If there’s one thing that Vieques is known for aside from boasting the brightest bioluminescent bay in the world, it is the beautiful beaches that line its shore. There’s over 15 of them around the 21-mile long island. Beaches with wide bays, small coves, white sand, black sand … you name it, Vieques has it. Since many of the beaches are only accessible by 4 Wheeler Jeep, most tourists are deterred, leaving the beaches completely empty and positively serene.
During my recent trip to Vieques, I made sure to dedicate plenty of time to exploring as many of these beaches as I could. It’s possible to see every single one over the course of three or four days, but if you’re only visiting Vieques for a day or two, I recommend prioritizing these three:
Located in the far Northwest corner of the island, Punta Arenas is hands-down my favorite of Vieques’ beaches. It’s a bit tricky to get to/find and the roads are beyond bad condition (as in, if your phone isn’t secured, it will fly all the way across the car – true story), but this beach is SO WORTH IT.
I got there around 1 pm and there wasn’t a single person in sight. I had half a mile of white sand, turquoise water and beautiful palm trees to myself. I laid out on the beach for hours, listening to the birds chirping and the waves lapping up onto shore. Talk about heaven on Earth.
Playa Media Luna
Located only a 10 minute drive from the town of Esperanza, Playa Media Luna is a wonderful beach to go to if you don’t want to head too off the beaten path. While you will likely be surrounded by a few other people, you will still enjoy white sand and crystal clear waters in a beautifully secluded cove.
Getting to Playa Navio is fairly easy. Once in the parking lot of Media Luna, you’ll see a small road on the left side with a sign saying “Playa Navio.” You’ll think to yourself, “Is this actually a real road?” and then you’ll drive down it anyway, experiencing the same bumpy AF roads that lead to Punta Arenas. The road is so small and narrow that tree branches will hit the car as you drive along. My best advice is to roll up your windows, buckle in and just GO.
Because this beach takes a bit of extra effort to get to, you’re likely to be one of the only people. While you’re here, be sure to head left on the beach and explore the small caves on the shore.
This is the beach from an aerial view, captured with a Phantom 4 drone from Blue Skies Drone Rental:
If you have more time, add these other beaches to your list:
- Playa Negra: black sand beach
- Playa Plata: another stunning cove, located on the far East end of the island
- Playa Caracas: a more crowded, but still beautiful beach
Here are some general tips you need to know about beach expeditions on Vieques Island:
Bring all supplies with you
Vieques is a national wildlife refuge, meaning that other than the towns of Esperanza (in the southwest) and Isabel Segunda (in the northwest), there isn’t too much in the way of civilization or stores. Given that, be sure to pack all the food and water you’ll need with you for the day, as well as any towels or beach chairs.
Rent a jeep
The reason for this is two-fold. Firstly, the island is 21 miles long and if you want to explore beaches sprawled across the island, you will need some form of transportation. Secondly, the roads leading to the majority of these beaches are EXTREMELY bumpy and filled with potholes and water.
As I mentioned above, the majority of the island is uninhabited, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise that cell service is spotty to say the least! Before heading out to these beaches, be sure to plug in the address on Google Maps and hit “navigate.” The nice thing about this app is that, when you lose service, the navigation will still continue!
Have a back up plan too – print out a detailed map and be prepared to pull over and ask someone for directions if need be!
“Donde esta…” = “Where is…” 🙂
Here is some of my favorite swimwear at the moment. Perfect for your beach adventures on Vieques Island!
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