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Sunday, February 13, 2011

Puerto Rico -- Vieques 1.28 - 1.29

  • W Resort & Spa
  • Maritza's car rental
  • Richard's Cafe in Isabel II
  • El Quenepo in Esperanza

Luckily, the second try on Friday night flying out of JFK went relatively smooth. The flight time from New York to Puerto Rico was 3.5 hours. Puerto Rico was one hour ahead of New York. We landed in San Juan at 2:30 AM.  As soon as we stepped out of the airplane, the familiar warm humid air came over me that reminded me of Taiwan.  Since the connecting flight to Vieques was only 6 hours later, we booked a room at the Best Western airport hotel  to crash for a night. The hotel was bare minimal, but it was inside the airport, saving us the hassle of transportation.

The next morning, we took the first flight with Cape Air out to Vieques. This was a surprise for H, and he had no clue where we were going and what I had planned for the next three days.

H & I had not gone to a beach vacation for a few years. With the brutal winter that we had in New York this year, I just wanted to stay in a beautiful resort to enjoy the sun, the island, and be pampered.  W Resort and Spa seemed like the kind of place to be.

And pampered I felt as soon as we walked into the W Lounge at the Vieques airport. There was food and beverages waiting for us while we waited for the car to pick us up to the resort.

Once we were in the resort, we were able to check in right away.  Our room was located in a villa right by the W Living Room (the fancier version of  a hotel lobby).  It was spacious, vibrant, with interesting art pieces, a huge bath tub, and a glorious view to the ocean.

After settling into our room and unpacked, we quickly changed into our swimming suits and went to explore the rest of the W property. 

I totally dug the vibes and interior design of the W Resort. It was hip, young,  with splashes of bold colors, and a lot of personality.  The staff was friendly and helpful.  The pool table in the living room was a big bonus for H.  After booking for a few activities with the resort, we went to the Whisper Beach, a top optional beach on W property.  Unfortunately, we did not see any women going topless.  It was a windy cloudy morning with temperature around 82F/25C. However, the water was colder and the waves were stronger than I expected.  I laid on the beach chair while H tried snorkling.  By the early afternoon, we decided to pick up our rental car and got something to eat on the island.

From the research I did, it was recommended to rent a car as early as possible when one comes to Vieques.  There are no big chain car rental companies on the island and rental cars are limited.  From a list of no more than 10 local car rental companies that I contacted, Maritza's car rental is the most responsive one and seems to have decent reviews.  They came to the W resort to pick us up to the rental company.  The Suzuki Grand Vitara we had was pretty worn out, but it served the purpose.

We wanted to get some light lunch and decided to drive to Isabel II.  There were a few stores and a post office in the area.  We ended up getting some Empanadillas from Richard's cafe before heading back to the W again.

There were daily sunrise yoga and sunset yoga classes offered at the W fitness center.  I decided to take advantage of it and joined the yoga session with 3 other guests.  Awhile later, I heard some bird chirping "co-qui" from the grass around us.  The sound was loud, consistent, and really adorable.  I looked around and could not find any birds. As the sky grew darker, it seemed like more and more birds joined in and the chirping grew louder and louder.  One of the guests broke the silence and asked the yoga instructor what kind of birds they were.  The instructor told us that the sound came from tiny tree frogs which only existed in Puerto Rico.  Due to all the constructions happening on the island, they were in danger of extinction.  Out of 12 species of tree frogs, 2 were extinct and only 2 species would sing like "Co-qui".  

Doing yoga in a beautiful surrounding with tree frogs singing in the background was such a treat.  The instructor practiced Kripalu yoga and demonstrated some challenging poses that totally kicked my butt.  I felt so rejuvenated and calm after the yoga session.
But now that sun was down, I was ready to do some damage to my body with alcohol!

We decided to drive to Esperanza for dinner. Esperanza was probably the "happening place" on the island.  There were more restaurants, bars, and tourists compared to Isbal II, but you could easily walk from one end to the other in less than 10 minutes.  El Quenepo restaurant had pretty good reviews and apparently was quite popular.  While we waited for a table, we walked around the Esperanza.  On the way back to the restaurant, we saw a shining bright huge red star shooting across the sky.  "Was that a shooting star?" I asked in disbelief.  "Was it? It was HUGE." H was not sure either.  "Could it be firecracker?" We couldn't be certain.  (A few days later, we were told that what we saw was indeed a shooting star.)

We had some cocktails, ceviche, conch fritters, lobster & Shrimp mofongo, and chocolate cheese cake at El Quenepo.  We were tipsy, happy, and everything tasted good.

On the way back to the resort, we saw something that was uniquely Vieques.  There were wild horses roaming around on the side of the roads looking for food in the trash!

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