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Visiting Vieques

Vieques has tons of things to do, see and experience. Check out our list of things to do, transportation options, and where to stay on the small island.

Vieques is an approximately 52 square mile island, 21 miles long and 3 miles wide. Being 16 miles from the mainland of Puerto Rico, it takes 30 minutes to reach by ferry. About half of the island is part of the Vieques National Wildlife Refuge. You will find horses roaming the island, beaches to visit and cultural experiences to participate in.

Check out our map of things to do, transportation options and places to stay: here.

Things to do

Puerto Mosquito Bioluminescent Bay

The bioluminescent bay in Vieques is considered the brightest in the world. While the bay has the same amount of plankton as Fajardo or La Parguera, the lack of light pollution is what makes this bay such a treasure. The best time to experience bioluminescence is around the new moon when the night sky is the darkest possible. An overnight stay on Vieques is required if you want to experience the bay. Using one of the many operators in the area for a guided tour by kayak is the best way to explore the ethereal environment. Your guide may share information about the ecology, science, constellations and research projects happening in the area. There are about 14 different operators to choose from. Tours won’t happen the day before, on or the day after a full moon. Check the lunar calendar before scheduling your excursion. 

Abe’s Snorkeling

$60 for a kayak tour. Tour times are 7, 8 and 9pm. You can schedule your booking on their website.

Melayas Tours

They offer clear-bottom kayak tours. You can make your reservation online. It costs $70 and you’ll spend about an hour on the water. Set aside about 1.5-2 hours total. Tours are at 7:30 and 9:30pm. 

Black Sand Beach

Visit Playa Negra, one of only two black sand beaches in Puerto Rico. The beach is accessible via a 15-20 minute hike from the road. The trail can get muddy when it rains, so be sure to wear shoes you don’t mind getting wet. There are no amenities at the beach, pack light to hike to the beach but be sure to wear a hat and sunscreen, and bring water. Because the sand is black, it can be very hot on your feet! The beach is not swimmable as there are numerous rip currents. The trail is accessed here: Playa Negra Trail

Vieques National Wildlife Refuge

Hike in the National Wildlife Refuge; the refuge is over 17,000 acres and is considered one of the most ecologically diverse in the Caribbean. There are numerous beaches and trails to hike in the area. View on a map or use the Alltrails app to decide what route you want to take!  

Museo El Fortín de Conde Mirasol

(787) 741-1717

Open 8am to 4pm Wednesday through Sunday. Closed for a lunch break from 12pm to 1pm. 

The 18th-century fortress turned museum is a great place to learn about the history of the island. El Fortín de Conde Mirasol was the last Spanish fort built in the Americas. You’ll be able to see parts of the fortress wall, cannons and a garden on the grounds. Inside it contains an art gallery, many indigenous artifacts, books to purchase and a gift shop. With amazing views from the fort overlooking the Atlantic and the nearby island of Culebra, it's worth visiting. Entry is free, but donations are recommended and welcomed. 

Puerto Ferro Lighthouse

The Ferro Lighthouse ruins provide a snapshot of the Island's history and great views. The lighthouse became operational in 1899 but was abandoned after an earthquake in 1925. During its tenure, it provided light to guide merchant ships carrying sugar cane and cattle. Take Rt. 997 until the gravel road ends at the “Do Not Enter” sign and park in the area to the left. Be sure to stay on the one-mile path as you walk to the lighthouse. It offers beautiful views of the Caribbean and the drama of waves crashing on rocky cliffs. 

El Malecón La Esperanza

Stroll the Malecón, watch the sunset and eat dinner at one of the many restaurants along the waterfront. Vendors often set up their wares for some shopping as you explore. 

Parque de la Ceiba de Vieques Reserva Natural

The over 300-year-old Ceiba tree is the oldest tree on the island, famous for its large size and age. The Ceiba is sacred in the Taíno culture; indigenous people used the Ceiba tree to build their canoes. It blooms every five years making it a rare sight to see. It can be seen on the way to Mosquito Pier so you can visit both on the same drive.

Mosquito Pier

Mosquito Pier is a long pier left from when the Navy was on the island. Colorful tropical fish and sea turtles can be seen right from the pier. The nearby beach makes for a great place to snorkel and view sea life. 

