Save yourselves from headaches and stomach aches. DON"T take the ferry unless you just gotta......it can be quite an economical experience! But when first arriving after a full day's travel via jet, we opted to take MNAviation (a small 9 seater Cessna Caravan) from San Juan Airport to Vieques Airport. $150 round trip, and so worth it both coming and going, especially when hauling around luggage! We found MN Aviation had the best weight limit, (important for those of us who don't know how to pack yet) and they also had a great schedule.
The "lancha" or ferry to the islands of Vieques and Culebra is an always favourite of locals. The cost is minimal ($ 2.00) and duration of trip is about one hour. The only drawback is how sensitive you may be to rough waters. Usually waves up to 5'-6' assure you a comfortable ride. Above that (not frequent but not impossible either), you are on your own. No reservation are available (only reservation is for cargo/vehicle ferries) and the ticket booth opens about one hour before next departure. Be aware places maybe limited and weekend crowds are likely (specially Sat morning and Sun afternoon). Weekdays are usually pretty quiet.
Departures to Vieques: Mon.-Fri. 9:30am, 1:00pm and 4:30pm.
Sat.-Sun. and Holydays 9:00am, 3:00pm and 6:00pm.
Departures to Fajardo: Mon.-Fri 6:30am, 11am and 3pm
Sat,Sun and Holydays 9am, 3pm and 6pm
You can get to vieques if you take a small plane either from san juan (it will cost you about $140 for a round trip) or from Fajardo ($40 for a round trip and a 8 minute flight) or by ferry from fajardo for only 2 dollars. However if you choose to arrive in the ferry you must know that it will take more than an hour to get to the island.
Only two ways of getting to Vieques - by Air or by Sea. A ferry runs between Fajardo on the mainland and Isabel II. The ferry does carry cars, so I imagine it is possible to fly into San Juan, rent a car there, and then take the ferry over to Vieques. I prefer to fly from San Juan over to Vieques, and then rent a Jeep from the locals. Here's a picture of a plane that Vieques Airlink Uses. The flight takes about 15 minutes from SJU to Vieques, and costs about $135-$175 round trip. The ferry is much cheaper than that.
You can either get there by plane or ferry. We flew because of limited time. It's $80 R/T from Isla Grande airport in Old San Juan (this is not the International airport!).
Rent a car to see the whole island. Try to reserve one before coming as they may be rented out.
Avoid Vieques Car Rental at all costs! I booked two jeeps from Vieques Car Rental for a week--one jeep for 7 days and one for 6. I've rented cars all over the world & am used to a 'day' starting at the time you pick up the car and being charged an additional day if you return the car more than a half hour after this time on a subsequent day. A man from Vieques Car Rental brought the first jeep to our villa with a contract that said it was an 8-day rental. He said he couldn't change the terms of the contract, so I wrote beneath my signature that I agreed to all except for 7 days, not 8. I later called Allen, the owner, who after much ado about this, agreed that it would be 7 days. The next day when the second jeep was brought to the villa, that contract said it was for 7 days instead of 6. I, again, signed, noting that I was agreeing only to 6 days on this jeep. Later, Allen appeared at the villa saying he was taking his jeeps back because "no one dictates policy at my company--I do." He noted I had originally said I would be returning the jeeps at 3:00PM on the final day and that any return after 12:00 was associated with an additional day's fee. when I pointed out that I was never informed of this policy, he said it didn't matter; he was taking his cars back & would charge me for one day, and I could find a rental elsewhere but he knew that there were no more rentals available on the island. I said, "OK, charge me for 8 and 7 days each." He refused. I told him we had a signed contract and that I was holding him to it. He said he didn't have to abide by it and he would call the police. I told him that I thought calling the police was a fine idea. He left at that point. What I didn't know was that he had additional keys and drivers and proceeded to take both cars. We ended up hiring local drivers with a van that accommodated our party of 9 people whenever we needed it and saved a lot of money.
There are a few companies that make daily flights to Vieques from San Juan. We chose Vieques Air Link. The price was $153.00 each, for a 22 minute flight. VAL also has a 25 pound maximum luggage restriction. I was told that you could pay 60 cents per pound for anything over the 25 pounds. Since we were only spending two days in Vieques, followed by 6 days in San Juan we decided to pack two separate bags. After arriving in San Juan we took the larger of our bags to the hotel. We then returned to the airport with a duffel bag for the two day visit. It was only a small inconvenience since we were staying very close to the airport.
The roads to the beaches are not paved, filled with holes, and very bouncy! We rented a small jeep from Steve's for 45.00 per day. The jeep had definitely seen better days, but got us where we needed to go.
Paperwork and formalities are not really an issue in Vieques. It was at our hotel when we arrived (paperwork in the car), and we left it at the airport when we left (paperwork in the car). It must work for them!
BE SURE to reserve a 4-wheel Jeep or similar a couple of weeks prior to visiting Vieques. If you don't have wheels, you will miss so much. The publicos are few and far between and not to be depended on. There are many isolated and secluded beaches that can be reached only by 4-wheel drive if has been a little rainy. There is so much to see, but not a lot of rental cars available. Be prepared to spend $60 per day, pricey but necessary. We were very pleased with Martineau Car Rental (across the street from the Wyndam).
We flew direct from San Juan to Vieques. 25 minute flight on a 8 seater! I love this type of flying.
North Shore Rd, PO Box 1374, , 00765, Caribbean
Good for: Business
Just wanted to add a picture of our room. we had one of the standard suites..this is the living...more
PO Box 124, Isabel Segunda, Puerto Rico, 00765, Caribbean
Good for: Solo