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trip report 4/25 to 5/2

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boston
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trip report 4/25 to 5/2

Thanks to everyone on this forum for all the info for our trip. We had a fabulous vacation on Vieques!

As for transportation: we took a taxi/van to Ceiba from SJU for $85 (5 people and luggage) and flew on Air Flamenco for $24 per person. We paid a little extra for being over on luggage ($35). I had planned on taking the ferry then decided to fly Vieques Air Link, but we got there early and the pilot for Flamenco was willing to take us. Next time I would just fly from Isla Grande. The small planes are an experience, but the views are wonderful. OK I've used fabulous and wonderful so far, will be hard to not re-use these words.

We rented Casa La Puerta in the Destino area and the house manager (Karen Murphy) met us and had a van waiting to get us all to the house. We arrived during a festival of horse races and there was a cock fight that day as well, the streets were croweded, but we never saw it that way again. Karen suggested Coconuts in Isabel, since the crowds would be in Esperanza, and we had a great meal outside followed by home-made banana ice cream. Funny to see kids in somewhat hip-hop attire riding horses thru the town right next to cars and trucks.

The house was perfect for us. Each of the 3 bedrooms has a bathroom and the veranda has a dining table for al fresco meals. We were out there all the time, with the tradewinds, there were no bugs at all. The tiny lizards helped with that as well. Every day it was the same beautiful view of Puerto Ferro and the ocean beyond, without a single building within our sight. We cooked many meals and had a huge outdoor grille. We took the house coolers and beach chairs to the beaches. Shopped at Morales between the airport and Isabel. Also the Green store outside Esperanza. Went to the produce market on Tues. at rte. 201 and 200. They told us how to cook black plantains.

I will write more later (need to get some cooking done here) but the beaches also have that "back in time" feeling. No buildings on most of them, just blue water and sand and palm trees. We were surprised how much we liked Sun Bay and Media Luna since they are not as remote as Blue Beach etc. The shade from the palms and the horses grazing nearby was picture perfect. No problems with theft at all, but there were 5 of us in and out of the water. Didn't hear or see any problems while we were there. Just paradise.

Will continue after dinner.

boston
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1. Re: trip report 4/25 to 5/2

more on our trip.....

We did the Bio Bay tour with Island Adventures (west on rte 996 out of Esperanza) The bus ride was a little bumpy down to the bay, but very fun. Kevin, our guide, gave a lot of info about the bay, the plankton and anything else we wanted to know. The moon was a sliver so we could see the sparkling blue "tails" of the fish swimming away from the boat. It is an experience like no other to get in the water and make "water angels" of blue. The people not swimming were taking flash photos, which was annoying. We were spinning in circles and letting the water trickle down our raised arms, more sparkles. I did get a few bug bites, but nothing terrible.

Our drive to Green Beach was not as pleasant. A very rough ride and we were glad our tires held up. We never did find the great snorkeling spot and the beach was very narrow. We did have a week where there was a lot of wind and chop, so it might be better another time. So we appreciated the road improvements at Camp Garcia, tho it meant we could not get to Red Beach.

Mosquito Pier, on the calm side, had plenty of fish and starfish. The East end of blue beach was also good ( we by-passed the road to the beach and took a right further on. Some reef scientists were there and said we were the first tourists they had ever encountered out at the point. To be honest, the snorkeling was nothing like St. John, but we did see plenty of fish and corral. I just showed the photos to my son and he said "looks a lot like St. John, but the beaches are more beachy, the views more viewy, the shops more shoppy."

We did eat at Tradewinds in Esperanza and loved being upstairs looking down at the Malecon. We enjoyed our dinner, lots of seafood. We heard good things about the Blue Crab in Isabel and Richards (for authentic Vieques food). The gift shop next to the Blue Crab has jewelry by local artisans and the food store beyond that had lots of gourmet delicacies.

In Isabel: Sunsets at Mar Azul were fun, try the passion punch. They also sell all kinds of hot sauce, if you want to get your shopping done at the same time. Ask the bartender and they will pull out a box of all flavors of variable hotness.

Lydia's bakery was great for breakfast treats, and bread. If you don't see bread, ask for it.

There are tennis courts at the Blue Horizon on Rte 996 ($25 an hour for non-locals). It is like a carpet surface and plenty warm. We did meet some great people at the bar there and it is a nice setting. We saw an egret riding on the back of a horse in the field.

