Tropical Paradise

Sunset over Media Luna Beach
Sunset over Media Luna Beach

Had another wonderful trip to Puerto Rico. This time we spent 7 of our 11 day trip on Isla de Vieques, a small island off the South-Eastern coast of Puerto Rico. We discovered the island on our  last trip and wanted to spend more time there to explore its many pristine, underpopulated beaches.

This little Caribbean gem is still relatively unspoiled by tourism because the US Navy controlled much of the island until 2003 and severely restricted any form of travel. On most days you will share many of the beaches with only a handful of other people, many of them locals. The entire atmosphere of the island is that if relaxed laid-backness. The pace is slowed by the average daily temperature of 82F.

Day 1 (view photos)

Our first full day in Puerto Rico was a combination of the adventure of getting to Vieques via a small Cessna operated by CapeAir, acclimating to the heat by going into town and having cold beer and Pina Coladas, and then relaxing at the rental house – Casa Magnolia.

The adventure began when we realized we were at the wrong airport to catch our flight to Vieques (thankfully we had planned to get there early – eek!). We met a very kind gentleman from Aricebo who was very early to meet a flight and was kind enough to drive us to the other airport and even dropped us off at the correct gate to check in. The stress continued when we ended up having a rather rude family in front of us in line (well the mother was rude – the kids were trying to be nice to us but she was all sorts of snooty and had a litany of complaints so it took them forever to check in). Then of course they caused another delay in the security line. Thankfully we still made it with time to spare for catching our flight but we were very stressed until we got to our gate!

The flight in the Cessna was really fun – this was the smallest aircraft I’ve ever flown in. The flight itself was actually a lot smoother than I expected and the views along the way were amazing.

We landed in a very tiny airport (as expected – Vieques is a very tiny island). We got a taxi to take us to the house we were renting – Casa Magnolia.  The house was really fabulous and the owner, Barbara, was so lovely and gracious. We had 2 bedrooms with AC, ceiling fans and even white noise machines to help against the noise of the surrounding roosters. Vieques is filled with roosters who seem to crow all day (and all night) long. There are only a few hours here and there when they are quiet.

Barbara also made sure the refrigerator and pantry were well stocked with food. Having a full kitchen allowed us to cook most of our own meals (which really saves money!).

After settling in we wandered into town to get some lunch and cold cerveza (beer). We remembered the local beer – Medalla Light. It’s the perfect beer to drink on a hot, tropical day. We lunched at Bellybuttons and just had a couple of sandwiches. We then went to Tradewinds and also enjoyed some more drinks (I had a Piña Colada, Dave had another Medalla).

Afterwards we headed back and relaxed at “home”. We both ended up taking a nap and spent the evening watching DVDs on Dave’s new laptop.

Day 2 (view photos)

Day 2 started slowly and we had a leisurely breakfast before heading out for the day. It was sunny in the morning but by noon the skies grayed a bit.  We drove from Esperanza to Isabel Segunda with the idea of heading to the one “Super Market” on the island to do some shopping.  The market was closed on Sundays but we found a small market open and were able to provision ourselves there.

From Isabel Segunda we headed for a drive around the island trying to check out the access points to various beaches. The one beach (Green Beach) we wanted to get to was closed off that day (not sure if it was because it was Sunday or not). We kept driving around and saw some of the many deteriorating bunkers left on the island by the US Navy.

The sun returned and we ended the day by heading to our favorite beach – Media Luna. We relaxed on the warm sand with some cold Medalla Light and enjoyed splashing around in the warm shallow water.

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