A little island in the caribbean called Vieques

November 02, 2015

It had been 6 years since I visited either one of the Puerto Rican islands: Culebra & Vieques. Both islands are paradise— deserted beaches to choose from with crystal clear waters, and great food. I chose to go to Vieques because it has two things I had yet to experience: a new luxury resort [W Spa & Retreat] and the brightest bioluminescent bay in the world as officially declared by the Guinness Book of World Records in 2008.

I took my little brother along with me and we left early Saturday morning and arrived at the W at 10am. Edgardo, the front desk associate gave us a warm welcome and explained that our room would most likely be ready before 4pm, which is check-in time. In the meantime we checked out the hotel amenities which made us completely forget about the room and our plan to go to a couple of other beaches outside the hotel.

It had been a tiring trip [adding to fact that I was out the night before and had barely slept]. We first sat in one of the many seating areas at the top of the hill from where you can see both of the beautiful beaches and just soaked it all in. Wow! That’s what my brother and I kept saying over and over. Both of the hotel’s private beaches have light turquoise waters, beautiful landscaping, speakers that play the most serene music [even in the pool… underwater], and a very friendly staff. I was in heaven.

After a quick disappointing lunch [the only negative about the hotel] while enjoying the view, we went to the “adults only” beach. Yes! Every hotel should have this. Don’t get me wrong, kids can be adorable, just not while you are laying in the sun, listening to the waves and having a “pain killer”. We had a couple of drinks, which you get by calling a server through a phone located right on the beach, and enjoyed the serenity. At 1pm our room was ready, and it was another: wow! Yes! Pool AND beach views, beautiful decor and Bliss products. This couldn’t get any better, I thought, then I laid on the bed which I couldn't get up from until 3 hours later. The combination of the sun, the drinks and that very memorable bed were perfect for a nap. After the nap and a bath in the very romantic bathtub area of the room— kind of weird for any guests other than a couple— we got ready to go on the tour of the bioluminescent bay. A taxi took us to Esperanza, on the opposite side of the island— the south side. All the locals here know each other since the island has a population of roughly 9,000 people. They all know who works where, who cooks really good (and who doesn’t), who offers the best tours, who has the best kayaks, who are the best bartenders, etc. — important things to know— so it’s safe to say that you can ask any local for suggestions on almost anything. We asked the taxi driver for suggestions on where to eat after she gave us a quick lesson on the town’s history. She dropped us off at El Guayacan, a small very low-key restaurant, where she said the food was amazing, and she didn’t lie. The owner and chef welcomed us and told us about the specials; as soon as he described one of his original dishes: “it’s like a yucafongo, but made with yucca and sweet plantains stuffed with any meat you’d like”, he didn’t have to say anything else. After the first bite I wanted to standup, go to the kitchen and hug him. It’s was so delicious! The night was off to a great start. At 9:30pm the tour guide for the bio bay picked us up along with a group of tourists from Great Britain who seemed to be having the night of their lives. None of us knew the night was about to become one we would always remember.

Did you ever watch “The Life of Pi”? If you haven’t, you should, and if you have, then you’ll have a good idea of what I’m talking about. There’s a scene where the water and all the fish are glowing, then suddenly a whale jumps out in the mist of what looks like fairy dust. Well, that is real. The water glows because of bioluminescent bacteria called plankton that have evolved to glow in order to look bigger and startle potential predators. The intensity of the glow every time you paddle, or you put your hand in the water, it’s magical. The kayaks have clear bottoms, so we could see the glowing organisms everywhere. At first,  you are too distracted looking at the glowing water to look at the sky, but when you finally do, it takes your breath away. We were in awe, the stars in the night sky were glowing like the water, you could even see the Milky Way across it— the experience was truly magical. This place should be in everyone’s bucket list.

The next morning, we woke up early, jumped in the pool, used all the water toys the hotel offers: kayaks, snorkeling equipment and paddle boards, checked-out and headed to the south side of the island. This time we had lunch at Duffy’s, to try some place new, and again the food was delicious. I had a traditional Puerto Rican dish: pasteles, which was one of the best I’ve ever had (and I’ve had hundreds). From Duffy’s we walked along the “malecon” to arrive at Sun Bay beach— perfect 10 minute walk after a nice lunch. We stayed there only an hour after we quickly realized that the hotel’s beautiful beaches, with the amenities and the service, was no match, but it was worth visiting.

We spent our last hours in Vieques enjoying the wine happy hour at the W, the pool and some great conversations with the staff and other guests. Everyone there was happy, then again, who wouldn't be in such a magical island.


 


 


 


 

 


W Hotel ViequesW Hotel Vieques GardensW Hotel LobbyDuffy's ViequesW Hotel Vieques Room ViewHorse out for a walk in ViequesHorse out for a walk in Vieques

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