By: Gabriela Yareliz
Early in the morning, we split up and stood in two separate lines. One line was for the island of Culebra, and the other line was for the island of Vieques. There was only one boat going to each island (ridiculous, I know), and so at that point, we had a better chance of getting into Vieques, despite having woken up at like 5 am. Both are famous for their fabulous beaches.
Ultimately, the line for Culebra was closed, and they disbanded the line after the amount of people that would fit in the boat, and we got our tickets to Vieques.
We got on a boat more unstable than a Disney World raft. We all thought the ride would be quick and painless. Some fell asleep and others ended up crouched over with our heads in our hands. I usually do not succumb to nausea easily, but when the man with the barf bags came around, I raised my hand. I felt queasy. I thought for sure I would be wearing food by the time we arrived. The trip was ETERNAL. It was a bunch of us tourists, dressed for the beach, and one man wearing a suit.
When we arrived, we found a place to eat breakfast (almost all of the places were closed). We waited for another eternity (the island moves slow). A Puerto Rican Olympian ate breakfast a couple of tables away from us.
We then needed to discover a way to get to the beach on the other side of the island. We found a man in a white van; we hopped into his car without too many questions, and he took us to “Red Beach.” We went as far as giving the driver our tickets to see if he could change the return boat time to a later time, so that we could enjoy the beach and island a little longer (given that our breakfast took forever). He agreed, though one person in our group thought for sure he would take our tickets, and we would never see him again.
We enjoyed our swim. We even swam with fish! Our driver came back to pick us up (and yes, he brought our tickets back). We orchestrated elaborate change stations with towels, and changed in the parking lot (the driver doesn’t allow wet people in his van).
We explored the lighthouse before our boat came. Everything on the island was closed by 3 pm. Somehow, we found a bodega open, and one of the women made iced coffee as if it was some kind of science experiment.The boat came late. Riding back on that boat was torture. We were all laying on each other, hands over mouth, praying not to projectile vomit all over the place.
When my feet hit dry land, it was such a relief.
We had a lovely time in Vieques, but next time, we fly there. The boat experience is a once-in-a-lifetime type of thing.