Situated off the east coast of Puerto Rico, Vieques transforms you back to the olden-day Caribbean lifestyle. With untouched wildlife, horses roaming free and charming towns, the illusion of the island’s past isn’t hard to conjure.
It’s most known for its bioluminescent bay, where the waters are dazzled with millions of bioluminescent organisms. Other than that beach, it’s easy to see this idyllic little island as a secluded paradise. With dozens of isolated coves, travelers can get lost in their own world as they discover these hidden beach gems.
Beach bums can explore the best beaches in Vieques by following this guide. To take the hassle out of your planning, refer to the bullets which inform you on how to get to the beach and what road conditions you can expect.
ACCESSING VIEQUES ISLAND BEACHES
Driving through the island proves to be an incredible part of your visit. Paved roads that lack traffic lights trail through luscious tropical landscapes and are often frequented by the Paso Fino horses.
Vieques is a tiny island. However, you won’t be able to walk the whole island – renting a car is key to adventuring around. Because of the old school roads, it’s highly recommended that you rent a Jeep or 4×4. There are also huge potholes that can mess up a tire if you’re not careful.
A scooter is also a viable option if you plan on visiting the island for a day or two and you’re aware of the weather forecast.
May, October, and November are often the months that encounter the highest rainfall. The showers usually occur early in the afternoon and only last a short duration. Nonetheless, if the rain has stopped, the roads will most likely remain sludgy with large puddles.
Hurricane season hits the island in August and September. When it’s this rainy, it becomes particularly tough to navigate the roads, and the lack of signs doesn’t make it any easier.
If the rain is stopping you from a beach trip, there’s always the option of popping into Vieques points of interest like museums, quaint coffee shops, or twinkly bars and cafes.
If the beaches are what’s attracting you to the island, consider visiting from December to April.
Top tip: Opt for travel insurance which allows you to receive a refund for trips if the weather isn’t looking too good.
SOUTHEAST COAST VIEQUES, PUERTO RICO, BEACHES
The top beaches in Vieques start at Esperanza and run along the east coast. Given their proximity to the tropical town of Esperanza, you won’t need to travel far for a day at the beach. And when the sun starts to set, venturing into town to dine with the locals.
- How to get there: A short walk from the town of Esperanza
- Road conditions: Good enough for rental cars and scooters
Unlike many islands that are tucked away from hotels and gourmet restaurants, Playa Esperanza is situated in the most vibrant of the island’s towns. After an hour or two wandering down the colorful streets and feasting on Caribbean delicacies, take a short stroll to the beach which is full of charm.
With clear blue, warm waters, bring along your snorkeling mask to spy among the fish species. While it’s not the best spot for snorkeling, the waters are perfect for beginners and children.
Esperanza also features a pier. On Sundays, you’ll often find the local children spending a day in the sun jumping from the pier. If you can, try to stay until sunset as the sky transforms itself into a colorful show.
Sun Bay Beach Vieques
- How to get there: You can drive from Esperanza and park your car – parking costs $4
- Road conditions: Easy access on a sandy road, no 4×4 is needed
If you head east from Esperanza beach, you’ll reach Sun Bay. As one of the quieter beaches on the island, travelers appreciate the laid-back atmosphere found here. With plenty of room to lounge on the white shores, you’ll have your own privacy without having to sit on top of other people.
What makes Sun Bay a bonus for travelers is that it’s the only beach on the island with public facilities, such as bathrooms, showers, and small food stalls. The facilities are open Wednesday through Sunday from 8:30 a.m. until 5 p.m.
- How to get there: Enter the main gate of Esperanza and travel past Sun Bay to reach Media Luna
- Road conditions: Sandy roads that can be reached with a car – just drive slow to avoid potholes
Media Luna got its name from the waters curving around the shores like a half-moon. Its unique shape allows travelers to walk out as far as 40 feet. The small bay is protected from both sides, meaning that you can find a haven at this secluded cove on the windiest of days.
Because of the lack of wind, the beach provides the ideal conditions for paddleboarding. There aren’t any rentals on the beach – so be sure to rent one beforehand to bring along.
If you feel as though the sun is getting a bit much, you’ll find shaded benches that still have spectacular views of the beach. The cabanas are also great for picnicking.
- How to get there: Accessed through the entrance of Sun Bay with well-marked signs
- Road conditions: Sandy road and during the rainy season, the road may not be accessible
With playful waves and warm waters, you’ll soon understand why Navio is one of the most loved Vieques beaches. The water conditions attract body surfers and newbie surfers to the shores, where they can easily spend hours enjoying the waves.
As well as top-quality surfing conditions, adventurers head to the beach to visit the hidden rocky caves. Tuck yourself away in the caves and marvel at the magical beach views. You’ll often find daredevils jumping off of the cliffs – take note that this is at your own risk.
Caracas Beach – Red Beach Vieques
- How to get there: Enter the Vieques National Wildlife Refuge – it’s the first beach that can be accessed by car
- Road conditions: The road leading to the beach is perfectly paved
If you’re feeling a little unsure about the road conditions, this is an informative video on the road conditions found at the Vieques National Wildlife Refuge.
The Caracas scenery is absolutely dreamy, with dramatic cliffs, lush tropical trees, and turquoise waters. The waters here aren’t as rough as Navio, but surfers and children can find pleasure in the gentle current.
