Visit Museum Fort Conde de Mirasol on Vieques
If you can tear yourself away from the beautiful beaches on Vieques, and you want to explore a bit, you can make a quick stop at the wonderfully restored Count Mirasol Fort (or Fortin Conde de Mirasol in Spanish) high above the town of Isabel II. In addition to the view, it offers art exhibits and a nice museum of Vieques artifacts. The view alone is well worth the admission price!
Constructed between 1845-1855 on a hill overlooking Isabel II, this fort was built with the intention to protect the port. It originally housed the Spanish militia, who would guard the island of Vieques against invading countries and pirates. However, it was never used in defense of Vieques. It served as a jail for both the Spanish and later for the US. It was abandoned in the 1940s and fell into disrepair.
The Fort Today
Today, the Institute of Puerto Rican Culture manages the fort and has completed a restoration of the building and the surrounding grounds. Now, the building is used in an educational capacity.
The outside of the fort is lovely, with beautiful gardens, cannons and great views. Inside you will find a very knowledgeable employee, who will talk with you about the history of Vieques and the fort, and answer any other questions you may have about the island. They have a small pamphlet you can take so you can learn some of the history of the island. The lower level of the fort houses classrooms, a gift shop and offices. The upper level houses the exhibition areas and the provides the great views of the town below and the sea in the distance.
The archeology exhibit is very nice. Vieques, because of its location in proximity to other Caribbean islands, is full of archaeological treasures. In 1990, the skeletal remains of a 4000 year old man was found on Vieques. This skeleton is now on display at the Luis A. Ferre Science Park in Bayamon. Other archaeological digs on Vieques have revealed that a number of different cultural groups that have lived on the island over the last few thousand years. Some of the findings are on display on the upper level of the fort.
When we visited the fort, there were also two art exhibits by Puerto Rican artists. These are rotating exhibits and change throughout the year.
The cost of admission is a donation ($3.00 for adults is recommended). They suggest less for kids and seniors.
The fort is open Wednesday through Sunday 8 am to 4:20pm. It is closed on Monday and Tuesdays.
Allow about 30 minutes to view the fort, exhibit and grounds.
You can call 787-741-1717 for more information.
The fort is located in the middle of the circle of Road 998 and Road 989. It is very easy to find — just follow the signs once you are in the town of Isabel II.
Use this map to locate places mentioned in this article. You can click on a placemark to view the GPS coordinates for that place.