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Revisting the Ferry Service to Puerto Rico from STT question

posts: 66
reviews: 37
Revisting the Ferry Service to Puerto Rico from STT question

Will be St. Thomas in early May. This will be my second trip there so I am looking forward to doing a little island hopping for snorkling/kayaking experiences. In my research, stumbled across "BioBay" in Vieques, PR. Heard about it before, but after seeing Life of Pi, and seeing I will be in USVI during a New moon phase. I am even more determined to go to vieques during my weeklong stint in St. Thomas.

Past forum research regarding this subject it was reccomended to fly. The idea of being on a small sea plane/cessna type plane is terrifying to me. I dont want to kick the bucket on the way checking something off of the bucket list :) Much rather would take a ferry instead. Even if the trip is longer - Ive got time ( 7d on STT). So I must ask - What is meant by " not dependable" Ferry service? What are they notoriously bad for doing?

Will they cancel last minute without notice EVEN if a reservation is made? Or Is it just merely late showing up. Is the ferry service seasonal ( I see it is not currently offered now)? Is their a market to entertain the idea that there may be small private charters boats that will drop me off in time for an evening kayak tour and then maybe pick me up later that evening or in the am.

Sorry to revisit a topic that I may already have found my answer to...but Thanks in advance

St Thomas, VI
Destination Expert
for St. Thomas
posts: 5,142
reviews: 37
1. Re: Revisting the Ferry Service to Puerto Rico from STT question

There probably won't be a ferry by then, so take it from someone who regularly flies to PR on those small planes -Do It! It's an experience like few others.

The planes fly below the clouds, so I've taken great photos from the air with my phone. Such a gorgeous view every flight.

I've posted some on everytrail.com, but that was a LIAT flight. Haven't posted my latest Seaborne pics yet, but they're fabulous!

The small public planes here have excellent safety records. Not sure, though, about the convenience of flying to Vieques from STT. Flights vying STX are more direct.

Ohio
Destination Expert
for Cruz Bay
posts: 4,725
reviews: 6
2. Re: Revisting the Ferry Service to Puerto Rico from STT question

If you want to go to Vieques you're going to have to plan a several day trip. A minimum of two days since you don't like small planes. There is no ferry between STT & SJU. There is a ferry from SJU to Vieques, but you can't possibly get there and back in one day. You can't make a reservation on the ferry. It is first come first serve...., but locals are first. If they sell out to locals, you will have to wait for the next one. I was there (Vieques) in Nov 2011 and it was about a 35 minute flight from SJU (I think. I was talking to a couple on the plane the whole way. LOL), can't imagine how long the ferry would take. Maybe you should plan a seperate trip to Vieques. It's a lovely island.

St Thomas
Destination Expert
for St. Thomas
posts: 10,602
reviews: 16
3. Re: Revisting the Ferry Service to Puerto Rico from STT question

There is not and never has been regular ferry service between the USVI and PR. Occasionally a local weekend service is offered (out on Friday, return Sunday/Monday), usually during the holiday season but otherwise this isn't an option.

Flying is your only option and I'm not sure if there's even a direct flight from STT to Vieques. When I went a few years ago a flight change in PR was necessary - but you can check with Seaborne or Cape Air to see what's available. The bioluminescent bay is an enjoyable excursion but with only one week in STT I don't think it's worth that big of a trip! Not only do you have St Thomas to explore but also St John which is only a 10 minute ferry ride away; and you can take a day charter or a ferry to the BVI if you want more island hopping (passport required for BVI).

St. Thomas
posts: 126
reviews: 1
4. Re: Revisting the Ferry Service to Puerto Rico from STT question

"There is a ferry from SJU to Vieques,"

SJU is the designator for the international airport in San Juan (actually Carolina). The ferry service to Vieques departs from the city of Fajardo, about 45 miles east of the SJU airport location. However, several airlines, with small aircraft, have regular service from SJU, and the Fajardo regional airport (now located on the former Roosevelt Roads Naval Base), to Vieques. The comment is correct about ferries being full to capacity at times, leaving individuals behind to spend the night on Vieques.

Rock Dock

Water Island

Ohio
Destination Expert
for Cruz Bay
posts: 4,725
reviews: 6
5. Re: Revisting the Ferry Service to Puerto Rico from STT question

Rocky Dock - I'm aware there is no ferry from SJU to Vieques. I should have said "there is a ferry between PR & Vieques". I was just trying to make a point using the fewest words. My bad.

Edited: 5:14 pm, December 11, 2012
St. Thomas
posts: 4
reviews: 77
6. Re: Revisting the Ferry Service to Puerto Rico from STT question

There are some regular flights from St Thomas STT to Vieques VQS but they are not on large carriers. Cape Air, Air Sunshine and Vieques Air Link fly there, usually with a stop in St Croix or San Juan. If you have never flown in a small airplane that alone is worth the trip. If you are lucky enough to travel while the whales are migrating you might even get to see them from the air, which would never happen in a 737.

Philadelphia...
posts: 2,377
reviews: 31
7. Re: Revisting the Ferry Service to Puerto Rico from STT question

Tar, there's so many great Islands to visit when you're on STT. You can take the ferry to Jost or Tortola, St. John.

posts: 66
reviews: 37
8. Re: Revisting the Ferry Service to Puerto Rico from STT question

Thanks for all the info. To clarify - This will be my second trip to STT. On my previous trip to STT, I took an island hopping tour to Jost Van Dyke, Tortola, Virgin gorda etc. It was wonderful and I had a blast. I am considering repeating the adventure as this time I will be going with friends who have never been. But I was just interested in seeing something new this time. As spectacular as the BVI and USVI is, I am someone who tries to not return to the same place twice. Vacations are in limited supplymight as well make the most of each one. Also I am staying on STT via a timeshare that I own. So that is why I dont mind "wasting" 1-2 days of time on STT getting to Vieques to do the bio bay.

Next time I visit STT I may likely have the kids and a less than receptive husband in tow- so this may be my 'big break' so to speak.

But thanks. I just wanted to really weigh all of my options with open eyes

posts: 66
reviews: 37
9. Re: Revisting the Ferry Service to Puerto Rico from STT question

Still in the contemplation phase.

I guess I could take a midafternoon flight to SJU. Then hop the ferry to Vieques. Take the tour. Stay the night in Vieques some place relatively cheap. In the morning- take the first ferry back to sju and catch a flight back to STT arriving late afternoon -evening on the second day.

Does that sound logistically reasonable? I know it is a lot to do just for a tour. But not sure I will be back and able to do this anytime soon. We usually trade our timeshare out.

My specific travel dates are May 5-12. Contemplating doing the tour on the 9th. Havent booked one yet. These are all just thoughts now.

St Thomas, VI
Destination Expert
for St. Thomas
posts: 5,142
reviews: 37
10. Re: Revisting the Ferry Service to Puerto Rico from STT question

Since the ferry leaves from Fajardo, you have to get there from the airport, so you'd be spending that much more time just getting to Vieques if you take the ferry.

It would be easier to fly from SJU to Vieques, and you should check all the flight schedules to see if a one or two day schedule will work.