How to get to Vieques and Culebra in Puerto Rico

Are you planning a vacation to mainland Puerto Rico and want to include the smaller islands of Vieques and Culebra as part of your visit? In this blog post we’ll discuss how to get to Vieques and Culebra. Including both ferry and flying options, while identifying the most affordable and the fastest ways. In this travel guide we’ll also cover other detailed information you need to help plan a successful trip.

How to get to Vieques and Culebra

Both Vieques and Culebra Island are located off the eastern coast of Puerto Rico mainland. They are close enough where you can actually see them from the shore. And they both offer beautiful remote tropical beaches.  So deciding between the two, on which one to visit is a tough choice.

There is only one airline, Vieques Air Link that will take you from Culebra to Vieques, and that’s only available on the weekends. And unfortunately they no longer offer the Sunday ferry from one island to the other. So, getting from Culebra to Vieques without having to travel back to the main island of Puerto Rico, isn’t that easy. Therefore, most people just choose to visit one island over the other. 

Differences between Vieques And Culebra – Which one To visit

Vieques and Culebra are part of the Spanish Virgin Islands. Which means they are islands that belong to the Commomwealth of Puerto Rico. There are about 20 small islands located off the coast of Puerto Rico. The largest and most popular are Vieques and Culebra with some lesser known islands such as Culebrita, Palomino Island, and Cayo Lobo Icacos.

There are however a few key differences between Vieques and Culebra. 

Culebra Island 

The island of Culebra is the smaller of the two and located 17 miles off shore. Culebra offers a more laid back lifestyle.

Culebra is also known for its beautiful world-renowned beaches. You can snorkel and swim with sea turtles in the crystal clear waters of Flamenco Beach and Playa Tamarindo.

As Culebra beaches are some of the best beaches on the island, however there isn’t much else to do. And therefore if “beach” is your ultimate goal, Culebra would be a great choice. 

Vieques Island

Vieques on the other hand is located 8 miles off shore, is larger than Culebra and offers much more to do. On Vieques there are two small towns: Isabel Segunda and Esperanza.  Both small towns offer a variety of accommodations and restaurants. Although we preferred the town of Esperanza if you plan to stay overnight.

On the beach in Vieques

Other than beaches, Vieques is known for its roaming wild horses and also the world’s brightest bioluminescent bay. So, it’s worth an overnight trip to see the Bioluminescent Mosquito Bay. Overall, there is more to do on Vieques.

How many days to visit Vieques and Culebra

Most people visit the islands on day trips. And some stay overnight for a day or two.

However with all the other things to discover in Puerto Rico, I think a Culebra day trip or a Vieques overnight trip is the best way to experience either small island. Especially if this is your first time visiting.

How to get to Vieques and Culebra 

There are two ways to get to Vieques and Culebra: by ferry or flight. Unfortunately driving is not an option. Because there is not a bridge connecting either island to the mainland.

By water, you can ride the public ferry, take a private charter or take a group tour.

And by air, you can fly by a small commercial plane or hire a private charter.

How to get to Vieques and Culebra by Ferry 

Getting to the Ferry

The ferry for Vieques and Culebra is located in Ceiba, on the east side of the island. If you fly into San Juan International Airport, the Ceiba Ferry Terminal is located about 40 miles away, however the drive can take up to 90 minutes with traffic.

If you rent a car you can drive it to the Ceiba terminal. However, only residents of Culebra or Vieques are permitted to take their vehicles on the cargo-ferries. So, you will need to leave it in the parking lot for the duration of your stay.

Another option for transportation to the ferry is a taxi driver or transportation company. They will both take you and pick you up if you arrange it with them. 

How to get to Vieques and Culebra

Ferry Tickets

To get tickets for a ferry ride you need to first visit the Puerto Rico Ferry website or download the app. There you can check the ferry schedule.

You can purchase ferry tickets online and ahead of time about a month or so before your departure date. With that being said, only a select number of tickets are even released online. So, if you know you’re planning to go, I would recommend watching the site and purchasing in advance. Because the popular days and times always sell out. 

Otherwise, you will need to visit the ticket window in person to purchase your ferry tickets. Most days there are walk up tickets available. However on weekends, holidays and high season, they may sell out. So, I would try to purchase in advance, to avoid the stress regarding if you can get tickets.  

