CHASING THE MAP

Beautiful Sun Bay, Vieques Island

There are many beaches on the island of Vieques. Some really easy to get to, and some, well, not so much. For my first trip to the beach since arriving on the island, I chose the former. This was not my first time to Sun Bay, and it certainly won’t be my last.

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Sun Bay is located on the Caribbean side, about 5 miles from Isabel II and .07 miles from the small town of Esperanza. I keep hearing about how it’s an “easy” walk from Esperanza, should you want to carry your coolers, beach chairs and other necessities. If you’re adventurous, I’d say go for it. But in this searing heat of 90+ degrees F and scorching sun, I’m driving to the beach, no matter how close I am to it.

The beach is gated, and on “open” days, it’s a paltry $2.00 entry fee. I ventured in on a Saturday morning around 10am, and nobody was staffing the booth yet. Yes, I was an early bird. In cases like this, you just drive in on the left side and it’s free.

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I instantly noticed the wild Paso Fino horses grazing to the left of the road as I entered. They’re obviously used to the car traffic, and don’t even bat an eyelash as you drive up to them. I even stopped to click a few pictures as they stood undeterred.

IMG_5945IMG_5946 As you drive in, you’ll find the main beach area, with plenty of parking. Off to the right are the facilities, which consist of bathrooms, outdoor showers, and a cafe. There’s also a campground and the National Park Company office. I walked around briefly and found it to be quite clean. Even in this area, so close to humans, the wild horses continued to graze. You’ll also find some picnic tables for your use, as well as some open, but covered, buildings.

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I’m not quite a main beach kind of person, so I drove off to the left, to find a quieter spot. Drive slowly, as there are quite a few potholes and bumps in the road. Not only that, but it’s REALLY dry here right now, as there’s been little to no rain.

I didn’t have far at all to drive. As I made my way along the road next to the water, I was scoping out the place that I wanted to stay for the day. I noticed a fairly long cropping of rock following along the beach, and as I came to a spot where I found it lessening, I decided to pull over. This was it, my slice of paradise for the day.

Here’s what I brought with me:

Beach Chair

Towel

Cooler filled with lunch, snacks, water, and beer.

Kindle

I’m a minimalist, especially when I’m beaching it on my own. One trip to the sand, and done.

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Bring PLENTY of water. You are going to sweat like you never have in your life. At least I did. I drank a lot in an attempt to remain hydrated.

LEAVE YOUR CAR UNLOCKED, AT ALL TIMES, NOT JUST AT THE BEACH!!

This tidbit of advice is essential, and something you hear often. Which for me, is a bit challenging, because I unconsciously lock my car door at home all the time, just as soon as I get out of it…If you’re car is locked, someone may assume that there’s something of value in it, and break your car window to find out if that’s true.

SO LEAVE NOTHING IN YOUR CAR THAT YOU WOULDN’T MIND PARTING WITH. IF YOU DO, IT COULD BE FAIR GAME.

I found a great spot under a small palm. Shade is prime real estate on the beach. It’s great to soak up the sun, but equally necessary to be able to pull that beach chair back when you’re blazing hot.

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We’re not in New Hampshire anymore, Toto. In fact, we’re much closer to the equator. You will burn much faster here. Case in point….me. All day I thought I was doing a great job of balancing the sun/shade factor. Turns out I wasn’t. I happened to looked down and all of a sudden noticed a bright shade of red, and this is on someone who already had a pretty decent base acquired on the coastline of Maine this summer.

You WILL burn, so bring your SPF 1 Billion.

Sun Bay Beach is a 1 mile long stretch of beautiful white sand. It’s mostly soft, but there are some areas with a lot of crushed up and whole shells, as well as a piece of sea glass or two. You’re bound to not have any neighbors, and if you do, they’re probably going to be a few blocks away. This is not your local town beach, where everyone is practically on top of one another.

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It was relatively calm on the day that I visited, although there were some minor waves which might keep the kids on their boogie boards happy for a while.

The water is warm. Imagine that. It’s not the invigorating, cold waters like the Atlantic Ocean has to offer. Still, it’s refreshing and offers some relief from the hot rays of the sun.

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Be careful, though, as you’ll find there is a quick drop off to a compact, sandy bottom. I found that out the hard way. Expect the unexpected.

Sun Bay Beach is absolutely beautiful, from the sand to the turquoise waters to the shady palms. It was so uncrowded, I felt like I was deserted on my own private island. No wonder it’s one of the most popular beaches to visit on Vieques.

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