For sixty years the United States Navy used the Eastern side of the island of Vieques for military exercises, including: testing for bombs, missiles and other weapons. In 2003, the Navy withdrew from Vieques, and much of the island was designated a National Wildlife Refuge under the control of the United States Fish and Wildlife Service. Vieques remained almost entirely undeveloped for tourism, and this has made the island of Vieques a big attraction. The rural charm and pristine deserted beaches, have made Vieques a popular destination.
A unique feature of Vieques is the pristine bioluminescent bay, Mosquito Bay. Mosquito Bay, is the world's largest and brightest Bio Bay. The luminescence is caused by micro-organisms (dinoflagellates) which glow whenever the water is disturbed, leaving a trail of neon blue. Kayaking is permitted in the bay and can be arranged through local tour companies. Vieques is also famous for its wild horses, which roam free over parts of the island.
The following are some places of interest in Vieques:
- Fortín Conde de Mirasol (Count Mirasol Fort), a fort built by the Spanish in the mid 19th century, now a museum
- Playa Esperanza (Esperanza Beach)
- Faro Punta Mulas, built in 1896
- Sun Bay Beach
- The Bioluminescent Bay
- Puerto Ferro Archaeological Site
- Black Sand Beach
- Underground U.S. Navy Bunkers
- Wreckage of the World War II Navy Destroyer USS Killen (DD593)
Take a look at a video of Vieques: