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VIOLET'S VIEQUES

 

Vieques is an island paradise that time forgot, with a wonderful assortment of beautiful white sand beaches, all with their own unique features and characteristics.

Vieques laid back culture and simplicity makes it an ideal island vacation for those that simply want to get away from it all.  Work on that tan, read that great book, meditate, lay in that hammock and take those afternoon naps, all this and more is possible on this little slice of heaven call Vieques.

But don’t be fooled by or sleepy nature.  The island offers many activities for the more adventurous from the obvious water activities such as snorkeling, scuba diving and deep sea fishing.  You can also hike, mountain bike, horseback ride or simply rent a scooter and explore the island. 

Now that we have nourished the soul, what about the body?  Well, Vieques offers many options for dining, ranging from the local sidewalk food vendors to many cafes and upscale dining establishment. 

These and many more activities await you in Vieques.

 


GETTING TO VIEQUES

Proper planning and the coordination of flights are the key to making this part of your vacation stress free.

The first thing to remember is that Vieques is a two step process.  One must first get to the main island of Puerto Rico and then continue on to the island of Vieques.

To begin, before you plan your trip you must first decide how you want to get to the island of Vieques.  You have two options you can fly or you can take a ferry.  This is critical because to avoid the expense of a night on the main island you must make sure your flight from home will get you to San Juan international in time to connect with either your connecting flight or will give you ample time for travel to Fajardo to catch the ferry.


Getting Here by Plane
Here are some names and the phone numbers of the local carries that travel from San Juan International Airport and Isla Grande Regional Airport to Vieques.  One-way flights from International typically averages around $110, while from Isla Grande the cost is approximately $65, however,  if you fly into the International Airport you will need to take a taxi from International to Isla Grande. A taxi ride between the two airports will be approximately $20.

Cape Air (800) 352-0714
MN Aviation (787) 741-3911
Vieques Air Link (787) 741-8331


Getting Here By Ferry
Here is the phone number and current schedule for the passenger ferry,  Keep in mind that you will need to either rent a car (for the more adventurous and knowledgeable) or get a taxi to make the approximately 1 – 1 ½ hour trip from San Juan to the port town of Fajardo.  Once there you can board the ferry for the 1 –  1 ½ hour ferry ride to the island of Vieques.  Cost for the taxi will be approximately $80 and the cost per person for the ferry is currently $2.

**Please call to confirm current ferry schedule**

Passenger Ferry (787) 863-0705 / (787) 863-0852 / (787) 863-4560 / (800) 981-2005

MONDAY-FRIDAY

Vieques-to-Fajardo
Fajardo-to-Vieques
6:30 AM
9:30 AM
11:00 AM
1:00 PM
3:00 PM
4:30 PM
6:00 PM
8:00 PM

 

SATURDAY AND SUNDAY

Vieques-to-Fajardo
Fajardo-to-Vieques
6:30 AM
9:00 AM
1:00 PM
3:00 PM
4:30 PM
6:00 PM

 

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GETTING TO THE INN

If arriving by Ferry: Once you get on the main "Airport" Road  (Rt. 200) the house will be on the left at the next corner after you pass the GE facility.  If you get to the entrance of the "W" Resort, you’ve gone too far.

If Arriving by Air: Once you get on the main Airport Road (Rt. 200) the house is located on the right at the corner after you pass the entrance to the "W" Resort. 


There will be a sign for the Enchanted Garden. If you get lost most locals know the location as Cafe Violeta.

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GETTING AROUND IN VIEQUES

Once you arrive in Vieques, you have the option of taking a publico (taxi), which are mini vans that are parked outside the ferry terminal to your right.  You will see them parked there waiting to take you to your destination.  Cost to any point on the island usually range from $5 - $10.

Though the island is small it cannot be covered by foot. To truly appreciate all that the island has to offer you will need some form of transportation.  Many of the more remote locations are ideally navigated by 4 wheel drive vehicles.  Depending on the time of year you will be visiting the island it is sometimes best to book your car before your hotel as cars are in limited supply on the island… especially during the key tourist season.


