Nowhere did we see the destruction of Hurricane Maria so prominent than on the island of Vieques, Puerto Rico. Our family visited the island 15 months after Hurricane Maria attacked the Caribbean in September of 2017. We stayed in Isabel Segunda near the ferry dock at The Wave Hotel. These days the hotel doesn’t look like much, but it tells a story of brutality and resilience.
► Ranking: #cleandiaper
The Wave Hotel
571 Cll Plinio Peterson
Vieques, 00765, Puerto Rico
Phone: +1 787-600-4108
Hurricane Maria tore through Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, and the US Virgin Islands. In conjunction with Hurricane Irma, Harvey and Jose that preceded Hurricane Maria, they collectively destroyed homes, ecosystems and families. SXM was closed and inoperable for nearly a year; the devastation on St. Thomas was described as a nuclear bomb; Santa Clara was without power for 15 days. But no island was hit as hard as Puerto Rico.
As a Category 5 hurricane, Hurricane Maria’s winds reached 175 mph, and even though the storm downgraded to a Category 4 by the time it hit Puerto Rico the storm grew in size. When our family arrived at The Wave Hotel, 15 months later, we could still see the effects of the hurricane.
The Wave Hotel is located on the north side of the island, a short walk from the ferry dock and easily accessible. At one time you could walk directly out onto the beautiful beaches of Vieques from the patio adjacent to the pool, but Hurricane Maria tore electrical wires from their sockets, limbs from trees, and uprooted concrete stairs.
Only a few rooms at The Wave Hotel are available for rent. In fact, of the 105 hotels across the entire island of Vieques, only about 100 rooms are available for lodging across the entire island. The building is owned by the local Subway, yes the fast food sandwich shop that is located in the basement of the hotel. The aforementioned patio now houses construction materials for a time when The Wave Hotel can be renewed. For now, resources are going to the people of Vieques who lost their homes, their families, and their livelihoods. The owner of the Subway franchise has been working with the National Guard to distribute goods and materials and helping rebuild the lives of those who need it most.
We were offered a nightly rate of $50 by the front desk clerk, including all taxes and fees. The first night we stayed in a studio with two double beds and Miss Molasses slept in her carseat. There wasn’t room for her in the bed, and there wasn’t even a dresser to makeshift a crib for her.
The next night we were moved to a one bedroom with 3 queen beds, a futon, a mini kitchen, and a balcony offering stunning views of the ocean stretching across the Earth to meet the sun.
What The Wave Hotel lacks in appearance it makes up for in spirit. The hot water was tepid at best, but the room and the sheets were clean, the beds were comfy, and the views were impeccable. Wifi is spotty on the island, and cell service for us was nearly non-existent. This should come as no surprise considering Hurricane Maria knocked down 80% of Puerto Rico’s utility poles and all transmission lines.
Even the ferry terminal had to be moved on the island due to Hurricane Maria’s lashing and torrential rains that poured like a cauldron onto the island where water levels reached nine feet high! The hurricane lasted for 8 days during which time wind and rain battered the island for more than 30 hours and claimed the lives of over 3,000 people.
The Wave Hotel is not your typical hotel. It’s better. It doesn’t offer flat screen TV’s with high definition and direcTV. It doesn’t have plush couches and extra pillows tucked away in the closet. It has more. It has a history made up of not just the past, but current events happening right now.
► For Kids: What a great opportunity we had to show our children something more than just beautiful beaches and impressive jungles. The Wave Hotel is a stunning sight to see, in more than one way, for people who are looking to come help rejuvenate the island. It offers an excellent first hand worldschooling experience about devastation, turmoil, and survival. For us, we seized the opportunity to teach our children about what they felt was lacking, and why that mattered? Not to mention, there is also a bakery right next door offering hot and fresh donuts and sandwiches each morning.
Worldschooling Lesson Guide and Worksheet for Hurricane Maria
Our favorite part of the hotel, as always, was the pool. It was a great size with a wading area for little kids. What made it all the more special was it looked directly out over the ocean and offered spectacular views.
Yes, it’s likely The Wave Hotel did need some updating prior to Hurricane Maria. Even still, it’s disheartening to read the reviews online of The Wave Hotel, indicative of a culture that is closed off from the rest of the world. Forgetting all too quickly that Hurricane Maria crash landed on the island and tore it to pieces along with everyone on it, if they ever knew at all. Considering most people on the island are still living without electricity it feels a bit disingenuous and quite pitiful to complain about a lack of hot water.
► Nap-Time Version: Our family stay at The Wave Hotel post Hurricane Maria on the island of Vieques learning about the devastation the tropical cyclone caused.
We were also fortunate enough to experience Bioluminescent Bay on the island, and learned more about how Hurricane Maria affected the ecosystem at Mosquito Bay. Don’t forget to check out our family’s favorite places to eat on the island, including Bananas Beach Bar and Grill and D’Frozz, the only ice cream shoppe on the entire island!