Your trip to Puerto Rico isn’t complete without checking out the many things to do in Vieques.
This municipal island to the east of Puerto Rico is among the best Puerto Rico destinations for nature and beach lovers, but also for history enthusiasts.
I’m a San Juan area local who has been to Vieques myself. And, I can tell you, there’s a lot more to do than just lounging on the beach. To help you enjoy the best of the island, here are the 27 things to do and activities you can’t miss during your visit to Vieques.
PS – if you still need to book accommodation, be sure to bookmark my guide to where to stay in Vieques!
Table of Contents
- 27 Best Things to Do in Vieques Island
- Kayak in a Bioluminescent Bay
- Find Sea Glass on Sea Glass Beach
- Snorkel with Sea Turtles
- Walk to Hidden Playa Negra
- Take Pictures with the Wild Horses
- Stroll Mosquito Pier
- Go Horseback Riding
- Swim in Sun Bay Beach
- Explore the Vieques National Wildlife Refuge
- Visit the Viewpoint in the Refuge
- El Fortin Mirasol
- Admire the View from Ferro Ruins Lighthouse
- Enjoy Ice Cream in D’ Frozz
- See the Sunset from El Malecon La Esperanza
- Sit on the Ceiba Tree
- Find the Hidden Bunkers
- Cross Over to Cayo de Tierra
- Take a Day Trip to Culebra
- Ride a Bicycle
- Catch Some Fish
- Scuba Dive in Vieques Waters
- Go Beach Hopping
- Take a Tour at Crab Island Rum Distillery
- Mingle with Locals at Punta Arenas Beach
- Enjoy the Local Food
- Find the Ruins of the Cane Industry
- Shop at Isabel Segunda
- FAQ’s About Visiting Vieques
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27 Best Things to Do in Vieques Island
Kayak in a Bioluminescent Bay
One of the main attractions in Vieques, Mosquito Bay is the most popular of the three bioluminescent bays in Puerto Rico. You can take a night kayak tour with any of the tour companies in Vieques, but book your kayaking experience during a night with a new moon to see the bay at its brightest.
👉 Pro Tip: Water gets inside the kayak while you paddle on the bioluminescent bay, and although rare, some kayaks do tip over, so it’s better to have your phone safe and attached to your neck. This pouch by Stash7 is a great choice because it still lets you take photos with it (though, unless you have a really great camera or there is moonlight, it may be too dark anyway).
Find Sea Glass on Sea Glass Beach
Crafters and collectors will love to visit Sea Glass Beach in Vieques since the beach’s sand harbors plenty of beautiful crystals. The parking is limited, but you can park in the Isabel II town center and walk down to the beach. It’s definitely one of the more unique beaches in Puerto Rico!
Snorkel with Sea Turtles
Vieques is one of the best places in Puerto Rico to swim with sea turtles. Different companies offer snorkeling tours, but if you have experience and the equipment, you can easily go on your own. Mosquito Pier and Punta Arenas are two of the places where you can find them.
👉 Looking for more great things to do? Check out the top activities to enjoy in Puerto Rico during your trip.
Walk to Hidden Playa Negra
If you’re looking for unique and astonishing landscapes in Vieques, head over to Black Sand Beach or Playa Negra, two of the best beaches in Vieques. The trail to the beach is a bit solitary, but after 15 minutes or so, the trail opens to one of the most beautiful beaches you’ll find in Vieques. Playa Negra is the only beach with black sand in Puerto Rico.
Take Pictures with the Wild Horses
If nobody told you yet, Vieques Island is full of wild horses everywhere, so you should always drive with caution. Read my guide to Puerto Rico driving if it’s your first time renting a car here.
If you get the chance, take a picture with the horses (from a safe distance). You can find large groups in Sun Bay Beach, Vieques National Wildlife Refuge, and around the Ceiba Tree.
Stroll Mosquito Pier
Mosquito Pier is one of the top places to take a relaxing stroll or do yoga on Vieques Island. This pier is about a mile long and it’s said that the US Navy attempted to connect Vieques to the main island in 1941.
Go Horseback Riding
You can find both horses and beautiful landscapes everywhere on Vieques island. That’s why one of the top things to do in Vieques is to go horseback riding. You can’t miss the chance to visit Playa Negra, where the cliffs, black sand, and crashing waves make your horseback riding experience even better.
