Our Essential Vieques Vacation Tips

Please remember that island life and island living is an adventure.  Sorry, no Starbucks, fast food burger joints, 24 hour grocery stores, or gas stations.   Be smart while here.  Never let your gas gauge go below half.  Always drive safely and on your side of the road, especially at night.  There are horses popping out of the jungle at random places, mopeds, golf carts, and just plain crazy drivers out there.

Anything below listed in Isabel is close to the house


Vieques Car Rental (787-412-8540) viequescarrental.com they have jeeps, SUVs, minivans, and golf carts

Avis (787-741-0284)Avis.com  Strictly Jeeps

Maritza(787-741-0078) Maritzascarrental.com   Jeeps and small SUV’s

Vieques UTV Rental (787-900-2535) viequesutvrental@gmail.com.   They have 4 and 6 passenger golf carts.  They also have some jeeps

Scooters Vieques (787-741-7722) www.scootersvieques.com   Have Scooters, golf carts for 4 or 6, and Kawasaki ATV rentals

A complete listing of car rental companies is included in the Directory in ViequesInsider.com. 

Be careful if you think you can rent a car on the main island and just put it on the ferry to get it here.  Some companies do not allow it and ferry space is limited with residents getting priority spaces. Waste of money and unnecessary frustration


Vieques is a “hunt and gather” type of place.   There are small colmados (mini-market)- Grocery type stores about the size of a Seven-Eleven all over the island.  They carry basics and have their own specialties…..

1.      Morales Grocery (on RT 200) for major shopping… talk to the butcher at the meat counter if the meat case is empty.  They also will slice deli items for you.  They close at 6 during the week and noon on Sunday

2.      Portela Grocery(in Isabel) for more “gringo”  food  choices (Best day to shop here is Sunday morning)  open until 9 during the week and 6 on Sunday

3.      Morales Almecen (their warehouse)  BEST place to buy booze…cheapest I mean.   They also carry mixers by the case and other bulk (Costco and Sams Club) items you will not find in the regular grocery stores.  We actually call it “The Costco of Vieques”.  A MUST GO TO.  They even load up your vehicle.  Open 7:30-5 Monday – Friday   Open until noon on Saturday, Closed on Sunday

4.      Buen Provecho (Isabel) – a Gourmet market with cold cuts, cheeses, specialty bread, and crackers, etc. They also have nice steaks, chops, fish to cook at home  Open Monday-Saturday 8-5

5.      Mambo (RT 997) or EL Molina (Isabel) for Dairy (they handle their dairy products best).    Mambo is also THE spot for filling your beach cooler!! It is located on the way to the best beaches in Wildlife Refuge and those accessible at Sunbay.

6.      Green Store (Esperanza) for cheese, wine, and some gourmet items.  They have an extensive liquor and wine inventory.  They “can” be pricier than the others because of their location, right off the Malecon…but surprisingly…not on things, one would think

7.      The Pescadara (fish Market in Isabel) near the ferry terminal  (best hours between 10-12).  Can also buy fish from fisherman coming in on the Esperanza dock

8.      The Farmers Market (corner of RT 200 and RT 201) is on Island Tuesday and Friday (Friday selections appear to be fresher with more choices)  Expect to wait in line if you go mid-morning

9.      El Encanto – (route 201) mid-island.  If you can’t find it anywhere else!  Dollars to donuts El Encanto has it.  Ask the super nice people that work there!  And do not be afraid to open the dozen or more chest freezers!  They are stocked!  For a colmado?  I find MANY items cheaper here….AND have a nice cold Medalla while you shop!  I think they are only $1.  A Bar in a grocery store, great concept!

10.  Vieques Veggie Market: located on the corner of RT 200 and RT 997.  Do not be fooled by the stacks of tires! (they do that too)  The vegetable portion is the truck containers on the right-hand side of the property.  If you can’t lift the handle to go inside, the owners are very helpful and friendly.  I actually love shopping here, even though they are a little more expensive.  Just make sure you check the expiration dates if you are tempted to purchase eggs.  They ALWAYS have Half & Half (trust me, this is huge!! )

11. Panaderia la Viequense (Isabel) Bakery (get there early)  They also make great coffee and Sandwiches.  Eat-in or take out.  Much better than the Lydia Bakeries (in my mind)

12.  El Sombrero Viejo (Isabel) Is a “dive” bar and package store for liquor, beer, and wine (they have a temperature-controlled wine room)…although every grocery store and colmado carries these items, as well as beer. Pricier for the package, very cheap for drinking.  They also have Monday night trivia, domino nights,

       Texas hold ’em, and other game nights.  Karaoke on Friday.  Do NOT be afraid to go in!  The owners, staff, and regulars are amazingly fun and helpful.

