The beautiful island of Vieques is a great travel destination for people looking to unwind, kick back on the beautiful beaches, and let nature take care of them.
If it’s your first time visiting, especially as a solo female traveler, then planning how to get there should be on top of your priority list.
There are two ways to reach the island of Vieques – by plane or by ferry.
Let’s dive deeper into both of these options to help you decide which is better for you.
Traveling By Plane
Taking a flight to Vieques, Puerto Rico is the fastest and most convenient option. It is also a very familiar mode of traveling, so you know exactly what to expect.
There are several flights landing in Vieques from San Juan, Isla Grande, and Ceiba every day. These are usually small flights that seat a maximum of 7 people, and you can book tickets through online portals.
Depending on where you’re flying from, the entire flight can take between 7 to 30 minutes. Flights from San Juan International Airport take longer, whereas flights from Ceiba Airport are usually the shortest.
What Are The Pros and Cons of Traveling to Vieques By Plane?
You get a bird’s eye view of the island location. If you think that pictures of theisland of Viequesare beautiful, imagine what it would look like from the sky! If you’re traveling from San Juan, you’ll get even more time to admire the island from up above.
It’s Quick and Convenient
Flying is one of the most convenient modes of transport, and your trip to Vieques won’t be any different. You can reach the airport, book your flight, and be in Vieques within the hour.
You Can Add It to Your Initial Reservation
Some large airlines allow you to book flights to Vieques as part of your initial reservation. If you take this option, they immediately transfer your luggage, so you can only focus on catching your connecting flight.
You May Need To Book Ahead
Many of these flights take off in small planes with a capacity of 7. If you don’t book ahead, you may not find a free seat for hours or even days, especially during vacation season.
Luggage Costs More
Most flights to Vieques charge extra for your luggage if it weighs more than 25 pounds. Expect to pay an extra dollar for every extra pound of luggage.
It Is Expensive
Flights can be much more expensive, ranging from about $40 to $120 depending on your site of departure. If this is above your budget, you may want to consider catching a ferry.
If you are looking for a convenient flight experience, it’s important to add your flight ticket to your vacation budget so you don’t get blindsided. Being one of the fastest ways to reach the island, most people agree that it’s worth the few extra dollars.
Traveling By Ferry
Traveling by ferry is the most popular way to reach Vieques, mainly due to its affordable price. Ferries run several times a day from Fajardo to the island. They can host a higher number of people for each trip, so you can easily catch one.
The ferry trip costs about $2 per person, and the entire trip lasts about 90 minutes.
What Are The Pros and Cons of Traveling to Vieques By Ferry?
Most travelers heading to Vieques will find catching a ferry much more appealing than flying due to the affordable prices.
There Are Multiple Daily Trips
There are more than five departure times for ferries heading to the island with a ton of seats on each trip, so you can easily find a spot without much trouble.
Priority Is Given to Residents
On rare occasions when there are more passengers than seats, residents of Vieques are given priority ferry rides, so visitors and vacationers may get moved to a later trip or asked to wait until the next day.
You Still Have to Catch a Cab
Fajardo is about an hour’s drive from San Juan, and you’ll probably need a cab ride to get there. Cabs usually cost about $100 so you have to add that to the cost of the ferry ticket.
Ferries Can Be Unreliable
It’s very common for Vieques-bound ferries to be delayed. This may be due to bad weather conditions, technical issues, or other undisclosed factors. As a result, you may arrive later than usual, or get bumped to the next day.
There’s a Lot of Hassle Involved
Because the price is so affordable, everyone will be taking the ferry. That means you’ll have to put up with some discomfort – more so if you have heavy luggage with you. That may not be something you want on a relaxing vacation.
Many people like to combine the two options, take a flight into Vieques, and the ferry back to Fajardo. That way, you only have to pay for the expensive flight once and bear the discomfort of the ferry on your way back.
Tips for Enjoying Your Ferry Trip to Vieques
Your options should not be limited to paying a huge sum of money just to catch a flight. Many people enjoy relaxing and memorable annual trips to Vieques, complete with photos, amazing stories, and new friendships.
If your budget can only accommodate a ferry ticket, don’t worry because we have some tips that will make your trip relaxing and enjoyable just as it would be on a plane ride.
1. Book Your Tickets In Advance
Although there are several daily trips to and from the island, it’s a great idea to buy your tickets early – even before you land in Puerto Rico. That immediately eliminates some of the challenges because you sidestep the long terminal lines and skip straight to your seat.
2. Avoid Busy Times
If you’re only allowed to take vacations at specific times during the year, this may not be an option for you. But if you can, avoid weekends and holiday seasons. Vieques is a popular vacation spot and a ton of people like to visit during these times.
It’s also a good idea to book a morning ferry trip. As we mentioned, non-residents often get bumped to later times so booking a morning trip increases the chances that you’ll get to Vieques on the same day.
3. You May Need More Than One Ticket
Few people know this, but all passengers are required to buy a ticket for their luggage as well. If you’re bringing a beach chair, bicycle or suitcase, you have to buy an extra ticket in advance. If you don’t, you may be denied boarding, which is not ideal when the lines are long.
4. Arrive Early
The best option is to arrive up to 90 minutes early. If you’re coming in from San Juan, you may need to leave very early in the morning, so you have enough time to catch the boat.
If you need to park your car, consider extending your time buffer to 2 hours because you’ll have to pay for a spot before entering the parking lot. As you can imagine, this tends to cause long lines.
You’ll then need to walk to the shuttle stop and ride to the ferry terminal with your luggage. All this takes more time than you might think so it’s important to factor in that extra time.
5. Bring Food and Sunscreen
Take some snacks and a bottle of water with you in case you get bumped down in the ferry schedule. There are virtually no vending machines or vendors around there, and hunger or thirst can make you uncomfortable very quickly.
You also want to add some sunscreen because the best seats on the ferry are top deck. You can feel the wind in your face, gaze out at the beautiful water and relax. Unfortunately, there are no shades on the top deck so you’ll be exposed to the strong tropical sun for the duration of the trip. You don’t want to getsunburned before you even reach the beach!
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6. Arrange Transportation in Advance
Ferries can be unreliable and you may get bumped down, so it’s best to have a taxi waiting for you in Vieques when you arrive. The street in front of the ferry terminal is very narrow and it’s quite difficult to stand by the road and wave down some transportation.
Instead, browse for some reliable taxi service and book a time based on your scheduled departure and the duration of the trip. If the ferry delays, you can always call ahead to reschedule or cancel.
7. Don’t Let The Hassle Ruin Your Fun
Don’t let all the scheduling and waiting turn you off from the beautiful island of Vieques. Once you reach your destination, leave all the stress behind and jump straight into all the fun activities you have planned.
While you’re there, you should also visit Mosquito Bay. It has received many awards for its bioluminescent scenery, making it one of the hottest must-see locations.
For first-timers, a trip to Vieques can be very stressful. But after reading this guide, you now know which transport mode is most suitable for you. The only thing left is to enjoy your visit!