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Friends enjoying Black Sand Beach in Vieques, Puerto Rico
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How to Get to Vieques and Culebra

Two vacation paradises off Puerto Rico’s eastern coast

Home to the world’s brightest bioluminescent bay and world-renowned beaches, Vieques and Culebra are two of Puerto Rico’s most pristine locations. Dubbed the “Spanish Virgin Islands,” these two towns deliver the most laid-back experiences you can find in Puerto Rico with postcard-ready scenery and unexplored (plus less crowded) locales.

Perfect for unwinding and unplugging, Culebra and Vieques will make you slow down and take in the views. Given their undisturbed nature, these sleepy islands house some of the best spots to dive and snorkel. You can spot sea turtles, stingrays, a variety of fish schools and other sea creatures. Be sure to make time for paddle boarding and kayaking as well.

If you’re only visiting Culebra or Vieques on a day trip, you’ll want to hit the award-winning beaches like Flamenco and Zoni in Culebra, or Sun Bay and Playa Negra in Vieques. You can also book a horseback riding tour on the beach and visit old munitions warehouses (now museums) to learn more about these towns’ history. If you opt to extend your stay and are up for a surreal experience, make sure you add night kayaking through the glow-in-the-dark waters of Vieques’ bioluminescent Mosquito Bay to your “must-do” list.

Getting to Culebra and Vieques

The easiest way to get to Culebra or Vieques is by a direct flight from the mainland. Although more expensive (tickets range from $60 to $90 per trip), you can fly out from Isla Grande’s Airport (SIG/TJIG) – a single runway airport in San Juan. Small planes or avionetas depart to Vieques and Culebra a few times a day.

The most popular (and low-cost) option is taking the ferry at the Autoridad de Transporte Marítimo’s (ATM) terminal inside the naval base in Ceiba, about an hour east of San Juan. Tickets range from $2.50 to $3.00 per passenger. Every passenger is allowed one free carryon, but you can purchase tickets for other items such as beach chairs, extra luggage, pets, coolers and more. You can either buy the tickets at the terminal or online. Trips depart from 4 a.m. until 9 p.m., but the itineraries are subject to change.

Helpful Tips to Keep in Mind

You cannot transport your rental car from the mainland to the smaller islands. If you drive to the terminal, you’ll have to leave your vehicle in the parking lot and schedule other methods of transportation. The best way to get around the islands is by Jeep or golf cart, and you can rent them in advance. Taxi drivers are also available for transport.

Ferry terminals can get busy, so it is advised to arrive an hour and a half before the time of departure to guarantee smoother embarking. Be sure to check the weather conditions before arriving at the terminal or the airport for possible cancelations or delays.

Vieques has a small offering of boutique hotels where you can stay. In Culebra, your best bet for accommodations is one of the independent vacation rentals scattered through the island.