13.  Health Food Store (Isabel)– Located on G. Sueiro, across from El Sombrero and around the corner from the post office on a side street. (bright green building). They have everything one would expect from a large health food establishment, including gluten-free products.

RESTAURANTS- Our island has the most incredible selection of restaurants and food trucks.  Every restaurant is Chef owned.   (not in any particular order)



Panaderia la Viequense (Isabel)  – Breakfast or Lunch to go.  No credit cards.  They have an ATM machine

2.      Coqui Fire (Isabel) Small Mexican restaurant with a creative twist on food.  Friday night is “date night” with a special menu.   Sunday Brunch once a month

3.      MammaSongas  (Isabel)– rooftop dining.  Reopening soon, I hope!   I LOVE this place

4.      Saint Voodoos at Mar Azul (Isabel) – waterfront bar and grill.  Great local sunset place.  Barfood.   Decent burgers.  A lot of fried food (just sayin)  My favorite Veggie Burger on the island.

5.      Buen Provecho (Isabel) – Market and café    The have really good breakfast and lunch to take out or eat in.  Always have great coffees and fresh juice.  Great place to hear the morning gossip.  They also make great cookies and brownies.  OPEN Monday-Saturday

6.     Taverna (Isabel) – Italian.  Salads and Pizza is really good.  They also do gluten free pasta substitutions.  I eat here all the time, guess that says something. Open Sun-Wed.  Cash only air conditioned

7.  Bieke Bistro(Isabel)  – I go here all the time. They have a great hot sauce…their soup (Asapao) is my favorite.  Lunch is good, check their daily special board.  Service is slow….they make every dish to order. (some Puerto Rican dishes require many layers of cooking)  portions are large so they are great for sharing.  It really is a yummy place…they also have AC (YAY! In the summer)

8.  El Yate (Isabel)– overlooks the ferry terminal and fish market (lots of action)   Locally owned and local Puerto Rican fare.  VERY reasonably priced.  I really think they may have the best rice and beans.  Fun place to hang after the beach or while waiting for the ferry

9. El Local (isabel) – A “secret” courtyard tucked away behind the humane society thrift store.  Entrance is off main street.  Food is wonderful, drinks are fun.  Entertainment on Weekends

10. Mama Mia (Isabel) Lunch and dinner.   Artisan pizza, salads, appetizers, pastas, burgers.  Very good and very inexpensive.  I hear they have great Mojitos.  Music upstairs on weekends Only They Deliver  787-692-0742

11. Tsunami Bar and Grill – (Isabel)  RIGHT on the water.  Great bar menu.  Huge portions, decent appetizers.  Drinks are inexpensive.  If you have children with you and they don’t like what is on the menu?  Subway is right next door (same building) Under construction.   New opening date not announced

12. Bugas – (Isabel)  Mexican. Inexpensive.  HUGE portions   Drinks are a bit weak and over priced.  Nice courtyard setting

13. Bigotes – (across from Moralse grocerybig store)  “Mexirican”  They also do local food, and local catch.  Burgers.  Ribs   Pinchos are my fave on the island. EXCELLENT BREAKFAST  Really good drinks

14. DeFrozz – (Isabel) NOT just for ice cream (made on site and changes daily) BUT breakfast all day long.  Nice and comfy inside to sip specialty coffees and read or use your electronics   Free WIFI

15. Rising Roost – (Isabel) Awesome fresh breakfast and lunch.  They also carry some incredible cakes for special occasions


1.      TinBox (corner of 201 and 996)- oysters, smokehouse, Sushi Bar, fresh salads from their organic garden.  Tree house in the jungle setting.  ($2 tacos and drinks specials for happy hour)  Great for sharing food.  FRESH juice in their drinks.  Only place with draft beer.  Reasonably priced.  Kids like eating here. Super! Check to see when they have live music.  OPEN WEDNESDAY-SUNDAY. Monday night is Reggae night on the Chez Shack Level.  Bring you Boogy!  Reservations required…and GO!  It is a blast!!

