A visit to Puerto Rico wouldn’t be complete without taking at least a one-day trip to the island of Vieques. This island, about 8 miles east of Puerto Rico (although the ferry trip is 18 miles) is well-known as a haven for people who want to explore relatively quiet sand and surf. Vieques beaches are some of the best beaches in all of the Caribbean. The island has been listed as one of the top 15 places for beaches in the world.
The great thing about beaches in Vieques is that even the popular ones aren’t all that busy. The secluded beaches in Vieques have few, if any, people at all.
We went to all of the places on this list and we took all of the photos. We totally get that tourism boards will want to show you the best Vieques beach photos possible. But our goal was to show you real photos of the beaches in Vieques – to show you what they actually look like so you can decide for yourself if you want to go.
Related post: Want to hit the beaches? You have several transportation options in Vieques. So, what kind of vehicle should you rent there to get to the beaches below?
Still have questions?: Check out our list of answers to common questions about Vieques. They may be helpful as you plan your trip!
Here are the 18 Vieques island beaches we visited, with directions along with a few comments about each of them. Read about all of them or simply click the Table of Contents to get information about a specific beach you’ve heard about.
A note about the photos: We traveled to all of these Vieques beaches over a period of a few days when it was quite windy on the island. You’ll no doubt notice there are a lot of waves. Don’t worry to much about that. Keep in mind that on a nice, calm day, the waves at most of Vieques’ beaches will be substantially smaller.
Beaches in Southeast Vieques
Southeast is not really the right way to put it. What I really mean is the beaches on the south coast that fall within the National Wildlife Refuge. They are “east” only in that they are to the east of the other beaches in the southern part of Vieques.
1. Caracas Beach – “Red Beach”
Caracas Beach is probably one of the most popular beaches in Vieques. most people also think it’s one of the prettiest beaches in Vieques. It’s easy to see why. The beach is very wide and very long. You can have as much or as little privacy as you like. While there weren’t many people here on the day we visited, it does get quite popular during high season. Caracas Beach has toilets (primitive), shelters with barbecue pits, a volleyball net, and plenty of parking spaces.
You’ll probably see several wild horses hanging out in the grassy area, too.
How to get to Caracas Beach: Take Route 997 to the VIeques National Wildlife Reserve until you see the sign. Caracas Beach is the first beach you’ll see after you drive down the road a bit.
2. Pata Prieta – the “Secret Vieques Beach”
The Secret Beach wasn’t so secret. Three other people were there when we arrived. Heh. It’s a small, horseshoe-shaped beach with about 20 feet of sand separating the water from the shade. More in places.
There’s lots of soft sand here, but several rocks as well. When we stopped by, the waves were rough, but it was nice to sit here, relax, and listen to them in peace.
How to get to the Secret Beach: Take Route 997 into the National Wildlife Refuge. You’ll drive past Caracas Beach and the road will suddently become a dirt road. This beach is a little tougher to get to because there is no pavement and the road can be rough. We got here on a golf cart, though a 4-wheel drive is recommended. Park and walk about 300 feet down to the beach.
3. La Chiva Beach – “Blue Beach”
Playa La Chiva used to be known as “Vieques Blue Beach.” It’s quite a large beach with several entrances, at least 12 of which have a wooden shelter for shade. The waves here are large when it’s windy and there’s lots of small vegetation around the beach, including a few trees for shade.
On a calm day, it’s a great place for snorkeling and there are lots of good places to spread a beach towel.
La Chiva Beach doesn’t have many facilities. But it does have one toilet.
How to get to the La Chiva Beach: Route 997 and enter the Vieques Wildlife Refuge. La Chiva Beach is a very long beach farther in along the dirt road. Spots on the beach are numbered and areas 7 through 15 are probably the best.
4. Escondida Beach
I’m not really sure why this one makes it into lists of beaches to visit in Vieques. Perhaps it’s usually a lot different. But when we were there, it was quite messy. It’s a lovely little beach only because it’s all-natural – meaning that it would need a good clean-up in order to use it as a recreational beach.
When I saw this beach, my first thought was that it might be the kind of place my friends and I would come to drink when we were underaged – knowing no one else would show up!
Because it’s quite distant from populated areas, cellular reception here is basically non-existent. That means it’s a little riskier to swim here. It’s not necessarily more dangerous here, it’s just that even if you have a signal, it will take longer to get to you. So be extra careful.
