Recreational activities at the open to the public areas include bicycling, hiking, horseback riding, wildlife observation, wildlife photography, environmental education and interpretation. In addition, our visitors will be able to do kayaking, fishing, snorkeling, and SCUBA diving at the beaches and lagoons.
Besides enjoying our natural areas, visitors have the opportunity to participate in ranger led interpretive programs and activities throughout the year.
Fishing is allowed in the bays, beach areas and lagoons located outside of the restricted areas. Fishing activities must be in accordance with all applicable Commonwealth laws and federal regulations. The refuge also has a night fishing program.
The trails offer opportunities to view or photograph an assortment of wildlife, and beautiful scenic views. Bird watching, is excellent throughout the year (though in winter we receive more migratory species). Most land species are small but one can see a number of reptiles, butterflies and other invertebrates. Large fauna such as manatees, sea turtles, dolphins, sharks and other fish can be seen in the waters around the refuge.
Environmental Education & Interpretation
Besides enjoying natural areas, our visitors have an opportunity to participate in ranger led interpretive programs and activities or enjoy self-guided field trips throughout the year. Throughout the year the VNWR conducts talks, workshops and field trips focused on environmental conservation.
We enjoy and love to be in contact with nature and to teach in a classroom without walls. With this in mind, we encourage educators and community groups to utilize the Vieques NWR as an outdoor educational experience. The Wildlife Refuge offers environmental education programs through workshops, talks and field trips to schools, summer camps, Boys and Girls scouts, 4H groups, nonprofit organizations, universities, and federal and state agencies, among others. These programs are free of charge and could be adapted according to the school curriculum and the age of the students.
Recreational photography is permitted at the Vieques NWR during visitor hours. A variety species of plants, animals and landscape views, as well as beautiful beaches, hills, trails, among other areas, are excellent scenarios for photography lovers. We encourage you to leave only footprints, and take a lot of photos! Commercial photography and filming at the Vieques NWR require a special use permit.
Biking, Hiking & Horseback Riding
Bicycling, hiking and horseback riding are great ways to get closer to nature and view wildlife at the Vieques NWR. These activities are allowed on designated public roads and trails. 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 drinking water. Always carry a lock to secure your bike, when left unattended.
A few areas of the Vieques NWR offer picnicking opportunities for individuals, families or other groups. There are several gazebos, many of them with grills, where folks enjoy cooking and recreating outdoors.
The Vieques NWR have access to beautiful beaches, bays and lagoons. Our visitors partake in swimming, snorkeling and SCUBA diving, which 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 be in direct contact with nature and a variety of wildlife. The Vieques NWR also borders with the famous 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.