Monday, July 30, 2012

Island Hopping Through the Caribbean

Here's how to get more bang for your buck visiting islands that are in close proximity to each other. 

Rather than paying for a short haul expensive flight to visit neighboring islands, these Caribbean island groups provide inexpensive ferry services.

U.S. Virgin Islands (USVI) and British Virgin Islands (BVI) ferry system 

Travelers to both the U.S. and British Virgin Islands can visit back and forth via ferry. 

The ferry service in the USVI runs frequently between St. Thomas and St. John - and VI Sea Trans now operates service between St Croix and St Thomas.

In the BVI ferry companies connect Tortola to Virgin Gorda, Jost Van Dyck and other smallers islands. Note: You must clear customs every time you cross between the US & British Virgin Islands.

Ferry Service in The Bahamas

It's definitely "Better in the The Bahamas" with the fast ferry service from Nassau to several of the family islands (out islands) of Eleuthera, Spanish Wells, Harbour Island, Abacos, and Cat Island

Another short ferry ride is available between Eleuthera, Harbour Island, and Spanish Wells.

Ferry Service via St Maarten to Anguilla and Dutch and French Caribbean islands

A visit to St. Maarten/St. Martin provides both a Dutch and French experience in this one island - two nation destination. Visitors staying in Dutch St Maarten, or French St Martin can visit Anguilla and St Barts via the ferry service located in Marigot, French St Martin.

The tiny island of Saba can be also reached from Dutch St Maarten three times a week - Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday - Reservations recommended.

Ferry Service in The Grenadines

The islands of The Grenadines are often referred to as the "Jewels of the Caribbean". The ferry service in Kingstown, St Vincent is the startng point to reach Bequia, Canouan, Mayreau, and Union Island. Note: Carriacou in the southern Grenadines can only be reached via boat through Grenada.

Inter-island ferry connections between islands of Guadeloupe, Dominica, Martinique, and Les Saintes


Another great inter-island connections by ferry is between the islands of Guadeloupe, Dominica, Martinique, and Les Saintes.

There is an express ferry that visits all the islands, which obviously cuts down on the cost of airline travel. Dominica is the nature island of the Caribbean, and often overlooked by regular tourists, but a good fit for eco travelers, and hikers.

Martinique, Guadeloupe and Les Saintes are part of the French Caribbean, and while each one is different, they all have the flavor of French culture.

St Lucia Ferry

St. Lucia, one of the most beautiful islands in the Caribbean chain, is well served by a ferry system making it the perfect spot for island hopping.

Several ferry lines connect St. Lucia with Martinique. From Martinique travelers can ferry between the islands of Dominica and Guadeloupe.

St Kitts/Nevis Ferries

The sister islands of St. Kitts and Nevis are served by five ferries, and the schedule during peak hours is about every hour.

The trip only takes 45 minutes, and views of both St. Kitts and Nevis from the sea make this one of the most picturesque ferry trips. Also one ferry service operates shopping trips to the neighboring islands of St. Eustatius (Statia) and St Maarten.

Puerto Rico Ferries

Government-run ferries travel to the islands of Culebra and Vieques as well as the Puerto Rican mainland. Smaller ferries also shuttle travelers across the Bay of San Juan to the CataƱo area.

Travelers on the eastern coast can also reach Vieques and Culebra from the port of Fajardo.

Grenada Fast Ferry

Grenada, the Spice Island, offers fast ferry service between Grenada, Carriacou and Petite Martinique in the Caribbean. The sundeck provides breathtaking scenery along the way.

Island hopping through the Caribbean takes time - even by ferry


From our experience, for a weeks vacation, visiting two islands is ideal. For longer vacations, three islands would be our suggestion. Visiting additional island destinations definitely enhances your travel experience, however you don't want to spend all your time traveling.

Prior to planning your island hopping vacation, make a copy of the ferry schedule - many do not run every day. Keep track of time - especially the last ferry run if you are just visiting for the day.

Check each ferry companies limitation on the amount of luggage you can bring onboard. Also remember you will have to clear immigration in each country, and be aware of each country's departure tax.

Happy Island Hopping!

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