Vieques is best known internationally as the site of a series of protests against the United States Navy's use of the island as a bombing range and testing ground, which eventually led to the Navy's departure in 2003. Today the former Navy land is a national wildlife refuge, with numerous beaches that still retain the names given by the Navy, including Red Beach, Blue Beach, Green Beach and others. The beaches are commonly listed among the top beaches in the Caribbean for their azure-colored waters and white sands.
For sixty years the majority of Vieques was closed off by the US Navy, and the island remained almost entirely undeveloped for tourism. This lack of development is now marketed as a key attraction. Vieques is promoted under an ecotourism banner as a sleepy, unspoiled island of rural 'old world' charm and pristine deserted beaches, and is rapidly becoming a popular destination.
Snorkeling is excellent, especially at Blue Beach (Bahía de la Chiva). Aside from archeological sites, such as La Hueca, and deserted beaches, a unique feature of Vieques is the presence of two pristine bioluminescent bays, including Mosquito Bay. Vieques is also famous for its feral horses, which roam free over parts of the island. These are descended from stock originally brought by European colonizers.
"Great beaches and people! The locals would offer to pick us up if we were walking, and always offered that we could call them if we had any problems. Wild horses on the roads were cool to see. Signs are lacking in many areas, so ask for directions. You'll need a rental car to get around if you want to see the entire island. Esperanza has the best restaurants (on the Malecon). Must go to the bio bay! Amazing!"
Weather: Vieques has a warm, relatively dry, tropical to sub-tropical climate. Temperatures vary little throughout the year, with average daily maxima ranging from 82 F (28 C) in January to 87 F (31 C) in July. Average daily minima are about 10 F (6 C) lower. Rainfall averages around 45 to 55 inches (1150 to 1400 mm) per year, with the months of May and September–November being the wettest. The west of the island receives significantly more rainfall than the east. Prevailing winds are easterly. Vieques is prone to tropical storms and at risk from hurricanes from June to November. In 1989 Hurricane Hugo caused considerable damage to the island.
Currency: US Dollar
Jaime Benitez Rexach, educator, politician and humanist
Juan Francisco Luis, Governor of the U.S. Virgin Islands (1978-1987)
Esther Mari, television and film actress
Germán Rieckehoff Sampayo, a renowned president of the Puerto Rican Olympic committee.
Rafael Rivera Castaño, physician and Public Health pioneer
Carlos Vélez Rieckehoff, local nationalist leader and political activist.
Carla Tricoli Rodríguez, Miss Puerto Rico Universe 2005
Vieques 10 Years After the Bombing Stopped - Ten years ago May 1, the people of Vieques, Puerto Rico and their supporters from around the world defeated the most powerful military machine ever, through mass civil disobedience and without firing a single shot...more
Food and Wine: Caribbean Sleeper - Vieques, the tiny Puerto Rican island, is so sleepy that its guard dogs often doze off in the streets. Writer Susan Choi explores its gorgeous beaches and has one of the best meals of her life...more
USAToday: Vintage Vieques - Travelers smitten with this 21-mile-long island off the coast of Puerto Rico love it as much for what it lacks as for what it has...more
Experience the world's clearest bioluminescent bay - Schedule a moonless night for a swim or kayak tour and you'll be greeted by billions of micro-organisms called dinoflagellates that ignite the water with a magical blue-green glow (Aqua Frenzy Kayaks, from $30 per person). It's like swimming in a watercolor painting...more