We rented a jeep from Vieques Car rental, who provided favorable terms and great service, including when our battery went dead ( our fault) and they came in literally ten minutes to jump it. We stayed again this year, as last, at Bravos by the Sea ( not to be confused with Bravo Beach Hotel ) , which we loved again for its location right on the water, its glimmering pool and hot tub overlooking the sea., wonderful comfortable beds and well equipped kitchen and wonderful management by the Bravos Boyz. There are a few easily accessible beaches, some swimmable , some with beach glass along North Shore Road used mainly by locals. We like staying in Isabella because you can get a feel for local life We had a very good dinner ( fresh grouper) at Taverna the first night, though were disappointed later in the week by the highly touted lunch. We made a rule to only eat outside, which was fun! Other food and restaurant reports: Peter's, our favorite last year was only ok this year and very expensive. We had a great meal at El Quenepo, which is not strictly outside but feels like it is!. We ate Pinchos at the tent near entrance to Sun BAy ( only there on Sat) and got a fabulous bar-b-que chicken near the entrance to the East beaches. We had two excellent locally flavored meals at Topacio , known for its fish. El Resuelve was close dfor dinner the Thurs we tried to go, but we have heard great things about it. We cooked at home lots more as the new veg stand was great. It is run by farmers from Puerto Rico who are selling mostly their own goods. Los Provechos provided many interesting items, but I loved the most going to the fish store by the ferry, recently bought by a mother and son who are really nice and very helpful in providing recipes for whole fish and conch. They are open daily from 10-3, best selection available around noon.
The weather was wild our first few days; one day the ferry could not dock at Fajardo due to conditions and had to come back. We were watching it from our terrace and it was very intense. So the water was roiled up and wavier than usual. We explored the many shelters at Blue beach, each private and in a beautiful spot right on the water. The road was graded early in our stay so it was a dream ! We went to Orchid beach for the first time, very similar to secret Beach ( which is now marked!) and lovely. We spent a lot of time at red beach where we didn't even need a snorkel to see fish and urchins and interesting plants, and the swimming was fabulous! We also enjoyed the ubiquitous horses, may of whom had new colts with them. We also saw people riding them and talking on cell phones!
The weather was a bit rainy at times, but basically fabulous!
We explored Mosquito Pier, which we were told was built to be the new ferry pier for at least the cargo ferry, but they did not include water to it so it is as yet unused. It is very long out into the water and a great place to picnic under a tree! We also saw the enormous cotton/silk tree near there. This tree is a must see with a root system that forms high vertical walls.
Having flown to Vieques both ways previous visit, we decided to take the ferry on the way home. I loved it; an unbelievable bargain at $2, and the van ride to San Juan airport was easy.
We did hear from people frequently that as the economy worsens, theft is up, especially of electronics. Keeping house locked is prudent and effective. Personally, I think leaving laptops at home makes for a much sweeter, Vieques paced vacation away from the world of hurry and work. We felt safe and secure everywhere we went and found everyone helpful!
I am already planning next year's trip in my mind!