Though this M.O. isn’t exactly intentional, by virtue of being one (curlier?) half of a duo of digital nomads, Ayaz and I are almost always each other’s only travel partners when we’re on the road. Rarely do we travel apart — unless we’re visiting our families or I’m on a press trip — and it’s even rarer for others to join us on our journeys.
While at times we miss the company, it’s also true that we have developed a smooth travel rhythm together, one we never question or have to put much thought into. We generally like to do the same things, see the same stuff, and eat and drink at similar places. When we’re one-on-one it’s simply easy.
So when our good friend and former Travel Channel colleague, Seana, invited us to join her, her partner Ron, and her sisters in Vieques, Puerto Rico, it gave me pause. I’ve visited Seana and Ron at their home in New York’s Hudson Valley and it was fantastic, but would we gel together for a lengthy trip? Would my travel rhythm be disrupted? And what’s it like to travel in a group, anyway? It’s been so long, I legit can’t remember!
Well, friends, I’ll save you the nail-biting anticipation: “YES. NO. AWESOME!” are the short answers.
Every year for many years, Seana has rented a house on Vieques’ southern shore, just west of the town of Esperanza. Rarely have I seen someone so enamored by a place. She’s raved on about the solitude and peace that awaits visitors to the tiny island. I had heard similar reviews from fellow travelers over the years and had long wanted to experience the island for myself and see what delights Vieques had in store.
The island lies just miles off of Puerto Rico’s easternmost point, yet it manages to feel worlds away from any major hubs. It’s one of the few places I’ve traveled that still felt like a remote destination. Still, Vieques’ ever-increasing popularity and the recent addition of the W Resort may eventually (hopefully not) change all that.
The Beaches, Oh, the Beaches
I’ve had the fortune of exploring a fair share of deserted, tropical beaches in my day. Across the board, nearly all of them were in Southeast Asia. Enter, Vieques — a veritable hop, skip, and jump from the eastern U.S.
The island is home to more than its fair share of sandy shores, and many of these sprawling stretches remain blissfully people-free, or at least marked by very few bathers. Rent a car and drive to island’s far corners to properly visit the slightly more far flung shores. Vieques simply doesn’t disappoint.
Staying in Vieques
Though it’s possible to live in the lap of relative luxury at the W Resort, or lay your head in the confounding modern (and concrete-a-rific) El Blok hotel in Esperanza, it’s preferable to opt for a tiny guest house or rental home. We stayed in in this airy house, perched on the edge of a cliff, complete with the perfect porch for reading and relaxing with a cuppa in the mornings, and wine in the evenings.
The house was the perfect place to spend quality time with people I love, and our family meals were killer. There may or may not have been organic kale and tomatillos smuggled in someone’s luggage. Just maybe.
Getting Around Vieques
It’s Vieques’ nooks and crannies, winding roads and far-flung reaches that make this island so memorable. Though there is a local jitney of sorts to take you around, and bicycle rentals are an option, plan to rent a 4×4 vehicle. It’s really the best way to fully experience the island’s treasures.