The beaches on Vieques are literally amazing. Any list of “things to do” has got to start with exploring the seashore. Nevertheless, there are other activities.
Vieques has become a favorite destination for “eco-tourists” from the U.S. and Europe. In large part this is due to our Bioluminescent Bay, one of the few such places left on Earth, and reputedly the brightest. At night any stirring of the water activates millions of luminescent micro-organisms; illuminating the water around the disturbance. Just swishing your hand in the water is genuinely amazing, like watching thousands of fireflies. These little organisms can be found throughout the world, but they can only thrive in a very fragile, pristine eco-system. (Most similar habitats have been decimated by pollution and we are determined not to let the same fate befall our island.) A liter of sea water from Florida or Mexico might typically contain 50 or 60 of these micro-organisms, while the same amount of water in our Bio-Bay may contain 500,000 or more!
Here are the names of several companies that organize tours of the Bio Bay:
On a hilltop overlooking the town of Isabel Segunda is El Fortín Conde de Mirasol (Count of Mirasol's Fort). This was the last military structure built by the Spanish in the New World. Construction began in 1840 at the order of Count Mirasol, then the governor of Puerto Rico. It took more than a decade to complete, which meant that Mirasol had to repeatedly ask for more money. Queen Isabel, on being petitioned yet again for additional funds, finally asked Mirasol whether the walls were made of gold. Although the canons were never fired in conflict, the fort helped solidify Spanish control of the area. Today, the carefully restored Fort Conde de Mirasol houses a museum of art and history that celebrates the fascinating culture of this unique and precious little island.
The Trust was founded in 1984 as a non-profit organization dedicated to protecting the Island's Bio Bays, especially Puerto Mosquito, and raise consciousness within the community for conserving the eco-system of the island. The VCHT also works towards preserving the islands historic buildings and archaeological sites. The Trust operates a small museum and gift shop in the town of Esperanza. It includes a small aviary to help injured birds, turtles and other local wildlife. The Esperanza location also offers high-speed Internet access for a modest hourly fee.
Fishing is an ideal sport for Vieques. The coastline is ringed with shallow bays and inlets which create ideal fish habitats. The shallow flats attract bonefish, permit, tarpon, snapper and more. Fly fishing is perfect for the island, although spinning tackle works equally well. The local fishermen make amazing catches using simple hand-lines. There isn’t a lot of fishing activity here, and some people have compared the fishing in Vieques today to the Florida keys fifty years ago. Here’s a great article from the New York Times.
A great local resource is Franco González, (pictured to the left). His company is Caribbean Fly Fishing, and his number is (787) 741-1337. Another source of info is at Wild Fly Charters. Captain/Guide Greg McKee is a great guy and we'd be pleased to recommend him also. (Although lately he has been spending more time in Florida.)
Other water sports include kayak and jet-ski rentals and sailboat tours around the island. Some of the prettiest, most pristine sections of the shoreline can only be reached by boat.