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The Five-Point Weekend Escape Plan

See a More Stylish Side of Vieques


3. What to Do

Red Beach, part of the Vieques National Wildlife Refuge, is a favorite spot for both locals and tourists.  

Make the most of Vieques’s compact size and well-marked roads by beach hopping from coast to coast. Reserve a rental car a couple of weeks in advance by calling Maritza’s Car Rental (787-741-0078) and then explore the sandy shores on both the island’s Caribbean and Atlantic sides. Head for Red Beach on the southern coast for clear waters fronting a placid cove; or marine-life-filled Blue Beach nearby, which offers excellent snorkeling through calm, turquoise waves. Not far from Esperanza, Media Luna Beach is the best option for shallow, kid-friendly shores.

Wear your best island attire to gallery opening parties, where you’ll clink wine glasses with see-and-be-seen locals who flock to these lively gatherings in the absence of other cultural events. Siddhia Hutchinson Fine Arts Gallery (Calle 3 A15, Isabell II, 00765; 787-741-1343) hosts monthly openings, where you’ll likely find landscape paintings by the owner and other artists. Newcomer Galeria de Arte Deda hosts monthly receptions as well and features a more progressive selection of works.

Throw on a bathing suit to explore Mosquito Bay, a bioluminescent body of water that is the most stunning natural wonder on the island. Numerous tour operators offer bio-bay excursions, but only newcomer Vieques Adventures uses clear fiberglass kayaks for the best views of the glowing water, dense with photosensitive plankton. Tours begin just after sunset, and the 90-minute trip (from $35) sails past mangrove swamps out to the placid lagoon where you can dive in.

Learn about the island’s colonial past at the Vieques Museum of Art and History ($3 admission; 787-741-1717), where small-scale exhibitions display artifacts from Spanish rule and the island’s native Taino people, as well as historical archives and documentaries. Standing on a hill above the port town of Isabel Segunda, the museum occupies the historically significant El Fortin Conde de Mirasol, a neo-Moorish fort and prison that was last used in 1892 during the Spanish-American War.

Published on Mar 17, 2011 as a web exclusive.

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