Have you been on plenty of beach-hopping holidays, and now you’re looking for something unique, different, maybe even novel?
Vieques, a Caribbean island in the fun-filled Puerto Rico archipelago, delivers with its colorful, secluded, and even bioluminescent beaches.
No Vieques beach is the same. Whether you’re looking for peaceful seclusion, serene relaxation, or picture-perfect white sand, it’s all here in this dreamy island setting. And the best part is, you won’t get bored for a moment.
In this post, you’ll discover the 5 best Playas en Vieques, Spanish for beaches in Vieques. You’ll also get a few handy tips on what to pack before you head out on an amazing Puerto Rico beach-hopping holiday.
Vieques Beaches: Preparation and Packing
Before you head off on an adventure, it’s worthwhile knowing a bit more about where you’re going.
If you’re planning on visiting Vieques Island as part of a multi-stop trip around the archipelago, use this Puerto Rico guide for some good tips on what to expect from your vacation.
And then with packing, here are some suggestions for things to pack that will make your trip that much better.
- Earplugs: This might seem like a weird suggestion, but Vieques is a subtropical Caribbean Island. This means it can get noisy at night with sounds like treefrogs, insects, surf, dogs, and roosters. And of course, let’s not forget about the distinctive sounds of the native coqui frog! If you’re a local, the sound of the coqui might just fade in the background, but for tourists, it can be a nuisance. Make sure you get the best shuteye on your trip by investing in a good pair of earplugs.
- Polarized Sunglasses: Don’t let the sun’s glare get in the way of tanning and beach experiences. Grab a pair with UV and glare protection, and you’ll be sorted.
- Travel umbrella or Ran Jacket: This is a good product to take on any of your travel adventures, not just to Vieques. A compact umbrella or rain jacket is a real lifesaver when you’re hit by a sudden tropical rainstorm or the unpredictable weather of foreign countries.
Best Vieques Puerto Rico Beaches
Now, without further ado, it’s time to look at the best beaches in Vieques. These beaches offer an authentic feel of Puerto Rico‘s nature and are some of the most unique sandy stretches you’ll find in the archipelago.
If you want to visit all seven beaches without any public transport fuss, rent a car so you can experience the island at your own pace. Actually, renting a car in Puerto Rico is a must to experience the best of the island.
Secret Beach, Vieques (Pata Prieta)
If you’re a seclusion seeker, someone who loves visiting places off the beaten track, then Secret Beach is perfect for you.
This small beach cove is located on the south side of the island in the Vieques National Wildlife Refuge. It’s far less populated than other beaches on the island, so you’ll feel as if you’re on your own island paradise.
There’s good snorkeling with visitors often spotting beautiful sea creatures like manta rays. And, there’s hardly any surf, meaning the beach is caressed by gentle waves. Perfect for relaxing swims or playtime with the kids.
Bear in mind that this beach is not as easily accessible as others, and you may need transport to reach it.
Formerly known as the Red Beach in Vieques, Caracas is a local’s favorite and has the bonus of being family-friendly. It is easily accessible and offers great activities like boogie boarding and volleyball.
The water showcases many beautiful turquoise tones, and the sand is a stunning light coral color. It also features magnificent cliffs and breathtaking scenery, making it a wonderful spot for photos.
This Vieques Island beach even has a history as a Victoria’s Secret Swim Special shooting location, and it’s often listed as one of the most beautiful beaches in the world.
Keep in mind that the beach does offer facilities like gazebos for picnics. Just make sure you get there early to snag one!
Navio Beach, Vieques
Navio Beach, the next of the playas de Vieques, is famous and unique because of its hidden caves and gentle, bubbly waves. Visitors are captivated by the awe-inspiring ocean sounds, a stunning place to lay back and reflect.
This Vieques beach has a wide stretch of sand and is book-ended by cliffs at either side. Adding to its picturesque scenery is the lush fringe of sea grape plants and palm trees.
One thing to keep in mind is that there are no lifeguards at Navio Beach. Try and avoid doing triple backflips and risky manoeuvers here – you use the beach at your own risk.
Blue Beach, Vieques (La Chiva Beach)
Possibly the best beach in Vieques, since it has been consistently voted one of the Caribbean’s top sandy stretches, you can’t go wrong with a visit to Blue Beach.
Now known as La Chiva Beach, as the locals prefer this name, this beach gets glowing reviews for its spectrum of water colors.
Starting by the west side of the beach, the water is a deep turquoise with navy blue tones. As you walk east, the tones lighten and eventually become crystal clear.
This glass-clear water provides for brilliant snorkeling. You’ll witness multitudes of vibrant shoals of fish flitting about the calm water.
If you plan on spending extended periods exploring the underwater world, make sure you reapply sunscreen. The Caribbean sun is unforgiving.
Mosquito Bay Beach
And now, for the most magical of Vieques beaches, Mosquito Bay. This glorious beach (well, actually a bay) is located on the south shore of the island. It is considered to be magical and unique because of its bioluminescence.