2.      The Crabwalk – Located at the airport.  FUN local (gringo) spot.   authentic Chinese Dumplings, Rangoons and other Asian specials  (owners wife is from China) in addition to their regular hearty menu.  great place to hear all the gossip.  Cheap/strong drinks

3.      Aurora’s –  Local owned and operated.  Fantastic, but very slow.  Best to call ahead. (they cook everything to order)  If you like fried chicken?  This place rocks!   Their sides are yummy as well, especially the Papas. 

4.   A Catered Affair @ Aguacate Catering – A fabulous creative prefix 5 course menu every Thursday evening at their amazing home.  Meet us islanders or other travelers in this beautiful setting.  Seating is limited so book by Tuesday.  This can be booked via  Facebook Page.

5. Crab Island Distillery –  third left West of Mosquito Pier.  There is a sign that says Distillery Lane.  Open on Saturdays.  Food, music, and help support Vieques first!!!! Rum distillery.  Only open to the public on Saturdays   11-5   

ESPERANZA (Caribbean Side)

1.      El Quenepo-It is heralded as the best high end restaurant on the island.  I like going there for appetizers, wine, and dessert.  Really yummy specialty martinis.  I never tire of eating here. Open Tuesday-Saturday. Beautiful Restaurant.   Reservations a good idea   787-741-1215

2.      EL Blok- the food is ever changing and fun!!Worth a stop by just to see it, have a cocktail and a snack.  Sunset on the Roof is a must! Great place for a celebration.  Reservations are encouraged  Open Wednesday-Saturday, Rooftop open on Sunday

3.      Bili – I love going here when I am not super hungry and there are a group of us that want appetizers, dessert, and a nice bottle of wine.  Gluten free items OPEN WED-SAT

4.      Bananas  – Two menus.  Another island favorite, nice priced menu.  The have great specials, so check the board.  Consistently GOOD.  Owners are always there to make sure it is!  Nice place to sit and watch the island world go by.  Just opened their upstairs bar/grill 4-10pm.   Super sweet and breezy place after the beach.  They do close the upstairs restaurant during off season

5.      Duffys- Bar food.  ALWAYS has fresh fish.  Their whole fish is probably my favorite on the island.  Great drinking place.  Huge Artisan Beer selection.  Also have great burgers…and their salads are loaded with locally grown greens!!  They are really good…as is the veggie burger.  Definitely go Sunday Morning for Bloody Marys! 

6.     La Nasa – The only place right ON the water!  Fun!  Salsa bands and dancing in the Streets on Sunday.  No food.  Limited as they are under construction

7.   Tradewinds – Sunday Brunch and dinner Wed-Saturday   Food can be hit or miss, for me anyway.   Great ocean view.  I like their brunch and their salads best.  Service can be really slow.  Great drinks.  OPENING DATE TO BE ANNOUNCED

8.  Lazy Jacks –  Hit or miss on the food.  Sometimes great! Sometimes meh.  The prices are high enough for pizza that it should be great all the time…gets crazy after 10 pm. 

9. Arenamar Café: (at Sunbay Beach)   Great food, fun frozen drinks.  They deliver to your beach chair too

10. Cholis – (one street behind the Malecon in Esperanza)  The real deal when it comes to Lechon.

11. Café Del Mar – Great for Breakfast.  Dinner?  I like their Tuna on greens.  Owner is a baker.  Service is slow, but they have a super comfy setting.  Nice happy hour and happy hour crowd

FOOD TRUCKS/KIOSKOS on the island.   DO NOT be afraid to try them!   expect to pay cash at all food trucks.  I have not eaten at them all (I am large enough…) so do not fear trying any not mentioned….also the random pincho grills on the island…crazy fun stuff….here is a SMALL sample

1.     Vieques Food Park or Rincon del Sabore – Mofongo!  Plus a whole lot more!  Breakfast is good.  I get my mofongo with the shrimp or the carnita .  fancy blue truck… parked in The Food Park and the turn on RT 200.  lovely ladies 

2.      Frappe truck.…usually right in front of the middle school at the corner of 200 & 997.  They just added food to their menu! Hotdogs! (trust me, finding hotdogs on this island is difficult)  …very very nice hard working young local women

3.      El Chincherro ..or the Rottisserie Chicken Lady – white truck parked in front of Le Jardines on 200.  All I can say is…get there between 11-12 or you will miss out.  Her sides are out of this world

