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WELCOME TO ISLA DE VIEQUES

 

Isla de Vieques Lighthouse

Isla de Vieques, Punta Mulas Lighthouse

Welcome to la isla de Vieques. This site is owned and mantained by a native and resident of this small island. I hope to be able to provide you with all the information you need to plan a wonderful vacation on this mostly undeveloped island to the south-east of Puerto Rico.

 

 

By now you have read about all the wonderful things Vieques has to offer its visitors and you can not wait to get here. In fact, our island is so unique our beaches so beautiful that many visitors don't want to leave and come back later to buy property here. There is a negative effect to that and you should know it before you become part of the problem.

 

There has been a lot of foreigners (that's anybody outside Puerto Rico) coming here to buy property, build restaurants, build mansions and transform them into Airbnb rentals. The result for the local has been a sharp increase in the prices of everything from construction and housing, to a meal in a restaurant. Meanwhile the local's salary has stayed the same. The banckrupt government, looking for fast and easy money, keeps selling public lands and approving more luxury hotels with the hope of bringing more jobs. The problem is that jobs in the tourism industry are low pay, unstable, seasonal, and demanding. Because it is so much easier to advertize tourism than to invest in the infrastructure necessary to develop other industries, like manufacturing or agriculture, tourism has become a mono-industry (aside from government jobs). If this trend continues, any future major negative event will bring the whole island economy to its grave.

 

Further, the tight local expatriate community of mostly North-Americans who do not speak nor want to learn to speak Spanish, are changing the islands essence by trying to bring here everything they miss from the place they left behind. Locals are being displaced. This is call gentrification.

 

How can you help? You can help by sponsoring local business, by staying in local registered guesthouses or a hotel (at least taxes will be paid and some locals are employed), by speaking or trying to speak Spanish (we love practicing with you) , and by returning home. Yes, we will like you to visit us again.

 

 

More about Airbnb. In a study published by the Economic Policy Institute on Jan 30, 2019, they find
  • Rising housing costs are a key problem for American families, and evidence suggests that the presence of Airbnb raises local housing costs. The largest and best-documented potential cost of Airbnb expansion is the reduced supply of housing as properties shift from serving local residents to serving Airbnb travelers, which hurts local residents by raising housing costs.

  • Property owners do benefit from Airbnb’s capacity to lower the transaction costs of operating short-term rentals, but the beneficiaries are disproportionately white and high-wealth households (in Vieques they are also foreigners). Wealth from property ownership is skewed, with higher-wealth and white households holding a disproportionate share of housing wealth overall—and an even more disproportionate share of housing wealth from nonprimary residences because they are much more likely to own nonprimary residential property (such as multi-unit Airbnb rentals).

  • City residents likely suffer when Airbnb circumvents zoning laws that ban lodging businesses from residential neighborhoods. The status quo of zoning regulations in cities reflects a broad presumption that short-term travelers likely impose greater externalities on long-term residents than do other long-term residents. Externalities are economic costs that are borne by people not directly engaged in a transaction. In the case of neighbors on a street with short-term renters, externalities include noise and stress on neighborhood infrastructure like trash pickup. These externalities are why hotels are clustered away from residential areas. Many Airbnb rental units are in violation of local zoning regulations, and there is the strong possibility that these units are indeed imposing large costs on neighbors.

     

     

     

     


    updated Feb 23, 2019

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