David Broad

Just a 7-mile plane or ferry trip from San Juan, the island of Vieques is a popular tourist destination for those seeking a more laid back, natural environment, where cars yield to wild horses, ancient ceiba trees flourish, and bioluminescent waves lap the fringes of soft sandy beaches. The island is a great place for running due to limited vehicle traffic, however runners are cautioned to stay off the main roads (201, 996, and 997) between the towns of Isabela II and Esperanza. See some of the favorite spots to run on the island below.

Note: The underwater cable providing power to Vieques was severely damaged during Hurricane Maria, and the island is currently operating on generators. However, roads and beaches are clear and open for running.

Route 200 (west of the airport): This scenic stretch of road starts out at one of Vieques’ top tourist attractions, the massive ceiba tree at Parque de La Ceiba. From here, run west for as long as you like (it’s 3.4 miles to Punta Arenas Road). Don’t forget a 2.7 mile jaunt up and down the beautiful Mosquito Pier! MAP

Sun Bay: Sun Bay is one of the most popular beaches on the island, and considering the scenery, it’s easy to see why. The sand here is softish, but the road around the National Park is a nice run of about 3 miles. Runners can easily add on streets to the east (toward Bioluminescent Bay) or to the west (in Esperanza). MAP

Esperanza Malecón: The boardwalk of Esperanza was hit particularly hard by Hurricane Maria, but this pretty .4 mile strip along Calle Flamboyan is worth a mention as the centerpiece of the town, with great views stretching across the ocean. MAP

Puerto Ferro Lighthouse: Part of the Vieques National Wildlife Refuge, this now abandoned lighthouse perched on a cliffside is a great spot for a secluded run over hard packed sand. From the start of Puerto Ferro Peninsula Road, it’s about 4.8 miles round trip. MAP.

Punta Arenas Road: Punta Arenas, on the east coast of the island, is a nice quiet area for running, with lots of secluded trails and dirt roads weaving through the National Wildlife Refuge. For those who prefer road running, the Punta Arenas and Punta Boca Roads are good options for an out and back of 5 mile or more. MAPRefuge Info.