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“Natural getaway, Biobay was Unforgettable, Vieques Overview”
5 of 5 bubbles Review of Isla de Vieques

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Southern California
1 review
3 helpful votes
“Natural getaway, Biobay was Unforgettable, Vieques Overview”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed August 26, 2007

We recently spent a few days on Vieques during a trip to Puerto Rico and it was very relaxing. We stayed at Bravo Beach Hotel which was gorgeous and worth every penny (see my review), and we went on snorkel and biobay tours with Blue Caribe (near Sun Bay beach in Esperanza). Our experience with Blue Caribe was great. I had never kayaked before, but we had to kayak to a smaller island in order to snorkel. It was pretty easy. Our tour guide did not speak English, but he was very nice and we enjoyed our first time snorkeling very much. The cost was about $60 for the 2 of us. Plus it felf like a private tour since no one else had signed up for that time slot. That evening, a different tour guide drove us to a marshy area for the Biobay tour. Beware of the mosquitos! I think they were waiting for us as our van pulled up. We were clobbered as soon as we exited the van. I've never gotten so many bites (these were very small ones though). The tour guide placed a light on himself so we'd know what direction to kayak in if we fell behind (which I did). There were 5 couples all together, 4 of which chose double kayaks. We opted for single ones since we had double kayaked earlier that day. As we rowed through the water, the guide stopped periodically and gave bits of information. He was very charismatic and once back in the van, told us stories of the famous people he had given tours to including Oprah, Mariah Carey, Alicia Keys, etc. After kayaking for about 20 min we finally stopped and the guide anchored the boats together. He showed us how to jump out and how to jump back in. There was no concern about being able to swim because we all had life jackets on. So as soon as you jump in, your body automatically bouces upward. It's a very quick dip. The water was lukewarm, not shocking at all. And then you get to experience the glow. Wow! It was pretty amazing, especially since there was a full moon and I'd read that a full moon prevents a brilliant glow. Well that was pretty brilliant to me!. Our entire bodies glowed and when I lifted my hands out of the water, I could see the tiny animals all over me, spilling downward back into the water. It was an exciting experience, but calming at the same time. There is nothing around the bay but marsh. So everything was pretty much pitch black aside from the glow and the moonlight. All is quiet. You feel like you're miles away from civilization. And that's when the jellyfish sting occured. Not to me, but my husband. We notified the guide who had warned us about the risk ahead of time, and he gave us vinegar (i think) to apply to the sting. It wasn't a big deal and I wouldn't let it stop me from visiting the Biobay again. I think my husband had forgotten about it by the next day. The guide also informed us that jellyfish season ends around May, so we must have caught one of the stragglers. Next time I'll consider wearing a wetsuit and maybe some of those rubber socks for this tour. You have to treck through mucky mud a bit to be able to push off in the kayak, and it's cold when you get back to shore (I guess rowing kept us warm). And that would help prevent the crazy barrage of hungry mosquitos. The guide drove us back to Blue Caribe and called a Público that could take us to a restaurant in Isabel II (since Blue Karibe is in Esperanza). The Públicos are large capacity vans that pick passengers up and take you pretty much anywhere for $3 during the day, $5 at night. Generally I was grateful for the públicos because 3 bucks beats a $75 car rental anyday, and you can catch a público anytime. That particular driver drove WAY too fast though. We got off at Richard's Cafe, a 10-15 min. walk from our hotel. The food was good and the waiter was very nice and accomodating. I wish I got his name, he really was a friendly, genuine young man. We also ate at Shaunna's the day before. You get a giant plateful of authentic PR food for $6!!! The chicken was not my favorite (my husband liked it), but the beans, rice, and tostones was enough to keep me coming back. It's a small family run restaurant, only open a few hours each day, and the plate I described is pretty much the entire menu. But if you're traveling on a budget and want authentic food, Shaunna's in Isabel II is the place to go. One more note about traveling to Vieques. Yes the ferry is only $2, but we waited a LONG time in a LONG line to get tickets. Then the ferry ride was 90 min. long. I was SO ready to get off that boat!!! We chose to fly back so we caught a püblico for a ride to the Vieques airport ($10 total). The flight fair was about $25 each and they'll ask your weight so be ready for that one. The plane was for 8 passengers. The ride was 10 min. long and we got spectacular pictures of the reefs off the coast. Overall, I loved staying on Vieques. It was the ultimate relaxing experience. We roamed empty beaches, shopped a little, ate well, kayaked, snorkeled, and swam. What more could you ask for???? I'll definitely go back again....and again....and again.