4. Lizzy’s Tacos – Esperanza.  WOW!  Fish tacos! (plus many other flavors)  With fresh veggies.  Only there on weekends

5. Gracias/Denada – Mid Island, next to Mambo.  Green food truck.  Extensive hotdog, burrito, burger menu plus delicious and juicy pulled pork.  Two former chefs from Next Course “doing their thing” and doing it well

6. No Name Stand – At The Sunbay Entrance.  REALLY good food.  My favorite is the shrimp, rice and broccoli

7.   Happy Potato – Usually in front of the Post Office.  They give new meaning to the word Spud!  Fantastic

You will find many more kioskos in front of SunBay and in the parking lot in Esperanza…under the palm trees.  Owners are proud of their product…it shows

PRIVATE CHEFS– The following chefs are approved to have access to the property.  If you wish to use anyone other than those listed, it must be approved by me (Susan). 

Aguacate Catering: Alex  787-615-2320 (local + Mediterranean)   

Beverly Davenport: 215-313-1241 (wide variety!  Also vegan)

Victor: (787)477-8258  wide variety!  Master of the Grill

Javier Melendez:  787-407-2376 (upscaled meals on wheels, local fare with a huge flare!  You can have the meals prepared or he delivers the ingredients for you to whip up your own!)

Buen Provecho:  Chris 787-529-7316 (wide variety) OFF ISLAND

Coqui Fire: Jimmy 787-741-0401 (Mexican)

The Green Man: Scott 787-435-6822 (incredible baked goods, appetizers, breakfast)

Eva Bolivar: 787-402-0357 (local)

Nora McMenamin: 787-556-6088 Wide Variety   Pastry Chef

Arenamar: 787-239-7771 (local and vegetarian)

Waldo: 787-487-4244 (paella)

Carla Pacayao:  Birthday Cakes   (contact me for contact information


Varies seasonally ….and weekly for that matter.  The best way to find out “what is happening on the island”, is to visit various Facebook pages.  Here are a few

What’s Happening Vieques

Vieques Peeps

Vieques Beach Watch

Vieques Nightlife

Welcome to Vieques

Vieques Cruisers and Boaters

Vieques SNorkling and Underwater Photography

THINGS TO DO – bring an underwater camera..and most excursions take only cash ALL ITEMS BELOW ARE LIMITED by space. 

  1. Bio Bay – has been very bright and beautiful.  Just named the brightest in the world.  There are more companies than these…as soon as I get updated information, I will share it

Blackbeard’s – 787-306-4989

Jaks, glass-bottom kayaks 787-644-7112.

Abes 787-435-1362 or 939-224-2095

2.      Outings sponsored by the Historical Trust  – (located next to Duffys in Esperanza)  They do walking tours in the jungle to climb around the old sugar mills (wear sneakers), many other things. They also have a great gift shop.  You may find them at www.vcht.org

3.      Snorkeling/Scuba –   There is some gear at the house. Ask around where the best places to snorkel are.  My favorite is out at the end of Mosquito Pier (turtles and tropicals), or Parking area number 10 at La Chiva (Blue Beach). A great reef RIGHT OFF the beach.  Punta Arena (Green Beach) is known for conch shells, but they have not opened yet.  Tres Palmitas. (see below with paddleboarding)  Scuba or snorkeling adventures are listed below

4.      Stand Up Paddle Boarding –   Either company is good.  The favorite tour is the Tres Palmitas tour with Vieques Paddleboarding.  787-366-5202.  Marc Deluca does an awesome tour of Punta Arena (the west end of the island)  His company is SUPPaddleBoarding 787-232-6906 He is the states during summer months

5.      Sailing –   Esperanza So many Sailboats lost.  There may be more by the time you arrive.  The south side of the island is so diverse and beautiful.   My Favorite is Vieques Classic Charters (Captain McCoy Livingston)  787-467-3447  North Shore.  I like Ahoy Sailing (Captain John)for general sailing, trips to Culebra. 939-332-5778  Food and drinks included

6.      Horseback riding –   I like Esperanza Riding Company on the south shore.  Ride on the beaches especially Playa Negra   787-435-0073

7. Scuba – Blackbeards 370 Antonio Mellado in Isabel.   787-308-4478 or contact@blackbeardsports.com.   They also have hiking adventures.   

Or Isla Nena Scuba – 787-718-7605 or islanenascuba.com

8.   Gallery openings  – Fun, food, drinks, music, and great art too.  Oro on the south side, HutchinsonWielgus Gallery in Isabel.

