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Christie's Vieques Trip report....an airport nightmare!!!

Christie's Vieques Trip report....an airport nightmare!!!

Jun 21st, 2007, 04:59 PM
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Christie's Vieques Trip report....an airport nightmare!!!

Let me start by saying the flight TO PR was fine.The flight home was a nightmare which I will describe later.
Day 1
We arrived in San Juan PR at 1:30 pm on Thursday June 14th.We took a cab to La Playa hotel in Isle Verde.It was right beside a nice beach..the rooms were OK but would choose to stay at Numero Uno next time.We took this trip with a couple of friends.Me and Gina (one of the friends) were hungry when we arrived at the hotel so we got a Crab ball app. to split and broiled Mahi Mahi at a restaurant beside our hotel.It was very good.

We spent the rest of the day at the beach and the bar at our hotel talking to other people at the bar.We met a nice guy who lived in Florida but was originally from Jamaica.Told him our plans for the next day and he offered to give us a ride to Fajardo to take the ferry to Vieques..we gladly excepted.We call it a night around 10:00 pm.

Day 2 Friday June 15th

We got up around 6:00 am and decided to explore within walking distance.We ended up going to the San Juan Hotel and Casino's casino to play the slot machines for a few hours.

The guy from Florida took us to Farjardo..we left around 11:00 to take the 1:00 ferry..he did not want any money but a cab would have been around $60-70 so we gave him $40 for his trouble.The ferry arrived around 2:15 in Isabel,Vieques.We took a cab to Esperanza which cost $3 a person.

We checked into Amapola Inn..great location,friendly staff.The room had a bathroom,microwave,one eye burner,frig,and a sandwich griller.It was decorated nice..my only problem was the bed for my husband and I was concave shaped which was very uncomfortable..we had a couch so we slept on it,most of the time.

Amapola has a little tropical courtyard area with chairs,banana trees and beautiful flowers.

We dropped off our stuff in the room and I called Martineau rental car were we got a Jeep wrangler for $75 a day for 3 days.They came and got me and I then paid and I was on my way back to the Amapola.

I met my husband at Duffy's which was 2 doors down from our place.I ordered Crab cakes which was a small order of 2 but very good and spicy.I tried the local beer Medallia Light which was very good.The bartender had just moved to Vieques from St John..it was nice chatting with him about STJ. He said that alot of people were moving there from STJ..not sure why Vieques was nice,very natural but the beaches do not compare to STJ.We all spent a few hours at Duffy's and Banana's next door to us having drinks until it was time for the Biobay tour.

We had a reservation for the biobay tour at 7:00 pm with Island Adventures but I changed it to 9:00 so it would be darker and we would enjoy it more.

We got to Island Adventures at 9:00 for the tour..we went with a very small group, 10 total including the four of us.
The ride to the bay was on a school bus and the road was VERY bumpy my husband somehow feel asleep on the bumpy ride to the bay...

We all got on a pontoon boat and headed around the bay the guide was very informative about the bay and how to protect it.

At the end of the tour we were allowed in the bay if we wanted...our little group of 4 were the only ones who got in (chickens!) Words cannot describe the experience,every time you move...you glow.The 2 guides got in the water with us and we all got under the boat and all started moving at the same time and it got soo bright that we could see each others faces in the darkness...it was soo cool!

I think that the other people would not get in the water because the guides said that a shark COULD be in the bay.That would be somthing to see a glowing shark coming at you!! NOT!!

After the biobay tour we headed to the room to rinse off and hang out at Banana's for drinks.

I got hungry and no where was selling food after 10:30 except the pizza place across from the Green store..so I went up there and got 2 slices of cheese pizza for $1.75 a slice..it was excellent pizza..nice large slices.The owner had just moved from NY so it was my first NY pizza!(He was born in Vieques but lived in NY for 12 yrs).

I will finish more off the trip later as I am tired and have to work tomorrow.

More soon to come (F)
Christie

christiegr is offline  
Jun 21st, 2007, 05:02 PM
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The (F) was supposed to be a flower...I guess that I forgot how to do one...
christiegr is offline  
Jun 22nd, 2007, 03:53 AM
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Hi Christie

I am enjoying your trip report. I am missing my island days!! You got lucky with your ride to Fajardo, that was really nice of that guy!!

