View of a rental car in the middle of a nature reserve in Vieques Puerto Rico

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

So you’re planning a trip to Puerto Rico, looking to add Vieques to your itinerary, but you’re stuck on the part of how to get from San Juan to Vieques?

Lucky for you I’m a Puerto Rico local that’s been to Vieques! I’ve put together my best travel advice to answer all your questions about traveling from San Juan to Vieques to help you get there safe and sound. 

While it takes some effort to get to, you’ll find tons of things to see in Vieques. It hosts the brightest bioluminescent bay in the world and beautiful beaches, but getting to Vieques might be confusing for first-time visitors.

Let’s dive in! 

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

There are multiple ways to reach Vieques from San Juan and the best option will depend on your schedule, your budget, and your flexibility. 

The easiest and fastest way is to take direct flights from the San Juan Airport to the Vieques or Ceiba airport. If instead, you choose the land transportation methods, you will get to Ceiba, and from there, you’ll need to take an airplane or a ferry to Vieques. Let’s look at it in detail.

From San Juan to Vieques By Car & Ferry

🚍 Best for: Freedom to Explore
💵 Cost: $$
👉 Where to Book: Discover Cars, Puerto Rico Ferry

View of people taking a ferry in Ceiba
Take the ferry in Ceiba

One of the most convenient ways to move between San Juan and Vieques is by renting a car for your Puerto Rico trip. Getting your car rental provides comfort and flexibility to make all the stops you want before reaching the Ceiba ferry terminal, or to continue to other destinations on your Puerto Rico itinerary afterwards. This is also a decent budget-friendly option, as the ferry is only $4 a roundtrip. The big downside is that you’ll need to leave your car at the ferry terminal while on Vieques.

To find the best deals on rental cars in Puerto Rico, try searching the Discover Cars rental car comparison site.

🚗 Rental Car Warning: As of March 2022, you can’t take cars from the main island to Vieques, unless you’re a resident of the municipal island. If you use the ferry, you’ll need to leave your rental car at the Ceiba terminal, pay for parking, and rent another vehicle when you reach Vieques. 

Pros of a Car and Ferry: 

  • Comfort and flexibility
  • Can take the ferry at any hour without worrying about transportation
  • The cheapest way to get to Vieques

Cons of  a Car and Ferry: 

  • Renting two cars
  • Leaving one car rental on the ferry terminal

From San Juan to Vieques by Airplane 

🚍 Best for: Saving time and comfort
💵 Cost: $$$$
👉 Where to Book: Vieques Airlink, Cape Air, Expedia

View of a small plane in Vieques and the clear blue sky above it
(photo: RaksyBH / Shutterstock)

The easiest and fastest way to get to Vieques is by plane. Multiple flights leave from the San Juan International Airport and the Isla Grande Airport directly to Vieques. While this is the easiest and fastest way to travel the island, it isn’t very budget-friendly. Tickets to Vieques Airport can cost the same as an entire ticket from New York to Puerto Rico!

👉 Pro Tip: Vieques Air Link in the Isla Grande Airport often offers cheaper flight prices than major airlines in the San Juan airport. You can save money on your ticket by booking your flight to Vieques from this small airport and choosing the ferry for your return trip.

Pros of an Airplane: 

  • Travel directly from the San Juan Airport to Vieques
  • Avoids Traffic
  • Only one method of transportation to reach Vieques 
  • Saves time

Cons of an Airplane: 

  • Pricey
  • Have to follow the airplane schedule

From San Juan to Vieques by Private Shuttle & Ferry 

🚍 Best for: Comfort
💵 Cost: $$$
👉 Where to Book: Viator, Luquillo Taxi

View of people walking in the ferry terminal in Vieques
The ferry terminal in Vieques

If you’re not a fan of driving in Puerto Rico, one of the best ways to get from San Juan to Vieques is through a private shuttle or taxi. While travelers will still need to take the ferry to Vieques, they won’t have to worry about getting lost, paying tolls, or pumping gas. This is also a great return option for people that take a flight to Vieques.

👉 Pro Tip: Divide the price of the private shuttle between multiple passengers to pay a cheaper fare for your trip.

