Punta Arenas


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

Sand Type/Color:
Golden, with some pink
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

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.