Things to Do on Vieques Island, Puerto Rico

You come to Vieques to explore its many pristine beaches, but there are a growing number of things to do away from the beach on this quaint little Puerto Rican island, from remote hikes and wildlife watching to art shows and fine dining.

Photo By: Robin Bennefield

Photo By: Robin Bennefield

Photo By: Robin Bennefield

Photo By: Robin Bennefield

Photo By: Robin Bennefield

Photo By: Robin Bennefield

Photo By: Robin Bennefield

Photo By: Robin Bennefield

Photo By: Robin Bennefield

Photo By: Robin Bennefield

Photo By: Robin Bennefield

El Gallito

Possibly the cutest beach on Vieques, El Gallito is just off Route 200 near the Vieques airport — not exactly where you’d expect to find a beach. The quiet curve of sand is a local favorite.

Playa Negra

The path to Playa Negra, or Black Sand Beach, is marked by a spray-painted arrow on a guardrail along Route 996, which leads into Route 201. A 10-minute forest hike leads to this desolate yet mesmerizing beach, which is covered in magnetite mineral deposits.

The Grand Old Ceiba Tree

The limbs and wide roots of this arboreal wonder stretch across a clearing off Route 200. Vieques historians estimate this tree to be at least 300 years old.

Free-Range Horses

The descendants of the horses of Spanish conquistadors, the horses on Vieques still roam this island as if they are royalty. Drive carefully; you never know when one may be nonchalantly crossing the road.

Playa Grande

On the southwestern end of Vieques, this rocky stretch of beach lies within the wildlife reserve, a wooded hike away from the remains of an old sugar mill that dates back to the 1800s.

Secret Beach

Also known as Pata Prieta, this beautiful half-moon-shaped beach is not much of a secret. Families looking for a kid-friendly spot have discovered its shallow waters.

Red Beach

Red Beach, or Caracas, is perfect for wave jumping. But bring an umbrella; there is little shade.

Gallery Galleon

Often the marker to find hidden Playa Negra, Gallery Galleon is a destination itself. Find an open villa that’s filled with colorful local and global art and holds shows the last Friday of each month.

Esperanza

When the sun starts to descend, visitors and locals head to one of the watering holes facing the Malecon in Esperanza. A popular spot is Bananas, known for its frosty piña coladas and tasty finger foods.

Roadside Eats in Vieques

The best way to eat local in Vieques is to stop at a roadside stand, such as this one on Route 997 that dishes out pernil (succulent roasted pork), along with red beans and rice. Food trucks such as Sol Food serve pinchos and pastillos.

Isabel Segunda

The largest town in Vieques, Isabel Segunda, is named for Spain’s queen at the time the country occupied the island. There are shops, restaurants, guesthouses and grocery stores, and the ferry from mainland Puerto Rico docks here.