Vieques Island, along with Culebra Island, belongs to Puerto Rico and lies about 8 miles off the eastern shore of the main island. It is either a 90-minute ferry ride from the eastern town of Fajardo, or a 30-minute flight from San Juan. Either way, it feels worlds apart from Puerto Rico; though the main island definitely has its own charms, it has gotten quite built up over the years. Not so in Vieques, where there are only two towns: Isabel Segunda and Esperanza. Neither one has a traffic light. There is only one real "resort" on the entire island- the spectacular W on the north shore, west of Isabel Segunda. As such, time almost seems to stand still in Vieques.
Vieques is especially close to my heart, because i visited it during my very first trip outside of the continental United States, on a school community service trip in 8th grade. After nearly a week of building houses on the main island, we took the ferry over to Vieques and camped for two nights at the campground on Sun Bay. I had simply never, ever seen anything so beautiful in my life, and that experience changed me. I am convinced now that those days on Vieques set me on the path that would ultimately lead me to working in travel today. When I came home, I simply could not stop talking about it, and I vowed one day to go back and take my father with me. I never really thought that would be a possibility. But now, ten years later, I got an opportunity, and I took my dad as a 65th birthday present. I was nervous to go back to Vieques, worried that it might have changed or my memory had somehow altered it; but the island was exactly the same, and every bit as beautiful as I had remembered. Best of all was sharing it with my dad. After all, isn't that what traveling is about? Discovering the beauty and wonder of the world and sharing it with the people you love, that's what it's all about.