Recently I decided to spend my vacation in Puerto Rico, for the first time ever. And since I often forget to check the weather before I make plans, I happened to book this trip during the week that Hurricane Dorian was passing through the Caribbean! But, fortunately, it passed right on by. Whew.
Before arriving, I searched everywhere for routes and instructions on how to get to Cayo Icacos online. And to my surprise, most of those directions turned out to be totally wrong and outdated!
I couldn’t even get clear guidance on how to get to Cayo Icacos from Puerto Rico’s own official website! Furthermore, I couldn’t even find mention of Cayo Icacos Island on Puerto Rico’s tourism website! What gives?
So my trek becomes your fortune since during my trip to Puerto Rico I blazed a trail to Cayo Icacos and traced all of my steps. Which I now pass along to you!
As a quick note, if you’re worried that the beaches are in ruins after Hurricane Maria, from what I saw, they are doing just fine. And in case you have any doubts, I went ahead and added a few pictures that I took during my trip.
So, to help out my fellow travelers and tourists, I made this list with the most current and accurate directions, along with a few important travel tips. These are all the steps you’ll need to get to the beautiful Cayo Icacos island and have an amazing trip!
For those who are familiar with Puerto Rico, you can get to Cayo Icacos by taking a water taxi or boat charter ride from the docks of Las Croabas in Fajardo. The boat rides are about 15-20 minutes long and launch every 30 minutes to an hour. The docks at Las Croabas are about a 60-minute drive from San Juan or a 2.5-hour drive from Aguadilla by car.
If you need the step by step directions, here you go:
1. Rent a Car! Don’t Waste Money on Taxis.
If you are wondering, “Should I rent a car in Puerto Rico?” Yes, if you are planning to go beyond the local areas and travel around the state to remote locations like Cayo Icacos, Yunque Rainforest, Vieques, or any other popular tourist destinations. It doesn’t matter which airport you arrive in because none of them are close to where you need to be to get to Cayo Icacos by public transportation.
Then of course you might ask, “How to rent a car in Puerto Rico?” You can easily find all of the common car rental agencies just a few steps from the arrival exits at San Juan airport!
Here you can find a bunch of car rental agencies all ced into one are and some pretty competitive prices. I found some cheap deals running from $35 per day and up in price. So be sure to shop around.
And don’t worry about toll roads, they only cost a couple of dollars. But I recommend that you avoid them to take the more scenic route. Use the drive to see the sights and stop by some of Puerto Rico’s great local restaurants!
If you do decide to get an Uber, you would likely end up paying an arm and a leg due to the long driving distances. And if you get a private driver it would still be more expensive than necessary, unless you’re a baller and that’s just how you roll. So I highly recommend that you rent a car, it’s the most economic option.
Quick Tip: If you are booking your stay near San Juan’s airport, then you are looking at a short 1-hour drive to the boats that go to Cayo Icacos Island. However, if you plan to stay closer to Aguadilla airport and return to the west coast, then I recommend that you book a hotel for a night in the Fajardo area. That would be a long and tiring round trip drive to fit into one day!
2. Avoid Fajardo Port. There are NO ferries there to Cayo Icacos!
Yes, you heard me correctly. Despite what you heard from the various outdated pages online saying that you can sail from Fajardo port, there are no passenger ferrie at Fajardo Port that go to Cayo Icacos island.
Now Fajardo port is limited to commercial charters. The passenger ferries that used to launch from here were moved to Ceiba port.
Don’t be like me and waste your time driving there only to be turned away by the one lonely security guard that is posted there to protect the chained up gates. There are absolutely no passenger boats here or staff of any kind to even help you get to the right place!
3. Go To The Docks of Las Croabas, Fajardo
If you want to get to Cayo Icacos, you need to get to the town of Las Croabas in Fajardo! Forget the port of Fajardo. And especially forget the idiots at Ceiba Ferry port (I’ll tell you more about that later).
At las Croabas you will find all of the easy options for Water Taxis and private catamarans available for rental to get you over to the islands of Cayo Icacos and even others like Culebra and Palomino islands!
Here is a picture of the road when driving into Las Croabas.
If you need precise driving directions, here is a custom google map of the driving route from Aguadilla and San Juan airports to Las Croabas.
4. Find Free Parking Near The Docks of Las Croabas
Once you arrive on the strip near the docks of Las Croabas, you can find free street parking if you turn to your right just off the main road.
Here you can also find public bathrooms with outdoor showers behind them. There are a few restaurants in the area that are convenient but are pricey.
5. Choose a Water Taxi or Boat Charter To Take You To Cayo Icacos
Once you are in Las Croabas, take your pick of many different water taxi options, and probably some private charter boats or catamarans. The prices of water taxis are generally $25 per person. Boats generally leave every 30-60 minutes, and the ride is about 15-20 minutes. Private charters are on your schedule!
After looking through reviews online, it seems all of these water taxis have very nice crews, the same prices, and good service. Some also offer different add-on options for beach equipment like umbrellas and snorkels. I read somewhere that some even have food packages.
Here is a custom google map that I made with a list of all of the water taxis in Las Croabas, Fajardo.
I happened to use Captain Mingo, since it was the only nearby boat with availability, and it worked out great. Which is much more than I can say for my horrible experience at Ceiba Port. Where their idiotic staff ruined my planned trip to Vieques, by not alerting me that my ferry arrived until AFTER it departed! Hence my 1 Star Yelp Review.
