Nature in All Its Glory

Shoot for the Stars in Vieques, Puerto Rico

by Jeralyn Gerba
Hix Finding inner peace at the ourdoor yoga class. Photo courtesy of Hix Island House.

For a cosmic connection to nature and sky, head to the mostly uninhabited island of Vieques, Puerto Rico.

VIEQUES, Puerto Rico – Imagine a small, lush island free of movie theaters, stop lights, and chain restaurants, nestled between the Atlantic Ocean and Caribbean Sea. Totally far out, right? Just a quick hop from Puerto Rico, you’ll find unadulterated beaches, wild horses, a huge wildlife sanctuary, and a spectacular bioluminescent bay that glows like the moon.

SLEEP

El Blok Hotel 
Isla de Vieques, Puerto Rico; +787-741-6020
Brand new and leed-certified, this gleaming white, modern architectural marvel looks almost alien-like against the lush tropical backdrop. Bedrooms have Aesop toiletries and dramatic views. Lauded chef Jose Enrique elevates the grill. Perforated concrete walls allow in spheres of sunlight, as do the strategically placed light wells interspersed between 22 chic rooms. The effect: clean, spare, and totally intergalactic. 

EXPLORE

Mosquito Bay
Isla de Vieques, Puerto Rico
The Bio Bay is a rare ecosystem and possibly the most luminous bay anywhere on earth. The unique shape of the waterway and its ring of mangrove trees keeps the concentration of neon microorganisms very high. As the hours grow later and the sky grows blacker, the water takes on a radiant, bioluminescent quality. Consult the moon calendar and arrange a visit about six weeks in advance (for conservation purposes, kayaking is limited) under a tapestry of stars.

El Blok Hotel

The modern El Blok Hotel. Photo courtesy of El Blok Hotel.

Tin Box

Eat, drink, and take root at Tin Box. Photo by Jeralyn Gerba.

EAT

Tin Box
Route 201 and 996, Isla de Vieques, Puerto Rico; +787-741-7700
Nestled in the jungle — just above a little organic farm and below a canopy of trees — is a corrugated bar serving hand-picked organic greens, slow-cooked ribs, and an assortment of oysters on the half shell. Fresh planters punch and watermelon margaritas go well with tacos and the nightly ribbits of the bullfrog.

WHILE YOU’RE THERE

Yoga Class 
Hix Island House, carr. 995, km 1.5, Isla Vieques, Puerto Rico; +787-741-2302
Tap into the universe within at a class in the open-air yoga studio at Hix Island House, a small retreat following the rules of wabi-sabi (which only allows for decor integral to buildings). The look is earthy and beautifully imperfect. Classes are open to the public and 90-minutes long — among the chirping birds and a bustling breeze. When you’re finished, ask to take a peek at Casa Solaris, the Caribbean’s first free-standing, off-the-grid, solar-run guest house.

Hix Island House

Photo courtesy of Hix Island House.

City guide Puerto Rico