On this week’s We Hear, Easter break, spring break, call it anything you want but it’s time to plan your getaway. As mid to late March rolls around, huge plane loads of college students start the annual pilgrimage toward South Florida and Cancun, all in search of sunburned shoulders and hedonistic nights. Spring Break y’all, Spring Break If you’re interested in booking a beach vacation away from the annual army of youthful revelers, how about considering Puerto Rico. Sure, everyone loves San Juan, where the legal drinking age is 18 and flights out of Newark average 300 bucks, but we’re talking about the quiet little island of Vieques, a few miles off the coast of the Puerto Rican mainlands. Known for its white sand beaches and clear blue waters, the small island has steadily earned reputation as a relaxing Caribbean getaway for American travelers who are looking to go without a passport and without the crowds. Get there on a commuter plane from SJU which will cost you between 135 to 200 bucks each way or take a ferry from Fajardo for just a few dollars. Much of the island is a designated wildlife preserve where visitors will routinely spot wild horses roaming free on deserted beaches and iguanas, brown pelicans, egrets, and sea turtles making their way. Of course, you shouldn’t miss the glowing beauty of the Bio Bay, off the southern tip of the islands.
Spring Break in Vieques Puerto Rico Photo Gallery
Visitors can board votes for guided nighttime tours to see the glowing microorganisms floating just below the depths, which gives the water a surreal blue-green glow. The best time to see the Bioluminescent Bay is during the full moon, which happens to be during the third week of March this year, just in time for the start of spring break. So plan your trip now. Add in scuba, snorkeling, paddle-boarding, and kayaking and why wouldn’t you head to Vieques? One of our favorite accommodations on the island is the W Hotel Retreat and Spa, a sprawling resort with 156 rooms and suites, just two miles from the island’s tiny airports. We love the stylish decor with colorful accents throughout, open-plan guest rooms, and free Wi-Fi. Add in two pools and the W’s signature Whatever Wherever service philosophy and you’ve got the perfect place to stay. On the other hand if you’re traveling without children and want to avoid other people’s kids, how about checking into the 22 room boutique El Blok Hotel, which just opened in 2014 see lots of accolades for its cutting-edge design and emphasis on sustainability. The LEED Gold certified hotel’s curved perforated exterior rises up in the middle of the Caribbean jungle like a bright beacon to travelers looking for remote getaway. Bars get beautifully appointed rooms polished concrete and excellent luxury bedding are in glowing reviews. Head up to the property’s rooftop terrace for breathtaking 360 degree views of Vieques’ rolling hills and the ocean beyond.
El Blok’s on-site restaurant is helmed by James Beard Award nominee, Jose Enrique, whose menu showcases modern takes on traditional Puerto Rican dishes with a heavy emphasis on ingredients grown and harvested locally. One taste of his fresh caught fish with spicy citrus glaze and you’ll understand why Food and Wine named him one of their best new chefs. Vieques has plenty of other beloved food spots. Just a 5-minute walk from El Blok is El Quenepo, another more refined hot spot that draws in crowds with an inspired menu. And of course, every self-respecting Caribbean island will have food trucks. In Vieques there are plenty, some without names. Pull over if you see one and especially if you see the Sol Food truck, which is usually hanging out near the beach in Esperanza on the weekends, get the carnitas. That’s it for this week’s We Hear. Be sure to download our dedicated blog on your Roku and Apple TV devices where you can catch all of our latest free streaming episodes. Travel Savvy and see you next time!.