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Punta Arenas

Details


Alternate name:
Green Beach (Navy Name)
Good for:
Snorkeling, Beachcombing, Fishing

Amenities:
None
Sand Type/Color:
Golden, with some pink
Cleanliness: 
Relatively clean because the beach is opposite the trade winds that may bring in trash from elsewhere
Water Quality: 
The water is usually crystal clear and beautiful
Directions
Directions:

From town (Isabel II), take Rte 200 to the west, past the airport, past the Mosquito Pier, and keep going, a total of about 8 miles out of town. There is a gate, and if it is open, continue on about 1 3/4 miles more to the fork in the road with the Bienvenidos sign.

If you go right toward the actual point, there is a beach area with warning signs – no swimming, no diving, no anchoring (a boat). This is because of the undersea high voltage cable that brings power to the island. So this area is good for beachcombing & walking, but not much else except excellent views of mainland PR across the water.

To the left from the sign, you’ll find a small parking area with a cabana. This is a popular snorkeling spot so bring your gear and enjoy. Eventually the road will be cleared to go farther south.

Administered by U.S. Fish and Wildlife, Punta Arenas (Sandy Point) is a very remote beach on the far western tip of Vieques. It is known for its great snorkeling and fierce no-see-ums (although we had no problems with them on several recent visits). No surprise based on the Spanish name, Punta Arenas is a sandy point, with beautiful golden sand and clear water. We’re told at times it can get very hot because the tradewinds are mostly blocked by the whole island.

The area is now open, but not fully. You can get to the beach and go snorkeling, but you can’t continue driving down the road to the south toward Punta Boca Quebrada, where the best underwater environment is said to be. It’s unclear how much of this is just time and effort get the road open or whether there is more work to check for unexploded ordnance from the past Navy bombing (after storms I can imagine a new search may be required). Although the road is walkable, it has lots of thorn bushes so the hike is difficult. The better solution is to just walk the beach to the south – water shoes or water sandals are recommended because some of the best walking is just in the water where the sea urchins live.

The beach itself is somewhat narrow but is fine for planting a chair and an umbrella on. You can fish there and on the bridges on the way in. The best features are the reefs just offshore, and they actually come right up to the shoreline in places. That said, the coral and rocks harbor thousands of sea urchins, many of them within 3 feet of the water’s edge. For that reason, I wouldn’t really call this beach family friendly, but with some diligence and willingness to walk, you can find good areas without urchins.

There is some shade but if the no-see-ums are bad (on still, hot days) you may want to avoid it.

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