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trip report 3/1-3/8

Ellicott City...
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trip report 3/1-3/8

Since I'm always gathering so much helpful information from the friendly posters on TA, I figured I should finally return the favor!

We just returned from a very relaxing week in Vieques. We had been to Puerto Rico before but wanted to return to stay at a smaller island like Vieques or Culebra for the primary purpose of quiet and great beaches.

getting to vieques: after much debate we finally decided to take a taxi to the ferry (john's publicos mentioned by posters on TA) given that we were worried about making a connecting flight to Vieques. I am SO glad we went with this option b/c our AirTran flight was over 2 hours late (long story but I would NOT recommend flying with them). John waited for us with a sign and had even picked up ferry tickets the day before which was really helpful. The price was reasonable at 80$/each way for the both of us and our heavy luggage

getting around vieques: Juergen from Abreeze met us at the ferry and took us to his place to get out rental car. Fantastic service, great vehicle (Jeep Liberty 75$/day) and really friendly, helpful hints

staying in vieques: we stayed at Villa Venti (also found via TA)- the upper loft. Alex and Glen were great, nonobtrusive hosts and provided all the essentials for a relaxing stay (beach towels, cooler, beach chairs). The loft is amazing with spectacular views of the ocean and a wonderful cool breeze that makes ac or even fans unnecessary. Admittedly, it's not for everyone, as there are no windows so you get to hear/see all of the various animal life that makes Vieques so colorful (roosters, peacocks, horses, cows, sheep, goats, dogs). But we loved it and would stay there again. The price was reasonable and the location was fantastic.

dining in vieques: again went with TA advice and went to Sol Food, El Quenepo, Next Course, Bananas, and Tradewinds. Bananas was the only disappointment given really poor service (forgotten orders, burnt food, mistake on bill, and unreasonably long wait time- yes i know about island time but this was excessive). The rest of the places were fantastic with really flavorful and fresh food. We had a kitchenette in the loft so had breakfast and lunch most days from groceries obtained at the supermarket, which I felt was reasonably priced given the island location and well stocked.

beaches in vieques: my favorites (i like soft sand and little wave action) were orchid and blue beach. my husband's favorite was green beach for the snorkelling. we also visited secret, sun, red and a couple of others i'm probably forgetting. Off the beach snorkeling was not as robust as St John, Bermuda, or Hawaii but the quality, variety and amount of beaches Vieques has is spectacular

biobay: we went with island adventures for the electric boat- booked the morning of for 40$/person. We had a knowledgeable tour guide and overall really enjoyed the experience.

If you're looking for an island that can provide nonstop entertainment (shopping, movie theaters, historical tours), Vieques is not likely the place for you. Rather if great beaches and good food can keep you occupied, then I think Vieques is worth a trip.

Last note, I read several posts before planning our trip comparing St John to Vieques. This was something my husband and I debated as well since we loved St John and wouldn't mind going back. Having visited both, St John is still my favorite but Vieques is a close second! I do feel like it's comparing apples to oranges as Vieques still feels like a Spanish island with a native culture/tongue while St John seems more like a haven for rich retired Americans with subsequently more infrastructure which can make travel to/fro slightly easier. Just my 2 cents

Indiana
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1. Re: trip report 3/1-3/8

Great report...thank you for sharing.

Tell me more about the ferry and what you thought of the experience. Also, how long did it take to get from SJU to Fajardo? Would you do the ferry again? Is it worth the $240 saved in airfare?

Curt

Edited: 09 March 2013, 19:59
Vieques
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2. Re: trip report 3/1-3/8

Thanks

great report. Appreciate the comparison with St John and I totally get it.I lived in the V irgins for Seven years and you are spot on. Unless you are planning to move to the Caribbean, you do not have to chose visit both on different trips, I think if you like one you will like the other. St John costs a whole lot more however!

Toronto, Canada
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3. Re: trip report 3/1-3/8

Thanks for that great report- succinct, informative, and full of personal insight!

NYC
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4. Re: trip report 3/1-3/8

ditto;

great report, thanks. i too appreciate the comparison to St John. any other observations?

did you visit Navio beach?

you didnt say much about the bio bay, were you disapointed?

will you return?

Ellicott City...
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5. Re: trip report 3/1-3/8

Hi Curt! I found your trip posts and blog helpful in planning our trip- especially your notes about creating or finding shade on the beach. To answer your question, the ferry experience was not awful but if you are on a tight or strict schedule (i.e have to make it to the Avis office on Vieques) then you shouldn't take it, b/c it does run late. Both coming and going, the ferry was there at the scheduled time. But it took almost an hour to unload and load the ferry with passengers/cargo. Once we took off, it's about an hour travel time. We travelled with too much luggage this time and were pleasantly surprised to find a room on the ferry where we could put the large pieces. Each time we travelled, the ferries were full- lots of locals and then spring breakers who like us were trying to save a few dollars. I wouldn't hesitate to do it again- the boat ride is smooth and pleasant enough. The ferry operators are friendly, the boats air-conditioned and relatively clean.

@Frankipoo- we loved Biobay! It really is beautiful and unlike anything we've ever seen. Still recovering from a LOT of mosquito bites. Lots of people taking pics with flashes so that kind of takes away from the quiet serenity of the moment. For that, I probably would do it again but in the kayak instead of the electric boat, which while comfortable, can accomodate a lot of people.

Sadly we missed Navio....b/c my husband saw the potholes and said "no way". I do regret it, especially b/c I heard Navio was another quiet, calm beach. Even though, we had read all of the TA posts about the potholes, we didn't realize how deep some of them are, especially off of Sun Bay. But our Biobay tour guide explained the hesitation to fix them, given the potential environmental impact of run off on the Biobay once the road is paved or filled in. There is a proposal which would minimize impact and fix the road but like everything has a price tag.

Would I do it again? Yes. But we have so much of the world left to see :) Thanks for all of the kind comments- it's very encouraging and I'll try to leave at least much advice on TA forums as I take!

NYC
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6. Re: trip report 3/1-3/8

awesome, thanks again for your report.

btw, Navio usually is not calm. but it is beautiful and worth navigating around the potholes(the edges arent so deep)

7. Re: trip report 3/1-3/8

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