How to get to Escondida: Route 997 and enter the Vieques Wildlife Refuge. Escondida Beach is one of the last beaches along the dirt road. The only one farther is Playa La Plata.
5. Playa La Plata – “Silver Beach”
Even though it’s a fairly long beach, it’s not very wide. As pretty as it is, it certainly wouldn’t be my first choice for a beach day in Vieques. There’s almost no shelter from the sun. The waves were quite high because we showed up on a windy day. But are usually nice and calm.
Playa La Plata has several numbered entrances where you can park a vehicle or two. It’s the last beach on the road. After that, you’ll just find a boat ramp.
The same warning applies here. There is little or no cellular reception.
How to get to Playa la Plata: Take Route 997 and enter the Vieques Wildlife Refuge. Just keep driving. Playa La Plata is the last accessible beach on the drive.
6. Punta Galinde
Although it’s possible I missed this during the research I did for this post, I didn’t see Punta Galinde mentioned in any of the Vieques beach lists I found. That’s good though because it means few people know about it and you’ll have it to yourself. It’s a secluded Vieques beach with nice waves and a gentle breeze.
While we were here, I did see someone sunbathing topless. I’m not surprised she was because it’s the perfect place for it. Lots of shade, too. You can set your beach towel up right under a shade tree.
I even saw when I think was an eagle ray jump clear out of the water here. I’m not 100% certain it was an eagle ray, but it was definitely a ray of some kind. Lots of little lizards hang out in the bushes as well.
How to get to Punta La Galinde beach: Take Route 997 and enter the Vieques Wildlife Refuge. Punta Glanide beach is between the Secret Beach and Playa La Chiva. You’ll see a small sign pointing to it.
7. Bonus stop: La Rampa
I wouldn’t exactly call La Rampa a beach because it’s not. But I haven’t seen it mentioned in other places and I think it’s worth a stop – especially given that La Rampa is so close to the other Vieques beaches above.
It’s what its name says – a ramp. It’s actually a very large cement pier that juts out a little into the water. The views here are wonderful, although I was hoping to see little crabs on the rocks. It didn’t happen. The sign outside says it’s great for fishing and swimming. I can’t tell you for sure if the fishing is good. We didn’t try. But I think it would be a little rough swimming here. I certainly wouldn’t let children go in this water.
How to get to La Rampa: Take Route 997 and enter the Vieques Wildlife Refuge. La Rampa is very close to Punta Galinde and you’ll see it listed int he same sign.
South Coast Vieques Beaches
8. Black Sand Beach
Although it’s number 8 on our list, we chose to make the Vieques Black Sand Beach the last that we visited. We kind of knew that we would like it even before seeing it. We were right.
In our opinion, this is the prettiest beach in Vieques.
Black Sand Beach seems to be a kind of “niche” beach that attracts a younger crowd. I expect during the busy season, it’s a place where people come to party a bit, have a few drinks (or other pleasurable indulgences), and play good music. It has that vibe, even though there were only 6-8 people around while we were there.
Here, the waves aren’t terribly high, and you can certainly go out into the water on the main part of the beach (where the sand isn’t black). But once you get over to the black sand area, the water is much rougher.
How to get to Black Sand Beach: In the town of Esperanza, continue west on Route 997 along the waterfront. When Route 997 ends, turn left and drive just a short distance until you see a nice sign at ground level on the street that says “Playa Negra” (see above). Just at the top of the small hill, there is parking on the left. Park there and go back to the sign. Follow the trail for about 10 minutes and it’ll open up at the beach.
9. Playa Grande
As the name suggests, this is probably the largest beach in Vieques. Personally, I didn’t think it was special beyond that. There’s a lot of room to spread out here, but there is absolutely nothing else, including shade.
There are far better beaches to spend your time on than Playa Grande, in my opinion. The area is also a lot more susceptible to wind than many of the other beaches on Vieques.
One big plus is that it’s a great place to come and watch the sunset.
How to get to Playa Grande: From Esperanza, continue west on Route 997 along the waterfront. When Route 997 ends, turn left and continue for about 7 minutes. Then turn left onto Laguna Playa Grande road. Drive to the end of the road, which (unsurprisingly) ends at Playa Grande.
