WHEN TO GO
With the islands' temperatures generally averaging between 79 and 82° F all year, when it comes to planning a trip to Vieques and Culebra, the main consideration is humidity rather than heat. While scattered tropical storms occur from as early as June, Vieques and Culebra's main "rainy" season lies between August and November (you'll find a few businesses close during this time as well). Still, rain in Vieques and Culebra is of the short-downpour variety. Travelers should, however, pay attention to late-summer hurricane warnings.
HOW TO GET THERE
There are no direct flights between the United States and Vieques or Culebra, so your best bet is to fly through mainland Puerto Rico. From San Juan, it's a 20- to 30-minute flight from either Luis Muñoz Marín International Airport or the smaller Isla Grande Airport. From the eastern city of Fajardo, either island is a 10-minute hop by air, and one-way fares to both are around $100.
Vieques Air Link offers daily flights from San Juan and Fajardo airports to Vieques, as well as from St. Croix in the U.S. Virgin Islands; it also flies on-demand to Culebra from San Juan's Isla Grande Airport (787-741-3266). Cape Air has daily flights from San Juan International to Vieques (800-352-0714).
The Puerto Rico Ports Authority runs ferries from Fajardo to Culebra and Vieques. The 45-minute journey to Vieques costs $2, while the 90-minute trip to Culebra costs $2.25. These ferries are often crowded, so get to the dock early. And take your Dramamine—the crossing can be rough (787-863-0705).
There are plenty of taxis on Vieques (look for minivans with yellow license plates), but they're extremely pricey. The best way to get around the island's winding, rugged roads is with a four-wheel-drive vehicle, which will also grant you access to the more isolated beaches. Rental rates average about $60 per day; two of the best agencies on Vieques are Island Car Rental (787-741-1666) and Martineau Car Rental (787-741-0087), both a quick taxi ride from the airport. Reserve as early as possible, since vehicle shortages often occur during high season. And don't ever let the car's tank get too low—gas stations on the island have been known to run out of fuel from time to time.
The Puerto Rico Tourism Company (787-741-5000) operates a small information center in Vieques, at 449 Carlos Lebrón Street in Isabel Segunda. It's open Monday to Saturday, 8 to 4:30. On Culebra, there's an open-air information center at 250 Pedro Marquez Street, Dewey. It's open weekdays, 9 to 5.View Puerto Rico Factsheet