© John and Tina Reid / Getty Images

Vieques

Measuring 21 miles long by 5 miles wide, Vieques is substantially bigger than Culebra and distinctly different in ambience. Though still a million metaphorical miles from the bright lights of the Puerto Rican mainland, the larger population here has meant more choice of accommodations, swankier restaurants and generally more buzz. It's renowned for its gorgeous beaches, semi-wild horses and unforgettable bioluminescent bay.

Since the official withdrawal of the US Navy in 2003, Vieques has regularly been touted as the Caribbean’s next ‘big thing,’ with pristine beaches and a coastline ripe for the developer’s bulldozer. Fortunately, environmental authorities swept in quickly after the handover and promptly declared all of the former military land (70% of the island’s total area) a US Fish & Wildlife Refuge. The measure has meant that the bulk of the island remains virgin territory to be explored and enjoyed by all. Development elsewhere has been slow and low-key. Understandably, Vieques’ residents – many of whom are US expats – are fiercely protective of their Caribbean nirvana.

Explore Vieques

Top attractions

These are our favorite local haunts, touristy spots, and hidden gems throughout Vieques.

Featured videos

Just back from: Puerto Rico

1:56

Guidebooks

Learn more about Vieques

Uncover the heart of travel and be inspired to see new sights with one of Lonely Planet’s in-depth, award-winning guidebooks.