In Vieques hikers, birdwatchers and wildlife enthusiasts will find huge stretches of preserved land with plenty of room to roam.
|Puerto Ferro Lighthouse|
|The easiest of the hikes. If you drive all the way to parking area two it is only a short walk from the parking area to the lighthouse. To get there turn right directly after passing the entrance to the Wildlife Preserve (Garcia Gate) follow the signs to parking lot 1, go through parking lot one and follow the long gravel road all the way down to parking area two. From there it is a short walk to the lighthouse.
Don't Miss: To the left of the informational signage is a small trail that leads to the beach nestled between the nearby cliffs.
Fun Facts: Constructed in 1896 the Puerto Ferro Lighthouse, also know as Berdiales Lighthouse was built in a neoclassic style, similar to the Punta Mulas Lighthouse in Isabel II. It is 55 feet long and 35 feet wide and has an octagonal tower (approximately 28 feet in height) which had a railing of forged iron that bordered the external gallery of the tower. The cylindrical shaped lantern was made of forged iron, copper and crystal. It had a lens of the fifth order, whose white light had a reach of 12 miles that completed a full turn every six minutes. It was one of the last lighthouses constructed by the Spanish government in Puerto Rico.
The lighthouse was functional until 1926, when an earthquake caused structural damage, after which it was abandoned.
|Vereda Cerro Playuela Trails|
|The primary trail (.57 kms - .35 miles) begins at the marked entrance between Playuela Beach (Garcia Beach) and Tres Palmitas boat ramp. The first (starting clockwise from top) rises high (.21 kms - .13 miles) to reveal a panoramic view of the Ocean and Playa Caracas Red Beach, then the path descends (.13 kms - .08 miles) to Playauela Beach. Trail two(.40 kms - .25 miles) climbs to cliffside views of the ocean below. The third (.26 kms - .16 miles) leads to the small and beautiful Corcho beach.
Travel Tip: Bring your iphone and you can follow your progress on Apple Maps. It takes approximately 2 hours to visit all three.
|On the east side of Esperanza go to your left after you cross the land brige and look for the beginning of the trail (see slide 2) from there just follow the red reflective trail markers. This is an approximately 40 minute hike, however you will want to stop along the way to enjoy the views!|
|Valley of the Vines|
|This is where Tarzan Might have "learned the ropes", a vine covered area you pass as you follow the dry river bed to La Cascada Pequeña the tiny waterfall.|
|La Cascada Pequeña|
|The charming little waterfall is a nice 20 minute hike (wear shoes, it can be muddy). To get there head west, away from Esperanza on 201 until you come to a small overpass (yellow guard rail) right before Gallery Galleon. The overpass goes over the dry river bed, this is where you will begin your hike. Go under the overpass and follow the riverbed inland (if you go in the other direction you will end up at Black Sand Beach, which is another wonderful hike as well and worth the trip) just keep following the riverbed until you come to the tiny falls.|
|Playa Negrita Black Sand Beach|
|Walking Great Photo Spot|
|To get to the Black Sand Beach head west, away from Esperanza on 201 until you come to a small overpass (yellow guard rail) right before Gallery Galleon. The overpass goes over the dry river bed, this is where you will begin your hike. Just follow the dry river bed South toward the ocean until you reach the beach! (a little under a half mile)
Fun Fact: Magnatite, an organic volcanic mineral washes from the hillsides during rains to creates the black sand. Surrounded by clay cliffs and a clear blue sky that engulfs the beautiful black sand, this beach is certainly worth the hike.
|Playa Grande Sugar Mill Ruins|
|The mill was abandoned in 1942 but the ruins are still there. Even though it is located right off the road look carefully or you will miss the crumbling walls covered with vegetation. Hike around the Playa Grande Sugar Mill on your own or take one of the occasional tours given by the Vieques Conservation and Historical Trust.|