The next big thing in the tropics. Global foodie respite. Puerto Rico’s wild child little sis. The isle of Vieques is a lot of things. Among them: our latest, greatest Caribbean-flavored getaway.
Ferry rides are nice and all, but Vieques Air Link puddle-jumper jaunts are equally scenic and shuttle you from the mainland in as little as ten minutes.
Polycarbonate canoes, dinoflagellates, and old-fashioned moonbeams add up to nighttime boat rides alongside fish and flora that literally glow in the dark. (Consult the online lunar calendar for the best nights to venture out.)
Seasonal expats Martin and Mercedez Walker rent out a Purple Beach cottage with justenough bells and whistles (snorkeling gear; reliable cell service; ten miles of secluded, sandy surf).
Oceanfront hammocks and cocktail cabanas await at W Hotel’s Retreat & Spa. Book an oceanfront table at Mix on the Beach to snack on spicy crab salad or an almond cream croissant conceived by master chef Alain Ducasse; or hit the pool bar and fire pits for a nightcap, room reservation or no.
Eco-freaks rejoice over B&B Hix Island House, where in-room kitchens house eggs, bread, and seasonal produce. Local yogis charge $15 for 90-minute vinyasa instruction, and bathrooms are stocked with breeze-friendly cotton loungewear.
Visit the island’s north coast pescadería at Isabel Segunda for the catch of the day from a handful of experts who’ve been up since the crack of dawn. Arrive by 11 a.m. for prime seafood by the bucketful.
Rented-bike treks cater to nature lovers, history buffs, or gourmands (the group meets at local hole-in-the-wall El Serrucho to start the ride off with a breakfast sandwich). We recommend a ride to Mosquito Pier, which snakes and stretches a full mile over the ocean.
A smattering of under-the-radar (read: notoriously unmarked) food stands keeps worldly grubbers sated. Try Pinchos, Rompe Dieta de Lula, and Sol Food truck for juicy sandwiches and spicy chicken skewers. (Ask for their whereabouts once you reach the island.)
Local gallerist and painter Siddhia Hutchinson has a regional rep for bringing together scenesters and serious collectors. Sample Caribbean-born sculpture, jewelry, and artist-guided workshops under one beautiful roof.
There’s real time. And then there’s Vieques time. Be prepared to wait for (totally worth it) sea food and comfort food pairings at romantic dining spot Next Course (Route 201, Vieques; 787-741-1028).
With only a few main roads to speak of, it’s just a matter of time before you cross paths with a herd of wild Paso Finos. But they’re gentle, car-shy, and awfully pretty.
Find this patch of sandy paradise where the Caribbean and Atlantic meet. The mile-long, waterfront drive is peppered with baby boulders and beach bramble, but the view justifies the bumpy ride.