Head West Target.... Guilligan's Island
This is my number 1 thing to share with visitors to Puerto Rico. No trip is complete without a day spent on this tropical island.
If you are planning this trip any day other than Monday (the island is sort of closed Mondays) get on the road no later than 8 am so you can catch the first ferry. Take 52 west through Ponce where it turns into Highway 2. Continue through Yauco and your highway exit #116 to Guanica is next. Use your GPS and follow to Guilligan Ferry. There are a very limited number of picnic tables at the island and it's so nice to have your private beach spot. The drive is a little over an hour and the ferry leaves on the 45 minutes starting at 9:45am. The station where you buy your tickets is charming and delivers food to the island. The price is fair the food is hearty and good. They are best known for their whole red snapper. Comes with head on, rice and beans. $8.99. I just get rice and beans and am happy. You can bring a cooler on the ferry for an extra charge. Ferry fee seems to be about $11 per person, round trip.
Once on the island... and I hope you got there early enough to get a picnic table. But if not, head across the bay to the other finger island there are two additional picnic tables there... and if you didn't get one, this is the better side to spread out on. There are three islands that make the swim bay and the framing two channels with a nice current. Hard to swim upstream, but fun to float down. We have a secret path we hike that takes us out to nearly the end of the finger that is closest to the mainland. Wear water-shoes. It can be a mucky walk if the water level is high. Very much like hiking through a swamp. You should be able to see the trail as it leads you to the channel.... Take the leap! I like to bring my snorkel & flippers and explore my way back to camp... take a few runs of this, it's nature's waterpark!
Go on a Monday! Yes, the island is sort of closed, but that simply means the main ferry and lunch option are not open This is the day the cleaning crew takes care of business on the island. (Trash pick up is daily.)
Captain Rafael, 787-404-7838, ferries people over to the island in a pontoon. You just call him when you are ready to return. The price seemed to be $10 a person. He also rents kayaks and Guilligan's is a great place to kayak around and the kayaks can help you get to the end of the finger islands for better snorkeling. To find this place follow the road up the hill and then left along the sea until you see a sign for Gilligan View Apartments. You can park on property there. A small bathroom is available. When geared up, head to the waterfront and meet Rafael at the dock. Be sure to make reservations so he knows you are coming. Not so important to be there at 10 am. When we did this in March, 2019 there were less than 25 people on the island instead of 10x that amount. other days.
You might consider using Captain Rafael any day of the week, but on Monday's he is the only ferrier.
'Bring: snorkel gear, camera, binoculars, watershoes and suntan lotion.