Affectionately referred to as Puerto Rico's little sister, Vieques is what locals liken to the days of "pre-industrial Puerto Rico." At 55 square miles, the island is twice as large as Manhattan in area, but with only 9,500 inhabitants. That leaves a lot of land -- verdant, rolling hills edged with miles of sandy beaches -- without the crowds. The Spanish annexed the island, just six miles off the southeastern coast of Puerto Rico, in 1854, only for the US to claim it as part of the spoils of the Spanish-American War in 1898. The US Navy moved in during World War II, as they found the spot a strategic and inconspicuous base for target and landing practice. Weary of explosions eroding the island's eco-system, protests by the locals sent the Navy packing in 2003. Today, Vieques remains one of the world's few well-preserved tropical hideaways. Here are five reasons why it's a worthy destination.
How to get there:
-- Kathleen Squires