Car Rental Agencies

Marcos Car Rental (787) 741-1388 * good pricing older models
Maritza Car Rental (787) 741-0078
Martineau Car Rental (787) 741-0087 * within walking distance of house...newer cars
Steve's car rental (787) 741-8135 * will bring the car to your hotel or guesthouse
Chepito Car Rental (787) 741-8691
Island Car Rental (787) 741-1666
Vieques Car Rental (787) 741-1037

 

My closing comment on this matter is that the ferry option can make a long trip even longer but is obviously the most cost effective and ideal for large groups traveling together.  The “puddle jumpers” from the main island to Vieques is more costly but in my opinion well worth it due to the reduced stress and shorten travel time.  A cost effective option that I would recommend is to take the plane inbound and take the ferry outbound to reduce your stress while not breaking the bank.

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VIOLETíS VIEQUES TOP TEN

These are my top ten things to do while visiting Vieques:


1. The Biolumincent Bay
Absolutely do not leave the island without exploring the Bio Bay. This is a truly awesome experience and one I try to do often. It grounds me and reminds me of why I fell in love with the island. This experience is truly magical. The excursion takes place at night. You can go by kayak or by boat. Once at the bay you enter the water and get prepared to be amazed. Even before you enter, your guide will alert you to the glow in the dark movements under the water. But the adventure truly begins when you enter the water. Once your entire body becomes one with nature, your every movement will instigate a sparkling glow from the startled organisms that reside in the bay. It’s like fire flies under water. Hold up your hands and be amazed at what appears to be diamonds cascading down your palm. This is a must do.

2. Beach Hop
Vieques unlike some other Caribbean islands that tout hundreds of beaches that usually don’t amount to anything more than a few feet of sand, Vieques does have real beaches. I’m not sure if anyone has ever taken the time to count the number of beaches (kind of hard to do when you have beaches named “Secret Beach”…) but there are many and each is truly unique. Tour the island and discover your own “Secret Beach”, but here are my top picks:
-Blue Beach, I like this beach for its privacy and little cabanas where you can truly set up your own private gathering. Go early to snatch up one of the cabanas and stay late enjoying the view and the tranquil waters.
-Playa Grande, this is a great beach for exploring. Who says going to the beach is only for sunny days. I especially like this beach on rainy days, its great to watch the nature show unfold. Awesome waves, swaying trees and even the crabs get in the picture as they scurry about. This is a great beach to visit to see where we stand versus nature.
-Sun Bay, this beach I like because of its convenience. It is the only “public” beach on the island. Some days, usually on the weekend there is a $2 per car fee to enter but its one of the easiest to get to if you don’t have the time or the proper vehicle to get to some of the more remote beaches. There are food wagons out front so you can buy your meal instead of preparing ahead of time and the unobstructed views are wonderful.
-Green Beach, another one of my favorites because of what you have to go through to get there. What you have to go through is some of the most densely populated vegetation on the island. See how many of the tropical plants and trees you can identify, slow down as the iguana crossed the road, stop and look at the family of horses gathered on the clearing. At this beach you can create your own adventures as there are many palm and coconut trees to shade you and give you that sense of being in a cocoon. Its also a great location for yacht watching.

-Black Sand Beach, yes, Vieques has one of those too. Lay on the sand and soak up the rays in a truly private setting because what makes this beach special to me, is the hunt to find it. First one must find the “secret” path, then you must maneuver around the ancient boulders that look like sleeping sea mammals and then behold gradually the sand changes from white to grey to all black. Gentle warm waters will greet you as a curtain of foliage perched atop the surrounding hills guarantees your privacy.

3. ISLAND HOP
Because of its central location, Vieques is an ideal place to have as your anchor as you explore other close by islands. Take a day trip to the main island and visit the largest rain forest in America. El Yunque rain forest in Fajardo is only a $2 ferry ride or a 10 minute plane ride from Vieques.
Also take a day to visit Vieques' sister island of Culebra, rumored to have one of the top 10 beaches in the world. Flamingo beach provides the perfect setting for soaking up the rays or camping overnight. Once you’ve had your fill of the beach be sure to take the time to explore the rest of the little island before heading back to Vieques.

