Catch the Ferry from Ceiba to Culebra or Vieques
For as long as we can remember, the ferries that service Culebra and Vieques have operated out the ferry terminal in Fajardo. But starting October 2018, all ferries will be operating out of the new ferry terminal in Ceiba. There is also a contract with Puerto Rico Fast Ferries, who will operate their ships. These faster, modern ferries, coupled with the shorter route between Ceiba and Culebra/Vieques, will reduce the travel time needed to make the crossing.
All ferry operations have now been moved from the old ferry terminal in Fajardo to the new ferry terminal in Ceiba. There are still many bumps in the road, and schedules and the availability of ferries changes almost on a daily basis. This article covers what we know so far. We’ll update it as more information is made available.
The new ferries will be operated by Puerto Rico Fast Ferries, LLC, under contract to the Puerto Rico Maritime Transportation Authority (MTA). Puerto Rico Fast Ferries will operate two passenger ferries: the Schoodic Explorer, with capacity for 149 passengers, and the Big Cat, with capacity for 377 passengers(however the Coast Guard has only approved about half of that capacity). Additionally, there will be two cargo ferries: Mr. Evan, with capacity for 77 passengers and 16 vehicles, and Mr. Cade, with capacity for 68 passengers and 16 vehicles. The passenger ferries are already here in Puerto Rico, and are running. The cargo ferries are awaiting changes to facilities before they can run, so the cargo ferries of the PR ATM will be in use until that time. Note- there are fewer seats available for passengers than we had with the ATM run ferries, so there may not be room for everyone that wants to use them.
The PR ATM will still be in charge of the operations (ticket sales, schedules etc). They may also be using their boats when needed. .
The Ferry Terminal
The terminal building and parking lot are located on Marina Drive in the old Roosevelt Roads Naval Base.
Ticket windows are located on the outside wall, waiting room for 400 people, restrooms and a concession stand for snacks/drinks are inside.
Passenger Ferry Schedule
For reasons I can’t figure out, the ferry schedule changes often. I can’t find an official schedule of changes, but somehow people on the Vieques Culebra Ferry Watch page get the info and posts it. Check https://www.facebook.com/groups/256688161171128/announcements/ before your trip.
The passenger ferry for Ceiba (as published by DTOP on Jan 9, 2019) is …
- Ceiba to Culebra
(7 days a week) 6:00am • 10:30am • 3:00pm
- Culebra to Ceiba
(7 days a week) 7:15am • 12noon (sometimes it is 12:15pm) • 4:45 pm
- Ceiba to Vieques (Isabel Segunda)
(7 days/week) 6:30am • 9:30am • 2:15pm (sometimes it is 2:30pm) • 4:30pm
- Vieques to Ceiba
(7 days /week) 7:45am • 10:45am • 3:30pm • 5:30pm
The cargo ferries current schedule (may change!). Passengers are allowed on these trips:
- Ceiba to Culebra
(7 days/week & holidays) 4:00 am • 9:00am (or 9:15am) • 3:00pm • 7:00pm
- Culebra to Ceiba
(7 days/week) 6:30am (sometimes 6am) • 1:00pm (sometimes 12:45p) , 5:00pm • 8:30pm
- Ceiba to Vieques
(7 days a week) 4:00am • 9:00am • 1:00pm• 4:45pm • 8:15pm
- Vieques to Ceiba
(7 Days/week) 6:00am (or 6:30am) • 11:00am • 3:00pm • 6:30pm, • 9:30pm
Check our cargo ferry articles for other info about the the cargo ferry.
The crossing with the new PRFF ferries from Ceiba to Culebra should take about 45 minutes on the passenger ferries, while the crossing from Ceiba to Vieques should take about 30 minutes on the new passenger ferry. The ATM cargo ferries will take a little longer- about 45 mins to Vieques and about 1.5 hrs for Culebra. For now, the Vieques route will be to Isabel Segunda/Town pier (some time in the future, they will be using the Mosquito Pier) and Dewey in Culebra.
Can I Take My Rental Car to Culebra or Vieques?
The short answer is “No”.
There are two types of ferries that run between Ceiba/Culebra and Ceiba/Vieques — passenger ferries and cargo ferries. The passenger ferries carry passengers only — no cars. The cargo ferries carry both passengers and cargo (including cars). But, before you get all excited and think that you are going to save a couple bucks by taking your rental car over to Culebra or Vieques — think again. The cargo ferries are not intended for tourists. There is limited room that locals need for transportation and supplies. They do not provide reliable tourist transport and most car rental contracts prohibit taking rental cars off of the island of Puerto Rico.
