Caribbean Cruising '23: Spanish Virgin Islands

Suzanna Pinder on 05 March 2023
Located between Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands, the Spanish Virgin Islands are a fabulous tropical paradise. Delightfully quirky with their Spanish feel and often referred to as Puerto Rico’s best kept secret, whilst popular with Puerto Rican and American tourists, they are ‘’rather off the beaten track for Brits’’ as locals told us!

The two main islands of Vieques and Culebra have a very laid back feel, with wonderful beaches, charming little towns, friendly people and all surrounded by amazing reefs. Vieques is the larger of the two islands, known for wild horses and the world's brightest bioluminescent bay, whilst Culebra is mainly about the beaches, including Flamenco Beach which regularly appears as one of the best beaches in world. The beautiful sandy crescent and turquoise waters are a magnificent sight, with the curious addition of a partly submerged US tank, following previous use by the US Navy for manoeuvre and bombing practice (which no longer happens, I hasten to add!).

Just off Culebra is the tiny uninhabited island of Culebrita and a must for anybody visiting the SVI. Anchoring in the stunning sandy horseshoe bay, we enjoyed plenty of inquisitive turtles, a magnificent firey sunset and an amazing show of stars - nature at its best! The island has some lovely trails and early morning we decided to seek out the ‘jacuzzi’. Following the rocky coastline and clambering over boulders, we eventually reached a shallow cut in the island where waves are forced through a narrow gap, creating a churning swirl in the pool. Whilst conditions for our visit were not really strong enough for a full on jacuzzi, it was fun exploring the rock pools and cooling off in the mildly bubbly crystal clear water.

Chatting to a Puerto Rican in the BVI before venturing to the Spanish Virgin Islands, he told us the islands are somewhere you go to loose yourself for a few days and boy he was not wrong. A delightful corner of the Caribbean!

This article was published as part of a series ‘Caribbean Cruising 2023’.

Next article ‘San Juan, Puerto Rico’.