Taking the ferry in Puerto Rico

The Ultimate Guide to Taking the Ferry to Vieques, PR

Taking the ferry to Vieques is an affordable and efficient way to get to that lovely island. There are a few things to know to make this journey seamless. Let’s get to it!

Why take the ferry? Cost is a significant factor. A round-trip flight can cost several hundred dollars, and a round-trip ferry ride is less than $10. (We’ll break it down at the end.)

Essential Details for the Ferry to Vieques

Booking your passage on the ferry to Vieques

The ferry to both Culebra and Vieques departs from Ceiba. Your best friend will be the Puerto Rico Ferry website and the City Experiences app in the app store. 

You should book your ferry tickets as soon as they are available. The ferries are used by residents and tourists alike, so don’t expect just to show up and grab a ticket. You can book your tickets seven to eight weeks in advance. The schedule changes throughout the year, and some passages are cargo only. The ferry passage times might be limited when you’re there, so read the website carefully.

The cost for adults is $2 each way and $1 for seniors and children. Taking luggage, coolers, bikes or other items can cost $1 to $2.

You can’t take a rental car on the ferry to the island. Check out our Eight Day itinerary for more info about renting a vehicle in Vieques!

Plan on arriving at the ferry terminal an hour before your boarding time. Your boarding time and your departure time are also an hour apart. Boarding closes 10 minutes before departure. 

How to get to the ferry terminal in Cieba

Where you stay in Puerto Rico may determine how you choose to get to Ceiba and can also affect whether you fly or take the ferry. 

If you’re staying in Old San Juan or near that side of the island, it’s an hour’s drive to Ceiba. You have three options:

  1. Take a taxi to Ceiba: From Old San Juan to Ceiba is approximately $100, give or take, each way.
  2. Rideshare to Ceiba: From Old San Juan to Ceiba is approximately $60 to $100 each way, depending on the time of day and availability.
  3. Rent a car and drive to Ceiba.

Or you can fly straight to Vieques or Culebra from San Juan Airport: $200 to $350 on average per person for a round-trip flight.

We chose to rent a car. We rented a small SUV through Enterprise for $345 for seven days. 

Renting a car gave us the flexibility to see a bit more of Puerto Rico, such as El Yunque, the only tropical rainforest in the U.S. National Parks System, and Fajardo, a cute little seaside town not far from Ceiba, where we stayed the night before our ferry ride to Vieques took a bio-bay tour. For all of the details, check out the full itinerary of our trip to Puerto Rico. 

The Ceiba Ferry Terminal – Taking the ferry to Vieques, PR

After we left Fajardo, we grabbed a quick coffee and breakfast at a cute little cafe and headed to the ferry terminal. We chose the 1 p.m. departure, and because I am a strict rule follower, we planned to arrive at 11 a.m., an hour before boarding. In retrospect, we probably could have come later, but I wasn’t sure where we needed to park or how busy it would be. My reasoning for arriving early, as they advise on the website, is that we would be assured our spot if we are checked in for the passage early. What can I say — I really wanted to get to Vieques! 

The ferry terminal is easy to find via any map app. If you’re taking a taxi or ride share, this is where they will drop you off. If you drive, you’ll pass the ferry terminal and keep going about a quarter of a mile down the road. You’ll see a parking lot on your right-hand side; turn right into that lot. There was a tent at the entrance, where we paid for parking. We paid with a credit card; the cost was $30 for two nights. There was ample parking. 

A shuttle runs from the parking lot to the ferry terminal, or you can walk if you are so inclined. We waited for the shuttle. The shuttle didn’t have a lot of room for luggage, so keep that in mind. The shuttles seemed to run with frequency. Since we were there so early, we had no problems getting on the shuttle and getting to the ferry.

The ferry terminal in Cieba has restrooms (the nicer portable ones in a trailer, like at some music festivals) and vending machines for snacks and drinks. There is plenty of seating and lots of shade. If you’re a visitor, you will sit in the visitor section. Residents have their own section, and they’ll board first. You’ll line up your suitcase with everyone else’s and grab it before you board. There are plenty of people working who can help you out. 

An hour before departure, they will begin boarding, again, starting with residents. Once residents are on board, then the visitor’s board. 

I had my digital tickets in my Apple Wallet and also in the City Experiences app. They scanned without issue. Another reminder: If you try to buy tickets at the terminal, you’re not guaranteed passage. Planning ahead will help ensure you don’t run into issues.

As you board the ferry, you’ll be directed to the luggage hold, which is a small room where everyone puts their bags and other gear. 

There is seating on the lower or upper level, which is enclosed and air-conditioned. There is no eating or drinking on the ferry. There are restrooms. 

The passage takes about a half hour to get to Vieques and goes quickly. 

When it is time to disembark, you wait to get your bag and follow the stream of people off the ferry. 

When you arrive in Vieques, the ferry terminal is quite crowded with people. If you plan on getting a taxi or have scheduled a car, the road is quite congested. 

We booked an ATV in Vieques, which I highly recommend. Driving around the island on an ATV is a little nerve-wracking, but many people do, and we had fun with it!

Vieques Ferry Terminal

The Vieques ferry terminal is smaller but has restrooms and a bar next door. Before returning our ATV, we grabbed some beers and snacks at a gas station and cracked them open at a picnic table next to the terminal. It was a nice place to sit until boarding, with a view of the water, chickens and roosters running around keeping us company. 

So how much time does the ferry take?

Parking and taking the shuttle or walking to the ferry terminal: 15–30 minutes

Presenting a ticket and entering the boarding waiting area: 5–10 minutes, depending on the crowd

Waiting for boarding (because we arrived super early): 35 minutes

Boarding: 45 minutes

Ferry passage: 30 minutes

Disembarking: 15 minutes

Approximately 2 hours and 45 minutes

It took us approximately 3.5 hours to get from our accommodation in Fajardo to our accommodation in Vieques.

Flying might be a little faster, but for the cost difference and the added experience of taking the ferry, I will always choose that $2 ticket! 

Want more information about Puero Rico? Check out our Eight Day Itinerary to Puerto Rico, Our packing list for Puerto Rico and 13 Tips for your trip to Puerto Rico.

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Although we strive to provide the most current information, bars, restaurants and attractions mentioned may close at any time, operate with a limited menu or reduced hours, or have takeout options only. We recommend checking individual websites for operating hours and updates before visiting.

The views expressed on this website represent the opinions of the authors; we encourage you to form your own opinions and confirm any facts.

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