Our privacy and seclusion means it’s important to think about transportation when planning your visit with us; there are no taxis in the middle of the rainforest. We do recommend renting a car for the duration of your stay at the Rainforest Inn, as it proves most reliable to have your own form of transportation (and usually most cost-effective, too). Luckily, though, other forms of transportation to points of interest on - and around - the island continue to improve.
On the Island
The San Juan Airport has car rental on site. Some rental agencies also operate individual locations around the island.
Before you decide what rental agency to book with, consider whether or not you will visit the smaller islands of Vieques or Culebra, and whether or not you will just do a day trip or stay for longer. Only Enterprise and Avis have sites for rental car drop off near the ferry and airport terminals servicing these islands (more on this below in “Off the Island”). Avis will take you to either the local ferry terminal or airport at no charge after you drop your rental off at the Ceiba Avis Rent-A-Car. (We are currently looking into whether Enterprise also offers free transportation to the terminal and airport. Stand by.)
Payless rentals often have good rental car prices, but do not have a location in Ceiba.
Über, a ride-sharing app available for smart phones, does operate on the island. However, there are not always drivers available for service to the Inn; it’s hit or miss if a car will come out at the time you request a ride. When available, rides to surrounding attractions, such as Luquillo Beach, usually cost $15+ one way. Rides between the Inn and San Juan (one way) are typically $40-$50 at non-surge hours.
Guaranteed service in San Juan. Taxis do operate in and around other regions of the island, such as Fajardo. We personally love Manny, a local taxi driver who offers service to nearby beaches and restaurants for less than the price of an Über! He lives close to us and can get to the Inn very quickly. Contact him at (787) 615-2879.
The public transport in San Juan Metro Area is great, with the option of a free trolley and a bus as well as being safe enough to travel by bike. Outside this metro area, there is no public transportation system for the island.
Guided tours to attractions in San Juan and other locations around the island exist, and we have many to recommend. Check out our Attractions page, or contact us directly for more specifics. In most cases, though, you must provide your own transportation to the meeting point. And, typically, our adventurous guests prefer the self-guided, as well as the out-of-the-way, attractions we can recommend.
Off the Island
If you want to visit some of the smaller islands off the eastern coast of PR, consider taking a ferry, the cheapest option. The old ferry service to Culebra and Vieques operated from Fajardo, but privatized and relocated to Cieba in October 2018 (blog post regarding this coming soon!). This new service travels a shorter route than before. The Cieba Ferry Terminal is about 40 km and just under an hour drive from the Inn. The Ferry Terminal and parking lot are located on Marina Drive in the old Roosevelt Roads Naval Base. Ferry tickets should be purchased on the outside wall. Arrive at least an hour early to guarantee you get a ticket, then check out the interior of the terminal, which houses a sometimes-open, sometimes-not concession stand and restrooms. The “waiting area” is open air; you must have a ticket and go through a brief security check to reach this area.
A one-way ticket to Culebra costs $2.50 per person. A one-way ticket to Vieques costs $2.00 per person. Buying a roundtrip ticket saves you 50 cents, but you must declare the exact time and date of your return to Cieba. There are further discounts for seniors and children. There are additional charges for big items that you bring with you, such as large suitcases or beach chairs. Currently, all tickets must be purchased in person at the ferry terminal. There are both passenger and cargo ferries operating from this terminal, but tourists can usually only secure transport on the passenger ferry, whose schedule is below. Do not plan on taking your rental car with you, even if it was possible to secure passage on the busy cargo ferry. Travel time to and from Culebra is approximately 45 minutes. Travel time to and from Vieques is approximately 30 minutes.
The passenger ferry for Ceiba (as published by DTOP on 30 October 2018) is …
Ceiba to Culebra
(7 days a week) 6:00am • 10:30am • 3:00pm
Culebra to Ceiba
(7 days a week) 7:15am • 12noon • 4:45 pm
Ceiba to Vieques
(7 days & holidays) 6:30am • 11:00am • 3:00pm
Vieques to Ceiba
(7 days & holidays) 9:00am • 1:00pm • 5:00pm
Though more expensive, flights to nearby islands are more reliable and accessible than the ferry, because you can often book online rather than in person only. They also offer a shorter travel time. There are multiple ways to fly from the main island out to Culebra or Vieques, or other islands including the U.S Virgin Islands. One can fly out of either the Luis Munoz Marin International Airport (SJU) in Carolina (usually called the San Juan Airport) or the Fernando Luis Ribas Dominicci Airport (SIG) in San Juan (referred to as the Isla Grande Airport). However, flights leaving from The Ceiba International Airport (RVR) on the eastern coast always prove to be more cost effective.
To purchase tickets for a flight, we recommend you use the websites below or call an airline to make a reservation first. Then you can arrive as late as only fifteen minutes before the time of your flight’s departure, if leaving from Ceiba.
You could also head inside the Ceiba airport terminal, where you will find counters for the airlines: Air Flamenco, MN Aviation, and Vieques Air Link. These airlines run planes back and forth to the Culebra Airport (CPX) and to the Antonio Rivera Rodríguez Airport (VQS) in Vieques (commonly called the Vieques Airport) as either charter or at scheduled times during daylight hours (roughly 6:00am to 6:00pm). From Ceiba, round-trip fares are about $90 per person to Vieques and $120 per person to Culebra; one way tickets are typically half the price of roundtrip. Compare this to a one-way flight from San Juan to Vieques for about $130. It’s very important to pay attention to the airports you are booking from if you choose to use the websites linked before.
AirFlamenco and Vieques Air Link do have websites. M&N Services offer charter flights and can be reached at 787-791-7008. For more information about the services at the Ceiba Airport call (787) 729-8715 or 787-534-4101. These flight services generally run on schedule.
rental car services & off island trips
As mentioned at the top of this page, renting a car is your best bet for navigating the main island with your home base as our Inn and also ensuring you can easily visit Culebra and/or Vieques. We recommend booking with Avis at the San Juan International Airport because they have a location in Cieba that almost always offers one-way drop off for cars rented at other Avis locations for no extra charge (there is the potential for a $50 “one-way fee” applied during high season; inquire when booking with Avis for more details). You can pick up your rental car at the airport upon arrival in San Juan and head out to the Rainforest Inn to enjoy the only tropical rainforest in the US Forest system. Then, if you also want to escape to some world-class beaches (Culebra’s Flamenco Beach ranks as 4th best beach in the world), you will drive from the Inn to Cieba Avis Rent-A-Car. Upon handing over your keys, an Avis employee will happily take you to either the Cieba ferry terminal or the Cieba airport. From there, you can travel to Vieques or Culebra; stay for a night, or more; and take an early flight off whatever island you visit back to the San Juan International Airport on the day you fly home. This will be less time consuming than returning by way of Cieba to San Juan with you rental car. It can often times be cheaper as well, since you will no longer be paying for a rental car and gas.
The best place to buy tickets from the small islands to San Juan International Airport (SJU) is with Seaborne Air. Cape Air offers flights from Vieques to SJU, but does not offer service off Culebra at this time.
There is an Enterprise Car Rental location in Ceiba as well, and we are currently looking into if they also offer free one-way drop off and transport to local ferry and airport terminals. More information coming soon.
You can do a single day trip to Culebra or Vieques and park your rental car at the Ceiba ferry terminal or airport. However, if you take the ferry, you will spend your morning waiting for the midday departures from Ceiba, which doesn’t get you to the small islands until lunch time. The last evening ferry returns to Ceiba before dinner time. This leaves you very little time to explore these beautiful islands, though it is possible.