Vieques is full of people who want to be (or were) on STJ. I think because Vieques is affordable. You cannot touch property on STJ. Plus STJ has become a huge tourist destination and so busy. Vieques retains a lot of local culture. You can live there and feel part of a community. I wonder if that is possilbe in STJ??

I agree, the beaches do not compare. They are beautiful, but when I see pics of STJ with the lush mountain backdrop, my heart melts

Isn't that pizza place the best!! We have not had better pizza anywhere! I love seeing the whole family in there working together.

Looking forward to the rest of the trip. Glad you got into the water with Island Adventures. Those people who stayed on board do not know what they were missing!! The guys are great, not to mention cute

mahobaygirl is offline  
Jun 22nd, 2007, 05:15 AM
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Great trip report, Christie. Keep it coming. Funny about the STJ connection but I think a lot of people have moved because it has become so costly for the average local. Also, many of these people hate all the new development and Vieques is still relatively low intensity and close. I hope STJ doesn't go too much further with development. The local community and government seem to be putting on some brakes lately so that's good news.
Tuxedocat is offline  
Jun 22nd, 2007, 05:43 AM
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Christie, I'm printing out your report and taking it with me in August. Thanks so much for giving us the scoop. Could you elaborate on the location of the pizza place? Across from the Green store, is that in Esperanza? I can't comprehend people going on the biobay tour and then NOT going in the water. Isn't that the whole point?...I am so looking forward to this experience. I had reservations for the 7pm tour but changed it to 9pm after I read your report. I guess I didn't know they did more than one a night. I imagine there'd be more kids on the 7pm. How many people were on the boat with you?
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Jun 22nd, 2007, 06:45 AM
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Maggie
The Green Store is in Esperanza, you cannot miss it. It is green and you have to pass it on your way to the malecon/strip of restaurants in Esperanza. The pizza place is just a concrete building across the street with a little sign that says pizza and their phone number!! It does not open up til evening. The best pizza, and probably the most affordable meal on the island
mahobaygirl is offline  
Jun 22nd, 2007, 07:18 AM
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Yes, enjoying your trip report so far.

I was flabbergasted at the people on our biobay tour who didn't want to get in the water--which at first even included my husband, his daughter, and her daughter! They eventually changed their mind and had to swim in their underwear because they didn't wear bathing suites. If the moment hadn't been so sublime it would have been one of those "I told you so" moments!

Looking foward to reading the rest!
ejcrowe is offline  
Jun 22nd, 2007, 07:19 AM
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Hey, mahobaygirl How's it going? Thanks for the info. We'll be hitting that place for sure.
Maggi is offline  
Jun 22nd, 2007, 11:08 AM
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I'm enjoying your trip report. I was just surprised to hear how everyone is moving to Vieques from St. John. Keep those reports coming! - Susan
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Jun 22nd, 2007, 12:00 PM
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Mahobaygirl,
I think that you are probably right about why people are moving from STJ to Vieques..groceries are soo much cheaper as is rent too...probably.

Mae,
I hope that you are right about the growth on STJ coming to a stop.When I first got off the ferry to Vieques...it reminded me of what St John would have been like about 10-15 years ago..wish I would have seen it then!


Day 2

After pizza and a few drinks at Banana's..we went to the room.

Day 3 Saturday June 16th

My husband had a bit of a hangover..so he slept in.Me,Gina and Daniel (her fiance') got up around 6:30 and got our swim suits on and hit the road to explore Blue,Sunbay and Red beaches.

The water on that side of the island was pretty rough that day..so we did not snorkel any as they are new to it and they were a little nervous.

Sunbay beach is a beautiful beach..it has public bathrooms and showers.

Blue beach is also pretty..it is really *Blue*!

Not sure if the last stop was Red Beach but it was also pretty

We swam at each stop checking out the beautiful scenery until around 12:30 PM and we wanted to check on my husband and get a bit to eat so we headed back to the room.

Daniel and Gina got some lunch and then back to the room for a nap.

Me and my husband went to Banana's (very close and we were VERY hungry)..he had a burger and potatoe skins which were very good.

