This past week, I spent time reflecting and connecting to one of Mother Earth’s magnificent little islands: Vieques, Puerto Rico. I traveled to Puerto Rico 8 years ago and was amazed at its natural beauty. The lush El Yunque Rainforest, the Camuy Caves, and the bioluminescent bays inspired me to return. In doing my planning and research for the trip, I read that the most healthy bioluminescent bay in the world is in Vieques…so, I booked a flight there!
I did not know much about the island and was awe-struck with the sheer beauty of it all. One of the first things you notice after arriving on the tiny plane from San Juan are all of the wild horses. They roam on the roads, graze by the beach, and rest in the sunshine. Their presence instilled a sense of freedom within my soul and reminded me of the classic song “Wild Horses,” by the Rolling Stones (it was stuck in my head the whole time I was on the island!).
The beaches are some of the most beautiful I have ever seen. The crystal blue water, the vibrant green vegetation, and the presence of butterflies fluttering all around me felt surreal. I welcomed the heat and humidity, the tropical thunderstorms, and the inescapable sound of the coqui (frogs) at night. My feet were bare as I reconnected with the energy of the Earth. And then there was the bioluminescent bay kayak tour.
So you may be wondering, what IS a bioluminescent bay?! The bay contains 720,000 dinoflagellates per gallon of water. These half-plant, half-animal organisms emit a flash of green light when they are agitated at night. It is truly one of the most magical experiences I have ever had in nature. You kayak out in to the middle of the bay, seeing your paddle and kayak create an intense green glow in the water. You can place your hands and feet in and see the organisms respond to your every move. I particularly enjoyed holding the water in my hands and seeing the green glow glitter down my forearms. One of the other amazing things is that you can see all kinds of fish small and large swimming around you due to the glow they create from their movement!
Where I stayed: An excellent Airbnb apartment in Esperanza that was walking distance from the malecon, which is the boardwalk where many of the restaurants are located. We also spent two nights at the W hotel in Vieques. This was one of the most beautiful hotels I have ever stayed in! They had great service, beautiful pools, and free kayak, snorkeling, and paddleboard rentals!
My favorite dinner spots: Bili, Duffy’s, and Next Course. All the food on the island was fresh from the land and the sea. I was not expecting the dining to be anything special on such a small island, but I was pleasantly surprised at the culinary creativity of the chefs there! I tried the mofungo, a classic Puerto Rican dish of yucca and mariscos (seafood) in a garlic sauce, at a restaurant called Sabores and found it to be delicious and SO filling…make sure you share if you ever order this!
I hope my journey has inspired you to research Puerto Rico and Vieques even more. The people are so friendly, the essence of Mother Earth is abundant and fertile, and there is truly something for everyone in the family to do there! I would not hesitate to go back!
Have you ever been to Vieques, or Puerto Rico? What were some of your favorite experiences? Comment below.