How Much Do You Tip A Driver To The Airport Vieques, Puerto Rico – Getting There, Part 1

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Vieques, Puerto Rico – Getting There, Part 1

Getting to Vieques from the States is easy and can be very cheap. It’s more difficult than flying to the Florida Keys and no more difficult than traveling to almost any other island in the Caribbean. Here are a few tips on how I do this when I travel back and forth.

For starters, Puerto Rico is a US commonwealth, and currently American citizens do not need a passport to enter or exit. That will change eventually, but we’ll get to that later. No matter where you fly from in the States, you book a flight to San Juan International Airport (SJU). Almost every major east coast city has direct flights to San Juan several times a day, and it is served by half a dozen airlines, including American and United.

Book the earliest flight to San Juan. If you’re coming from east coast cities like New York or DC, you can easily arrive before lunch. This will give you plenty of time and opportunity to get to Vieques that afternoon.

There are two ways to get to the island: by flight or by ferry. Let’s start with the second one. The Vieques ferry is located in Fajardo, thirty-five miles from San Juan, and departs several times a day. From San Juan airport, you will take a publico taxi van to Fajardo. There is a public stand outside the baggage claim area of ​​the airport. The trip currently costs $80 and takes between forty-five minutes and an hour, depending on traffic. Here’s a quick note: San Juan taxi drivers can be crazy. If you’re a soldier returning home from convoy duty in Iraq, you’re in for a treat. For the rest of you, take a Valium and stand up. Taxi drivers speak English and you should tip them. I’ll give you an extra $20 if we don’t kill anyone along the way.

Once you arrive in Fajardo, you will be dropped off at the ferry terminal. You’ll want to buy your tickets right away. Ticket agents are located in a smaller building directly opposite the main terminal. It can be a very chaotic scene on this small street, so show the taxi driver where to go.

The ferry costs just $2 per person one way, but you may be charged for an extra ticket if your luggage is too big. Always keep your bags with you. Robbery is rare here, and there always seem to be a few cops hanging around the terminal, but don’t tempt the occasional fool. If you have a large group and bags, send one person to buy tickets for everyone, but show the group to the agents. They will determine if you need additional tickets for your bags. Don’t try to hide a large shipment without paying. It won’t work, and you’ll probably miss the boat on it.

Plan to be at the terminal and in line at least an hour before departure. The ferry is first come, first serve, and once it’s full, they leave. Boarding the boat is chaotic at best and locals will make their way in front of you to be the first. Don’t be offended by this. The ferry is a lifeline for Vieques. Many locals work in Fajardo, not to mention go to school, go to the doctor, and shop on the main island. They all want to go home to their families, and they’re not motivated just because you’re a gringo tourist. Keep a smile on your face, but be persistent and you’ll get your spot.

Ferries rarely leave on time, but usually leave within half an hour of schedule. If you are prone to seasickness, sit on the upper deck for fresh air. The main cabin is air-conditioned like a meat locker, and in rough water you’ll want your eyes on the horizon. Depending on sea conditions, the trip usually takes about an hour. You will arrive at the Isabel Segunda terminal north of Vieques. If you need a taxi to your hotel, you’ll find several public places to park on your right.

Using the ferry adds more effort and uncertainty to your trip to Vieques, but at $2 per person it’s a steal. If you have a party of four, you’ll spend about $25 per person including the taxi ride from San Juan. If you fly, you will spend at least $90. I’ll go over some flying tips in Part 2.

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