I had a Jerk chicken caesar salad which was also very good and was a good size.The dressing was sweet and spicy at the same time and very tasty!

After dinner we (my husband and I) decided to ride to the North shore and check out Mosquito Pier for good snorkeling and Starfish.

We took a shortcut road that was very,very narrow..I mean scary narrow
It turned out to be a very good road to explore..we turn down some of the dirtroads and found old Navy Bunkers (we think?) The ride was soo beautiful and we found a couple of spots with wonderful views of the ocean on the North shore.

We made it to Mosquito pier when it was starting to get dark..but we found that the left side of the pier would make a great snorkeling spot for the next day..the water was rough on the right side of the pier.

We found the old Ceiba tree on our way back to the room..it is said to be about 300 years old and is a silk,cotton tree.We brought back some of the silk, cotton from it..and took pictures of it and the horses that were hanging out around it.

When we got back to the room..Daniel and Gina woke from there nap and joined us at Duffy's and Banana's for drinks.(D)

We sat and watched the locals go racing down the road and dogs chasing behind them it was a sight to see!!

We went in around midnight so we could get up early and get alot on the next day!

More to come......

Christie
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Jun 22nd, 2007, 12:04 PM
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Maggi,

We were with a small group to the biobay...10 total including us!

Christie
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Jun 22nd, 2007, 12:13 PM
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I forgot to mention that on Day 3 me,Daniel and Gina had breakfast at Belly Buttons in Esperanza.I had 2 eggs,sunny side up,bacon,toast and these potatoes with onions it them..it was very good! Gina and Daniel had the same thing with Scrambled eggs.

more to come.....

Christie
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Jun 22nd, 2007, 02:52 PM
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Christie
I continue to enjoy your TR.. The south shore beaches you found rough(blue and red) are hit or miss. In the month before I came home, they were so calm and like swimming in a big pool. Everyday is a different day down there!

I am glad you made it out to the western part of the island, where the bunkers are. No one ever mentions doing so, it is fun riding around out there. Especially with all the horses.
mahobaygirl is offline  
Jun 24th, 2007, 05:46 AM
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Mahobaygirl,

It is very beautiful out there.We found a wild horse that was all alone.He let us rub his nose.He had a lot of sores all over him.. When we were leaving..he followed us down the dirt road and then stood in the middle of the road,so we had to drive around him to leave..I think he wanted us to stay.

Day 4 Sunday,June 16th

We all got up about 7:00AM.We went to Tradwinds for breakfast.I had the same thing that I had at Belly Buttons.It was good.

After breakfast we went to the Green Store to get some beer (Medellia light)$24 a case,Doritoes $2.19 a bag,Cruzan Pineapple rum,pineapple juice,sandwich meat and cheese.We packed our cooler and headed to Mosquito pier.

We snorkeled the left side of the pier..it was pretty good snorkeling.We saw tons of starfish in a variety of colors,Trumpetfish,Blue Tang,Parrotfish,Barracuda and a few fans and Brain coral.

After Mosquito pier..we decided to explore some of the dirtroads off of the narrow road to the North Shore.We found some mudholes on alot of the roads and boys will be boys so we got a mud bath 4 wheeling through the mud holes it was fun but we got very dirty.We found another road that ended in swampland with lots of holes in the ground..not sure if they were spider holes or crab holes but it was creepy..
Since we were close to Green Beach we went there to rinse off.It was pretty but a little rough that day.
We took Daniel and Gina to the Ceiba tree so they could get pictures of it.

We spent the majority of this day exploring dirt roads...which was very fun.On the drive back to the room we found a Mango tree and saw some locals picking them..we stopped and got some also.

When we returned to the room,we all showered and went to Tradewinds for dinner.

Me and my husband had Thai Coconut curry pasta.I added Lopster to mine and hubby added chicken to his..it was a very good dinner.

Gina had Caribbean Lopster and Daniel had steak..they said that it was very good also.