4. STAR GAZE
This one will cost you nothing. One of the amazing benefits of Vieques limited development is the absence of light pollution. As a result we have what I consider one of the best night sky anywhere. I compare it to the night sky of the Grand Canyon. Depending on where you call home while staying on the island, be sure to grab your love one, take a cool one and a few snacks and wait for the “light” show to begin…trust me you won’t be disappointed. On a clear night marvel at all the wonders of the universe laid out before you. Enjoy.

5. SNORKEL
In Vieques two worlds co-exist, one above ground and one below the seas. One of the key attractions of Vieques is the underwater world. Anchored by both the Atlantic Ocean and the Caribbean Sea, when one enters the waters there is no telling what truly unique experience they will encounter. The many underwater creatures are there to delight and amaze. Don the snorkel gear and prepare to be amazed. Key locations include the waters off the Malecon in Esperanza by the small island in the distance, Red Beach and Gringo Beach.

6. VISIT THE SPANISH FORT
Yes, Vieques is small but where else can you see the last fort to be built by the Spaniards in the Americas. Spend sometime exploring the grounds, go in and take a look at the on-going exhibits and see what the current temporary installations are. Go out on the Balcony and get a 360 degree view of the island and try to identify the other islands in the distance. The Fort also plays host to many free cultural and musical programs on the island (be sure to get a copy of its calendar). A well worth trip.

7. EXPLORE

Whether by foot, bike, scooter or car, explore, explore, explore. Go ahead and get lost…it’s a small island, trust me you won’t be lost for long and you’ll probably make some really great discoveries off the beaten path. Drive through the various neighborhoods, see how we live, from the original homes built by the navy for the island dwellers to the local farms and the many estates and guesthouses nestled throughout the island. Be sure to visit the north cost where you will see the old Navy barracks and the man made caves overgrown with vegetation and disguised as grassy knolls used by the Navy for storage. Go ahead take a peek.

8. EAT, DRINK AND BE MERRY
In Vieques you won’t be at a loss for great food, local watering holes and yes from time to time we actually do offer weekend entertainment. Your options for food are as diverse as your taste. Food options are available for the budget conscious to the more expensive fine dining.
-For fast cheap eats, visit any of the local road side vendors, two of the most popular have a permanent location outside the gates to Sun Bay beach.
-Did someone say drink? Well you won’t be at a loss for finding and getting your hands on a cool one while visiting the island. Whether its one of our local Puerto Rican Beer (usually to be had for $1 - $2) a tart margarita or a fruity umbrella favorite, all are within reach on this “cheers” friendly island.

9. VISIT THE ARTIST
Where else on one small tropical island can there be so much talent. Be sure to make time to visit some of the galleries owned by some of the local artist or visit the Malecon on the weekend and see what those that cannot afford a gallery have to offer. Talent has no limits on this island, from world renowned artists that have made Vieques home, to some of the local Viequense artist whose works adorns the walls (both literally and in traditional picture frames) of many of our local establishments. See what they are up to and relive that dream of escaping to a tropical island and tapping into that imprisoned artist within. Better to get something that will bring a smile to your face each time you look at it, than to buy something that will never see the light of day. Happy shopping.

10. NOTHING
Yes, nothing is one of my top ten best things to do while in Vieques. For too many of us this is truly a challenge. Just be still, leave the cell phone, leave the computer, leave the husband, wife, boyfriend, kids…just take one morning, one hour whatever time you can afford and take it all in. Sit at the beach, on a hillside…anyplace you can be alone, close your eyes and just be at one with the universe. Give thanks for the opportunity to visit such a truly special island, unload your stress and be reinvigorated for your life back home.

 

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Contact Enchanted Garden Inn violet@enchantedgardeninn.com
Cell: 917-836-5829 House: 787-741-2805

 

 

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