The waters of this stunning bay glow in the dark with a neon blue/green color – an incredible phenomenon to see. The “glowing” nature of the bay comes from the organisms that live in it, dinoflagellates.
These organisms are stimulated by movement, which means they light up when there’s paddling or splashing. Not only do they light up, but they also light up what they come into contact with, giving a starry appearance to the waters.
It’s a true wonder of Vieques, Puerto Rico. And is one of three Bio Bays in Puerto Rico. This post tells you everything you need to know to plan your trip to the bio bay at its best and brightest time of the month.
If you want to get close to this amazing phenomenon, book a nighttime kayak tour of one of these bioluminescent bays. Follow your guide through the fluorescent waters and watch as your paddling lights up a symphony in the waves!
Black Sand Beach (Playa Negra)
This beach is quite unusual compared to the rest of the beaches in Vieques and Puerto Rico in general thanks to its black sand.
The black sand found on Playa Negra is runoff from the island’s volcanic areas, most notably from Monte Pirata, Vieques’ highest peak at 987 feet.
For this reason, the amount of black sand varies based on the amount of rain in the past few days.
Like many beaches in Vieques, Black Sand Beach is quite secluded, remote, and mostly off the beaten path. You must take a short hike through the bush and traverse a small stream to get to it.
Due to its seclusion, no concession stands or parking are available in the area, but don’t worry; the stunning scenery makes up for it!
Playa Punta Arenas
Punta Arenas Beach is one of the lesser known beaches in Vieques due to its far west location. It’s quite a bumpy ride to get to it, but trust me, it’s worth it.
Don’t forget to grab your snorkeling gear when you visit just to get the best out of the beach, as it’s one of the best snorkeling beaches in Vieques!
This beach has clear and calm waters, with the reef starting just off the shore. The reef is often populated with tons of fish swimming around, in addition to turtles, stingrays, barracudas, angel fish, stingrays, and more.
If you’re lucky, you might even get to see a turtle from the shore as they constantly come up for air.
And what’s best is that while the beach is full of marine life, there are usually no people around.
Since this is a coral reef beach, the sand is more coarse and rocky than the other beaches on this list, but still a great place to lay and relax.
Final Thoughts on Playas en Vieques
From glow-in-the-dark bays to light coral sandy stretches, this list has outlined the best beaches in Vieques, Puerto Rico. Whether you prefer seclusion or real tourist hotspots, there’s something for you.
If you plan on visiting San Juan for a day as part of your trip, take a look at this quick 24-hour guide to the capital city.
Essential Info: Logistical Tips and Tricks to Book your Trip
BOOK YOUR FLIGHT
Regarding cheap airfare, I highly recommend using Skyscanner and Expedia. These are two of the sites I use the most due to their exhaustive search on several websites and airlines around the world. They usually bring the cheapest fares.
Additionally, I recommend getting the WayAway Plus membership to save money on cheaper fares and earn cashback (sent straight to your PayPal) on your bookings.
BOOK YOUR ACCOMMODATION
For hotels, guesthouses, apartments, and other types of accommodation, I highly recommend Booking.com. They are my go-to booking site because they usually have the cheapest fares.
If you’re a registered Booking.com user (“Genius”), you can take advantage of their “Genius discount” to save even more money. I almost always book my accommodation with Booking, and I’ve saved thousands of dollars with their Genius discount.
And of course, as one of the largest travel booking sites in the world, Expedia is another excellent accommodation booking site with a free reward program and discounted member prices.
If you’re looking to save money by staying at a hostel, HostelWorld has the largest inventory of hostels with shared dorms and private rooms. On the other hand, Vrbo offers a wide variety of rooms and apartments at affordable prices.
DON’T FORGET YOUR TRAVEL INSURANCE
Travel insurance with comprehensive coverage will protect you against unexpected events like theft, cancellations, injury, and illness.
I use HeyMondo to insure my trips and recommend them. Their affordable plans offer a 24/7 assistance platform for claims, medical coverage for every traveler, adventure sports and covid-19 coverage, and more. And better yet, GloboTreks readers get 5% off their plan! Get a quote.
Alternatively, if you’re a nomad and travel often or long-term, then SafetyWing could help you save a lot of money on long-term travel insurance.
FIND THE BEST TOURS AT THE BEST PRICES
If you’re looking for the best day tours and cheapest ticket entrances to local attractions, I recommend checking Viator, as they have the largest selection of attractions, passes, and activities all around the world.
BOOK YOUR LOCAL TRANSPORTATION AHEAD OF TIME
Bookaway offers the easiest and most accessible way to book overland transportation with local operators, be it by bus, train, ferry, plane, mini-van, or even private transfers.
If renting a car, then I highly recommend DiscoverCars to get the largest car selection at the best price.
OTHER TRAVEL AND MONEY-SAVING TIPS?
Lastly, check out my resources page for some of the best products and companies to use for your trip. If you like saving money (like I do!), then this page will help.
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