After dinner we were tired and called it a night around 10:00 pm.

more to come..........
christiegr is offline  
Jun 26th, 2007, 05:10 PM
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Day 5 Monday

We got up around 7ish.We went to the Green store to buy more snacks,sandwich stuff and beer Then we went to Media Luna and Navio beaches as some locals told us that there are some caves at Navio.We never found them but did swim for a while.Both beaches were beautiful,but as usual,the water was a little rough the day WE chose to go. In the pictures that I had seen of Media Luna beach on the internet,it was always calm.We stopped at Sunbay on the way back to take pictures of the horses..a local stopped and said that the horses love anything sweet and also Doritos.My husband had a 7up so he poured some in his hand and a sweet,brown young horse licked it out of his hand.The horse then put his head in the Jeep and sniffed around for more,so I gave him so Doritos.My husband gave him more 7up and he liked it soo much that he grabbed it out of my husband's hand and turned it up and drank it with his lips around the rim! I view taped it!It was so funny!! After all of the fun with the horses and exploring the beaches,it was getting to be 2:00 and the rental car was due back at 4:30 and we needed to put the top and windows back in it,so we headed back to the room.

My husband and I took the Jeep back to Martineau's and they kindly gave us a ride back to Amapola.

We met Daniel and Gina at Banana's for some food.My husband got a burger and I got another Jerk Chicken caesar's salad.

We met a very nice Vietnam vet at the bar at Banana's chatted with him a little while.

We were told when we first got to Vieques that the snorkeling was pretty good at the old pier across the street a little walk down the road from Amapola.Me and Mike (my husband) decided to check it out..we saw a lot of Trumpet fish,a few Squirrel fish,Blue Tang,a school of Yellow tangs and that was about all.We snorkeled there for about 1 hour and went back to the room to take a shower and pack our stuff.

We all stayed around the room for the rest of the night and went to bed early as we were to get up early and catch the 6:00 ferry to San Juan.

Our flight did not leave until 3:55PM but Gina wanted to do some shopping in San Juan and Daniel wanted to go to a casino.

So I thought my alarm was set on my cell phone for 4:30 but it never went off.We woke around 7:00 and Gina called to get a flight to San Juan because the next ferry was at 11:00 am and she did not want to wait.

Gina and Daniel got a taxi to the airport for a 9:30 flight to San Juan.Me and Mike did not want to pay the $80 a person to get to San Juan because we were in NO hurry.We did take the taxi with them and after they were dropped off at the airport..we were taking to Farjardo to take the 11:00 ferry.We got there a little early and were hungry so we got a sandwich at this little Cafe up the road from the ferry station.I got a Pastrami sandwich which was very good and only $2.75.

We left to head back and wait for the ferry and bumped into the nice Vietnam vet that we had met at Banana's.He told us that the ferry had broke down and was going to be late getting here. To wait for the ferry..we would risk missing our flight..so he told us that he would take us to the airport to take a plane to Fajardo.If it wasn't for him...we might have been staying in PR.

A flight to Fajardo was only $22 bucks a person and it gets you there in 10 minutes compared to the 1 to 1 1/2 ferry ride.

The guy also had a friend of his meet us at the Fajardo airport,who is a taxi driver and then take us to San Juan,which was about 1 hour drive.I swear that guy is an angel! He was so nice and helpful!

On the drive to San Juan,there were guys selling bottled water for $1 at stoplights and they also had something called Coco for $2,I asked the cab driver if they are good and he said "very good",so I bought one..it was shaped like a patty and wrapped in plastic wrap.It was very, very good, made from shaved coconut and some kind of maple syrup drizzled on it.

The cab driver charged us $70 which was normally $80.We arrived at the airport in time to go to the casino in the airport and buy some gifts for our kids and friends and get something to eat.

We arrived in JFK airport at around 8:00.Gina stayed in NY as she has family there and wanted to visit them.We had time to walk her outside and meet her Aunt and 2 cousins and back in to catch our flight!NOT!

We got a bite to eat and then rushed down to the gate..thinking that we were late boarding.We got there and no one had boarded.I asked the lady at the desk and she said that they had not boarded yet.So I'm starting to worry as I had talked to my mom when we landed and she said that flights were cancelled and delayed in La Guardia which is not that far away.

