Last year, I started a new tradition of creating a “snapshot” post from our travels with a summary of superlatives and sidebars. It’s a fun way to me to reflect back on specific moments, so to continue that tradition here is my Vieques snapshot!
Once again, one of my most favorite moments was water-related, a true testament to how comfortable I’m getting in the ocean. I loved snorkeling at Mosquito Pier! I’ve never swam around a structure underwater like that, and it was fun to explore. And I certainly welcomed the opportunity to swim with sea turtles again.
This trip was also the first time I’ve been away for a whole week with my sister and brother-in-law, and it was a special trip for that reason. I really enjoyed the time we all spent with each other: the adventurous outings, our chats, meals together, and even the quiet moments. So if I can wrap that all up into one Best Moment, I think that counts.
My apologies for the graphic description, but it’s simply one of those things about traveling: when you drink or eat something your body isn’t used to or even meant to digest, your insides feel like they’re attempting to evacuate your body. I suspect I ingested some sea water while snorkeling, and if you’ve ever looked at a magnification of a single ocean water drop, you know I gulped down all kinds of critters. Thursday evening and much of Friday I simultaneously battled a stomach bug and pouted that I would miss out on the last opportunities for local cuisine.
I also had the displeasure of seeing one of the biggest spiders I’ve ever seen (outside, thankfully), but the stomach bug was slightly more unpleasant so it wins the Worst Moment title.
I loved the food on this trip. Probably my most favorite meal, and Chris’s as well, was from Sol Food. Chris and I shared a Cuban sandwich and an empanada and both were keep-talking-about-it-all-week excellent. If you’re on Vieques, make sure you stop by on the weekend since they’re not open during the week. Our dinner at Coqui Fire Cafe, the number one restaurant on Vieques according to TripAdvisor, was also incredible. My enormous smothered burrito for dinner made a perfect lunch the next day as well.
Something We Learned
We learned lots of Spanish words! Chris and I both took French in high school and college, so neither of us are fluent at all in Spanish. Learning some words here and there inspired me to get going soon on one of my bucket list items to learn the language.
We’re Thankful We Packed
Our new PacSafe came in handy to secure a few belongings while at the beach. Vieques has a minor petty theft issue, and we were instructed by the car rental agency and fellow travelers to keep our cars unlocked with nothing inside. The PacSafe allows you to stow small valuables and secure the safe to an immovable object (tree, fence, post, etc.).
We Didn’t Need To Bring
A safety whistle. I brought one specifically for use on the bioluminescent kayak tour. If I was drifting off to sea in the darkness, I wanted everyone and their dog to know about it. Our life vests included a built-in whistle though, so I didn’t need to pack mine. That, and we were perfectly safe. Our tour guide kept a close eye on us and we checked in periodically with a group count.
I regret my failure to take a photo of the four of us together! I also didn’t do any video filming, but I’m kind of okay with that. The vibe on this trip really didn’t call for a lot of documentation. We spent a lot of quality time chatting and relaxing, and it was nice not to have a camera in my hands as often as usual. At least I do have one photo of everyone at some point.
Reasons To Go Back
I feel like my “Reasons To Go Back” category is often related to food and this time is no exception. Sol Food was out of ham & cheese empanadas and we really wanted to try one! I think we’d also like to see the island another time when it’s completely clear of seaweed.
Chris’s favorite photo of Punta Arenas/Green Beach, on the left below, was taken with the iPhone. I love having it handy for quick snapshot like this!
And my favorite image is the one Chris took of my sister and me. We don’t have a lot of pictures together as adults, and I’ll cherish this one.