Swim in Sun Bay Beach
For people looking for a beach with facilities like showers, tables, and lifeguards, Sun Bay Beach is the best option. Located in the south, this beach is popular for its accessibility and facilities. From Sun Bay you can also reach Media Luna Beach for shallower waters.
Explore the Vieques National Wildlife Refuge
The Vieques National Wildlife Refuge on the east coast is home to the most stunning beaches in Vieques. You can find beaches for swimming, scuba diving, snorkeling, and sailing. It also sports interesting trails to go hiking, a viewpoint, and lighthouse ruins.
👉 Do you want to visit more amazing places? Don’t miss the other top attractions to visit in Puerto Rico.
Visit the Viewpoint in the Refuge
The Vieques National Wildlife Refuge features a breathtaking viewpoint that offers the best view of the area. You can reach this viewpoint by car or by hiking a 0.7 miles trail that starts on the main road. The viewpoint allows you to see Mosquito Bay, Puerto Ferro Bay, and the south cays.
El Fortin Mirasol
📍 Google Maps | Phone: (787) 741-1717 | Hours: 8 am – 4 pm Wed-Sun, 12 -1 pm lunch break, Closed Mon-Tues
El Fortin del Conde Mirasol Museum holds a compact but important collection that depicts Vieques’ history. This structure was a fortification made by the Spanish Empire in 1845 and in the late 1980s it became a small museum. After Hurricane Maria in 2017, the structure took a toll, but it is still worth a visit.
Admire the View from Ferro Ruins Lighthouse
One of the best things to do in Vieques for landscape lovers is to hike to the Puerto Ferro Lighthouse Ruins, abandoned after the 1925 earthquake. The ruins’ surrounding landscape is worth every step of one of the best hikes in Puerto Rico.
Enjoy Ice Cream in D’ Frozz
📍 Google Maps | Phone: (787) 239-4081 | Hours: 7 am – 9 pm Mon, Wed, Thur; 7 am – 8:30 pm Tue; 7 am – 10 pm Fri & Sat; 7 am – 2 pm Sun
After a day of hiking in the refuge or swimming on the beach, the best way to complete your tropical getaway is to enjoy Ice Cream at D’Frozz, where you’ll find unique ice cream flavors like Froot Loops and Corn Pops.
See the Sunset from El Malecon La Esperanza
Besides featuring one of the most popular beaches in Vieques and good restaurants, El Malecón is also a top spot for seeing the sunset. Here you can also find the abandoned Old Sugar Cane Pier, from where locals like to jump in the water.
Sit on the Ceiba Tree
📍 Google Maps | Phone: (787) 467-4352
While driving through the north coast to the west, make a quick stop to admire the Ceiba Tree of Vieques. This Ceiba is more than 300 years old and it’s famous for its large size. This is also one of the places you’ll get the perfect opportunity to take a picture with the wild horses in Isla de Vieques.
Find the Hidden Bunkers
Visitors unaware of Vieques’ history might get surprised to find out about all the things the US Marine and Navy left behind. You can find the bunkers on the west of Vieques along Bunkers Road. You can stop to see the street art on them, and if you’re lucky to find one open, don’t miss the chance to look inside.
Cross Over to Cayo de Tierra
Surrounding Vieques Island, you will find multiple cays that are great for snorkeling and scuba diving. Cayo de Tierra is a popular cay connected to land by a small isthmus. You can hike to it if the sea and weather conditions are right.
Take a Day Trip to Culebra
If you’re staying in Vieques for a few days and you want to visit Culebra too, you can take a ferry directly to this small paradise and return at the end of the day. In Culebra, you’ll find the famous Flamenco Beach, with white sand, turquoise waters, and a military tank right on the beach.
See my post on Vieques vs Culebra to understand the differences between the two islands.
Ride a Bicycle
One of the best ways to enjoy Vieques is on top of a bicycle. Vieques is a relatively small island with few streets. You can explore the coast of the island on a bicycle, except for some parts of the nature reserve, where the roads are too rocky. You can rent your bicycle from different local companies like Jak Water Sports.