6. Reserve a Water Taxi or Boat Charter, or Just Show Up.
It is the safer play to call ahead and make reservations with one of the water taxis or boat charters. This will guarantee you a seat at the time you want to depart and also this may be best if you travel here during a busy season.
If you have a big group, then you definitely want to make a reservation. These water taxis aren’t all that big, some maxing out between 10-20 seats! In my case, I was lucky enough to show up just when the boat was being boarded, and since they had 2 seats to spare the captain let my girlfriend and I hop on board.
Perhaps it was luck or the slow season, or he just wanted to make an extra buck. Whatever the reason was, it just showed me that you don’t have to book ahead if you’re flexible.
There are many water taxi services in this area so if you don’t find availability on one, the odds are in your favor to find space on another. And it’s also nice to take a walk through this quaint little seaside town. There are a few local restaurants that you can grab a bit eor drink at while you wait for your boat to launch!
Important Questions About The Water Taxis to Cayo Icacos
How long the water taxi ride is to Cayo Icacos? The water ride is about 15-20 minutes long, and there are no stops along the away. But if you charter a private boat, you can request stops along the way for some recreational swimming in the ocean.
How often do water taxis arrive for pickup and drop-off passengers? Water taxis tend to come to pick up or drop off new passengers every 30 minutes to an hour.
The boat captain will tell you the schedule when you board, and you can choose what time you want to be picked up. Although you can technically hop on the boat to return anytime there is space, they typically plan to pick people up after a 4-hour stay on the island.
When does the last boat arrive for pick up and drop-offs? Boats want to pickup passengers from the island before the sun sets. So they will stop dropping off passengers to Cayo Icacos around 4 PM. Then they will start picking up the remaining passengers to return to the mainland around 5pm to 6pm, before the sun sets.
The water taxi captains are pretty flexible so you can just tell them when you want to return and they will try to squeeze you in if there is space.
If you are into sharing a ride or want a VIP experience, here are the main differences between a private charter and a water taxi to help you decide:
Important Things You Should Know About Private Boat Charters to Cayo Icacos
The best thing about the private charter is that it’s all yours for your entire stay at Cayo Icacos island. This is ideal if you are with family, a large group, or just willing to pay the premium for comfort.
A charter boat will sit with you by the shore of the island, allow you to blast party music, pop bottles, etc. But I do recommend buying and bringing your own party supplies and drinks rather than paying a markup on the boat for it.
Charter boats are the more convenient options since the boat is on your schedule. It will come and go according to your preferences. But the last departure time will likely still be before sunset as the water taxis’ are.
Here’s a picture of a charter boat docked at Cayo Icacos in the background, and some of the great friends that we made while in Puerto Rico greeting us when we arrived!
Important Things You Should Know About Water Taxis to Cayo Icacos
Water taxis are small and packed to capacity with guests. So it’s good to make some new friends, but not so good if you hate being in close proximity to strangers.
Water taxis drop off and pick up guests on a set schedule. So be sure to check what that is with your captain and agree to those times.
While Water taxis are the cheaper and less luxurious option. They aren’t fancy, comfortable, or luxurious. But it only costs 25 bucks and it’s a 15 minute ride, so take it for what it is.
7. Bring the Essentials! Cayo Icacos is an Uninhabited Island.
Cayo Icacos is an uninhabited island with absolutely no facilities on it, as you can see in my picture below. That means there are no vendors, restaurants, bathrooms, or showers! They don’t even have garbage cans, so please clean up after yourself.
So that you can be more prepared than I was, here is a quick list of 10 recommended items that you should definitely bring on your visit to Cayo Icacos:
10 Items You Should Take To Cayo Icacos Beach
1. Food, and plenty of it to last for your entire visit.
2. Plenty of water.
3. A beach umbrella for the strong sun. (There aren’t any trees to hide in the shade under, you will get a sunburn.)
4. Water Shoes for the rocky areas.
5. Beach Towels.
6. Snorkel gear. (There are plenty of fish to see if you find yourself a quiet area where the boats aren’t docked.)
8. Waterproof speakers. (There were other boats when I arrived playing loud music, so feel free to bring your own!)
9. Lots of sunblock.
10. Beach toys. (Unless you just like to lay on the beach and snorkel, you might get bored.)
8. Find The Best Areas to Snorkel Further Down The Shore.
From what I saw, Cayo Icacos is a good beach to snorkel on, but perhaps not the best. If you are looking for huge fish and turtles, I hope you can find them because I couldn’t.
However, when I explored a few different areas farther down the shore I found some fishies hiding away amongst the more rocky areas on the far end of the beach. These areas are more treacherous for boats to dock, so they aren’t around to scare the fish away.
Lastly, pictures just don’t do it justice. So here’s a video of my trip to Cayo Icacos beach!
Well, there you have it. This is the most current and complete firsthand directions to Cayo Icacos that you will currently find online. If anything changes please feel free to let me know and I will update.
If this article helped you out, please share this article, drop a comment, and/or tag me in your awesome photos on IG. Not only will I get a warm and fuzzy feeling inside, but I’ll also write more articles like this!
Enjoy your trip, my friend
Puerto Rico has implemented many safety precautions during the pandemic. So be sure to check their inbound tourism travel advisory for updates!