Helpful?
3 Thank CulturaCaribe
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
austin, texas
Level Contributor
34 reviews
29 helpful votes
“Trip report to Vieques, August 8-15”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed August 25, 2007

I'll keep this short and sweet- we were in Vieques for seven fabulous days in mid august. yes, it was warm, but yes, it was beautiful. i'd definitely not limit my vacation planning to the island to the high season. august is fabulous.

in terms of where to stay, we rented CASA DOS CHIVOS (the upstairs portion) for the week. Sufficient words do not exist to describe how beautiful the house is or how wonderful our time there was. the owners are extraordinary people and their property manager is a wonderful woman who is totally organized, helpful and available if needed but in the background respecting your privacy if not. the king bedroom has air conditioning and the space is beautifully decorated and maintained. everything you need is provided and there is just nothing so wonderful as grilling at night on the ENORMOUS open terrace looking over Isabelle and the ocean. the breeze is consistent and fabulous, and the view of the milky way at night is to die for. we spent most of our house time on the terrace eating dinner, playing scrabble, stargazing and drinking wine. GO. stay with them. you'll love it.
the house is huge and has a downstairs suite which can be rented as well if you have a family. there's no pool at the house which some would consider a disadvantage but which we actually liked as it would have been too easy to stay put!! the house is about 10 mins from Isabelle and 10 mins the other direction from the south shore beaches.

we rented a jeep from MARITZA. they were generally helpful and making the arrangements from texas was easy. i'd also recommend Vieques Car Rental. we had no problems with our car at all, and yes, it was regularly gone through at the beach, which was, of course, not an issue because there was never anything in it besides our can of fixaflat and water. the water was stolen but the thieves were considerate enough to leave us our fixaflat. we never needed it, but i'd suggest getting a can and keeping it in your car just in case.

it seems that wednesday is food delivery day at the grocery store- that or tuesday, i can't recall. but we found that fruits and veggies were best purchased wednesday. we also found that getting meat from the grocery store would be best done on wed/thurs as well. by the following monday, it was very very slim pickings.
there's a pescaderia (fish market) to the right of the ferry dock in Isabelle. i bought snapper and lobster there, all very very good.

we didn't eat out a lot- beers at Duffy's in Esperanza and we had some crab cakes there that were worth the price of admission.
we had a FABULOUS meal at EL QUENEPO (misspelled) in esperanza- it rivaled some of the best meals we have had at some of the best restaurants here in the U.S. mainland (compare to say, Jeffrey's in Austin or D.C.). unbeliveable. really really special. we also had a super meal at the Bravo Beach Hotel the first night we were there. the tapas are big enough that i think we shared three and were plenty full.

we spent time at most of the beaches and really didn't have a favorite. we're big on snorkeling and it was great but varied day to day weather to weather and place to place. that's pretty typical (in my experience) of the caribbean, but it was all good. secret beach was wonderful (for us) snorkeling wise (the right side by the rocks about 40 feet out) and we saw lots and lots of starfish at the beach just beyond the navy pier where the old church is.

if you can swing it, schedule a session with INGRID BERGMAN RMT for a massage. she is GREAT. she came to our house and the bedroom at Dos Chivos is HUGE so we were able to set up in there with no problem in the air conditioning.