Buying Tickets for a Passenger
For now, ticket prices are the same for everyone (locals and tourists)
A one-way ticket to Culebra costs $2.50 per person. A one-way ticket to Vieques costs $2.00 per person. . Kids 3-11 years old and seniors 60-74 years old cost $1.00 per person, seniors 75 years and older are free.
Ticket sales are still being handled by the PR MTA. Purchasing tickets will still have to be done, in person, at the ferry terminal ticket window. We have not heard any plans for online ticket sales. Ticket window opens 1 hr before each scheduled trip.
For more info on routes and times and other ferry related things, call 787-497-7740 .
Directions to the Ceiba Ferry Terminal from the San Juan Area
The Ceiba ferry Terminal, as well as the Ceiba Airport, is located in the old Roosevelt Roads Naval Base in Ceiba. If you already know where the Ceiba Airport is, then finding the Ceiba Ferry Terminal will be easy for you.
Drive-time from the San Juan (SJU) Airport to the Ceiba Ferry Terminal is about 75-90 minutes.
If traveling to the ferry terminal from the San Juan area, you’ll want to take Route 26 east to Route 66 east to Route 3 east (toward Fajardo). Route 66 ends on Route 3 in Río Grande, so you’re taking Route 66 to the end. Note that Route 66 is a toll road, and an AutoExpreso transponder is required for the tolls.
Continue east on Route 3 toward Fajardo. Once in the Fajardo area, Route 3 becomes Route 53. Once you’re on Route 53, you’ll want to take Exit 2 at KM 1.4 (which is before the first toll booth). This is the exit for the Puerto del Rey Marina and the Ceiba Airport. At the end of the exit ramp, turn left under Route 53, then continue straight. This will put you back on Route 3 heading south. Then, really all you need to do is follow the signs for the Puerto del Rey Marina and the Ceiba Airport. Continue on Route 3 past the Puerto del Rey Marina on your left.
You’ll continue on Route 3 to KM 52.4, where you’ll turn left onto Tarawa Drive. Landmarks here include a solar farm on the right, and the “Bienvenidos Ceiba” sign in the photo above. Continue straight on Tarawa Drive until you arrive at the guardhouse at the entrance to the naval base. If there is a guard, just tell them that you are going to the ferry.
Once through the gate, follow the brown “Ferry” signs — At the first V, you’ll go left onto Forrestal Drive. At the second V, you’ll follow the road as it curves to the left. At the third V, go right. Then, finally, turn left onto Marina Drive. Continue on Marina Drive until you come to the parking area and blue DTOP ATM building on your right.
There is a large parking lot next to the ferry terminal, it costs $5 plus IVU per day.
You can bring coolers, beach chairs, beach umbrellas, snorkel gear, etc. with you. The coolers and large things will be stored away from the seating areas — usually outside and/or in the front or the back of the boat — the crew will tell you where to put the items, and you have to go pick it up on the way off the ferry. There is a charge if you have extra stuff, just a buck or two each – supposedly only “one bag” per person allowed. Tell them what you are bringing at the ticket window, or you will have to run back and pay the additional fee before they allow you on the ferry. Animals are allowed on the ferry if they are in a crate or cage and you have paid the fee for them. Bikes are only allowed on the cargo ferry.
The trip over can be a little rough. Sea sickness bags are available on-board. If you are prone to motion sickness, take sea sickness medicine at least one hour before boarding the ferry so that is ready to work when you need it. Sometimes the seas are flat, and sometimes they’re not. I find the westbound trip back from Culebra/Vieques to be less rough than the eastbound trip to the islands.
You can refer to the Departamento de Transportación y Obras Públicas Facebook page for more information or to get answers to your questions (they do respond to messages sent through there).
We are in the process of updating the maps we use on our web site. While we're working on that, you can click on the GPS coordinates below to view the location on Google Maps ...
- Ferry Terminal, Ceiba: (18.230020, -65.618120)
- Ferry Terminal, Ceiba parking: (18.231330, -65.620210)
- Ferry Terminal, Culebra: (18.301423, -65.302541)
- Ferry Terminal, Vieques: (18.152438, -65.442971)
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