Names, Identity, and Historical Importance

Names, derived from cultural roots, historical events, family heritage, or spiritual beliefs form an important part of history and define our mental map of the world and its value. During the time of the U.S. Navy occupation of Vieques the beaches were renamed based on colored flags placed on them for training exercises. The English words, Red, Blue, Green and Purple, became the Navy assigned names and they stuck.  When the U.S. Navy closed their base and military operations in Vieques, 3,100 acres of land were transferred to Fish and Wildlife Services (FWS) in 2001 and the rest in 2003 totalling 20,000 acres, which makes Vieques the second largest natural protection and conservation area in all of Puerto Rico.

Set in motion by elders and community leaders from Vieques, the effort is underway to reclaim the former names of the beaches and restore their cultural significance and longevity. It will take time. Internet sites and publications still use the Navy names of beaches and you will hear many islanders still using the English names as well. But while you are here, please paint the mental map in your mind with the original Spanish names. The English names are listed on the right for your reference to the pull out map on the inside back cover. Thank you for participating in this milestone effort by honoring and using the original Spanish names of the beautiful beaches of Vieques.

Historical & Local Names

Former U.S. Navy Names

Caracas / Red Beach

Playuela / Garcia Beach

Pata Prieta / Secret Beach

La Chiva / Blue Beach

La Plata / Orchid Beach

Punta Arenas / Green Beach

Campaña / Purple Beach

Matias / Yellow Beach











About The Author

Kelly Thompson
editor • publisher • designer

Kelly’s background in graphic design and photography led her to creative jobs all over the U.S., Australia and Europe. She moved to Vieques in 2003 and started publishing the Vieques Insider magazine in 2014 allowing her to share her love of the island through photos and stories.

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