in terms of getting there, we flew to san juan, took a cab to isla grande and a flight on VAL from there. it was all very easy to arrange from afar (the whole trip was a surprise birthday present for my fiancee) and reasonable. i think we paid about $90 each for the round trip from islas to vieques and it was $20 for the cab from san juan intl to islas. if we had more time, we'd venture the ferry. maybe next time!! VAL was great and got us on a flight EARLY the day we got in. our aa flight got into san juan at 2 and we got to islas around 3:45 (we diddled around in san juan for a bit when we got there). i think the flight to vieques was supposed to have left like right when we walked in, and it wasn't full so they went ahead and put us on it instead of our 5pm flight. it was great.

seeing the biobay goes without saying. it's gorgeous. i lived on sailboats in the caribbean in the past and was familiar with the general phenomenon of phosphoresence (sp) but this was astonishing. we did it in the kyaks and neither of us had ever kyaked before. it was very easy, very low stress and i personally preferred it to the boats, though the boat trip seemed cool for other reasons like being better able to hear the guide perhaps.
we went through aquafrenzy, but i'm not sure there's really all that much difference in the suppliers.

please feel free to email me if you have any questions or if i can comment personally on anything you're thinking of doing when you go. it was incredibly healing and relaxing for us. it's definitely an island in transition and that will appeal to some and not to others. it did to us!

Helpful?
8 Thank allisonwilcox
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Chattanooga, Tennessee
Level Contributor
12 reviews
28 helpful votes
“Great Caribbean Place to Relax”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed August 14, 2007

The Island in general is like a third world country. The beaches are fantastic. The sea is at the perfect temperature. The sand is great. The beaches are clean. The place could use some good night life.
I would highly recommend a week's beach vacation. The airfare to PR is also very attractive.

Helpful?
2 Thank Greg S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Sierra Vista, AZ
Level Contributor
135 reviews
60 helpful votes
“Vieques Island experience”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed June 18, 2007

Date June 19, 2007
Reviewer: Pat and John Wettack
My husband and I traveled to Vieques especially to go on a eco tour of the phosperous bay called Mosquito Bay. You need to take a ferry from the town of Fajardo. We stayed in a very clean and cordial guest house called Casa Alta Vista in the small location of Esperanza on the south side of the island. From there you could walk right down to the 2 block strip of restaurants and the beachfront. Both the car rental people and the hotel people were very helpful giving us directions to several of the local beaches which would be good for snorkeling. The island is so small, you can visit multiple beaches in one day.

Yes, you need to arrange a rental car for the island. We didn't find we needed 4 wheel drive although we had a Jeep. Main roads are paved but to get to the numerous beaches, the roads are packed dirt and mud holes depending on the rain. Wild horses do indeed roam the island everywhere so stay alert.

Island Adventures took us on the phosperous bay tour and it was outstanding. You could go with groups in kayaks, but we opted for the electric pontoon boat which also provided much information as well. The captain was both entertaining and informative. We spent about 1/2 hour swimming in the glittering bay of dinoflaggelates....a truely awesome experience.

We enjoyed a delicious dinner at the Trade Winds (also a hotel) seated at an upstairs table looking out over the lush vegetation, moored boats, and sparkling water along the boardwalk.

This visit is a must for people just wanting to enjoy the sun, beaches, snorkeling and marvel of the phosperous bay.

Helpful?
3 Thank kokapelli
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
florida
Level Contributor
154 reviews
84 helpful votes
“Wow.....”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed May 25, 2007

1. fly into vieques very cheap and fun.
2. No ferry. 2 dollars . you get what you pay for. exhuast fumes very bad.
3.Island adventures where very fun but on a boat. still. mark martin was a great guide and driver.. Bring a flash lite..
3A. kayka the bay is very cool also. must try.
4. rent a car.
5. stay away from banana's. crap food expenisive beer and drink.
6. got to nasa if it openn cheap beers and spanish food.
7. Buy food before you go over to the island.
8.Very crowded on weekends.
9. fly over to st.coix 23 dollars just need a drive lisence.
10. go to the bakery for breakfast next to the smal grocery store.
11. try there pizza. yes pizza. good luck finding real PR food there.
12. stay in esperonza.
13. celubria. even better.

Helpful?
Thank fluakq
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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