Vieques, with its pristine beaches, bioluminescent bays, and laid-back island vibe, is a must-visit destination off the eastern coast of Puerto Rico. If you’re in San Juan and wondering how to make your way to this island paradise, this guide is for you. We’ll walk you through all the options available to ensure a smooth and enjoyable journey from San Juan to Vieques.

 

Getting to Vieques from San Juan involves a few steps. Each option offers a different balance of cost, convenience, and time efficiency, so you can choose based on your preferences and budget.

1. Flying to Vieques

The Quickest Route

Flying is the fastest and most direct way to reach Vieques from San Juan. The flight from San Juan Luis Muñoz Marín International Airport (SJU) in San Juan to Antonio Rivera Rodríguez Airport (VQS) in Vieques takes approximately 30 minutes. You can also fly out of San Juan Isla Grande (SIG), approximately a 30 minute flight or Ceiba (RVR), approximately a 10 minute flight. Cebia is a litle over an hour drive from San Juan, depending on traffic conditions.  

 

Airlines and Schedules

Several local airlines operate daily flights to Vieques, including Cape Air and Vieques Air Link. It’s advisable to book your tickets in advance, especially during peak travel seasons, to secure your spot. You can book tickets https://viequesairlink.com/ & https://www.capeair.com/ 

 

You can expect to fly in a small plane close to the pilot, it will look a little like this

Pros and Cons

While flying is the quickest option, it can be more expensive than other methods. However, the breathtaking aerial views of Puerto Rico’s coastline and the convenience of a short travel time often outweigh the cost. Flights one way depending on the airport and refundable/non-refundable range from $49 – $249 and parking is about $8 per day at San Juan Isla Grande (SIG)  or Ceiba (RVR). Parking at San Juan Luis Muñoz Marín International Airport (SJU) starts at $4 per day in the economy lot and increases to $25 per day in the closer lots. Ubers and taxis are easily accessible as well. 

 

It’s also really convenient and easy to fly out of San Juan Isla Grande (SIG)  or Ceiba (RVR) as you only need to show up 45 minutes before your flight and you do not need to pass through security. Yes, you can bring your water bottle. 

 

If you are not a light packer, you may be charged extra for your bags. You will get charged $1 per pound for bags over 25 pounds. These are small planes so this can be a pro or con for you. The seat between 7 and 20 people on each flight including the pilot. 

 

You may even see an iguana on the runway before you take off. It happens

2. Public Ferry from Ceiba

A Budget-Friendly Alternative

The ferry service from Ceiba to Vieques is an affordable alternative to flying. Ceiba is located about an hour’s drive from San Juan. Once you reach Ceiba, the ferry ride to Vieques takes approximately 30 to 45 minutes depending on the ferry.

 

Getting to Ceiba

To get to Ceiba’s ferry terminal from San Juan, you can rent a car, take a public bus, or use a taxi or ride-sharing service like Uber. If you choose to rent a car, parking is available at the Ceiba ferry terminal. There is a paid parking lot if you drive to Ceiba. 

 

It takes a little over an hour to get to Ceiba from San Juan, however, this can take more time depending on traffic. There tends to be more traffic on the weekday afternoons due to commuters and Friday afternoons will be the worst traffic on average. 


You can also make a trip of it. You can stop in Luquillo at the Kioskos for a bite to eat. Take a little detour to El Yunque and see the rainforest. Even if you don’t stop, you will see parts of Puerto Rico outside of San Juan and it is quite beautiful. 

 

You will want to arrive at least an hour before your departure time, but if you do not have tickets, and especially if it is high season, you will want to arrive quite a few hours ahead of time to confirm tickets. 

 

Parking in Ceiba at the ferry is about $8 per day. There are also taxis available when you arrive. You can also catch an uber or taxi from San Juan. It will be a little pricey as it is a little over an hour drive depending on traffic. Commute time traffic can add 30-45 minutes to your travel time. 

 

Ferry Schedule and Tickets

The ferry schedule can vary, so it’s important to check the latest times and availability. Tickets can be purchased online in advance or at the terminal, but buying them ahead of time is recommended to ensure you get a spot, especially during weekends or holidays.

