The Caribbean Ferries

Ferry Boats make for great transportation in the Caribbean

Photo credit © Gregory Fisk Jr.

Caribbean Ferries

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.

Some quick facts about ferries in the Caribbean:

  • 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.

Island Hopping Destinations

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.

Island Hopping Destinations
DestinationPotential Islands to Visit
Anguilla-St.Martin Anguilla
Saint Martin
Sint Maarten
ABC Islands Aruba

Bermuda Hamilton
Saint Georges Parish
The Bahamas New Providence Island
Grand Bahama
Great Abaco
Great Exuma
US Virgin Islands
British Virgin Islands
St. Thomas
St. John
Jost Van Dyke
Virgin Gorda

Destinations that are reached mainly by ferry

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.

Ferry dependent destinations
Main Island or NationFerry Dependent Destinations
Antigua and Barbuda Barbuda
Belize San Pedro
Grenada Carriacou
Petite Martinique
Puerto Rico Culebra
Trinidad and Tobago Tobago
Turks and Caicos North Caicos
Middle Caicos
South Caicos
Yucatan Peninsula Cozumel
Isla Mujeres

Complete Listing of Caribya! Ferry Pages

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!

Additional Caribya! Ferry Guides
British Virgin Islands
Cayman Islands
Dominican Republic
Sint Maarten
St. Kitts
St. Lucia
Saint Martin
Turks and Caicos
US Virgin Islands
Yucatan Peninsula

Individual Ferry Companies

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
Barbuda Express
St. Kitts and Nevis Fast Ferries
M&M Transportation Services
San Pedro Belize Express Water Taxi
Caye Caulker Water Taxi
Coastal Express
Lady Lowe Ferry
Nesymein Neydy
Requena's Water Taxis
Sea Express
GB Express Anguilla
FUNTIME Sea Shuttle Antigua
Pusser's Ferry Service
North Sound Express
Peter Island Ferry
Saba Rock Ferry
Car Ferry
Magaña Express
Channel Shuttle
Wesk Agency
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
Varlack Ventures
El Bote
Ultramar Ferry
New Horizon Ferry Service
Compagnie Maritime Voyager
Vedettes Madinina
Caribbean Cruisin'
Bahamas Ferries
The Mail Boat
Caribbean Fantasy
Catano Ferries
Puerto Rico Fast Ferry
Great Bay Express
Rapid Explorer Ferry
Hockey Pokey
Mexico Waterjets
L'Express des Iles
Trinidad Port Authority Ferries
Global Marine Car Barge
Native Son Ferry
Saba C-Transport
Osprey Express
San Pedro Jet Express
AquaMania Ferry Service
F&F Transportation
Sea Bridge
Pinel Island Ferry
Frenchman's Reef Ferry
Salt Cay Ferry
Varlack Ventures
Water Island Ferry
Gun Creek Ferry
Speedy's Ferry Service

Help us improve! We welcome your corrections and suggestions.