We are taking off this morning after 17 days on our favorite island.
Overall, we found conditions on Vieques much better than we had anticipated.
We were happy to be the first guests since Maria at Cima del Mundo, a beautiful property perched atop a ridge. It has a pool, strong wifi, beatiful ocean views and a back up generator among its many amenities. No TV, because Maria took the dish. We've enjoyed audio over the bluetooth speaker.
Beaches open: Sun Bay, Media Luna, Navio, and Playa Negra. On the reserve: Caracas, Playuela, Pata Prieta. All the noth side beaches are open. There are lots of fish and turtles under Mosquito Pier. We saw a sting ray yesterday!
Many restaurants are open, including Duffy's, Banana's, Bili, el Blok, el Yate, Tsumami, Bieke's Bistro, Coqui Fire, Monasonga and the Tin Box to name a few. There are also numerous food trucks, small cafe/bars and, of course, Chicken King and Aurora's chicken.
We alternated going out to eat with cooking fish or lobster from the pescaderia at home. We've had no trouble getting onion, garlic, limes and mangos for a nice mango chutney for the fish. We've shopped at both Morales markets and at the farmer's market, which is open Tuesdays and, I think, Thursdays.
We have used more credit cards than cash, but bring cash just in case.
Car rentals are available.
We have not experienced any gas lines.
We've been drinking tap water with no ill effect.
There have been power outages, some a few hours and some for half the day or night. However, we were only left in the dark with a lantern and candles for one hour out of the entire trip because of the back up generator. (The property manager who starts the generator was off site when that one hit.)
We've become very aware of how we use energy, knowing that overuse can affect the entire island. I've air dried my hair and we use A.C. very sparingly. We open the windows and use fans to bring in the cool night air, then close up when the day starts to heat up.
My only disappointment had nothing to do with Maria. Some beaches on the south side have a lot of seaweed in the water and on the shore, but I'm told that's part of the natural cycle and it will clear out soon. (No seaweed on Sun Bay or Caracas.)
The first few days the streets were jammed with big trucks hauling storm debris to a barge on Mosquito Pier and brush and tree limbs to a compost site on the Reserve. Things calmed down immensely after the barge set sail.
Work crews can still be seen clearing brush along the roadsides. Flocks of cattle egrets follow them to feast on the bugs that were hiding beneath the brush.
What would I have done differently?
Pack less. Also, I would have broiled the lobster on an outside gas grill rather than boil it because a power outage could have delayed dinner.
All Vieques needs is more tourists to take the plunge.
I hope this helps. Now we are off to the airport!