👉 Local Tip: I recommend renting a Jeep to move around, especially if you’re thinking about visiting the Wildlife Refuge, as the roads there are challenging for common cars. Check out my Puerto Rico driving guide to know exactly what to expect.
Catch Some Fish
If you’re a fishing enthusiast, you’ll be more than happy to know Vieques is a great fishing destination. The best thing about fishing in Vieques is that it isn’t as crowded as other main fishing ports like Fajardo. The shallow waters and reefs are home to diverse marine life including bonefish and tarpon. Out in the open sea, you can even find marlins.
Scuba Dive in Vieques Waters
Those that love more challenging activities can try scuba diving in Vieques. There are different diving spots around the island, like Mosquito Pier, Cayo Afuera, and Corona Reef. Multiple companies like Isla Nena Scuba offer diving at different times of the day, including night diving with UV light.
Go Beach Hopping
If you’re looking for a tropical getaway, Isla de Vieques is your dream destination. With dozens of beaches around the island, you can easily go beach hopping from black sand beaches to shallow beaches for snorkeling. Whatever your taste, you will find the perfect beach in Vieques.
👉 Are you a beach lover? Don’t miss the top beaches of Puerto Rico
Take a Tour at Crab Island Rum Distillery
Vieques sports its own distillery called Crab Island Rum Distillery. This distillery is the first handcrafted distillery in Vieques, and it creates rum with coffee and orange infusions. You can take tours, taste some samples, and buy the rum at the location too.
Mingle with Locals at Punta Arenas Beach
Enjoy the morning on one of the local’s favorite beaches, Punta Arenas. During the weekends, this beach is a popular stop for catamarans and boats coming from the main island. Also known as Green Beach, Punta Arenas is another nice spot for snorkeling and seeing turtles.
Enjoy the Local Food
Besides great beaches, Vieques Island also sports delicious cuisine. Around El Malecón and Isabel Segunda, you will find multiple restaurants with Puerto Rican cuisine, but if you’re more casual, you will find a food truck almost everywhere around the island.
👉 Local Tip: Vieques is definitely one of the stops you should make during your visit to Puerto Rico, not only because of its bioluminescent bay but because of everything it offers. If you’re short on time, read my 7 day pre-planned itinerary for Puerto Rico, so you know how to fit the best of the island in a short amount of time.
Find the Ruins of the Cane Industry
Vieques had a strong sugar cane economy before the US Navy and the Marine took over the island. Although no longer existent, the industry left ruins around the island and history lovers can track them down. The Sugar Mill Ruins, the Abandoned Pier at Esperanza Beach, the railway on the side road, and the train tracks underwater at Green Beach are some of these ruins.
🏖️ Read Next: 15 Best Beaches in Vieques
Shop at Isabel Segunda
If you’re using the ferry to arrive at Vieques, you’ll be arriving at Isabel II town center, where you’ll find restaurants, bakeries, art galleries, and shops. A visit to Vieques isn’t complete without a visit to the souvenir shops to buy keepsakes, snacks, and local art to take back home.
👉 Want More? Check out all our free Vieques travel guides.
FAQ’s About Visiting Vieques
Is Vieques worth visiting?
Vieques is one of the top destinations to visit in Puerto Rico as it is home to Mosquito Bay, the brightest bioluminescent bay in the world, and it offers some of the clearest beaches on the island.
Is Vieques safe for tourists?
Is Culebra or Vieques better?
Overall, Vieques is better than Culebra for travelers who want more than just a beach vacation. While Culebra features some of the best beaches in the Caribbean, and it’s also reachable by ferry, it doesn’t offer much for non-beach lovers. Vieques sports more entertainment for all kinds of public.
What is Vieques Puerto Rico known for?
Vieques is known for having the brightest bio bay in the world and for its Wildlife Refuge that was once occupied by the US Marine and used for live training exercises. Vieques is also known for its high population of wild horses.
👉 Read Next: Where to Stay in Vieques
Vieques will not fail to meet your expectations of a Caribbean getaway! You will find everything from stunning beaches to delicious cuisine in this paradise.
If you can’t get enough of beautiful landscapes and good food, don’t miss all about the other top destinations to visit in Puerto Rico during your trip.
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