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Flights to and from Vieques
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Vieques Air Link is a Puerto Rican airline that links Vieques with Culebra and mainland Puerto Rico.
Vieques Air Links flies to many destinations including Ceiba, Culebra, Fajardo, Isla Grande, San Juan, St. Croix, St. Thomas and Vieques.
Vieques Air Link has a fleet of Cessna Caravan, Britten Norman Islander and Britten Norman Trislander. Vieques Air Link is an FAA Certified Air Carrier, founded in 1965, who also offers personalized charter and cargo services for those looking for even more convenience.
Frequent Flyer Program
Vieques Air Link operates a frequent flyer program to reward its regular passengers.
The purpose of the Loyalty Program is that commuters increase their loyalty to Vieques Air Link, selecting this airline as their first choice of air connectivity. Located in the beautiful island of Vieques and with more than 30 daily flights to several cities in the “big island” of Puerto Rico, Culebra and the US and British Virgin Islands.
Vieques Air Link's fares all include 30lbs of free checked baggage.
30lbs include carry-on bag and personal items.
Maximum linear dimension of 158cm per fare-paying passenger. Passengers are not limited to the number of pieces to check-in as long as the weight does not exceed 50lbs (22 kgs). Over 30lbs, baggage allowance is complimentary.
Guests should check-in 90 minutes before departure in San Juan International Airport (LMM). All flights will be closed 45 minutes before departure. Not fulfill this requirement, No show policy will be applied.
18th June 2017
Seaborne Airlines to resume service to Antigua
Seaborne Airlines has announced that a non-stop service between Puerto Rico and Antigua will begin next month.
Flights from the airline’s hub at Luis Muñoz Marin International Airport to VC Bird International Airport will begin on 21 July after an agreement between Seaborne and the Antigua and Barbuda Tourism Authority.
According to a press release, the service “will provide increased airlift and convenient connecting opportunities for both visitors and Antiguans and Barbudans.”
Asot Michael, tourism minister in Antigua and Barbuda, said: “We are excited to have Seaborne resume services to Antigua and Barbuda, starting this July.
“Additional airlift, which is also competitively priced, is a plus for the destination as we prepare for a busy summer season with visitors travelling to Antigua and Barbuda for vacation, and to participate in our major summer festival, Antigua’s Carnival which celebrates its 60th Anniversary this year from July 27th – August 8th 2017.”
Seaborne will operate four non-stop round-trip flights per week.
Passengers from more than 30 destinations will be able to connect through San Juan when flying with the carrier’s partners – which include American Airlines, Delta, JetBlue Airways, United Airlines, and Vieques Air Link.
“A convenient schedule has been designed to beneﬁt local customers with easy access between the islands, while connecting passengers will beneﬁt from direct transfers through Luis Muñoz Marin International Airport in San Juan, one of the busiest airports in the Caribbean” Hector Montanez Vice President of Commercial at Seaborne, said.
“An overnight flight with a morning departure from Antigua will maximise convenience to both tourists and residents.”
All fights, using a fleet of 34-seat Saab 340 aircraft, will be operated by a crew of two pilots and one flight attendant.
18th May 2017
Vieques Air Link and Seaborne Airlines, two of Puerto Rico’s leading airlines, has agreed to a codeshare agreement.
Under this alliance, both airlines open new destinations to their respective customers, the airlines said in a statement released today.
Seaborne Airlines will host Vieques Air Link’s scheduled itineraries on their reservation system. With this addition, customers have new destinations to explore with seamless connections, the airline said, adding that the new destinations for Seaborne include: Culebra (CPX) and Vieques (VQS).
The airlines said that Vieques Air Link customers will also benefit from this partnership with better connections throughout the Caribbean and stateside using the Luis Muñoz Marin International Airport in San Juan (SJU) where Seaborne has interline agreements with American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, JetBlue, and United Airlines among others. Vieques Air Link Customers flying on Seaborne will enjoy the benefit of traveling on a single ticket, which allows for one-stop check-in, baggage transfers, and convenient connections in San Juan.
“This agreement combines Seaborne Airlines’ experience serving exciting Caribbean destinations with Vieques Air Link established roots in the market. Booking, ticketing and itinerary will be more convenient than ever before, said Ben Munson, CEO of Seaborne Airlines. “I’m confident that our customers, especially Puerto Rico residents, will all benefit as a result of this agreement.” Munson Added.
“Now our customers will benefit from direct transfers using the San Juan International SJU Airport,” said Carlos Rodriguez, president and general manager of Vieques Air Link. “This connectivity will bring convenience and flexibility to all tourism and residents as well. The combination of two of Puerto Rico’s leading airlines is the beginning of a comprehensive Caribbean routes coverage like no other in the airline industry.”
Initially, Seaborne will place its ‘BB’ designator code on Vieques Air Link routes allowing customers to reach more destinations on a single itinerary. These means that flight will be sold as Seaborne Airlines and they will be able to reserve flights in the next 60 days. Flights would be distributed via the Seaborne Airlines website, online travel agencies (OTAs), and the major Global Distribution Systems (GDS).
Vieques Air Link announced it will host Seaborne Airlines' scheduled itineraries on their reservation systems
With this addition, customers have new destinations to explore with seamless connections. Vieques Air Link customers will also benefit from the partnership with better connections throughout the Caribbean and stateside, utilizing the Luis Muñoz Marin International Airport in San Juan (SJU), where Seaborne has interline agreements with American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, JetBlue, and United Airlines among others, according to Seaborne. Additionally, Vieques Air Link customers flying on Seaborne will enjoy the benefit of traveling on a single ticket, which allows for one-stop check-in, baggage transfers, and convenient connections in San Juan.