The island does not have that resort feel, which is what we loved. Not sure how long that will last with a Westin being built, but right now it feels like a visit to a much further destination. With the perk of being able to drink the water and not getting sick. There are bars on windows, chickens and roosters making noise, narrow roads, unfinished buildings, limited produce and meat. Minor things. The worst was thinking about what our own government had done here, with little concern for the local population.

You can fill in the blanks of this report with hours sitting on the beach, floating with a snorkel on and just watching the underwater show, floating some more in the pool at the end of the day, red flowers along the fence, iguanas on the road, horses everywhere, clear blue water, white sand and SUN! I am having some trouble with re-entry into my real life.

For all of you researching, like I did, I hope you have a wonderful vacation and don't worry as much as I did planning a trip for family and friends. It all seems to work out.

Happy travels.

West Warwick, Rhode...
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2. Re: trip report 4/25 to 5/2

Thanks for the great report! We're flying out of Logan first thing Thursday morning and hope to have an equally great time! It's been WAY too long in the coming.

Ryan and Vikki

Toronto, Canada
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for Toronto, Isla de Vieques
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3. Re: trip report 4/25 to 5/2

Thanks for the report! Appreciated the dinner break- we were getting hungry!

"I am having some trouble with re-entry into my real life."

Unfortunately, almost one month since we returned home and this affect has not worn off. I think the boss is starting to notice. Thank goodness it's getting warm here & everyone's brain has gone a little soft!

We agree about Sun Bay- so convenient & so perfect!

suerte,

ByJ

palm springs
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4. Re: trip report 4/25 to 5/2

Great report....so what island did you prefer....Vieques or St. John? Thanks.

boston
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5. Re: trip report 4/25 to 5/2

Thanks B&J and I notice you are still checking the forum. A good way to keep the island from fading. The people at work get enough of the "did I tell you about the little striped fish?"

Tomtravel, St. John was our first Caribbean vacation and our first non-camping vacation with all 3 children before they went off in all directions. Hard to beat. Tho I hated driving on the left hand side with an American car and was almost killed looking the wrong way in St. Thomas trying to hurry to the ferry.

Snorkeling (from shore) was much better in St.John (10 years ago)but the St.Thomas snorkel tours all showed up at the best spots. It felt more touristy, but we had an amazing vacation there. Waterlemon Cay was the highlight with hours of snorkeling. No horses; but donkeys and pigs astray. Also more expensive, so we went late summer and just missed bad weather. I would return to both places in a hearbeat, Vieques for unspoiled and nearly empty beaches. St. John for the coral.

NYC
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6. Re: trip report 4/25 to 5/2

great report, thanks.

too bad you didnt find the snorkeling at green beach.

make sure to ask next time you go and Ill give you good directions.

i love green beach. especially in the morning.

i like to get there by 8am.

and it has a really decent elkhorn coral grove.

there is some good snorkeling in vieques. especially secret beach.

and on the north side.

i think you see more larger fish around vieques than some of the other busier islands. i see lots of turtles around vieques. lots of rays. i see eagle rays regularly.

ive even seen a manatee.

how did you like peters? and blue crab? personally, i like both.

what were some other highlights?

did you drive around much?

:)

thanks again for a great reminder

boston
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7. Re: trip report 4/25 to 5/2

Maybe we did give up too quickly, but non-snorkelers wanted to just get to the beach and we were driving around a bit too much for them. We met people who's snorkeling trips were canceled due to the conditions, so will definitely try harder next time. Maybe even get up a little earlier : )

Didn't eat out so much, but both of those restaurants were suggested as great places.

Vieques, Puerto Rico
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8. Re: trip report 4/25 to 5/2

* When the water is rough, you can still snorkel, you just have to kayak to an offshore cayo on the leeward side.

Hopefully you are doing this "with a guide" so that you:

a. do not harm yourself

b. or the reef

c. or the kayak

d. actually know what you are looking at!

;)

Chicago, Illinois
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9. Re: trip report 4/25 to 5/2

That was an excellent report! I appreciated your comments about why you liked Tradewinds and beaches and what you saw, as well as the great images you created with your descriptions. So, Frankipoo, don't hold out...what are your specific recommendations on how to find green beach? And will it still be open when i visit in mid-July?

Canby, OR
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10. Re: trip report 4/25 to 5/2

Thanks for your great report. I've just bookmarked this forum, as Vieques has been on my list for a while and we may consider it for this December. I will start having questions soon, no doubt, and will also refer back to your report! :)