One of the grand Vieques traditions is simply standing in the water with a cold beverage and talking to your friends about your week, life on Vieques, or how to solve the ferry problem (haha, nobody knows how to fix that!). Most often, this happens on a Sunday afternoon, and they call it Sunday Funday. I’m sure Vieques didn’t invent the term Sunday Funday, but they’ve sure perfected it.
It starts as early as mid-morning on a holiday weekend to lock down a good spot, or around 1 pm during most of the year. A cabana is claimed, or a beach tent/sunshade is set up, or both. Grills and prep tables are set up with beach chairs and coolers, and it goes on from there with music, dancing, and lots of food. We’ve had grills large and small, with all manner of spiced up meats and veg on them. We’ve had large pots of water for boiling the land crabs that Viequenses love so much. There are large pans of hot oil for frying shark bites and other seafood, and even larger pots that start with jugs of water and end up as a hearty soup full of root vegetables, spices, and lots of different seafood, delicious! This is a regular thing, and of course it would be impolite to say no, so we dig in with gusto!
There is a peace at the end of the day, when most of the people have gone home and the wind and waves have calmed down. That’s when you sit and enjoy the sight of the sun sinking into the horizon, la puesta del sol. So calm, so peaceful… Did you hear the sizzle? Shortly thereafter, and all at once, everyone realizes that it’s going to be pitch black in a matter of minutes, and we all turn into ants at a picnic, grabbing things and marching them to our cars while we can still see.
There’s an old expression that the best beer in the world is the one in your hand. Similarly, the best beach for hanging out with friends is the one you’re standing on in that particular moment. Take it all in, absorb the scenery and the sun, and enjoy your friends. That’s what makes this choice a difficult one. We love the beaches in the Wildlife Preserve like La Chiva, La Plata, Caracas and others. But you have to keep an eye on the clock there, as the main gate closes automatically on schedule. Your vehicle will be stuck inside and you’ll have to figure out how to get home. It’s not a huge burden as everyone typically packs up at dark as described above, but it must be kept in mind.
Outside of the preserve, we love the point at the east end of Playa Esperanza where the land bridge goes out to the cayo, and Esperanza’s sunsets are famous for good reason. Sun Bay is a huge beach that accommodates lots of people, has beautiful views of the cayos, coconut palms for shade, calm water for chilling, and a great angle for watching the sun set over to the west. It’s a great place to have an all-day beach party with friends and family.
But when all is said and done, we can’t get past how much fun it is to chill with friends at the little rooster. We just love El Gallito for afternoon sunset parties, grilling in the sand, chilling in the water, and watching the sun sink over the pier to the west. That’s why El Gallito is our Favorite Beach in Vieques, for Sunday Funday.