9.  Conde De Mirasol Fortress –  A piece of Vieques history and a beautiful place to view the surrounding islands


1.      Sun Bay – best to go during the week.   easiest to get to, right off of RT 997.  I love this beach.  Can walk to Esperanza from here

2.      Navio – awesome beach.  Access is through the Sunbay entrance.  Great for cliff jumping and cave snorkeling.  AND some of the best body surfing I have experienced on this island.  Some rental car companies do not allow their vehicles out there, so you would have to park at Media Luna and walk

3.      Media Luna  – calm waters, great for paddleboarding and young children

4.      La Chiva – My Favorite Beach on the island.  Has an incredible reef right off of parking area #10.  It is also the longest beach on the island.  Rarely do you have any other beach dwellers right near you.  All parking areas are open!   #2-18 

5.      La Plata – another awesome favorite the sculptures built by visitors on western shore CLOSED still.

6.      Punta Arena – never go when it is drizzly, overcast, or after 3.  the noseeums(sand fleas) will eat you alive. CLOSED still

7.      Pata Prieta – used to be called Secret Beach.  Not a secret anymore 

8.      Playa Negra – nice hike off of Playa Grande, or use the trail located right before Gallery Oro.  The trail is still a little precarious since the storm.

9.      Caracas- is probably the most well known as it has cabanas and a parking lot and is easy to get to

10.  Playuela –  A 15-minute jungle walk will land you on this beauty.  The island off the beach is great for snorkeling

11.  Starfish Beach –  on the west side of Mosquito Pier.  Please leave the starfish in the water. 

12. El Gallito (Gringo Beach)   Drive up and swim!  Volleyball “court”  right “on RT 200

Actually, all beaches are great here for shells, sea glass (Purple beach…walking distance), walking, exploring.  Please do not take Conch shells with conch in them.  You will never get them out, they will die, they will stink.  You wasted a shell and a life of a conch. More extensive detail on our magnificent beaches available at kneedeepinit.com   


There are three gas stations on the island.  Please follow island gas station etiquette and never cut the line and always line up one way for each side of the pumps.  Failure to do so will result in a lost place in line…and many vocal unhappy people.  You must pay before you pump


Banco Popular is the main banking institution on the island.  Located in Isabel, they have hours from 8:30-3:30 Monday through Friday.

Atm machines are available in several places around the island.  Both Morales grocery stores, Duffys in Esperanza, The Credit Union (across from Banco Popular), and the two gas stations


1.      Farmacia- (drug stores) Isabel.  The REX pharmacy is located across the street from the tourist information center on Benitez Guzman.  There is a pharmacist at this location.  Be prepared to wait in line. 

2.      Hospital- It is more of a triage center.  Minor things they can take care of, major issues?  Patients are flown to the main island.  DO Not make Centro Medico as your hospital of choice if you must go

3. If you wish to see a doctor, but wish to avoid the emergency room, just call me.  I will give you instructions


There are several places to shop for gifts, services, and specialty items.  I will name a few that normally would be missed because of their location, or just the façade from the street.  Do not be put off by the bars on some of the windows.  There are so many great finds in the locally owned establishments!

1.      The Emporium- (Isabel)  Across from Saint Voodos at Mar Azul on Rieke Hoff   They have really cool gifts, specialty candies, coffees, and locally handcrafted items.  They also carry current magazines and newspapers (current being a keyword)

2.      Carolines- (Isabel)– DO not be fooled by the small front of this store in Isabel.  It looks even smaller when you walk into the main entrance.  This store has several “rooms” that keep going and going.  Great place for a bathing suit purchase!

3.      Thrift Stores –  in Isabel. benefits cancer patients residing on island

4. Rising Roost –  Local artisan gifts, and clothing.   Also an espresso bar.  Located on the main street in Isabel Segunda 

5.      Tradewinds- (esperanza)  They have the best t-shirts

6.      Vieques Flowers and Gifts (Esperanza) – It isn’t just for flowers….great small locally made items

7.      Luna Loca, Siddiah Hutchinson Galleries (Isabel).  Have great local art and jewelry

8.      Scallywags (Isabel) – signature t-shirts, the go-to place for beach and water-related items.  Located next to Tsunami Grill

9.  Mamaplaya Himalaya (Isabel) – owner designed clothing.  Fun Caribbean wear, very reasonably priced


You can also get information by checking out our island magazine,  Vieques Insider!   At www.viequesinsider.com   

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