Can someone explain to me what the deal with the disconnect is? I'm trying to get to this island in a couple of days and the first thing I read is that I might have might neck cut, but then the "Stay safe" section makes an absurd (?) claim that the island is safe. So in short I want to know how likely am I, a gringo, going to have my neck cut into? -- Sapphire • (Talk) • 09:17, 12 April 2007 (EDT)
Very safe--some petty thefts.
This is a TWO PART response. Vieques is a very safe Island. I never felt physically threatened at any time. I found the people to be very friendly and helpful. When we were in the grocery store, they would strike up a conversation, give us tips on things, etc. We walked along the sidewalks at night without trepidation.
NOW, there IS a problem with petty thefts out at the more remote beaches. There are groups of teens and others who will come out to the beach area and hide in the underbrush. When individuals leave their stuff on the beach/in the rental vehicle (usually a traker that doesn't lock) and head into the water or to walk along the beach, these individuals will come out of the brush and steal cameras, credit cards, cash, jewelry, and etc. They don't confront you--they just take your stuff and then sneak back into the underbrush.
THUS, you can feel safe--but don't leave valuables/license/passport/etc in vehicle or on your chair. If you were at South Beach in Miami, your car would lock securely--that isn't likely here. If you were in Daytona or Myrtle Beach, you might cover some stuff with the edge of your towel assuming the folks beside you would see anyone strange who came by---but there are few people nearby....and there is much more disparity in income here than on the mainland.
GO TO VIEQUES--or send me your plane ticket so my wife and I can go! We LOVE IT!--Mwpyle 19:44, 25 May 2007 (EDT)
This story ends with a man (either the owner or an employee) shouting across their Vieques Car Rental parking lot that he hoped I died in a car accident, but before that punch line, here's how the story began:
My husband, 6 year old daughter, and I rented a car from Jock Aikman (the new owner of VCR) Tuesday April 5th 2011 and the car literally almost killed my daughter.
We made this reservation back in Feb, so this was not a case of a "last minute - we'll take whatever you have" situation. We have rented from them before, but did not realize they had switched owners and locations. As we are familiar with Vieques and the general "beater" condition of rental cars there, we are not too particular about our vehicles, with safety being our only true concern.
When we arrived at Vieques Car Rental - in their new location - it was a tiny metal hut, locked tight. Nobody was there despite the fact that the owner or main employee knew we were coming as I called him when we left the mainland. He or his employee (we didn’t catch the man's name) arrived 25 minutes later and he spent another 15 minutes arguing with somebody on his cellphone before he got around to our paperwork.
Then he showed us the jeep - really old, in bad shape, bald tires, no a/c and it smelled like something had died inside the car (turns out there was a dead rat under the hood). He said this was all he had and we had no other option, so we took it. Ironically, he made us sign an agreement to keep the doors locked and wear seat belts at all times.
I say ironically because the car doors would not lock and the seat belts wouldn't buckle, which is how my daughter very nearly fell out of the back seat when the rear door flew open unexpectedly when we made a turn. I’ll never forget the look of panic in my daughter’s eyes as her new hat flew out the open door while she clutched at the end of a broken seat belt, struggling not to slip out the open door. What a nightmare. And the entire car was just rickety and falling apart. There seemed to be no power steering or shocks; the brakes squealed and the headlights mysteriously turned off as if the wiring was loose (much of it was visibly hanging out under the passenger side dash area).
The engine started smoking about 5 minutes into our drive. When my husband finally figured out how to lift the hood, he found the remains of a smoldering dead rat. That was the last straw.
We called the “agency” immediately upon arriving at our rental home and told the owner/employee we would be returning the jeep ASAP as it was unsafe to drive. He said he had no other vehicles and that he was charging us for a day anyway. When we took it back the next AM he demanded my credit card (he already had it from the authorization anyway) but I refused to give it to him, stating that the car was a death trap and there was no way I was paying a dime to smell a stinking dead rat and almost lose my daughter off a cliff.
Astonishingly, he denied any responsibility for the jeep’s condition, stating repeatedly that "nobody tells me these things" about the extremely dangerous nature of this vehicle, implying that it is our duty as customers to somehow psychically divine the crappy condition of his rentals before we drive them, instead of his responsibility to inspect and maintain his cars. Unbelievable.
He kept demanding my credit card, but I just walked out of the shack to the new vehicle we borrowed from the vacation rental we reserved. As I left the shack that's when he shouted across the lot "I HOPE YOU DIE IN A CAR ACCIDENT!!!"
Wow, way to do business Mr. Aikman. I should have called the police as others have done when his cars almost killed them, too (read all the reviews on the various travel websites - it's terrifying what this man is doing). He did manage to charge my card anyway – without my signature, and of course I am disputing this at the moment with AMEX. Thank goodness I used AMEX, they will prevent further brutalization from this “company.”
I believe it is just a matter of time before somebody really does die. We can only pray they goes out of business or this owner/employee gets arrested before somebody loses their life as a result of their careless, negligent, greedy, illegal and grossly irresponsible business practices.
Love the island, but you have to be careful with whom you do business - your life may depend on it.