If the tickets are sold out online, we recommend arriving a few hours ahead of your desired departure time (or ideally get them at the port days before to make sure you are confirmed). 

Expect loading and unloading the ferry to look like this. There are a lot more people than the plane and it’s really convenient to allow you to bring things from the main island. Think coolers, large suitcases, animals. If you are moving a lot of “things” the ferry is your best cost effective choice.

3. Private Charter Boats or Flights

For Those Seeking Luxury or Convenience

For a more personalized experience, consider chartering a private boat or flight to Vieques. Several companies offer these services, providing a unique and flexible way to travel. 

 

You can call Vieques Airlink to charter a plane at 787-741-8331. You can also email them at contact@valairlines.com

 

There are various companies that charter boats, the best way to find these is google or google maps. Be prepared for a bumpy ride and most likely unprotected from the sun, however, it can also be fun cause you can stop places on the way for some swimming or snorkeling. 

 

Planning Your Charter

When choosing a private charter, consider factors like cost, group size, and schedule. This option is ideal for those traveling in groups or seeking a more intimate travel experience.

 

Tips for a Smooth Journey

  • Plan Ahead: Regardless of how you choose to travel, booking your tickets or reservations in advance is crucial, particularly during peak tourist seasons.
  • Check the Weather: Weather conditions can affect travel plans, especially for ferries and flights. Keep an eye on the forecast and have a backup plan just in case.
  • Pack Light: If you’re taking a smaller plane, luggage space may be limited. Pack only what you need for your stay in Vieques. If you have a lot of luggage, the ferry is probably a better option for you. 
  • Arrive Early: Give yourself plenty of time to navigate to your departure point, whether it’s the airport or ferry terminal, to avoid any last-minute stress.

FAQs

What’s the most cost-effective way to get to Vieques from San Juan?

The ferry from Ceiba offers the most budget-friendly option, with affordable ticket prices compared to flights. See above for how to get your tickets. You can get tickets for the ferry here https://www.puertoricoferry.com/, book in advanced. If tickets are sold out online, you may have to go to the port to purchase tickets in person. 

 

Can I bring my rental car to Vieques?

Most rental agreements on the main island prohibit taking rental cars on the ferry to Vieques. We do recommend you rent a jeep in Vieques so you can get to all the amazing beaches. You don’t want to be waiting 45 minutes or more waiting on a taxi. Book your rental car ahead of time as they frequently sell out. 

 

We recommend these two local rental car companies in Vieques. https://coquicarrental.com/ or https://islandjeeprental.net/. These are both locally owned. Book in advanced. 

 

Is it better to fly or take the ferry to Vieques?

The choice depends on your budget, schedule, and personal preferences. Flying saves time but is more costly, while the ferry is more economical but requires additional travel time to and from Ceiba. No matter what option you choose, we recommend you book as soon as you know your plans as ferries and planes both sell out. 

Vieques Airlink, flights from Isla Grande San Juan to Vieques and Ceiba to Vieques – https://viequesairlink.com/ 

Cape Air, flights from San Juan Luis Muñoz Marín International Airport to Vieques – https://www.capeair.com/

Puerto Rico Ferry, ferry from Ceiba to Vieques (and Culebra) https://www.puertoricoferry.com/ 

 

Should I stay overnight in Vieques?

We recommend staying at least one night in Vieques as you want to see the brightest bioluminescent bay in the world, Really you could stay for 2 weeks and not see all the beaches and do all the amazing things there are to do in Vieques. 

 

If you are looking for an adult-only resort that is oceanfront and probably the nicest resort on the island, while still being very reasonably priced, the Blue Horizon Boutique Hotel is amazing https://oldcrowhotel.com/.  They have the best breakfast on the island of Vieques by the way 😉 and you’ll have great views. 

 

If you want a family-friendly place with kitchenettes and more space, including a co-working space, pool, bar, rooms with views, restaurant, and bar, check out the https://oldcrowhotel.com/. It is a newly renovated family-friendly and fun place in Vieques. We love it.  All the rooms have balconies a lot of them have great ocean and mountain views. It’s a great place to have a vacation where you can stay longer cause you can get some work done. You may not want to leave. 

 

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