Visitor Activities

Visitor Activities - Fishing

Besides enjoying our natural areas, visitors have an opportunity to participate in ranger led interpretive programs and activities.  Our visitors can enjoy self-guided trails and participate in a variety of programs and activities throughout the year. 

  • Hunting

    Hunting is currently not allowed. A dove and pigeon hunting season will be opened on the Vieques NWR in the near future. 

  • Fishing

    Fishing Bridge

    Fishing is allowed on the bays, beach areas and in the lagoons located outside of the restricted areas.  Fishing activities must be in accordance with all applicable Commonwealth laws and federal regulations.

    Fishing bridges are the Kiani Lagoon Bridge (west tract) & La Chiva Bridge (east tract).

     
     - Shore fishing from rocky areas 
     - Fly fishing in Ensenada Honda Bay 
     - Kayak fishing in Ensenada Honda and Puerto Ferro Bays 
     - Night fishing (eastern tract every other Friday) 
     - Night fishing (western tract open year around, except from April until June due to sea turtle nesting season) 
     - Land crab fishing (only under especial permits and during crab fishing season)  
     

    Night Fishing:  This activity is currently opened for recreational shore fishermen every other Friday from 8 pm to midnight. Shore fishermen who have a special use permit are allowed to stay inside the Vieques NWR and start fishing earlier in the day. For fishermen with boats (commercially licensed or recreational) launching and recovering through the VNWR, we issue permits for them to launch earlier in the day and exit by midnight or the next day after 6 am (when the VNWR re-opens for public use).

  • Wildlife Viewing

    Wildlife Viewing

     The Refuge roads and trails are open for hiking, bicycling and horseback riding (some trails are multi-purpose, while others are limited to specific activities). The Refuge trails offer opportunities to view or photograph an assortment of wildlife, scenic paths and views. To better protect our wildlife and habitats, we ask our visitors to abide by posted signs and regulations. Enjoy the wildlife and habitat.

    Wildlife observation, especially bird watching, is excellent throughout the year (though in winter we receive more migratory species) at the Vieques National Wildlife Refuge. Along trails, lagoons, beaches, hills and roads, you could see a variety of birds including: white-cheeked pintail ducks, ruddy ducks, blue-winged teal, pelicans, tropic birds, terns, Puerto Rican woodpecker, bananaquits, white-crowned pigeon, red-tailed hawks, kestrels, mangrove cuckoo, and Adelaide’s warbler, among others. Wildlife viewing for other animal groups is available on land and in particular for viewing marine life in the waters surrounding the Vieques NWR.

  • Interpretation

    Interpretation

    Besides enjoying our natural areas, visitors have an opportunity to participate in ranger led interpretive programs and activities.  Our visitors could enjoy self-guided trails and participate in a variety of programs and activities throughout the year.

    National Wildlife Refuge Week is celebrated annually during the second week in October at the Vieques NWR.  In commemoration of this week, the VNWR celebrates an open house with the collaboration of federal and state agencies, nonprofit organizations and members of the community.  Also, Endangered Species Day is celebrated every May with one of the local schools.  This is an opportunity to explain the importance of protecting these species and how they can help to reach this goal.  Earth Day is celebrated every April; while regular programs such as bat day, sea turtle day, pollinator day and many others are also celebrated annually (the dates for these activities vary, but are posted in advance on the Vieques NWR Facebook page).

  • Environmental Education

    Environmental Education

    One of our goals is to provide a variety of environmental education programs to students, nursing homes, nonprofit organizations and others in the community. Each year, people of all ages participate in educational activities that promote the use of extraordinary and wonderful outdoor classrooms. These programs are tailored to educate folks about wildlife resources and local conservation programs.

    Our educational programs focus on a wide variety of activities at different locations ranging from talks, guided walks, and teachers workshops to exhibits. Information and educational material for your school projects are also available at our Visitor Center.

    Environmental education programs may be arranged for local school groups, agencies, universities, nonprofits, etc. We kindly ask for at least a two week notice.  See application form below for more information.

    Some of our educational activities are:

    - Sea Turtles Talks 
    - Environmental Movie Nights 
    - Earth Day Activities and Presentations 
    - Environmental Fairs 
    - Amphibian/Reptile Talks 
    - Vieques Bat Talks 
    - Sand Workshops
      

  • Photography

    Photography

    Photography is encouraged on refuge trails, beaches and other areas during visitor hours.  A variety of species of plants, animals and landscape views are found at the Wildlife Refuge.  The many unique beaches, hills, trails and other areas present at the Vieques National Wildlife Refuge offer wonderful opportunities for photographers.  The beauty of nature is something to capture in photography for future memories and to share with family and friends. We encourage you to leave only footprints, and take a lot of photos!  

    You don’t need to purchase expensive equipment or have any experience to get started. A small camera or basic cell phone will do just fine for most visitors. Commercial photography and filming require a special use permit.

  • Biking,Hiking, Horseback Riding

    Biking

    Bicycling, hiking and horseback riding at the Vieques NWR are great ways to enjoy the refuge, get closer to nature and view wildlife. These activities are allowed on designated public roads and trails. As posted, some trails are multi-purpose, while others are limited to hiking or biking only.  Bicycle riding and horseback riding are not allowed on any of the beaches; yet in some sections of trails, folks may walk their bikes along the shore to re-connect with the bike trail. Please remember to stay on the roads or trails, obey traffic regulations and always carry water for yourself and, if you are riding, also for your horse. Always carry a lock to secure your bike, when left unattended.

  • Picnicking

    Picnicking

    A few areas of the Vieques NWR offer picnicking opportunities for individuals, families or other groups to spend the day outdoors. There are several gazebos, many of them with grills, where folks enjoy cooking and recreating outdoors. We encourage people to use the refuge facilities and take the opportunity to view and photograph wildlife. We do ask people to not feed the animals (wildlife or stray domestics), remove all litter, extinguish fires and  keep any portable grills outside of the gazebos to avoid any possible fires.

  • Water-based Activities

    Water-based Activities

    Being an island, Vieques is surrounded by beautiful water. Although the Vieques NWR does not manage the sea water and resources, we do provide facilities and access to all these areas. Folks partake in swimming, snorkeling and SCUBA diving; the last two activities are excellent ways to view and photograph a variety of underwater wildlife and habitats. Canoeing, kayaking and paddle boarding are common activities in these waters and they provide quiet passage through bays, lagoons and mangrove forests where visitors can contemplate nature and a variety of wildlife. The Vieques NWR also borders and protects the famous Vieques Puerto Mosquito Bioluminescent Bay, managed by the Puerto Rico Department of Natural Resources (DNER). This bay is a wonderful natural treasure, visited by people from all over the world. On the refuge, we co-manage the beach maritime zone and lagoons for conservation with the DNER.