The island of Vieques is the best kept secret of Puerto Rico, who begins to prove an unexpected and wondrous natural destination.But this place was not always paradise.
Only 11 years ago, the islanders saw the daily bombings silence from the field of naval training and weapons support detachment Fleet Caribbean, part of the United States Navy, including Camp Garcia, who is more than a memory the island as a bombing trials for war.
The May 1, 2003, after 60 years of occupation, the American government ended the bombing in Vieques. The airstrip in northern Playa Garcia and old buildings which houses the wildlife refuge have this strange apocalyptic air of the abandoned military installations of the Second World War.
Puerto Ferro lighthouse was opened in 1896, but did not operate not even for half a century. In 1926, 30 years later, it stopped working. Bonell Francisco Forero
But things have changed for the better. The bunkers that stored thousands of bombs were closed, and the land used by the Navy, was turned into a nature reserve.
All this has served to discover its attractions. In the south of Vieques (almost 350 square kilometers) within the two central peninsulas, the Natural Reserve of the Bioluminescent Bay lies Puerto Mosquito, one of the most interesting natural wonders, not only in the Caribbean but in the world.
It’s eight o’clock in the evening and this bay is about to show his best task: a spectacle of natural light. The tour begins in total darkness, trying to put the kayak out of the muddy ground of the shore, to get into the warm waters. After a few minutes, hundreds of microorganisms left a bright trail in the dark, while fish are wrapped in bright clouds and water spilling out of our hands seems full of glowing fireflies. So unbelievable fireworks on the water form. Few times does the abused adjective for a magical tourist destination. This is really one.
In the waters of Mosquito Bay are dinoflagellates (Pyrodinium Bahamian), or simply ‘tell’, unicellular organisms that are part of marine phytoplankton. The ‘tell’, over 160,000 per liter of water, are responsible for this natural phenomenon.
The colors of the sea captivate in Sombe Cove and Spa Sun Bay. Bonell Francisco Forero
When in contact with another body or shaken, produce a bright flash of blue light. It’s a show that can be seen at its best during the new moon. Many conditions for which this phenomenon occurs are needed, and the Bay seems to have them all: it is small, shallow, her mouth is small, the winds blow gently, has the proper salinity, little or no has artificial lighting in the vicinity and is surrounded by red mangrove, providing the perfect nutrients for ‘tell’. Any change in this delicate ecosystem decrease the healthy balance of the bay. The only bad thing is that as beautiful, but complex scenario, it is difficult to be portrayed. The good news is that you can see all year.
And coral reefs
The seabed around the reserve areas of Vieques includes coral reefs and seagrass beds are home to several endangered species of the Caribbean: The West Indian manatee, brown pelican and four species of sea turtles such as the loggerhead, green, hawksbill and exotic channel turtle nesting beaches clear that corral the island.
Vieques, just 11 kilometers from the main island of Puerto Rico, is the perfect island for sunbathing and indulge in contemplation, with the sound of waves lapping the sandy beach, which in turn allows the feel of the browser.
The same occurs in the ruins of the Central wit Playa Grande, which date from 1860, when he started the sugar splendor in Vieques and the Caribbean. These remains lie in the forest and stand as a monument to the hard work of the workers of the nineteenth century.
With the idea of allowing the Spanish government to maintain control of the island and defend European privateers or any insurgent movement of the South American continent, Fort Count Mirasol’s main town was built on the hill guardianship of Elizabeth II, of the island.
Red Beach is one of the least crowded beaches. Its calm waters and white sand are ideal to relax and unwind. Bonell Francisco Forero
Its construction is an example of the fortresses of the nineteenth century, with its polygonal section at the top, and the battlements (structures used in medieval military architecture) in the perimeter walls.
Today a museum, the best place to understand the history of the island, its settlement and the sugar boom that has lived.
And although this may seem a revelation, Vieques has been the favorite place for Caribbean travelers for thousands of years.Archaeologists, in 1991, unearthed in the interior of the island, an old man fragmented objects dating back more than 4,000 years ago. The finding points to the island as one of the earliest known places of protoarahuacas cultures of the Antilles.
Vieques, also called Isla Nena is like the Caribbean, a place raided by the colors. In broad daylight, populations of Isabel Segunda and Esperanza are shown as miscegenation, spiced with flavors and almost as vivid as the nuances that everything smells invade.
The Puerto Rican ancestry in general and Vieques, in particular, have no place in those splendid chiaroscuro bodies that walk with an unmistakably Caribbean cadence, as leisurely as dance movement that creates the feeling that everyone is happy and no one here is in a hurry.
If you go
To enter Puerto Rico, Colombian American must have a valid visa.
To get from there are several options Colombia: Avianca, direct flight; Copa Airlines with a stopover in Panama; American Airlines, with a stopover in Miami.
Once in San Juan, to go to Vieques, can fly from Isla Grande Airport for $ 72 each way (30 minutes). Or from the Ceiba airport for $ 34 in a 10 minutes.
You can also go by ferry from Fajardo, which is an hour and a half from San Juan; only costs $ 2 transit.
ferry Information on www.vieques-island.com/viequesferry.shtml
Forero FRANCISCO BONELL
Special for TIME