#SMM Relief Strategy: Plug into Vieques
Most of the time, I muse on ways to successfully execute social media, digital media, apps and many other modern marketing tools. Today, my approach will be to introduce you to something that will amplify all of those mechanisms. In this case, the best social media strategy will be anti-social in the sense of you stepping away from your brand’s social media. This is a social media relief strategy that you need to bookmark for the next time you are on digital overload. Let me introduce you to a fairly unknown American island named Vieques which is off the coast of Puerto Rico. If you want to not seem like the biggest tourist, ever, start practicing saying it like the locals…”Bjekes”. I’ve been there twice now (in 2 years) and while I’m no local I can certainly streamline some solid suggestions to help you get up to speed quickly and save some time.
Before we start diving in, do yourself a solid and read the Vieques wiki to learn about the amazing history of this small island. So far, it’s not packed with hotel development and obnoxious tourists. I’m not sure I saw 1 traffic light as I scoured the entire island. It truly is amazing how pure and unspoiled the island is on Vieques.
How to get to your new social media strategy?
Get to San Juan then you have 2 options to make your way to Vieques. You can take the ferry or a small prop jet. The ferry is about an $80 dollar cab ride from the airport and a $20 ferry ride away while I chose the prop jet option which is about $125 each way with Cape Air. The Cape Air trip is quick, fun and a great way to get a beautiful view of Puerto Rico and Vieques.
Where to stay?
You have a few options for lodging which include renting a house or hotel. There are very few hotels which include one that is more like a local island retreat and there is a W Hotel in Vieques (the only chain I know of). Both of my visits were to the W and the W is also how I found out about Vieques. I was searching for places to go and stumbled on this hotel several years ago and thought I would give it a try. Little did I know it would be the “bar” for any Caribbean vacation to come in my life. Here are several videos showing off different parts of the property.
You know you have arrived at the W as the BPM’s (beats per minute) exceed 200. This is an AMAZING hotel but some might say it is loud. It’s all about where your room is that will dictate your vibe. Shoot for buildings 1-4 which are away from the pool if you want to be ocean front (overlooking the nude beach-yes the same nude beach where Ben & Courtney from The Bachelor TV show went skinny dipping last season) and quiet. If you are in the rocking frame of mind and don’t mind the energy of a W pool, then shoot for buildings 5-9. The rooms are very cool with open floor plans that include the bath tub right in the middle of the room and a shower with no door. If it’s a platonic trip, be prepared. The lobby is surrounded with beds overlooking the ocean that will suck you in for a few hours.
Some other great things about the W:
- Wild horses everywhere. I mean wild. Check out what unfolded at the family filled pool area at 10 am one morning (caution: this video is not suited for young eyes).
- Tennis courts.
- An above average gym.
- Cafe with lower priced great breakfast & lunch options.
- Great WiFi everywhere, for your personal social media needs, from the room to the beach & mostly decent cell phone coverage in most parts of the island.
- 2 beaches (kids & adults where you can let what you will hang out).
- Friendly staff.
- The very top secret pool. The secret pool has a black bottom, whirlpool jets and is surrounded by free cabanas. Good luck finding it because no one that works there will acknowledge it. When you find it, you will LOVE it as a great escape from the energetic main pool.
- Also, beware of the Coqui Frog if you are a light sleeper as you will hear them from sunset to sunrise talking to you all night!
Rent a car or not?
This all depends on your adventure level in my opinion. I’m more of a “lounger” on vacation so I chose to rent a Jeep (you definitely want a Jeep and not a “car”) for 1 day which was perfect. If you like to get out and explore more beaches you can add on days. The Jeeps are brand new and only $60 a day. Island Car Rental is within the W Vieques. I loved the Jeep so much I am thinking about buying one! I would suggest avoiding renting a moped as the roads are filled with pot holes and they are also very narrow. The Jeep is the way to go. If you have no transportation, the taxis are very reasonable at about $10 a trip for 2 people. One question you may have will be what are those sandy covered animals running across the road? Those are Mongooses!
Where to go?
Your options are beaches and more beaches. Almost everyone of them feels like a set from the TV show Survivor. There are beach coves everywhere beyond the public beach sites. Blue beach has about 20 off-road beach entrances (numbered) that you can access via a Jeep. Once you get to the water, you have a pretty good chance that you will be the only people there for hours. It’s amazing crystal clear water and many of them have incredible reefs to explore with your snorkeling gear. Another fun short jaunt would be to drive down Mosquito Pier as far as you can then walk the rest of the way. This pier was originally going to connect Vieques to the main island of Puerto Rico.
The Bio Bay tour is one that most will swear you can’t miss. Until recently you could swim in the luminescent waters but know you can only access them in a kayak or pontoon boat. Apparently, there was a recent shark attack on the Bio Bay tour that no one will discuss. Dark water at night? Yeah, um I’ll take a boat.
Where to eat?
The food in Vieques is incredible. It’s hard to go wrong, but below I will list some sure things.
- Sol Food – By far, the cheapest and tastiest food on the island. Sol Food is a food truck that sits at the entrance to the Red & Blue Beaches Beaches. Yes, a food truck. INCREDIBLE food. The tacos are out of this world and don’t leave without one of their blondies. They are open Thur-Sun and once they run out of food they close down for the day. Get there before about 12:30pm and you should be fine. I asked if they were on Twitter so I could tag them and they looked at me like I was crazy. Maybe you could help them with a social media strategy when you get there? Can’t stress how great this place is!
- Next Course – Get reservations for this popular tourist spot. Very good food and a chilled out, open air, atmosphere. Service can be on “island time” but the food is spot-on. You’ll spend about $100 for dinner for 2 with drinks.
- El Quenepo – Many say this is the best restaurant on the island. Reservations are a must and the cost is similar to Next Course. It is in the “town” of Esperanza which is one of 2 towns. The other is Isabel. The carrot cake desert is killer!
- Sabores – In Isabel, you’ll find the locals eating authentic Puerto Rican cuisine here. I asked the owner of El Quenepo where she would eat if she were going out? She said Sabores without hesitation. We followed her recommendation which was on the money. The beef mofongo was filling and delicious. Cost comes in about $80 for 2 with wine.
- Belly Buttons – This is on the water in Esperanza and a winner. The french toast is the star (made with local bread) and they also have pretty tasty omelets. The owners are very nice in this spot that is a notch above a food truck. $10-12 for a good sized breakfast.
If you want to step away from your digital overload, Vieques is the place to work on your social media relief strategy!