VIEQUES, PUERTO RICO- I’m pretty delusional.
I buy new books before I finish the old ones. I start runs with a 6-mile goal and I’ll finish 3. I sign up for FedEx Office email newsletters just in case a 40% off coupon for something I’d never buy (e.g. 50-page color photo book, corporate thank you cards) comes in. I also manipulate my Buzzfeed quiz responses to tailor the answer I want.
In case that isn’t convincing enough- here’s a rather large, steaming heap of delusion: beach vacations repel me.
I think it has to do with my intense desire to appear ultra-productive in every part of my life: financially, academically, socially, and physically. The thought of being a human rotisserie chicken in the sand, helplessly succumbing to the ebb and flow of the ocean wake, repulses me. I’m naturally tan and can’t swim- what good would a beach do for me?
And because I am the strange person that I am, I ignored the historical, physiological fact that I do not enjoy beach vacations and spent my precious spring break in the ultimate beach destination: Vieques, Puerto Rico.
This vacation changed me. Now, I love beach vacations as much as I love active trips. I guess it helps that Vieques, this tiny island off of Puerto Rico, is filled with beautiful, virtually vacant beaches. Actually, there are a bunch of factors that made this vacation so perfect. Mainly, it was the 5 W’s.
Who: Me, NL, KP, HB, and MS.
What: Spring Break 2015
When: March 1-8, 2015
Where: Vieques Island, Puerto Rico
It was exactly what I expected.
1. Slow, leisurely days.
2. Fun friends who love to hate me… or hate to love me.
3. Excellent food.
4. Just the right amount of activity.
5. Smooth travels from Point A to Point B.
6. A very good omen early on in the trip in the form of oatmeal.
This was a really delicious bowl of steel-cut oatmeal from Berkshire Farms (Farm-to-flight, super interesting venture) at the end of Terminal B in the Logan Airport.
I have low regard for airport food, but this bowl of oatmeal changed my mind. Clearly, this oatmeal was analagous to the trip. Wow, the significance of food truly transcends basic bodily nourshiment.
I’m kidding. But only as long as you don’t think I’m crazy.
We took a flight on Sunday, 3/1 from Boston, MA to San Juan, PR with a layover in Newark, NJ. We rented the Bodhi Playa beach house for Monday through Saturday, and couldn’t check in until Monday afternoon. So once we landed in San Juan on Sunday night, we headed to the Base Hostel in Old San Juan, which we booked through Airbnb. The hostel is centrally located in Old San Juan, so we were able to walk to dinner and other after-dinner activities.
Early the next morning, we took a $90, hour-long cab ride to Fajardo, PR courtesy of Daniel, our official taxi driver, had a cheap, sub-par breakfast at the ferry terminal, and hopped on a $2, 90 minute ferry to paradise.
Margi, the owner of Bodhi Playa, picked us up at the ferry dock and gave us an impromptu tour of the island on our way to the house. While we waited for the house to be ready, we walked to Green Beach with beach chairs in tow. Basically, that was the whole trip.
We got really good at packing up the car with beach chairs and towels.
There are wild horses everywhere in Vieques, so walking anywhere in Vieques requires a high level of focus and dexterity to avoid mounds of horse poop, of both fresh and petrified varieties.
We had our own picturesque entrance to the beach.
So many of the buildings were abandoned. NOW IS THE TIME TO BUY PROPERTY IN VIEQUES, PUERTO RICO, PEOPLE.
After I took the photo below, we headed to the world famous bioluminescent bay for a night-time kayak tour. It was $45 cash per person, and 100% worth it. It’s not open to the public for preservation reasons, so you have to go with a tour company. We spent about an hour or so on the water, and I learned a ton about the history and science of the bio bay. The microorganisms in the water light up when provoked, so every time the kayak oar hit the water, a trail of blue light would follow. It must look sick from an aerial perspective to see all the kayaks moving through the water.
Farmer’s market haul.
Locals grow their own food, so you could tell that we weren’t local because we were at the farmer’s market.
KP and me being civil in the kitchen for the photo.
We had scheduled a snorkeling tour for Thursday morning, but the wind was nuts so we ended up not being able to go. Instead, we set out to find the black sand beach, which is only marked by scribbles of spray paint on a guard rail on the side of a road. It was a 10 minute walk down to the beach, and we actually stumbled upon a photoshoot being packed up. Within a few minutes, we were the only people there. Later on, a mid-aged couple from Minnesota showed up on the beach, and we ended up running into them later at the top of a random hike.
The black sand beach wasn’t much of a black sand beach. It was more of a beach with black sand.
Either way, it was really good for my skin.
NL and I have this thing where I love her a lot and hit on her and she hates me. Photo evidence below.
Turned the corner and behold, a brown horse.
We had a really delicious lunch at Bili in Esperanza. I had a mojito and a conch sandwich. I’ve never seen/heard of conch as a food, and it ended up being something between squid and scallops.
My favorite kind of bar- sand bar. My hair is crazy in a lot of the photos from the trip because of the hustle of the 10 second timer. We did a mini-hike to Cayo de Tierra. Fun things happened at the top.
On the way to the car, NL hit her head on a low tree branch.. I’m not sure which one is hurt more- the tree or the girl. I can’t tell if the thump was from her head resonating or from the tree resonating.
Literally right after that, while everyone was hovering over her in the car, HB shut her door. All was normal, except that I was sitting in the back seat and my hand was on the door frame. I screamed and the door opened and my hand was slightly crushed, but my spirit was not. I was laughing and crying from all the craziness that happened within the span of 5 minutes.
Puerto Ferro Lighthouse, built in 1896, conquered in 2015 (by us).
Bomb black bean falafel tacos and coconut water from the Sol Food truck. Bye house… Bye Pax…
View from El Varadero, our last meal in Puerto Rico. I downed this Jack Sparrow rum concoction in the 10 minutes we had to eat before the taxi came to pick us up to go to the airport. Needless to say, I had a good time at the airport.
Food in my eyes.
Meanwhile, here is a video of our trip for your enjoyment.
Cheers to Vieques, Puerto Rico.