Camping on Vieques


A sunset at Sun Bay, Viques, Puerto Rico.

Sun Bay on Vieques is not quite as popular as Flamenco Beach.  With that said, however, Sun Bay is an excellent spot to consider camping if you are visiting both islands, or if you opt to visit Vieques instead of Culebra.  While this website is mainly devoted to camping on Culebra, many people who visit Culebra have expressed interest in camping at Vieques, or would have liked to, if there was more information available on the subject.

If you have time, a visit to Vieques on your Puerto Rico vacation is highly recommended.  As such, this guide to camping on Vieques has been created.

Panorama of Sun Bay, Vieques (click to enlarge)

How to get to Sun Bay?


Getting to Sun Bay is quite easy.  In order to get to the island of Vieques, one can take a ferry from Fajardo.  The ferry to Vieques is a lot less busy than the ferry to Culebra, partly due to the fact that the ferry is larger and also because there are four ferries a day instead of three to Culebra.

The ferry ride to Vieques takes over an hour and the seats are all indoor.  The ferry crew is pretty strict about people staying in their seats, especially when the water is rough.  There are two levels of seating, and if you get seasick, you should consider sitting on the top level.  Many people do have some trouble with the rough waters and feeling dizzy or nauseous.  Once you arrive in the town of Isabel II, Vieques, you will notice some vans that are parked to the left of the Ferry terminal when you step out.  These vans are publicos (taxis) that will take you to various parts of the island.  Getting to and from Sun Bay from Isabel II should only cost you $3 per person. 

The taxi will probably leave once it is full.  If you are going straight to Sun Bay after taking the ferry, the taxi will probably fill up quickly.  The ride to Sun Bay only takes a few minutes.  The taxi will drop you off on the parking lot area of Sun Bay.  From here you will find the campsite right next to the beach area to the right of the parking area. 

Things to know about camping on Sun Bay.


If you want to camp while on Vieques, Sun Bay is the only designated place to camp.  The camping area is one large field that is located next to the main administrative buildings on Sun Bay.  The camp area is fenced in, and there are a couple of gates that lead into the campground.  Inside there are a few showers which are open and plenty of room to find a spot for your tent.  The campground here is a lot more open than the campground on Flamenco Beach. 

The campground near the beach on Sun Bay.
One can camp either close to the beach area or further back where there are more trees.  The further back areas offer more privacy, but the area near the beach is perhaps the prettiest.  Generally the area by the beach will be the most populated area of the campground, but it still not nearly as busy as one may be used to if they camped on Culebra before coming to Vieques.

There are two main shower areas for campers on Sun Bay.  One is right near the main gate and restrooms, the other is further back towards the trees on the opposite side of the campground.  This other shower offers a little more privacy.  Regular shampoos and conditioners should not be used at the far shower, as the water drains off into a nearby pond where the resident horses go to drink.  If you are doing any laundry or using soap, you should try to use the shower that is located near the restroom.

The campground gets very quiet after dark, generally.  Sometimes you may find yourself camping with only one or two groups.  Nights can be quite lonely here, but there is a guard that watches the area and it is quite safe. 

The campsite at Sun Bay.
The cost to camp on Sun Bay is $10 per night.  You can pay for one night or multiple nights in advance at the office that is located in the structure next to the campground.  There are many days when staff is not available to take payment, and if you arrive on such a day, you can set up camp and pay when staff arrives. 

Camping is generally only permitted in the campsite, however, people do sometimes camp on the beach area further towards the town of Esperanza.  While this is not always recommended (and you camp at your own risk), there are some idyllic spots for a tent or hammock set up.  Hammocks can also be set up right on Sun Bay between the many palm trees that line the beach.  Some opt to camp this way instead of bringing a tent. 

Call 787 741-8198 for campground information.
You do not need to make reservations to camp on Sun Bay.


Nearby attractions.


Camping at Sun Bay is highly recommended as there are many nearby attractions that have a lot to offer the budget traveler to Vieques.  Esperanza is a ten minute walk along the beach from the campground.  This small town offers a nice variety of restaurants and a couple of grocery stores for visitors.  The Island's biobay, said to be the brightest in the world, is located close to Sun Bay.  Many tours can be purchased in Esperanza, and a tour is highly recommended.

The shallow crossing to the island off the coast of Vieques at Sun Bay.

There is a small island off the coast of Sun Bay where one can easily get to by wading across the water which is no more than knee high.  Once on the island there are plenty of trails and great places to snorkle.  The trail that passes through the forest on the island eventually takes you up to a cliff where you can look south over the Carribean.  The view of the beaches behind you from this cliff are spectacular and make for some amazing photos. 

Sun Bay, Vieques, Puerto Rico.
Keep in mind that the cliff area is not blocked off, and a fall from here would be fatal.  Do not sit on the edge of the rocks or attempt to do any cliff diving.  The sea below is not very deep.

If you want to go back to Isabel II, catch a taxi along the main road that passes along the campsite to the north.  Once you leave the campsite, take a left and walk about five minutes to a fork in the road.  Here you will find a grocery store and a parking lot across the street.  Publicos stop at this parking lot to pick up travelers. 

Grocery Stores on Vieques


There are a couple of grocery stores in Esperanza.  One is located near the campsite, described above, and the other is located in town, a few blocks back from the beach.  Walking away from the water, you will find a large park area.  The grocery store is on the west side of this park area.  It is not a very large store but has a decent amount of provisions.  The grocery store closer to camp offers fresh baked bread every day.  The bread is quite popular and sells quickly.  Both stores have little to offer as far as fresh produce, so keep that in mind if you see something one day.  Chances are you may not see the same item again. 

The grocery store and publico stop near Sun Bay, Vieques.

There are more opportunities for groceries to be found in Isabel II.  A couple of larger grocery stores exist in Isabel II, both carrying a much wider variety of goods.  Making a trip every few days to Isabel II for items you can not find in Esperanza may be a good idea if you are doing long term camping. 

8 comments:

  1. Can you camp in a Toyota FJ cruiser that is made for camping ?

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  2. I heard you had to pack everything up before you left to explore each day is this true?

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    1. Most of the people who camp on Vieques seem to leave their things in their tent when they go out for the day. This is true for us, as well. While we would not leave expensive valuables behind, it is fine to leave the tent and sleeping bags as well as many of your materials behind while you go hiking or go on a tour or just go around the island. To pack everything with you would be a huge hassle and few, if any, bother with it.

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  3. Hello,
    I'm a female travelling alone. Is it safe to be camping alone in this campground or should I go in a hotel?
    Thanks :o)

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    1. I spent 2 nights at Sun Bay a week ago, having arrived by bike. The campsite was clean, well maintained and quiet. The washrooms were maintained on a daily basis. I spent portions of the day riding on the island and I usually would leave most things in my tent with a small lock on the zipper. Security was present throughout the night and this place ranks as my best camping experience in Puerto Rico

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  4. If I will be hammock camping, can i set up pretty much anywhere or do you have to be at sun set bay? Is there a place to hammock camp for free? Thanks

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  5. I can't reach anyone by phone and wondering if I should be worried that campsites will be full?

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  6. You could probably get away with setting up a hammock along the beach somewhere along the beach and outside of the campsite. I have seen others do it.

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