Cayo De Tierra

Accessible by a spigot of sand between the main island of Vieques and this small cay, if the weather and conditions are right you can walk to Cayo de Tierra. From Playa Esperanza to the cay it is about 1.5 miles round trip. The short hike to the unspoiled location is a treat with views, birds and wildlife around you. 

Crab Island Rum Distillery

Crab Island Rum Distillery is open Thursday through Saturday from 12pm until 8pm. 

The handcrafted rum distillery is the first of its kind on Vieques. The distillery is open to the public if you’d like to experience the workings of the facility. It’s a great place to enjoy local food and the bar offers a selection of beverages. On Saturdays, there is live music. 

Getting to Vieques

Take the ferry or a plane to the island, information for the ferry and flight options are also available in our article, Visiting Culebra

It takes about 30 minutes by ferry from Ceiba to Vieques. Cargo ferries take longer, about 45 minutes. Tickets are $2.00 for adults, $1.00 for children, seniors and residents. www.puertoricoferry.com

The first boat departs Ceiba at 5:30am and the last boat at 7pm. From Vieques to Ceiba the first boat is at 6am and the last boat is at 8:30pm. 

Flying to Vieques is quick and a viable alternative if you don’t want to make the trek to Ceiba for the ferry. 

For a commercial flight from San Juan it is $87 round trip per person. From Ceiba it is a $50 roundtrip to fly to Vieques via Vieques Airlink

For a private charter try Taxi Aero. It’s $945 each way to charter a flight to Vieques and takes about 30 minutes to get there from San Juan. From Ceiba airport the 15 minute flight is $385 each way. 

For day trips to Vieques there are numerous boat charters that depart from Fajardo to take you on snorkeling, guided excursions and beach trips: check out our article about boat charters on the East side of PR.

Transportation on Vieques

There is very little public transportation on Vieques and they won’t go to beaches and fringe areas as they stick to the towns or supply transportation between towns. Renting a vehicle is highly recommended. There are steep hills and dirt roads if you want to sightsee outside of a town area. Talk to your rental agency to make sure you get the vehicle that suits your needs. 

Look for the Yellow Taxi tag on top of the vehicle, Públicos will meet you at the ferry terminal or airport and take you to your hotel, car rental agency and many bars and restaurants on the island. It costs about $3-$5 per person depending on the distance. 

UTV Rental

Explore Vieques by clubcar with this outfitter. They will pick up and drop off at the airport and ferry if you provide your arrival details ahead of time.

Vieques Car Rental

They rent out jeeps, SUVs and golf carts. They will pick up and drop off at the airport or ferry. 

Scooters for Rent by Vieques Inc.

A scooter rental can be a fun and economical option. They also rent out golf carts and UTV’s. 

Coquí Car Rental

They offer jeep rentals, the office is next to the ferry. 

Staying in Vieques

The two main towns to stay in on Vieques are the larger town Isabel Segunda, where the ferry terminal is and Esperanza, a smaller town on the waterfront. Most excursions to the bioluminescent bay jump off from Esperanza, making it a popular place to stay if that is your main objective. There are a number of selections to choose from if you refer to Google maps or Airbnb.com. Check out a few of our favorites below!

Isabel Segunda

Casa La Lanchita

Casa La Lanchita is a small hotel on the beachfront, offering 12 different rooms and suites. 

The Wave Hotel, Vieques 

The hotel is a 9-minute walk from the ferry. Set in the town proper, it is within walking distance of amenities and the nearby glass sand beach.

Casa Ladera

They offer a small boutique hotel with a pool and 2-3 bedroom suites with kitchens.  Jeep and boat rentals are available. 


Blue Horizon Boutique Resort

The small luxury hotel has 10 rooms. The adult-only resort is oceanfront and overlooks the water. They also have a pool and restaurant on site. 

Esperanza Inn

The reasonably priced inn is near beaches and less than a one-minute walk to the Malecon with numerous bars and restaurants. They have several guest rooms as well as full apartments with kitchens, great for traveling with family. 

Vieques Guest House

Vieques Guest House has 12 rooms, including a wheelchair-accessible option. It is a 5-minute walk from the Malecón, making it easy to go out to the nearby restaurants and walk to beaches.

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