We were supposed to board at 9:00..well it was about 9:15 and finally an announcement was made that our flight to RDU was cancelled due to "air traffic"..please come to the desk for your re scheduled flight.The soonest we could get a flight was at 8:00 the next morning.I asked if they were giving food and or hotel vouchers due to the inconvience.The lady called her supervisor and he said "no,because the flight being cancelled was due to air traffic and not anything they American Airlines is at fault for".

Daniel called Gina to see if we could stay with her Aunt,but here Aunt's place was not big enough to accomodate all of us.

We decided to just stay at the airport because we were tired and did not want to worry with finding a hotel and getting back to the airport in time for the flight.

We soon learned that alot of other flights were cancelled due to "air traffic".So an announcement came on saying that the airport would be giving out cots in "area B".So to make a long story short..we went to "Area B" and they said that all of the cots had been giving out.We walked back to AA and got a supervisor to get us cots after a wild goose chase to get them.

Another annoucement came on saying that pillow and blankets would be giving out in about 40 minutes..by now it was around 1:00 am.I meet a nice lady and we talked as we waited for blankets for about 30 minutes.She went outside and I went to the bathroom and while we were gone they gave outta pillows! Blankets never made it there or if they did it was after 3:00am went I finally went to sleep.So Mike,Daniel and I used clothes out of our suitcase to cover up.We were woke by the crowds at 5:00 after only 2 hours sleep!

We got something to eat and re checked our bags and by that time,it was time to finally board the plane to go home!!


My overall thoughts on Vieques....

I loved it,the people were very friendly.It is a great place to go if you are the "off the beaten path" type of traveler who likes to explore.

The beaches were beautiful but most have seagrass,which does not bother me but does bother my husband!I thought that everything in grocery stores and restaurants was cheaper than other places that I have been.Puerto Rican kids are beautiful!I loved watching them come down the road on horses.I would definitely go back but not until I have made it to Negril,Belize,St John (again!!),Dominica,Nevis,St Kitts,St Vincent and Hawaii!

I would also like to go back and explore PR sometime.From the airplane it looked very beautiful!!

Thanks to everyone who helped me with the planning for this trip!!

Take care!
Christie



christiegr is offline  
Jun 26th, 2007, 05:27 PM
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I forgot to add St Croix to my list of "places to see before you die!".We met a guy who now lives on Vieques but was born and raised in St Croix and he told me alot about STX.

I did not have my digital camera on this trip..the screen on it went gray the day before we left.I did take my camcorder which also takes pictures,if I can figure out how to get the pictures and post them..I will let everyone know.

Christie
christiegr is offline  
Jun 27th, 2007, 02:41 AM
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Thank you , Christie for the trip report!!
That problem happens with the ferry a lot!!!
Isn't it fun when the horses stick their heads into your car!! I have to remember to keep a bag of Doritos in my car. I used to carry around carrots, but they seem to have no use for them! I also carry around a bag of dog treats, sadly there are strays everywhere.
That must have been a blast in a cot in the airport!!!
Thanks again
Jeena
mahobaygirl is offline  
Jun 27th, 2007, 05:34 AM
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What a nightmare! I'm going to have bad dreams over that. By the way, St. Croix is definitely on my list too. We have a business partner who has a condo down there. We keep threatening to exchange time at each other's places. They have a condo next to Carambola golf course/resort so it's a really nice area from what I understand. If they rent, I'll let you know.
Tuxedocat is offline  
Jun 27th, 2007, 07:03 AM
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Mahobaygirl,
Do you live in Vieques or just go there alot? Yes,I noticed alot of stray dogs.The locals told me that the dogs with collars on belong to someone..I guess that they just let them roam free.

I fed the dogs that were hanging out at Banana's.

Mae,

Please let me know if your friends rent out there place in STX.

Do you have any plans to go to STJ anytime soon?

Christie
christiegr is offline  
Jun 27th, 2007, 08:03 AM
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Christie: No set plans right now. We've been swamped with work since last fall. No end in sight. Our contractors in STJ are screaming their heads off so we're going to have to get down there soon (next 6 weeks?) for even a few days to continue the construction. No second floor walls yet. I will find out for you re: St. Croix. Well, it's so hot today, I can close my eyes and dream I'm down there.
Keep cool!
Mae
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