Pros of a Private Shuttle & Ferry: 

  • Travel safely and comfortably
  • Shuttles are flexible with pickup and drop-off time
  • Avoid driving in a foreign country

Cons of a Private Shuttle & Ferry: 

  • Pricey
  • Can’t make stops in the way
  • Share shuttle with strangers

From San Juan to Vieques by Car & Catamaran

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

View of small boats during sunset in Catamaran

If instead of spending a few days in Vieques, you want to take a day trip to the island, a Catamaran trip is a great option. Catamarans leave Fajardo, and they take travelers to the best beaches of Vieques and Culebra for snorkeling and diving.

Pros of a Car & Catamaran: 

  • Travel safely and comfortably
  • Makes a day trip easy
  • Avoids the ferry problems

Cons of a Car & Catamaran: 

  • Pricey
  • Can’t see much of Vieques

3 Tips For Getting Between San Juan and Vieques

Rent a Car in Vieques

The author beside her rental car in Vieques

Whether you’re reaching Vieques via the ferry terminal or through the airport, you’ll want to rent a car. While there is public transportation on the island,  a car will give you flexibility and freedom to explore. As of March 2022, the cargo ferry only transports vehicles of Vieques citizens and you won’t be able to take your rental car with you to Vieques.

Book Your Ticket Online

During the high season, the ferry tickets to Vieques run out quickly. If you’re planning on visiting Vieques during your trip to Puerto Rico, visit Puerto Rico Ferry and book your ticket in advance. The same applies if you’re looking to go from San Juan to Culebra on the ferry.

👉 Pro Tip: The weather conditions and technical problems with the ferries can affect the ferry schedule and make wait times longer. Avoid booking your trip to Vieques too close to the date of your return flight to your country. Vieques is a destination best visited at the start or middle of your itinerary for Puerto Rico.

Stay Overnight on Vieques

Unlike most major cities in Puerto Rico, Vieques is a hassle-free destination. But, getting from San Juan to Vieques and back can be exhausting. Book a night in one of the many hotels and apartment rentals on Vieques so you can enjoy its top attractions like the Mosquito Pier and Mosquito Bioluminescent Bay without any rush.

Check out my guide to the best places to stay in Vieques (and be sure to reserve in advance).

🛎️ Need a Hotel? The Bravo Beach Hotel is a family-friendly hotel, within walking distance of the ferry terminal and just a few minutes from the beach. 

FAQs About Getting from San Juan to Vieques

How long is the ferry from San Juan to Vieques?

The ferry to Vieques leaves from Roosevelt Roads in Ceiba, and the trip takes between 20 and 45 minutes. 

Can you take a ferry from San Juan to Vieques?

There is not a direct ferry from Old San Juan to Vieques. The terminal of the ferry to Vieques leaves from Ceiba. To get from San Juan to the Ceiba terminal, visitors can rent a car or take a private shuttle. 

How do you get from San Juan to Isla de Vieques?

Visitors can take a flight from the San Juan International Airport or the Isla Grande Airport to the Vieques Airport to visit Vieques island. Other options include renting a car or a private shuttle from San Juan to Roosevelt Roads in Ceiba and later taking the ferry to Vieques.

Map of How to Get Between San Juan and Vieques

***

That’s the complete guide for getting from San Juan to Vieques. Whether you’re taking flights from San Juan International Airport or taking the ferry, Vieques is one of Puerto Rico’s destinations you can’t miss. 

If you still don’t know what to do on the island, check my guide to the fun activities to do in Vieques.

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2 Comments

  1. Thanks for the info! I will be following links! Questions: 1. Could you potentially rent a golf cart instead of a car on Vieques? 2. Are there ridesharing services (like Lyft and Uber) on Vieques and/or San Juan you could use to get from San Juan to the ferry and around in the island once you reach Vieques?

    1. You can rent golf carts, but the best beaches are better reached by car. That said, lots of people use the golf carts – just ask for one with the bigger tires. I don’t think there is lyft or uber on the island, but there are a lot of local cabs you can call – be prepared to pay cash.

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