurants are open-air. Offerings range from local seafood and regional specialties to gourmet, vegetarian, food trucks and burgers. Groceries are about the same prices as in most US cities. We have two larger grocery stores, a variety of neighborhood colmados, outside produce stands, bakeries, natural and gourmet shops. Fresh fish and lobster is available at the fisherman’s dock in Isabel II. We’ll point you in the right direction to find everything you need.
The island is about 20 miles long, 4 miles wide, and lies eight miles off the east coast of Puerto Rico. It’s part of Puerto Rico, but geographically part of the Virgin Islands, which lie to the east and south. Some folks call Vieques and Culebra, our sister island just northeast of us, “The Spanish Virgins.”
Vieques’ climate is wonderfully moderate with temperatures averaging 84 degrees year round. There is no real rainy season, and the majority of rain occurs at night or early morning. It is a rare day when we don’t see the sun. And of course, there’s hurricane season-which spans from late August through October. The weather can still be beautiful in those months, but things are much slower on the island.
The island has 9000 residents, with two main towns: Isabel Segunda, on the north, Atlantic side, about 7 miles away from the finca, and Esperanza, a smaller fishing and tourist community, on the southern, Caribbean coast, about 3 miles away. Spanish is the official language, although English is spoken just about everywhere. Being a US territory, Vieques has a US Post Office, and the currency is the US Dollar. Tap water is good and safe to drink as well. There are also several ATM machines.
Vieques has a rich history. Columbus stopped here on both of his voyages. It’s home to the last Spanish fort built in the New World, now our fabulous museum and cultural center, Fort Count Mirasol. There’s also the Vieques Conservation & Historical Trust in Esperanza for marine and natural history exhibits, as well as many private art galleries. If you like to shop, new choices are popping up all the time from local handmade pottery and jewelry, Caribbean clothing and T-Shirts, to downright trendy designer.
Until 2003, the US Navy controlled roughly 2/3rd of the island, but they have left it now primarily as either US Fish and Wildlife preserves, open land, or land grants to local citizens for homestead sites. Although much of the former Navy land is still restricted for cleanup efforts, many of our most beautiful public beaches are on this land, and now preserved for ever. This complex history and the diminished availability of private land has kept developers and cruise ships off the island, and helped, in its odd way, to keep Vieques relatively undeveloped.