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Caribbean Jewel – Explore Vieques

by Starwood Caribbean

Explore Viques, A Jewel in the Caribbean

Vieques Island seems like a destination that has yet to be discovered. Its wonderfully untouched lands and wildlife make it a destination like no other. Here are some fun activities to really get to know this Caribbean wonder.

Nighttime kayaking in the bioluminescent bay, also referred to as Bio-bay, is a must-do and, according to the locals, this wildlife preservation has the highest concentration of phosphorescent dinoflagellates in the world. Located on the south shores, this under water phenomena takes you back to the 70s with its psychedelic greens and blues seen from the microorganisms living below. There are no gas-powered vessels permitted in the lagoon, but you can rent a kayak or an electric boat to see the plethora of flora and fauna. Organized tours are highly recommended–reservations as well–to better understand the mysteries of the luminous spectacle from the well-versed guides. Plan accordingly because these tours are often scheduled in coordination with the tides and moon cycle.

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The “wild” horses of Vieques are descendants of the Paso Fino (the horse with the fine gait) that conquistadors brought with them when they invaded the area in the early 16th century. Now, while you will see horses roaming, most are far from wild. Most, if not all, have owners–look closely and you will see they are branded–but allowing them to roam is simply cheaper than feeding and housing them. These magnificent beauties are still a sight worth seeing. Whether it is at Black Sand Beach or an evening out in Segunda & Esperanza, their galloping rhythmic hooves will still grab your absolute attention–wild or not.

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High on the northern side of the island, Fort Count Mirasol was built in the late 1840s to be used by the militia to protect the port of Vieques against pirates and other would-be invaders. Yet its only use was a jail by the Spanish and later the United States, and it was abandoned entirely in the early 1940s. Located in the town of Isabel II, towering in the hills and known for the only major man-made attraction around, it was entirely restored in 1991. The Museum Fort Count Mirasol proudly displays local works of art, Vieques’ artifacts and is used for a variety of educational purposes with classrooms located on the lower levels. The revitalized grounds offer incredible views of the towns below and the seas ahead.

If you’re looking to visit a place that looks like it came right off a postcard, look no further. Mosquito Pier (Rompeolas) is one of the first landmarks you will notice as you are traveling toward the island. Located one mile west of the airport, this gem has much to offer to just about anybody. Though the name may sound a little less than appealing–who actually enjoys the company of mosquitoes anyways–, you’ll find no tall buildings, loud noise or the hustle and bustle we are all accustomed to in every day life. This mile-long pier into the Vieques’ crystal-clear sound offers breathtaking views of the island behind and the water beneath you. As you venture out on the pier, remember to take in all of your surroundings, igniting all of your senses–this is not a view you get every day. Starfish and sea turtles are common here and the calm waters are great for snorkeling, diving and fishing.

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Caribbean Jewel – Explore Vieques