Travel Tales: Vieques, Puerto Rico

March 25, 2008
by findingDulcinea Staff
Vieques, Puerto Rico, is relatively unknown as a tourist destination: most know the island for its use as a training ground by the U.S. Navy from the 1940s until 2003. 

A Unique Spring Break

An October 2007 report on Vieques by the Environmental News Service noted that, “Various areas of the island are contaminated with solid and hazardous waste resulting from decades of military activity.” A bombing accidentally killed resident David Sanes Rodriguez in 1998, and the training ceased as a result of protests in Vieques and abroad.

Obviously, this was the destination my friends and I chose for spring break during our senior year of college. We considered the standard options: Cancun, Acapulco, Jamaica. But to my mother’s dismay, we unanimously concurred on the “alternative” spring break opportunity offered by a former U.S. Navy bomb-testing ground.

The Island

There’s a fairly high-class Wyndham resort on the island; that was about it for fancy accomodations, although more hotels are being built. When we arrived on the island, a cab driver in a broken-down van took us to our inn via rocky, “backcountry” roads. An eccentric, constantly gesturing American greeted us. He showed us the scuba, snorkeling and fishing gear, the bikes and roller blades, and set us on our way.

Wild Vieques

Wild horses grazing on the path to the beach

The Sunrise

The picture does not do justice to the extraordinary Vieques sunset.
Josh Katz
Writer, Beyond the Headlines

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