August 1, 2017
Vieques, Puerto Rico
We realize that the name, Mosquito Pier, sounds frightful. Who would ever want to spend time in a place named after one of the most vile flying varmints on the planet? But, where else could you walk a mile over clear, turquoise water? Where else could you swim with the turtles, and enjoy postcard perfect coastline views that will take your breath away with no crowds, no tourist traps and no city din?
If these “where elses” sound appealing look past the name and check out Mosquito Pier and the surrounding beaches.
John and I visited the Mosquito Pier area (also known as Rompeolas) the first week that we arrived here on Vieques. We’ve been back at least once every week since.
Right before arriving at the pier is an ecological community park called Parque la Ceiba (Park of the Ceiba). You can’t miss it. At its center is a huge ceiba pentandra or “kapok” tree. If you ever saw the movie Avatar, and remember the Tree of Souls scene, you’ll understand the massive beauty of this leafed monument. It kind of takes your breath away to stand close to something so ancient, huge and majestic. Since the pre-Columbian era the ceiba tree has been revered as sacred and mysterious and the word “ceiba” is also synonymous with wisdom and strength.
The base of the Ceiba looks like it should be a Disney World attraction with curves and secret coves hidden in the visible root base. It’s easy to let your imagination churn with it. Definitely a place Bilbo Baggins, the Keebler Elves or Tinkerbell would frequent.
One day when John and I were walking and absorbing the magnificence of the structure we found two chicken eggs hidden among the folds of the mighty roots. Another day we shared our awe with a group of frisky colts. I’m so glad that the people of Vieques have made the effort to protect and nurture the park and its hub, the Ceiba.
Across the road from the Ceiba is a fenced area with outdoor workout equipment. Wow! We’d seen this type of exercise area when we were in Seoul, but were shocked to find one here. John snapped this photo of a baby horse wanting to check it out!
The dirt road past the Ceiba and the gym is great for hiking or adventure driving. We found it packed with land crabs as well as real “jungle” foliage. Every time we’ve been exploring back in this area we’ve not been disappointed. Well worth checking it out.
Normally when we go to Mosquito Pier, John works out at the gym area and I do my morning run/walk down the road to the pier and back. (approximately 3.5 miles) It’s an exhilarating experience. The ocean on both sides, beautiful horses lolling along the way, waves slapping the rocks and gentle breezes kissing from both directions. Ahh…paradise for a runner.
It’s about 1.1 miles from the main road to the actual pier structure. The area is protected for the sea turtles. Midway to the pier are several concrete entry points for snorkelers and scuba divers. Since it’s a mile out to sea, the depths can range from 4 to 40 feet.
To really get the best experience, or if you are an inexperienced snorkeler you might want to hire a guide to take you out. Here’s several excellent ones:
• Abe’s Snorkeling
• Isla Nena Scuba
• Black Beard Sports
• Sea Vieques
• Melaya’s Tours
• Vieques Paddleboarding
• Bieque Eco Trips
John has snorkeled the area and loved swimming with the turtles. I just love running with the horses.
All in all, the Parque La Ceiba – Mosquito Pier area should definitely be on your bucket list of things to see and do while visiting Vieques. You won’t be sorry.