10. Sun Bay Beach
If you want to be around people on a beach that’s a little more developed and where there’s a lot more socializing going on, then you should go to Sun Bay beach. While not our personal favorite, I think it will be for most other people. Although there’s no resort in the area, it’s like a beach you’d likely find near one.
Sun Ray beach has a cafe with food and drinks, modern bathrooms/toilets, and outdoor shower areas where you can rinse off the sand after your day. If you’re going to be in Esperanza and want a nice, normal beach experience in Vieques, this is the place to do it.
Plenty of wild horses around as well. Don’t worry, they’re very calm and friendly. And chickens – so many chickens (but not on the beach).
How to get to Sun Bay Beach: From Esperanza, take Route 997 east for about 6-7 minutes. On your right, you’ll see a gated entrance to the park. Drive in, park anywhere, and enjoy the beach.
11. Esperanza Beach
As the name suggests, Esperanza beach is right in the town of Esperanza. I wouldn’t say it’s a great beach, but it’s right outside all of the main restaurants, guest houses, and other businesses. It’s the perfect spot if you’re staying right here. You can go to the beach and, if you get hungry or thirsty, it’s a 2-minute walk to buy anything you want.
There’s a restaurant across the street called Bananas. It’s a great spot with good, American-style food and some Caribbean-inspired dishes as well. Super casual. In addition to that, there are stalls all along the beach where you can book any of the activities you want to do on the island.
How to get to Esperanza beach: This one is easy. If you can find the town of Esperanza, and chances are, you already have if you’re here, the beach is right in front of you. If you’re coming from the Ferry Terminal, it’s about a 20 minute drive. Take Route 200 to Route 997 and turn right. Route 997 takes you directly to Esperanza. If you’re driving at night, be aware of horses along the highway.
12. Media Luna Beach
While it’s a bit of a rough drive to get to Media Luna Beach, it’s worth it. The horseshoe-shaped beach is nicely protected from the wind and it has some of the softest sand we’ve seen on Vieques. It also has several wooden shelters.
This was a pleasant beach to visit and there were several people here during our visit.
How to get to Media Luna Beach: Media Luna Beach is along the same stretch as Sun Bay Beach. Take Route 997 east from Esperanza for about 6-7 minutes. On your right, you’ll see a gated entrance to the park. After you go through the gate, drive in a little and take a left, making your way down to the beach are (away from the buildings). When you get to the beach, turn left again and continue driving along Sun Bay Beach. At the end of the road, take a left on the trail. Keep right at any forks and you’ll eventually make it to Media Luna. Worth it!
We lovingly refer to this as the “Vieques Instagram Beach” not because anyone else calls it that, but because the two women in the picture above spent the entire time we were there doing various poses trying to get the perfect photo. To be fair though, it’s a very beautiful beach and I can understand why they thought it’d make the perfect Instagram shot.
I think this would be a pretty decent place to learn to surf. The waves are not huge, but they’re definitely there. Plus, it’s a pretty secluded spot, so you won’t have to be embarrassed every time you wipe out!
How to get to Navio Beach: Follow the same directions as above to Media Luna Beach, but just keep driving until you get to Navio Beach, which should take just a few minutes. The road is quite rough, so if you’re not in a four-wheel drive vehicle, pay extra attention. We used a golf cart and it was rough. I wouldn’t take a car down here.
Vieques Beaches in the North
Vieques has several beaches in the north, and they’re some of the more accessible ones we went to (with the notable exception of Punta Arenas). That’s mostly because they are right along route 200.
Here they are:
14. Punta Arenas Beach – “Green Beach”
Technically, Punta Arenas beach is in the northwest. In fact, it’s at the extreme northwest tip of Vieques. We’re including it in the “north” list because the word “north” is part of the word “northwest” which makes it true. And we didn’t want it to feel lonely all by itself.
This is a really great beach. It’s too bad it’s such a pain to get to. That’s probably why no one comes here. There are hermit crabs everywhere along the tree line and the water and sand here are perfect.
If you want a really cool beach to visit in Vieques, please come here. We drove a golf cart here and you can definitely do that. But it’s probably better to have a truck or Jeep.
Such a nice place.
