Boulevards & Byways

Postcard from Vieques

Going off the beaten path

As I sit here and write I’m reflecting on how fortunate I am to experience a location that’s a commercial-free destination – there are no high-rise hotels, horses roam the countryside, and sustainability is at its core.

Vieques where the horses roam free.

Vieques, an island municipality of Puerto Rico and oftentimes called the Spanish Virgin Island, is an easy journey from any location, only taking four hours from NYC, and a 22-minute flight from San Juan.

Here there’s no shortage of beaches, there are over forty – and they are the definition of stunning – striking clear blue waters and picture-perfect sand. I’ve spent several days exploring secluded stretches of sand, (imagine having your own private beach), while others were perfect for kayaking, horseback riding, and snorkeling. What I love is that the island’s activities have a low impact on the environment, staying true to the eco-friendly philosophy of the island. The pristine beaches in Vieques offer miles of untouched beauty and unsurpassed eco-friendly adventure.

Every beach is unique and stunningly beautiful.

At Sea Glass Beach, the town of Isabel Segunda, I stumbled upon tiny colored pieces of frosted glass – perhaps from shipwrecks of long ago — tumbling in the ocean for years until their edges became smooth and rounded. The aqua, turquoise, and occasional rose-colored sea glass found here are made into stunning pieces of jewelry.

Visitors can stroll along the ocean-front malecon in Esperanza

In the quaint town of Esperanza, I snorkeled under an old sugar pier where blue tangs, angelfish, lovely coral, and colorful sea fans made me feel as if I were floating in my own private aquarium. Lunch at a beachfront bar and shopping in a lovely boutique along the malecon (promenade along the waterfront) rounded out the remainder of the day.

At the Hix the indoors became the outdoors. Lifting the immense roll-up door on one end of the room, and the shuttered window on the other, transformed the space into an open-air oasis. Warm breezes fluttered from one end to the other, and the eternal view to St. Croix, above the canopy of trees, was framed like a stunning work of art.

Solar energy provides electricity and hot water at Hix. Cisterns collect the rainwater and greywater is used to hydrate the landscape. The buildings are designed to catch cooling trade winds, all while capturing spectacular views of the surrounding landscape. This approach has earned Hix Island House the first Sustainable Tourism Facility Certification from Puerto Rico Tourism.

Later this evening I’m kayaking to Mosquito Bay where the water glows a rare blue. No, this is not a magic trick. Bioluminescent organisms, named dinoflagellates, glow when movement disturbs the water in which they live. Vieques is only one of five places in the world to experience this phenomenon. You really must see it!

Vieques offer miles of untouched beauty and unsurpassed eco-friendly adventure. It’s the kind of place where you can just pack a bathing suit and go!

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