Like Puerto Rico (which feels like the "mainland," even though it's an island, too), Vieques was originally settled by Indigenous people for thousands of years before the Spanish showed up and used it for its strategic position. As a result, it has many nicknames. My favorite was "Isla Nena," which means "Little Girl Island" in Spanish. This seems apt as it lives in Puerto Rico's shadow — like the island of Culebra to the north, Vieques is a satellite of sorts to its larger, more well-known "parent" island.
Vieques is small, but it packs a lot in — and most of the fun stuff is free. From exploring the abandoned ruins of a sugar plantation, now overgrown by thick tropical forest (below); to ancient Indigenous ruins that are well-known in archaeology circles; to horseback riding (some of the wild horses have been domesticated); to snorkeling the clear waters or visiting the world's largest Ceiba tree, which is over 300 years old.
Exploring a long-abandoned sugar mill deep in the woods was one of the highlights of my trip to Vieques. It rambled over quite a large area, and was, frankly, quite spooky. (Photo: Starre Vartan)
And of course, the beaches, with sands of many colors, off dirt roads and main drags, some long and flat, others crescent-moon shaped and lagoon-facing. And then there are the beaches in the Fish & Wildlife Refuge area, many of which still retain their Navy names: Blue Beach, Green Beach, etc. I can't forget Vieques' world-famous bioluminescent bay, which is well-protected by local regulations, and you will need a guide to see and explore.
Where to Stay on Vieques
There are three (very) different ethical accommodations on Vieques, ensuring that whatever you're into, you can stay in a place that's your style as well as conscious of the precious resources on this fragile wild island—and those of the larger planet.
I was not expecting to find such a design-focused accommodation like Hix Island House when I was looking into visiting Vieques, and I've not come across a similar hotel on any other Caribbean island. Built by architect John Hix, the Brutalist-style hotel fits in perfectly to the tropical forest ecosystem in the center of the island — which admittedly sounds odd. But it makes perfect sense once you have spent time on Vieques — the island is peppered with giant grey rocks which complement the greenery. Hix Island House juxtaposes itself with the local flora in the same way while inserting a real edge of modern style (not to mention luxury) into the equation.
While the design is both locally inspired and international, the eco bona fides are serious: Hix writes, "My houses are designed to conserve commercial energy, reduce repair and maintenance, minimize the use of chemicals, thus treading lightly on the Earth. The houses collect rain water and heat it with the sun. Then, after use, they give the water to the surrounding flora. The houses convert the sun’s rays into electricity."
Located just down the road from Hix Island House, and also set in the rugged hilly interior of the island, La Finca is the perfect, boho-Caribbean escape. Used as a backdrop for more than one fashion shoot, its colorful, friendly main building houses a full kitchen, huge, relaxing reading room and an unforgettable deck that looks out over the mountains. (You know how in meditation, they tell you to envision a place of peace? La Finca's front deck is what I picture now.) With a porch swing, hammocks, a big table and snug little twosomes of Adirondack chairs, I spent much of my La Finca time simply lolling about on the deck; it's just perfect.
This self-proclaimed "rustic" retreat feels like its in perfect harmony with the local environment: fruit trees bearing snacks of all flavors abound, and each of the various guest houses (from single-roomed studio to a whole family-friendly house) have tons of unique character and plenty of color. But the eco-friendliness is much more than skin deep: solar panels provide hot water, linens are hung in the Caribbean breezes to dry (rather than in an energy-sucking dryer), rainwater is harvested, greywater is reused for plants, lights are low-power LEDs, and the pool is salt — not chlorine.
But best of all, the brilliant and crafty folks at La Finca have taken "reduce, reuse, recycle" as instruction, utilizing glass (which is not recycled on the island) in all kinds of gorgeous, creative ways. My shower was built with bottles, and I've rarely seen something as pretty as when the sun shined through it. In addition to being incredibly knowledgeable and friendly people, the hosts at La Finca are also happy to lend things you might need while on-island, so you don't need to buy extras of something you don't need — another simple but often-forgotten way to conserve resources (not to mention cash).
El Blok is a chic, urban hotel with a LEED-gold-certified heart of green — not what you'd expect to find in the one-street long, two-streets wide town. But that's exactly what it is. With top-notch service and rooms that reminded me of The Standard or a W (but way cooler than either of those), I went to sleep on a weekend night with the sound of DJ music in my ears — a fun change from the very quiet stays at previous accommodations.
Besides the incredible food in El Blok's restaurant (people come from all over the island to eat Chef Carlos Perez's take on modern Puerto Rican food), both their bars serve up excellent cocktails. At sunset time, head upstairs to the incomparably beautiful roof deck (above), complete with live music and a cool dipping pool. I spent hours one evening soaking in the tub, watching the sun set (then enjoying a full moon rise), and drinking a fresh mojito — there's not much better.
From using sustainably harvested local mesquite wood on the grill in the hotel's restaurant, to sourcing most materials for the hotel from within 1,500 miles (a true feat in the Caribbean, helped by the fact that the architect who designed the building was local), reusing water for plantings and a super-efficient A/C that reuses its own heat for additional free energy, El Blok has really done its homework when it came to being sustainable — though you'd never know by looking at it. People who aren't interested in or conscious of green design might not even realize it's an "eco hotel" at all.
Traveling to Vieques is easy — if you are a U.S. citizen, you don't even need a passport because it's part of the United States — and there are a plethora of inexpensive flights to Puerto Rico, so it need not be a pricey proposition. Then simply hop a very short flight over to Vieques or take the ferry (as I did, it was only a couple of dollars). I know I'll be back — it's a perfectly affordable, totally friendly, easy-to-enjoy locale in which to get a lot of writing done — which is what I plan for my return there next year.
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