by Katy Hartnett Boruff
One of the highlights of eastern Puerto Rico is the Roosevelt Roads Naval Station, a former United States Navy Base that is currently open for a variety of recreational pursuits ranging from biking to hiking to scuba diving. Roosevelt Roads is located in the town of Ceiba, just a quick thirty minute drive from Humacao and Palmas del Mar. The base closed down for military operations in 2004 and currently hundreds of acres are open to the public.
There are several tour operators currently running tours at Roosevelt Roads, including Pure Adventure, Salgazo Kayak, and AdvenTours. Pure Adventure offers a Learn to Scuba Dive tour Monday through Saturday from 1:30pm-5:30pm starting at $150pp with previous reservation. Salgazo kayak offers kayak rentals and boat tours and is opening a restaurant called The Oasis Bar and Grill on the former base, making it a convenient place to stop for lunch. AdvenTours offers bird watching and biking adventures with a qualified nature guide. These are all excellent options if you would like to benefit from the expertise of someone who is familar with the base to show you around.
There is also a functioning airport at Roosevelt Roads, which makes for very quick and convenient flights to Culebra and Vieques. The Jose Aponte de la Torre airport features flights by Vieques Air Link, Air Flamenco and MN Aviation to both Vieques and Culebra, multiple times per day, starting at $35pp each way. Rather than driving all the way to Luis Muñoz Marin International Airport in Carolina, you can catch a quick 7-10 minute flight to a nearby island, even for just a day trip!
If you are the type who likes to explore independently, it is also possible to bring your own bikes to Roosevelt Roads and spend hours exploring the open roads (either on bike or on foot) and appreciating the biodiversity of this unique habitat. There are beaches to explore and many paved roads for biking and walking. You can even see parts of the base that are no longer in use and imagine what life used to be like for the U.S. navy members and their families who lived there.
Roosevelt Roads is open from 8:00am until 6:00pm daily.