Overlooking view of the Culebra Island and its turquoise blue water

San Juan to Culebra (4 Best Ways to Go, By a Local)

Culebra is Puerto Rico’s dream destination for beach lovers, but getting from San Juan to Culebra can be confusing even for experienced travelers.

This small island of Culebra is located on the east side of Puerto Rico, and it’s home to some of the best beaches in Puerto Rico, with crystal clear waters, white sand, coral reefs, and sea turtles.

I’m a Puerto Rico local that’s been to the two municipal islands in Puerto Rico. To help you do the same, I’ve put together a complete guide to getting to Culebra from San Juan, Puerto Rico. Let’s dive in!

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4 Ways to Get From San Juan to Culebra (& Back)

You will find multiple options to get to Culebra from Old San Juan, Puerto Rico. One of these is by taking flights from San Juan to the Ceiba Airport (on the main island) or the Culebra airport (on Culebra island). The other methods involve driving or taking a private shuttle from San Juan to the Ceiba terminal, from where visitors can take a ferry to the island. Let’s look at each method in detail.

From San Juan to Culebra By Car & Ferry

🚍 Best for: Saving money and flexibility
💵 Cost: $$
👉 Where to Book: Discover Cars, Puerto Rico Ferry

View of seats and tables from the interior of a ferry in Culebra
Sit comfortably on the Culebra ferry

Renting a car in San Juan and later taking the ferry from the Ceiba ferry terminal is often the cheapest way to get to Culebra. As of January 2023, people that aren’t residents of Culebra can’t take their cars with the cargo ferry to the small island, so you’ll have to leave your rental car in the terminal and rent another one in Culebra to get around (or take another mode of transport on Culebra). The drive from San Juan takes about an hour depending on the traffic.

Pros of a Car & Ferry: 

  • Freedom to explore before reaching the ferry terminal
  • Comfort and privacy
  • Flexibility 

Cons of a Car & Ferry: 

  • Having to rent two cars 
  • Driving in a foreign country
  • Depending on the ferry schedule 

📚 Related Reading: What to Do in Puerto Rico

From San Juan to Culebra By Airplane

🚍 Best for: Saving time and comfort
💵 Cost: $$$$
👉 Where to Book: Air Flamenco, Cape Air, Silver Airways, Expedia

View of a small aircraft in the land of Puerto Rico
(photo: RaksyBH / Shutterstock)

If your budget isn’t a problem, then taking an airplane is the easiest way to travel to Culebra. Airlines like Air Flamenco, JetBlue, Silver Airways, and Cape Air offer daily flights that depart from the San Juan International Airport and the Isla Grande Airport to the Ceiba Airport or the Culebra Airport. Since tickets can be pricey, you can save money by taking a flight to Culebra and returning by ferry.

Pros of an Airplane:

  • Using only one transportation method
  • Saves time
  • Avoids technical problems with the ferry

Cons of an Airplane: 

  • Pricey
  • Flexibility limited by a scheduled flight

From San Juan to Culebra By Private Shuttle & Ferry

🚍 Best for: Comfort and safety
💵 Cost: $$$
👉 Where to Book: Viator, Puerto Rico Ferry, Luquillo Taxi, Go Puerto Rico Shuttle

View of a white tourist bus in Puerto Rico
(photo: RaksyBH / Shutterstock)

If you’re worried about driving in Puerto Rico, then making the trip between San Juan and Culebra on a private shuttle bus is your best option. You will find multiple shuttle companies that make the route to the Ceiba terminal from different pickup points, including the San Juan Airport and the main hotels in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

Pros of a Private Shuttle & Ferry: 

  • Reach the ferry terminal safely
  • Flexibility with pick up time and locations
  • Cheap transportation method if shared with multiple passengers

Cons of a Private Shuttle & Ferry: 

  • Can’t make stops on the way to Ceiba
  • Pricey if only one person pays

From San Juan to Culebra By Car & Catamaran

🚍 Best for: Taking a day trip
💵 Cost: $$$
👉 Where to Book: Discover Cars, Viator, East Island Excursions

View of boats on the Flamenco Beach and the clear blue sky over it

If you just want to take a quick Culebra day trip instead of spending a few nights on the island, then a Catamaran is your best option. Catamarans are definitely on the high side of the budget if you want to visit Culebra island, but they’re convenient and take you directly to the best of Culebra’s beaches and its smaller islands. Most Catamarans headed to Culebra depart from Puerto Marina in Fajardo.

Pros of a Car & Catamaran: 

  • Quick and simple way to visit Culebra’s highlights
  • Shared group experience
  • Tour and equipment for snorkeling included

Cons of a Car & Catamaran: 

  • Pricey
  • Lack of flexibility to explore

3 Tips For Getting Between San Juan and Culebra

Rent a Car in Culebra

If you choose to take the water route instead of flying into Culebra from the San Juan Airport, you’ll be arriving at Culebra Pueblo, also known as Dewey town. While there are some nearby beaches, and you can take a taxi to Flamenco Beach, if you want to go beach hopping around Culebra, then you’re better off renting a car.

Pack Snacks and Amenities

View of a woman on the shoreline of the Zoni Beach

Aside from Flamenco Beach, most beaches in Culebra lack facilities and food kiosks. Whatever method you choose to visit, make sure to pack everything necessary for a day trip. Check my list of what you need to pack for your Puerto Rico vacation so you don’t leave anything behind.

Book Your Ferry Tickets Online

While using the ferry to move from mainland Puerto Rico to the municipal islands is the cheapest transportation method, it’s also the one with the highest demand, and the tickets at the Ceiba terminal ticket office can easily run out. Make sure to book your tickets in advance through Puerto Rico Ferry

👉 Pro Tip: If you want to visit Vieques too, book a ticket directly from Culebra to Vieques. Traffic between the two islands is less heavy than traffic from the Puerto Rican mainland to any of the two municipal islands. See my post on Culebra vs Vieques if deciding between the two.

FAQs About Getting from San Juan to Culebra

How do I get from San Juan to Culebra?

There are multiple ways to travel between San Juan and Culebra, including taking a flight from one of San Juan’s airports or driving to the ferry terminal in Ceiba and then taking a ferry to Culebra. Visitors that don’t want to drive can rent a private shuttle from San Juan to Culebra.

How long is the ferry from San Juan to Culebra?

There is no direct ferry from San Juan to Culebra. The ferry to Culebra departs from Ceiba and the trip to Culebra takes from 30 to 45 minutes.

Can I fly from San Juan to Culebra?

Visitors can fly from San Juan International Airport or the Isla Grande Airport to the Benjamin Rivera Noriega Airport in Culebra, Puerto Rico, using multiple airlines including Air Flamenco, and Cape Air.

Map of How to Get Between San Juan and Culebra


Now you know all about how to get from San Juan to Culebra and you can enjoy this beach paradise in the Caribbean! Once you return to the mainland, these are the other popular places to see in Puerto Rico.

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