Discover Vieques - Enchanted Beauty and Controverial Past
In many ways, the city of Vieques is a place of beauty and rarity. Some would even call it enchanting. Blessed with near perfect weather the whole year around (except for August to October), Vieques is perfect place for any holiday maker. During the summer months the water takes on a most stunning turquoise color which invites you to view the amazing sea creatures and share their domain.
Vieques lies about 8 miles (12 km) off the coast of Puerto Rico and it can be reached by plane or ferry. It has a varied and fascinating history. Once populated by native Taino Indians, the island has been fought over by the Spanish and British. At one stage it was fraught with slave trade and at another time it was used by pirates as a hideout. More recently it served as a US army base for training until troops were withdrawn due to concerns over the environment. Most historical facts can be learned on a tour at the Institute of Puerto Rican Culture, which is currently housed in a restored fort in Vieques.
The main attractions of Vieques are water-based. You can try your hand at diving, snorkeling and fishing or you could simply take it easy on the beach. There are many other attractions and activities that can be enjoyed here and the luminescent dinoflagellates that make Mosquito Bay famous are well worth seeing. There is also a Paso Fino father's day horse fair which takes place here every year where visitors may view the fine Paso Fino horse displaying its smooth gait.
Vieques also has abundant wildlife and many conservation and protection programs have been established in the area to protect several endangered species of plant and animal life. Most of these can be viewed along hiking and mountain biking trails or on guided walks through the forests.