Vieques Island is just a few miles southeast of the Puerto Rico mainland. We took a quick 30-minute flight from San Juan to reach this tropical paradise.
The sun is warm, the water clear, and the white sand beaches are plentiful. I’ve compiled a list of ten of the best beaches (in my opinion) to help you navigate this special island.
Playa Caracas (Red Beach)
Playa Caracas, also known as Red Beach, is one of the most popular beaches among locals and tourists. Just a few minute drive (on a mostly paved road) from the town of Esperanza, visitors have easy access to this great beach. Covered picnic tables are available, and parking is plentiful. Personally, this was one of my favorite beaches on the island of Vieques, as the white sand beach was clean, the water was clear, and the waves were perfect for swimming.
Playa La Chiva (Blue Beach)
With crystal clear water, picturesque palm trees, and soft white sand, Playa La Chiva is arguably one of the most beautiful beaches on the island. The calm waters are ideal for swimming or snorkeling. Visitors can swim out to a small island just a short distance from off the beach, although the water does get incredibly shallow at a certain point, making it very difficult to swim. If you do choose to make the journey, watch out for sea urchins!
WARNING: After snorkeling to the island, we had tiny stings all over our bodies (the spots looked like mosquito bites). We never found the cause, but they disappeared after a few hours.
Punta Arenas (Green Beach)
Due to its location on the island’s westernmost tip, Punta Arenas is an ideal spot to watch the sunset, which can’t be seen as well from the beaches in the Esperanza area. Since the beach is pretty remote, the journey here is not the easiest and should not be attempted without an adequate off-road vehicle. Nature lovers will surely enjoy the lush jungle-like surroundings as this beach lies within Vieques National Wildlife Refuge. This is one of the few beaches we did not visit, and I wish we had.
Playa Negra (Black Sand Beach)
If you’re willing to make the short trek to get there, Playa Negra is one of the best beaches on the island for beautiful, unique scenery. Although not the best option for swimming, it is certainly worth visiting as it is the only beach on the island with black sand. For sunbathing and swimming, I recommend spending your beach day elsewhere and then stopping by Playa Negra in the evening to enjoy the views.
WARNING: Be prepared to walk about half a mile to reach this beach. It’s not strenuous, but mud or standing water covered much of the path. Just don’t wear your favorite shoes, and it will be well worth it!
This beautiful beach is the most easily accessible option for visitors staying in the Esperanza area (which I highly recommend doing). It is conveniently situated just along the main beach road across from boutique hotels, cafes, and bars. The beach isn’t as large as some others, but it is clean and perfect for sunbathing or enjoying a picnic lunch. The waves are on the smaller side, and the clear waters are perfect for taking a dip or participating in many water spots. Jet skis, stand-up paddleboards, kayaks, and snorkel gear can be rented just across the street.
Sun Bay Beach
This beach is huge, with plenty of room to spread out, and the views are breathtaking. The beach can be easily accessed on foot from the Esperanza area. Take a short walk down Playa Esperanza to Sun Bay, as the beaches are connected. If you choose to drive, a dirt road lined with palm trees will lead you to the spacious parking area. There are also lots of wild horses in this area! This is a great place if you are looking for a gorgeous, conveniently located beach with cellphone service and bathroom facilities.
WARNING: Wear shoes when walking around this beach! There are lots of thorns, especially towards the road.
For visitors wanting to boogie board or jump big waves, Navio Beach is the place to go. The dense, tropical jungle surrounding the small cove on all sides will make you feel like you are on a deserted island. Since the drive there is a bit treacherous, you can count on not having to share the beach with many people (if any at all). The dirt road is narrow, barely wide enough for one car, and bumpy. I recommend only attempting to reach this beach if you rent a car capable of driving in such conditions.
WARNING: The waves aren’t too crazy if you stay close to the beach, but I recommend venturing out cautiously, as you will likely have to beach mostly to yourself and have no cell service.
Media Luna Beach
Media Luna Beach is known for having the calmest, shallowest water on Vieques Island. The small cove is located just down the road from Sun Bay Beach, with Navio Beach on its other side. A short portion of the drive is on a narrow, bumpy road, so make sure your vehicle is cut out for the trip before attempting it. There is a small parking area, but the beach was not very crowded when we visited. I highly recommend this beach for anyone traveling with toddlers or small children, as there is a decent-sized stretch of very shallow water with barely-noticeable waves.
Playa Grande is the only other beach on this list (aside from Punta Arenas) that we didn’t get to visit during our time in Vieques. You’ll have to do a bit of off-road driving to get here, as it is located past Black Sand Beach, heading west away from Esperanza. It is the longest beach on the island, so it is ideal for evening beach walks. The waves are known to be decently sized, and the beach is very rarely crowded. You’ll also get a partial view of the sunset if you visit this beach in the evening.
Playa Plata is about a half-hour drive from the town of Esperanza, with most of the drive being on a narrow dirt road with no cell service. Because it is relatively difficult to reach, you can expect to have this beach to yourself. The small cove has fairly calm water, although I found there to be a lot of debris (and a few crabs crawling around) on the beach, which was not ideal for walking. I had high hopes for Playa Plata, but the less-than-ideal beach conditions were disappointing, so we headed out shortly after arriving.
Vieques has some fantastic beaches, each offering something unique. If you are planning a trip to Puerto Rico or looking for a beautiful beach destination that doesn’t require a passport (for US citizens), this special island might be the perfect place. Click HERE to check out my comprehensive Vieques travel guide!