There are two types of ferries: Passenger Ferry and Cargo Ferry. As a passenger, you are permitted on both passenger ferries and cargo ferries. Ferry tickets are sold in one way segments ($2 each way per person) and include one piece of luggage. So you you will need to purchase tickets for additonal personal items such as additional luggage, coolers, beach chairs, bikes, crated pets and etc.  

The Ferry is the most affordable way to get to Vieques or Culebra. However, the ride can vary from calm to rough seas depending on the weather conditions. So, if you tend to get sick, you should come prepared with motion sickness medicine.

The ferry ride is about 40 minutes to Vieques and 55 minutes to Culebra. However these times vary and only include your time at sea, not transportation or boarding time.

How to get to Vieques and Culebra by Flight 

Another other way to get to Vieques or Culebra is by flying on small planes. This is definitely the fastest and easiest way to get to the islands. And it offers the best views. It is however more expensive. 

How to get to Vieques and Culebra

There are plenty of commercial daily flights with over 90 direct flights per week operated by 4 different airlines including Jet Blue, Cape Air, Air Flamenco and Vieques Air Link. Flights are available from San Juan Airport, Isla Grande Airport and Ceiba Airport. 

The short flight ranges in price from $49 up to $150 for a one-way ticket, with some airlines charging a fee for additional luggage. The option of a round-trip flight is also available.

Airport Locations

There are 3 three airport locations that offer flights to both Vieques and Culebra.

  • San Juan International Airport
  • Isla Grand Airport
  • Ceiba Airport

It depends on your location and travel itinerary as to which airport is best.  As both San Juan International and Isla Grande are located in the Metro area. So those airports are convenient to the metro area and those who just flew into Puerto Rico.

And the Ceiba Airport is located on the east side of the island near the Ferry terminal. So, this is better if you’re based on the east side of the island, want to find a less expensive flight or want the full experience with using both ferry and flight.

Below you will find a list of commercial flights from each location. Charter flights are also available from the following providers: Air Flamenco, Tradewind Aviation, Air Margarita, and Air Sunshine, if you prefer that instead.

Flights to Culebra

Luis Muniz/San Juan International Airport Flights: 30 minute flight time

  • Cape Air
  • Jet Blue

Isla Grande Airport Flights: 30 minute flight 

  • Air Flamenco
  • Air Vieques Link

Ceiba Airport Flights : 15 minute flight 

  • Air Flamenco
  • Air Vieques Link

Flights to Vieques

Luis Muniz/San Juan International Airport Flights: 30 minute flight

  • Cape Air
  • Jet Blue

Isla Grande Airport Flights: 30 minute flight 

  • Vieques Air Link

Ceiba Airport Flights: 15 minute flight 

  • Vieques Air Link

Other Options to get to Culebra And Vieques 

In fact, if all this information feels overwhelming, you can always hire a private tour or join a guided day tour to visit either Culebra or Vieques. That way you won’t have to plan anything, and you can just show up.

On the other hand, if you need help putting together an amazing Puerto Rico itinerary, please contact me so we can work together!

Transportation on Culebra and Vieques

Another item to consider when planning to visit Culebra and Vieques is transportation. The islands do not have ride share options, but they do have taxis. And while taxis are great to get from one point to another, they are not the best option if you plan to explore all around the island.

Upon arrival, I would recommend to rent some kind of transportation, either a rental car or a golf cart. You should budget about $100 a day for the rental. And trust me, you really need transportation if you plan to visit any of the remote beaches.  There are numerous rental companies on the island. However, I would reserve in advance because they do sell out, especially during high season.

Rentals on Culebra

  • Choco’s Bronco Rental
  • Carlos Jeep Rental
  • Jerry’s Jeep Rental
  • Culebra UTV Rental

Rentals on Vieques

  • Bravos Boyz Rent A Car
  • Fun Brothers
  • Island Jeff Rental
  • Maritas Car Rental
  • Scotters
  • Vieques Car Rental

In Summary

I hope this blog post answered all your questions about on how to get to Vieques and Culebra. Enjoy Puerto Rico, it is a wonderful place to visit.

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