Vieques is a Carribean island located about 13 km away from Puerto Rico. It is also known as ”Isla Nina” which means ”Little Girl Island”. The small paradise measures only 34 km long and 6,5 km wide and much of the land is embraced by nature. The whole area looks like untouched by modern civilisation. This makes it a special place which could be a great escape from the chaotic city.
The main different between Vieques and the other Carribean islands is that most of the land in Vieques is undeveloped and uninhabited. In this way, the beaches stay clear and unaffected and hills are full of colorful fauna and flora. You can cross the whole island in one day. However, you will find it and see it every day different way. And, that makes this place so unique and simply beautiful.
Some people visit Vieques for the nature and beaches. Some come to see the brightest bioluminescent bay in the World. And some of them want to see the herds of horses living together on the small island. And about the last point I would like to talk today.
Over the years, the horse population has grown to 2000, spread around the island and learned to live among civilization. You can find herds of horses on the street walking down the sidewalk, next to the beach, in the center of the city or in the bush looking for food. They live in the groups and roam in heards. The most common question for visitors is: are the horses really wild? The answer is not as simple as it seems. Local people say that most of the horses are branded and belong to different families. However, owners usually don’t have enough land to sustain and feed them. They live free on the island but when there are needed, the owner will always know where to find them. Many Viequenses still ride horses for transportation purpose to get to the local shops or work on the farm. The biggest herds of horses you can find around Sun Bay or Green Beach area.
Horseback riding is one of the most popular tourist attraction in Vieques. Tour guides offering horse back riding through natural lush, away from crowd and to explore the land like locals do. Many visitors make dreams come true with a horseback riding into a beach sunset.
There are also disadvantages of having numerous horses on tiny island. They break water pipes to get access to fresh water, damage electrical cables, eat food from the trash and mess around the cans. In addition, there are car accidents caused by horses and they are a potential danger for motorists. You have to be careful when driving on curvy roads and steep hills. Beside the all negatives, I think that these magnificent animals are not only part of landscape, they are also part of the island’s allure. It is something that make this place so unusual and special.
People of Vieques seem to living there as a family. They live in the communities that help and support each other. They put effort to keep the island away from modernalisation. They promote sustainable life and develope solar and wind power resources to make it environment friendly. The land is protected toward a resorts development and construction on the beaches in a care of the natural beauty. People of Vieques want to keep the island in their hands and control economic development. Hopefully, the island will stay as magnetic and wild as I have seen it the last time…and how locals want to see it.