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How to island hop in Puerto Rico

How to island hop in Puerto Rico

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Island hopping in the Caribbean is one of the best relaxing vacations. Enjoying day after day lounging on the beach, now that’s paradise. The best part about island hopping is experiencing new beaches and exploring new areas, yet you still all of your time relaxing. Sound perfect to me!

An island where you should try island hopping at is Puerto Rico. Puerto Rico has nearly 143 minor islands surrounding the mainland. Only two of those islands are inhabited: Vieques and Culebra.

How to get there is sometimes complicated and frustrating, but let me tell you how!

Flights to Culebra or Vieques

If you’d like to get to like to get to the island in 30 minutes flat, take a flight. Flights depart from San Juan airport and go to both Culebra and Vieques. On an initial search, I found roundtrip flights to each island for $100.

If you’d like to find affordable flights, the app/website I use is Kiwi Flights.

Options for getting to Fajardo

If you opt not to fly, you’ll have to take the ferry from Fajardo for both Culebra and Vieques. How you get to Fajardo is completely up to you. Note: there are no buses or other forms of mass public transportation that go to Fajardo, but here are some options.

Rental car

The easiest way to get there is by rental car. You’ll take PR Highway 66 and PR Highway 3 to get there. The drive is a little more than an hour, but it whizzes by fast. The road isn’t very scenic but does go past the El Yunque National Rainforest. Many people visit the rainforest either before or after their adventures to Culebra or Vieques.

If you drive to the ferry you’ll have to pay to park in the parking lot. When I parked it cost $8 to park my car there overnight.

Uber

This is more difficult. While I was in Puerto Rico I met some workers at my hostel who had personal connections with Uber drivers. The drivers would often make trips out to Fajardo and El Yunque Rain Forest is there had a full carload. The only problem was finding a way to get back to San Juan. If you’d like

If you’d like to get a free first ride with Uber, sign up using my referral code: marthal3127ue.

Taxi

To rent a taxi to Fajardo costs about $85 from the San Juan airport.

There also public cars that you can take to the ferry that will take 12 to 15 people. They cost about $20 per person and takes about four hours to get to Fajardo.

From Fajardo to the islands

The ferries to Culebra and Vieques both embark from the Fajardo Port Authority. When purchasing a ticket make sure you specify what island you want to travel to and the time you’ll embark. Note: boarding calls are made in Spanish so make sure you’re in the right loading area by asking the ticket tellers and security, some of which might speak English.

Another note is that the ferry does not travel between Culebra and Vieques. If you want to travel to both islands, you’ll have to venture back to Fajardo before embarking to the next island.

The ferry is a passenger and a cargo ferry. The ferry costs $4.50 round trip to go to Culebra and $4 for Vieques. You can take your car on the cargo ferry for $26 roundtrip to Vieques and $26.50 roundtrip to Culebra. Prices for truck and large cars are a little more expensive. Call or email the office for exact rates (787-494-0934).

Double check the ferry schedule before you embark:

  • Fajardo to Culebra 
    (7 days/week & holidays) 9 a.m. • 3 p.m. • 7 p.m.
  • Culebra to Fajardo 
    (Mon-Fri) 6 a.m. • 1 p.m. • 5 p.m. (Sat/Sun) 1 p.m. • 5 p.m.
  • Fajardo to Vieques 
    (Mon-Fri) 4 a.m. • 9 a.m. • 1 p.m. • 4:45 p.m. • 8:15 p.m. (Sat/Sun/holidays) 9 a.m. • 1 p.m. • 4:45 p.m. • 8:15 p.m.
  • Vieques to Fajardo 
    (Mon-Fri) 6 a.m. • 11 a.m. • 3 p.m. • 6:30 p.m. (Sat/Sun/holidays) 6:30 a.m. • 11 a.m. • 3 p.m. • 6:30 p.m.

If you want to know more about cargo ferry from Fajardo you can read more here.

Getting around Vieques & Culebra

Jeep rentals

On the island tourists, the most popular form of transportation is car rentals, more specifically Jeep rentals. Rentals can be picked up all the airport or at other hot spots around the island. Rentals generally are around $66 a day. There is a discounted rate for weekly rentals.

Golf Cart rentals

Golf rentals are ideal for tourists who aim to bum on the beach during their stay at Culebra. Rentals come in at around $50.

Bicycle rentals

This is my favorite way to get around the small island. Bike rentals start at $20. This is a great way to get from beach to beach and cruise down some of the streets in Culebra.

Scooter rentals

This is similar to golf cart rentals, but are a bit cheaper. Call companies for specific rates.

Publicos/taxis

If you’d like the convenience of being picked up and not having to worry about parking. The white vans coast up and down the streets ready to take tourists wherever they’d like to go. The fares are usually a few bucks, depending on where you request to go.

If you’d like to read a funny story about my experience with the publicos in Vieques read my journal entry from February.

For specific rental companies to rent from in Culebra view the Culebra Tourism website. For specific companies to rent from in Vieques view the Vieques Tourism website.

 



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