An Island Hop From Puerto Rico – Here’s What I’m Thinking

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Are you thinking what I’m thinking? No not that, I’m thinking about a day trip / island hop from Puerto Rico.

I’ve taken Mrs. Weekly flyer to Puerto Rico a few times for several different reasons. It never matters what the reason is for the visit, we’ve always had a good time when we’re on or near the island because it’s a good feeling were only a short hop back to a tried and true island with tons of things to do.

One time we visited the old Hyatt at Dorado Beach the hotel was so old and out of date we left and went to the Ritz carlton San Juan, the hotel with arguably the best casino on the island.

Another time we left the Westin St John after a horrible few rooms that all smelt of mold, again we went to the Ritz San Juan and had a great time.

A few more visits, one on the way back from Anguilla and another to check out the St Regis on Bahia Beach.

Each time, whether a stop on an island hopping trip or a visit to the island in and of itself, the island never ceases to come through with a good time.

So for our next trip to check out the renovations at the Ritz and to hit up a little casino action, we’re kicking around the idea of taking a day trip in one of the small planes that takes you to a neighboring island of Culebra or to the west coast.

So since this is one thing we’ve never done in Puerto Rico, I’d like your opinion. I’m all for sitting around by the pool or beach with a drink in hand, but I’ve heard great things about a quick day trip to Culebra.

Would love to hear your thoughts if you’ve ever been to Culebra or another part of Puerto Rico. Where did you go and how was the visit to Puerto Rico?

If you haven’t, is there a spot on the island or nearby part of Puerto Rico that you’ve always wanted to visit, even if just for the day?

Editorial Note: Opinions, analyses, reviews or suggestions expressed on this site are those of the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed.

About The Weekly Flyer

The Weekly Flyer writes about travel from a business traveler perspective. He travels the world every week accumulating points and miles along the way.

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  1. I did 5 days in San Juan and a day and a half trip to Vieques last September. It was beautiful and I wish I had some more time on the island. The W Vieques was awesome for the short time I was there, although the food on the property was okay for the value. I would have ate off property.

    I also had a friend who did the day trip to Culebra and very much enjoyed it. I would recommend you do one of the two and also try to go to a biolumiscent Bay if you haven’t been.

  2. While I have never been to Culebra I have heard great things about it. They have a bio-bay adventure in or really near Culebra that you could check out. We read online that you need to get on the ferry early to make it over there and get on the ferry early coming back to the mainland to keep from staying there. We went to Fajardo, which is basically on the way to Culebra, and did a bio-bay tour with Kayaking Puerto Rico We kayaked out into the bay and had a great time. If you go, I would suggest going a little early to find the little park where they are located because it was further out than we thought. We had an amazing time once we found the place though. The another thing that was adventurous and fun was the Tropical Trail Rides in Isabella on the West Coast . They have great horseback rides on the beach and we hear fun ATV rides too.

    Both of these places have great reviews on Yelp and Tripadvisor so check them out. Have fun.

  3. I took 2 of my boys to Puerto Rico in March and we had a blast. My one regret is that we didn’t get to the docks early enough and the ferry to Culebra sold out so we ended up going to Vieques instead. Beautiful beaches on Vieques but I would definitely do Culebra for Flamenco Beach if I were you! It has been rated top 5 many times by many publications.

    If you want a great calm beach on the main island checkout Luquillo Beach – it is the calmest and clearest on the main island as it is protected by a reef.

  4. My wife and I just did a day trip to culebra. We decided to take a catamaran tour from Fajardo. We went with the SS Tobias. We went to a cove on one side of the island and snorkeled for about an hour, then they took us to Flamenco beach. We had about 1.5hrs there to snorkel or swim to shore and walk along the beach. We opted for the beach. It was fantastic!
    We did not want to try our luck with the ferry, as I heard bad reviews.
    For the rest of PR, we did a day trip to El Yunque, then headed to luquillo beach in the afternoon. One evening we also went to pinones and had a very authentic experience at one of the roadside shacks.
    One last thing, if you rent a car, don’t go with dollar! Had a terrible time with them. Felt like they took advantage of us.

  5. Been to both Culebra and Vieques multiple times. Truly gems.

    I wouldn’t go to either for less than 1.5 days. Ideally, Culebra deserves 2 or 3 nights at the least, Vieques probably 4-5 nights.

    Culebra is much smaller. No major hotel brand, not much night life. Amazing pink sand beach (Flamenco) and several other pictureque beaches. Great snorkeling. Not much nightlife. There are bikes for rental and public vans that will take you around the island for $1 or so.

    Vieques is my preferred of the two. Its much larger, has a W (though also has some great guesthouses), and some amazing beaches. Half the island is a nature preserve, so renting a Jeep is a must. There is kayaking, paddleboarding, snorkeling, and the famous bioilluminescent bay. Agree w the other comment on the W’s food being dissapointing, however there are other incredible places to eat (El Quenepo).

    If your budget can afford it, fly. The ferry is a pita. If you need to cut corners, drive to Ceiba (near fajardo) and fly from there rather than from sju. A rt ticket from ceiba will cost something like $60.

    Let me know if you have specific questions. I’d be more than happy to help.

  6. Just came back from PR/Vieques trip. As others posted, food at W Vieques is ok but would eat off the property. Next Course is the restaurant that serve sublime and very refined food for the palate. Biobay on Vieques is currently on restricted use – Fri, Sat, Sun only with 50% reduction in group size – HAVE to plan in advance. We couldn’t get in and instead went to the Las Croabas bio bay on the main PR island near Fajardo with Yohaku Kayak tours -$45 pp. Two bio bays are comparable now in luminosity. We didn’t chance the ferry but took a puddle jumper for $60 pp from Isla Grande airport with Vieques Air link – it felt like an island hop pre 9/11 – no security going both ways 🙂

  7. Culebra is DEFINITELY worth it. I went there like 10 years ago and found it to be one of the nicest beaches I’ve been to. I would watch out for sand fleas though. They’re pretty much everywhere in PR.

    There’s also a bio-bay in La Parguera, which IIRC is closer to SJU than Fajardo. It’s more of where the locals go, as well. I’ve never been to Vieques so I can’t speak to it.

  8. The BioBau at Vieques just lots it’s biolinescence. Experts aren’t sure why but they’re hoping the plankton will get it back together. Very sad since the island’s been running a campaign to get their sparkly bay declared a UNESCO World Heritage site.

  9. I live in PR and, of course, I’ve been to both islands. Since you said it would be a day trip, I would recommend Culebra. Much smaller and easier to explore in limited time. Vieques is really beautiful and has beaches as good or better than Flamenco. The thing is that they are somewhat unknown and mainly on grounds that belonged to the US Navy so many people fear they are contaminated with military waste. Also, Vieques is a much larger island and thus, has more nightlife. I would recommend at least an overnight there.

    BTW, don’t limit yourself to the tourist section of Isla Verde and Condado in San Juan. There are so much more great places to visit in the island. Many people tend to day trip to the eastern part of the island (El Yunque, Fajardo, etc.) but forget about the western part of the island which is really beautiful (Cabo Rojo, Mayaguez, Rincon, Aguadilla). Hope this helps.

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