Based on my experience, and a little research in advance, we found this to be a very economical way to travel between Puerto Rico and Culebra. I understood that we would need to get to the ticket office early to make sure that we had seats, and so we did, and we always got tickets.
We visited Culebra twice during our Puerto Rico stay and arrived at the ticket office an hour early both days to get our tickets. Culebra clearly had more passengers than Vieques and having to wait an hour or longer to board wasn't ideal, but for such a cheap travel option, it is hard to complain.
Our tickets were $2.25 each, and there was an additional charge for items brought aboard (umbrellas, coolers, bags, etc), so our total cost per person averaged $5, still a bargain. We were fortunate on our first trip to get the large ferry that was a cat, that ran about 40 knots, so the trip there took only 45 minutes or so. On the second day, we had a smaller ferry, and the trip took twice as long. But again, the scenery is beautiful, there is indoor air conditioned seating, and outdoor seats on the deck, so we just sat back and enjoyed the ride. In fact, on the slow ferry return, we witnessed a stunning sunset that we otherwise would have missed. One of the employees mentioned that the large ferry was only under contract until December, and then it would be the small ferry exclusively, but I can't confirm that. I will say that the employees were very friendly and courteous.
There are no drinks or food available to purchase on board, but there are a few options at or near the terminal. You can also eat and drink (non-alcoholic) your own items on board. There are restrooms available on board as well.
The seas were not rough for us on either day, but on our first trip the boat did roll based on the waves, so if you are susceptible to sea sickness, I recommend taking something beforehand.
The schedule for the ferry is:
Fajardo to Culebra (7 days/week & holidays)
9:00am • 3:00pm • 7:00pm
Culebra to Fajardo (7 days/week & holidays)
6:30am • 1:00pm • 5:00pm
Fajardo to Vieques (7 days/week & holidays)
9:30am • 1:00pm • 4:30pm • 8:00pm
Vieques to Fajardo (7 days/week & holidays)
6:30am • 11:00am • 3:00pm • 6:00pm
Parking in the ferry parking lot costs $5 per day, but doesn't have the most efficient pay system. You take a ticket when you enter, but can't pay until you return, which requires waiting in a long line with everyone else from the ferry. Then you use your new paid ticket to exit the parking lot.
So don't be in a big hurry, take the opportunity to enjoy the views, and you should have no problems.
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