Isabel Segunda, Vieques, Puerto Rico
During the Spanish colonial period, the small island of Vieques was an important sugar producing location, and many of the historic buildings on the island date from that time, including the Fortin de Conde Mirasol, the fortress-turned museum that was refurbished in 2016. The Spanish rule ended with the Spanish American War just before the turn of the 19th century, and coincided with the collapse of Puerto Rico’s sugar industry. Little Vieques languished until the 1940s, when the United States government developed it as an extension of the Roosevelt Naval Base on the main island. After over half a century as a virtual naval installation and munitions testing site, the island was returned to public use in 2003, and today it is mostly a National Wildlife Refuge. The city of Isabel Segunda is its capital, and tourism is one of its main industries. Due to its seclusion, the island remains sparsely developed, and its 40 beaches are counted among the most beautiful and unspoiled in the Caribbean. Ecotourism has thrived in recent years, offering both terrestrial and marine experiences to visitors, along with some scenic and historic attractions such as the Casa Alcaldia City Hall and the Puerto Ferro Lighthouse. The island is also noted for its population of feral Paso Fino horses, descendants of stock brought by the earliest European settlers.