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Indiana, United States
Debt free empty nesters...ready to stretch our wings. Life is good and we plan on making it even better. This blog is mostly about our trips to Vieques Puerto Rico, with a few odds and ends thrown in about our life after the mortgage.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Before you go to Vieques...

This is our opinion, just what we've experienced in our trips to Vieques.

As with any vacation it's always best to plan. In regard to Vieques it's essential that you plan IN ADVANCE. By advance I mean at the very least a few months..better yet 4 or 6 months. So why all this planning? Because Vieques has limited services. Rental cars tend to become unavailable in peak season and the best rental houses are sometimes booked many many months in advance. But even before you begin booking your rental and house be sure Vieques is for you.

A few things you won't find on Vieques are:

Cookie-cutter resorts -

There's really only one on the island the "W". We call it Jurassic Park. The beach for the W is on the Atlantic side and is in no way even near the quality of what you'll find on the eastern caribbean side of the island. Bottom line, your not going to find all-inclusive all you can eat/drink, staff at your every beck and call, establishments on Vieques.

24 Hour Mini Marts -

No 7 Eleven's or facsimile on Vieques. There are two gas stations and two main grocery stores (both owned by Morales). There is the Green store in Esperanza  which gets a lot of traffic but it's high in price and sometimes runs out of certain items. Sprinkled here and there are a few colmados (mom and pop operated small stores). The Morales are open from 7-6 or 7 M-Sat. Most of the grocery stores close at noon on Sunday.  The island does sometimes run out of gas. The rule of thumb is if your tank is on 1/2 you need to fill up. You can find most grocery items on the island, but not all the time. Less frozen vegetables and more canned.

Limited Banking -

At last check there was only one bank on the island and it was in Isabel. Many if not most all the restaurants and establishments we frequent take credit cards, even AMEX, just recently the two gas stations stopped taking credit cards, cash only.

Casinos -

None to be found

Golf Courses-

None to be found

Shopping Malls-

None to be found

Crime-

This has been discussed ad nauseum on Trip Advisor. There have been reports of petty crime on some of the beaches in Vieques. We, personally have not experienced it. There is little to no violent crime against tourists on Vieques. Some common sense precautions we would recommend are not taking valuables to the beach. Some beaches that have, in the past, been more prone to petty theft would include Sun Bay, Navio, Garcia, Playa Chiva, Playa Grande and Green beach. Take enough money for the day but leave the rest in your room. Don't take all of your forms of I.D. with you to the beach, especially your passport. If you would get robbed of your ID you will HAVE to file a report with the police in order to get temporary ID to travel.  Don't lock your rental car and don't leave anything in it. If you are robbed there are a few places you can call. First is the fish and wildlife service, they may be able to help with your vehicle if your in the refuge. Fish and wildlife  # is (787)741-2138. The police department (787) 741-2020.



A few things you will find on Vieques that you won't find in other places are:

Horses are everywhere on the island-



They're constantly crossing the road, walking in yards, pooping everywhere. We have had them come up on the beaches when we were there. Horses are, to us, as much a part of the island as are the beautiful beaches. It wouldn't be Vieques without the horses. It is important to remember this when driving on the island and not to speed on any of the roads.

Chickens -



Chickens are everywhere on the island. The roosters crow at all hours, many times at night. Some people find this very annoying. We could care less, it adds to the charm of the place.

Dogs -

Dogs are everywhere on the island, many times wandering into restaurants where they're treated like normal fixtures. The dogs too can bark all night long. Seems every Viequian has a couple of island dogs. None of them we've seen have been the least aggressive at all.

Crazy drivers -



Seems to us that Viequians don't get in a hurry to do much of anything (we're trying to become more like this ourselves), except for when they're driving an auto. We just can't seem to drive fast enough for them and many end up passing us. We were in Isabel one time when the ferry was unloading, it was chaos. Some of the roads on Vieques are narrow and winding. With the horses and the crazy drivers it can be a challenge at times.

Beautiful Beaches -



Vieques has some of the most beautiful unspoiled beaches you'll find in the Caribbean. You can find yourself on stretches of beach without a soul around. Your own private paradise.

4 comments:

  1. Top 3-5 recommendations for best places to eat dinner or lunch? Not looking for anything perfect- just good atmosphere/good food! We're hoping to pack a lunch for most days at the beach, maybe eat lunch out a few days, cook dinner at the house a few days (depending on what we can find at the store) and try a few good, not to miss restaurants for dinner. Thanks!

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  2. We're also arriving late on the island (7:44pm)on a Tuesday. Is there much open for dinner after 9pm? We won't have our rental car till next a.m., so will prob have to walk somewhere from our rental house in Isabel. Unless we arrange for property managers to purchase a few items for us ahead of time. Thanks!!

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  3. Best restaurant we've found is Next Course followed closely by Coconuts in Isabel. The home made ice cream from Cocnuts is beyond description. Best pizza was Lazy Jacks in Esperanza. All around good service with decent food (nothing special, but good) was Duffys. Cheapest meal was to be found at Island adventures. Tradewinds had decent food too although I would never stay in one of their rooms again. Bananas is middle of the road..so so.

    Coconuts is open until 10pm on Tuesday. Call and make reservations 787 741-9325. It's located in the middle of town on the NW corner of the square. Here's a link to their website:
    http://www.coconutsvieques.com/

    There also El patio in Isabel and they're open until 10pm. I know this place is good. Here's the website:
    http://www.elpatiovieques.com/

    Make sure you check out Sol Food shack at the entrance to the eastern beaches. There's also some other stands in front of Sun Bay entrance.

    There's a pizza place in Isabel that has good pizza too but I can't remember the name. It's on the same street as Blackbeards.

    Belly buttons has a decent breakfast, but it's not cheap. Inn on the Blue Horizon is so expensive that we had two Coronas and left.


    Hope this helps some....

    Curt

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  4. Thank you very much!!

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