There aren’t many facilities on the beach, but there are sunlounger, umbrella and water sports equipment rentals available. If you plan on spending the day, get there early to set up underneath one of the gazebos.
Pata Prieta – Secret Beach Vieques
- How to get there: Enter the Vieques National Wildlife Refuge and take a right to Pata Prieta beach, then hike to the shore – there will be signs
- Road conditions: Turning off the main Vieques National Wildlife Refuge road, the conditions become rocky and you’ll need to rent a Jeep or 4×4
Pata Prieta is a secluded piece of enchanting beach that is tucked away from the business of crowds. Part of its seclusion comes from the fact that the beach is cut off from the main Vieques National Wildlife Refuge. You’ll hike down a small trail to reach the waters.
Put on your snorkeling gear and discover healthy sea fans and tropical sea fish. Keep an eye out for manta rays who are known to swim amongst the colorful fish species. Try and arrive at sunrise, where you’re almost guaranteed to have the waters to yourself.
Playa La Chiva – Blue Beach
- How to get there: Play La Chiva is part of the Vieques National Wildlife Refuge – follow the road signs to reach the beach
- Road conditions: Very bumpy and rocky road as you near the beach
Snorkeling enthusiasts couldn’t find a better beach to discover colorful anemones, multicolored fish, and pastel-colored coral. With flat waters, it allows snorkelers of all experience to splash around in the waters.
This beach rarely becomes crowded, even on the hottest of days. This makes it all the more special for groups of friends, families, or those seeking seclusion. Bring along the necessities for the ultimate beach time – think volleyballs, umbrellas, snacks, and beer.
- How to get there: Entering Vieques National Wildlife Refuge, follow the signs until you reach beach entrance #12
- Road conditions: The roads are rough and you’ll only be able to reach this beach with a 4×4
Vieques is a dream for honeymooning couples; it’s not hard to visit a beach that you have all to yourself. As the furthest to the east, it’s not often that travelers venture this far, and if you do encounter people, there is plenty of space to escape to your own slice of paradise.
When conditions are perfect, Playa Plata has particularly magnificent waters – bursting in bright turquoise and shimmers of hundreds of blues. Be sure to bring along your underwater camera to capture insanely beautiful images.
WEST SIDE VIEQUES BEACHES
The west side of the island treats adventure seekers to unique gems. These spots promise more action than the secluded beaches on Puerto Rico’s Vieques east coast.
Vieques Black Sand Beach
- How to get there: If you’re driving from Esperanza, drive west on Rt. 996 and then turn left at La Huesca on Rt. 201 – you can then follow the signs to ‘Playa Negra’ (Black Sand Beach)
- Road conditions: There is a dirt road leading to Black Sand Beach that can be treacherous during the rainy season
Visiting a black sand beach is often on travelers’ bucket lists. Most of the time, they think of Hawaii or Bali, but Vieques is too spectacular to miss out on. What makes it particularly special is the bright blue waters that contrast with the black sands – this often isn’t the case at other black sand beaches.
This beach consistently enchants visitors, and up until 2014, it was almost a complete secret to tourists. Along with the sand being unusual, the driftwood, rock cliffs, and tropical landscape deem this one of the best beaches in Vieques, Puerto Rico.
Punta Arenas – Green Beach
- How to get there: Getting there is tricky – take Route 200 to the west, past Mosquito Bay. You’ll continue 8 miles past a gate until you reach the Bienvenidos sign
- Road conditions: You’ll be driving along a bumpy dirt road that features tropical jungle landscapes and mangrove systems – a 4×4 is required
Green Beach puts itself on the radar for being a fantastic snorkeling and diving spot. Miles of coral reef can be explored not too far from the shore. Chances are, you’ll encounter a turtle or two grazing on the underwater meadows, along with shy manta rays.
During high season, dozens of tour boats come to anchor here – bringing along a party of people. The atmosphere of the beach becomes vibey and joyous, which can often be a refreshing change from the seclusion the other beaches bring.
Take note that snorkeling here requires a bit of caution due to strong currents.
BEST BEACH ON VIEQUES NORTH COAST
The island of Vieques never fails to disappoint, no matter where on the coast you may be. The north brings about an adventure fit for collectors and wanderers.
Playa Cofi – Sea Glass Beach Vieques
- How to get there: Take the road west from Isabel Segunda, turn off of Road 200 and head towards Casa Ladera Road – park here and then walk to Playa Cofi
- Road conditions: A narrow dirt road, which doesn’t have much parking – be prepared to park along the road
As you’ve probably guessed, Playa Cofi gets its affectionate nickname from the hundreds of pieces of sea glass that are found scattered along the shore.
Of course, the beach is beautiful for lounging around, but the real fun comes from hunting for colorful glass pieces out in the sun. Some require no time finding, while others are rewarding discoveries after spending hours on the glistering shores.
VENTURING TO VIEQUES, PUERTO RICO, BEACHES
Whether you’re visiting the Caribbean Island for a day or week, there are so many incredible treasures to be found in Vieques.
Some travelers prefer the uncrowded, turquoise waters found in the Vieques National Wildlife Refuge, which leave you feeling as though you’ve stepped into untouched wilderness. Others prefer the waters teeming with marine life, making for the perfect snorkeling experience.
Stay in the touristy town of Esperanza in the south or the laid-back town of Isabel for easy access to the tropical Vieques beaches. Hop in your rental Jeep and discover the beauty of the island for yourself.