Travelers in the Caribbean will find that ferries are not only the most efficient way to get from island to island, but the impromptu views along the way make for a delightful journey throughout the region.
The sea is the only thing connecting each of the countries of the Caribbean to the other, and boats are the way many people cross between them. Ferries often offer island-hopping tours that take travelers to see several different locales. This gives visitors the ability to experience a full spectrum of the cultures, foods, and people of the Caribbean, and often chances to shop for each isle's local specialties as well.
Ferries are used by the local population to get from island to island where distances are close enough to make this a cost effective and practical form of transportation.
Ferries are also used to travel between the mainland U.S. and parts of the Bahamas, and between mainland portions of Belize and Mexico and nearby islands
Reaching some smaller islands may be easiest by ferry, and in some cases taking a ferry may be the only practical way to get to your desired destination.
Transport of a car or rental car by ferry may be possible, but you will likely need to book this service well in advance so be sure to plan ahead.
Some ferries provide an experience that is similar to an inexpensive, short cruise, offering movies, snacks, drinks, and opportunities to stop at several different islands along the way.
When island hopping, make sure to carry a valid passport. Each time you enter a new island nation you will need to pass through customs.
If getting out on the open water sounds appealing, or you like the idea of seeing more than one island during your vacation, it's possible to plan your entire vacation around the ferries in some areas. In these locations you can spend a few days on one island, then take the ferry to another island, where you'll enjoy a new and different experience. Best of all, the journey between islands will allow you to enjoy the sunshine, salt air and open water views, at a lower cost than if you fly between the islands.
Some of the best opportunities for island hopping are in the Bahamas and in the United States and British Virgin Islands, where ferries are one of the most popular forms of public transportation, and you'll enjoy beautiful views as you make your way between the islands.
Another interesting opportunity is offered by the island of Anguilla, and the two-nation island of Saint Martin and Sint Marteen, where you can take an international voyage in a matter of minutes. Although they are right next to each other, these nations each have their own ambiance and culture, allowing you to experience British, French and Dutch-imbued cultures on a single vacation.
Another option, but much farther south, is to visit two or all three of the ABC Islands in the Dutch Antilles. This discussion of island hopping wouldn't be complete without a brief mention of Bermuda where the local ferry system works in conjunction with the bus system to provide public transportation across this tiny island chain. Although it's not actually in the Caribbean, Bermuda is a very special place, and the ferries add to its charm.
The beauty of traveling via ferries lies in the fact that you have the opportunity to experience the beauty and diverse culture of multiple islands at a much lower cost than if you were to fly or sail by private charter boat.
|Destination||Potential Islands to Visit|
Saint Georges Parish
|The Bahamas||New Providence Island
|US Virgin Islands
British Virgin Islands
Jost Van Dyke
A few of the Caribbean Islands receive most, if not all their visitors via the ferries. From popular islands like Cozumel to lesser known ones like Petite Martinique, these destinations are intriguing possibilities for anyone who would like to incorporate a ferry trip into their vacation. The following are some additional islands (not listed above) where travelers often reach their final destination by relying on the ferry system.
|Main Island or Nation||Ferry Dependent Destinations|
|Antigua and Barbuda||Barbuda|
|Trinidad and Tobago||Tobago|
|Turks and Caicos||North Caicos
There are ferry systems all throughout the Caribbean, so if you have a particular country in mind, and want to learn more about the option of taking a ferry, check out this next list. These links will take you directly to the main ferry information pages for their respective countries; from there you can easily reach pages with detailed information about individual ferry routes, ferry companies, and even fares and schedules. Bon voyage!
|British Virgin Islands|
|Turks and Caicos|
|US Virgin Islands|
If you are interested in learning more about a specific ferry company, check out this list. It will take you directly to a page of information about that specific ferry service.
|Albury's Ferry Service|
|Link Cat Ferry Anguilla|
|Baleria Bahamas Express|
|Green Turtle Ferry|
|St. Kitts and Nevis Fast Ferries|
|M&M Transportation Services|
|San Pedro Belize Express Water Taxi|
|Caye Caulker Water Taxi|
|Lady Lowe Ferry|
|Requena's Water Taxis|
|GB Express Anguilla|
|FUNTIME Sea Shuttle Antigua|
|Pusser's Ferry Service|
|North Sound Express|
|Peter Island Ferry|
|Saba Rock Ferry|
|Road Town Fast Ferry USVI Office|
|Smith's Ferry USVI|
|Transportation Services STT|
|Thunderbolt Boat and Charter Service|
|Boyson's Inc. Car Barge|
|Inter-Island Boat Service|
|Love City Car Ferries|
|New Horizon Ferry Service|
|Compagnie Maritime Voyager|
|The Mail Boat|
|Puerto Rico Fast Ferry|
|Great Bay Express|
|Rapid Explorer Ferry|
|L'Express des Iles|
|Trinidad Port Authority Ferries|
|Global Marine Car Barge|
|Native Son Ferry|
|San Pedro Jet Express|
|AquaMania Ferry Service|
|Pinel Island Ferry|
|Frenchman's Reef Ferry|
|Salt Cay Ferry|
|Water Island Ferry|
|Gun Creek Ferry|
|Speedy's Ferry Service|
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