How to get to Punta Arenas: Since this is probably the farthest beach from you, it’s going to take you at least 30-40 minutes to get here. Take highway 200 west until it ends. The road will change from paved to dirt and in some areas, there are lots of potholes. We were driving a golf cart, and we didn’t have any issues. You just need to slow it down a little. Eventually, you’ll come to a sign for Punta Arenas. There are a few entrances. Explore them all and find the spot for you. You’ll likely be the only ones here.
15. Cofi Beach – a.k.a. Seaglass Beach
If you’re staying close to the ferry terminal in Isabel Segundo, this is the closest beach to you. In fact, you can walk off the ferry and be here in less than 10 minutes.
This is a nice secluded beach right in town. Although there is not a lot of room on the beach, it’s a great place if you’re staying here anyway, perhaps in one of the villas overlooking it. Our Airbnb was just up the hill and we came here twice. That thing in the background is a shipwreck, by the way.
How to get to Cofi (Seaglass) Beach: This beach is literally a six-minute walk from the ferry terminal in Vieques. If you just got off the boat and want to relax immediately before you check into your accommodations, this is a great place to do it. Walk up the hill (Calle Plinio Peterson), past the Subway store and Supermercado Morales. Keep going until you reach a gazebo area with seating. Continue down the hill through a small group of apartments until you get to the beach.
16. El Gallito Beach
El Gallito (The Little Rooster – a.k.a. “Chicken Beach”) is another beach in Vieques that I didn’t see mentioned in any of the “beach” posts, but it’s great. Maybe everyone missed it. There’s lots of room on the beach for a blanket and umbrella. Not only that but there are a couple of barbecue pits, and several benches set out in the parking area.
Why? Because it turns out El Gallito Beach is also a great place to catch the sunset. The parking lot is called the Sunset Love Garden.
How to get to El Gallito Beach: Take Highway 200 west and stay on it for just under 5 km – about 10 minutes. You’ll spot the beach pretty easily.
17. Airport Beach
This beach is called “Airport Beach” because it is right next to the train station. Just kidding. There’s no train station on Vieques (that we know of).
For those of you who appreciate a nice beach where you can watch planes take off and land, this is the beach for you. All of the planes that take off here are small ones – just a few passengers – but they’ll catch you by surprise like the one in the photo above. One second, silence. The next, a loud roar.
It’s nothing like Maho Beach beach in Saint Martin, so you won’t feel a jet blast. But this experience is a distant second.
Other than the occasional take-off, Airport Beach is a very quiet place.
How to get to Airport Beach: Look for the planes taking off and landing! Seriously though, this beach is right before you get to the airport. Follow Highway 200 from Isabella Segunda for about 6 km or 12 minutes. You’ll come to what looks like a dirt road on the right. That’s where you can park and walk a minute or so to get to Airport Beach. If you get to the airport, you’ve gone too far.
18. Mosquito Pier Beaches, Rompeolas
Many years ago, the U.S. Government wanted to build a highway to connect Vieques with the island of Puerto Rico. They got it started but abandoned the project after residents said they just didn’t want it. At least that’s how it was explained to us anyway.
The result was a decently long beach, cut in two by the pier. The effect of the pier then is that it creates two distinct beaches. And the good news is that one of them is always calm.
For example, if the wind is blowing strongly in a westerly direction, waves on the east side beach will be crashing into the shoreline. On the west side beach, the water will be completely calm. So, all you need to do is figure out the wind direction to know which of the Mosquito Pier beaches is the best one that day.
How to get to Mosquito Pier Beaches: From Isabella Segunda, follow highway 200 west for just under 20 minutes. It’s hard to miss Mosquito Pier because it juts way out into the Atlantic. The beaches are on either side of the pier. Pick the side that has the calmest water ont he day you’re there.
Are Vieques Beaches gay-friendly?
While many of the beaches we visited were practically empty, we did see a few gay couples at some of the more popular beaches. Rest-assured, Vieques (and all of Puerto Rico) is making an effort to attract LGBTQ visitors to the islands.
You shouldn’t have any issues catching rays at the beaches on Vieques.
Vieques Beaches map
I created this map of the beaches of Vieques. Use it to get an idea of where everything is and how to get there.
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Michael is originally from Canada but now resides in Atlanta, GA with his husband, Halef, who also writes here. He is a Couchsurfing expert. Michael has traveled to over 50 countries learning how to experience more for less as he travels.