Sail Away to Cayo Icacos, Puerto Rico

Cayo Icacos is a small, uninhabited island approximately 1 mile wide and over 1 mile long located 3 miles off the northeast coast of Puerto Rico. There are no restaurants, no shopping centers or vendors, no electricity, and no facilities of any kind.  The little island is just lush green foliage and perfect white sand beaches.

Day Sail to the Pristine White Sand Beaches of Cayo Icacos

The best option to visit this tropical paradise is by boat.  There is a water taxi service that departs just north of the El Conquistador resort in Las Croabas neighborhood of Fajardo, providing drop off and pick up service to Icacos as the least expensive option.  A slightly more expensive option is the powered Catamaran sailboats that provide transportation, snorkel gear, shade, food & drinks, and (darn important) onboard bathrooms.

For us, the decision was easy – comfort and leisure on a Catamaran!

For our ride out to Icacos the Catamaran was running engines and the main sail.  We enjoyed a more leisurely sail back using both sails and no engine assistance.  Personally, I would prefer full sail for the entire trip.


A photo posted by Jen Morrow (@jentheredonethat) on

Non-alcoholic drinks are served immediately after departing the dock.  There are two scheduled stops, order depending on the weather and water conditions.

Easy entry to the water from the center steps of the Catamaran

For our first stop, we anchored a few feet off the beach.  The center steps are lowered into the water.  Passengers walk down the front steps into 2-3 feet of crystal clear turquoise water and perfect powder fine white sand up to the beach.  My head and shoulders stayed dry the short walk from the boat into the water and onto the beach.  Waterproof phone cases (or ziplock bags) are recommended for phones and electronics, in case of a ill timed splash.  My phone and drone were protected in a small dry bag that I held above my head.

The remaining evidence of two former docks on the west coast of the island.

Pillars from a long gone dock on Icacos, taken from by drone

We were warned that the island is so thick and lush, it is impossible to walk around the entire island during our short visit.  Smaller boats and private charters will go to the backside (east coast) of Icacos, which is the only practical way to see the entire tiny island.

Lush green of Icacos taken with my drone camera

The crew prepares lunch while everyone explores the beach and water.  There is plenty of time to eat lunch and enjoy the beautiful beach.

Rum drinks are served starting with lunch until “last call” on the return to the marina.   Our excursion was family friendly, with many parents enjoying a refreshing rum drink while happy children played.

Lunch on the Salty Dog Catamaran

The second stop is a quick 10-minute journey along the west coast of the island to a healthy reef teeming with colorful fish at the north end of Icacos.

Snorkeling at the reef on Icacos Island

The crew provided bread and snacks to feed the hungry fish.  Kids and adults alike giggled while feeding the large schools of fish surrounding the boat.

Snorkel gear and flotation devices are readily available, and fins were provided dock side for proper fit.  Side gates are opened to allow adventurers to jump into the gorgeous water.  The center steps are once again deployed for easy entry into the water and back up into the boat.  We swam, snorkeled, floated, fed the fish, drank, and relaxed for several hours in the stunning Caribbean blue water of Icacos island.  I am ready to go back!

What to Bring

  • Sunscreen – Apply sunscreen on the dock before getting on the boat and reapply every few hours!
  • Towel – In addition to drying off after a swim, your towel will serve as your seat cushion during the ride.
  • Swimsuit – wear your swimsuit on the boat.  There are no changing areas on the boat or island.  There are a few small bathrooms at Villa Marina docks making it difficult to change dockside, too.
  • Coverup or shirt – In case of cool breeze or just added protection from the sun, you will be glad that you brought a light weight coverup.
  • Sunglasses – protect those peepers!
  • Hat or visor (optional)
  • Camera and waterproof case (ziplock bags work great!)

Important Information, Before You Go

Villa Marina is located in Fajardo, just north of the much larger Puerto del Rey marina.  Sailing from Villa Marina to Icacos is just over 30 minutes, depending on wind and weather conditions.

Since most of these boats depart from same location (Villa Marina), follow the same schedule for day sail, and basically serve the same food & drinks, the only difference is passenger capacity and the personalities of the crew.

We had an excellent day out with Salty Dog and their friendly (bilingual) crew!

Prices and information at time of our Sailing (January 2017), double check current prices and amenities before booking.  Adult pricing only, be sure to check pricing and policy for children.  Most of the sailing companies offer hotel pick up/drop off services for an additional fee (much cheaper option than taxi).

Cayo Icacos Catamaran Sailing Options

  • Barefoot Catamaran with Castillo Tours
  • Salty Dog – 40 passenger capacity
  • Sail Getaways – 26 person capacity
  • Spread Eagle – 49 passengers (includes a souvenir snorkel) additional alcoholic beverages available at the cash bar
  • Traveler – 48 passengers, boat has a slide and cool float mats
Jen enjoying the massive float mat at Cayo Icacos on the Traveler Catamaran October 2020

East Island Excursions – Prices start at $75 per person with multiple boat options, the smaller Zatara sail boat is $99 with 19 passenger capacity and upgraded food options.  Departs from Puerto del Rey Marina.

Update: Day Sail Catamarans are currently operating at 50% capacity due to COVID. The buffet lunch is replaced with individual sand lunch with social distancing measures onboard.

Snorkel and Sailing trip on the Zatara with East Island Excursions February 2018 to Cayo Icacos.

The Fajardo to Icacos Water Taxi starts at $25 per person and takes about 20 minutes in a small powered boat.  Snorkel gear and umbrellas can be rented for an additional fee.

44 thoughts on “Sail Away to Cayo Icacos, Puerto Rico”

  1. When I read the place was full of colorful fish…immediately, I thought of snorkeling. And thank heavens, that is available. You just sold this experience to me with this. Thanks for sharing it.

  2. Ah such a beautiful island. But you have to bring all your necessary things and foods with you before going. And much better is you own or hired for your own boat. So maybe a yachting lifestyle isn’t bad here 🙂

  3. That was a well detailed post. The food on board looks really exotic. And thanks for mentioning the fare at the end. Really helpful.

  4. I’ve been to Puerto Rico and it’s one of my favourite destinations. However I’ve never heard of Cayo Icacos before. How could I miss that? The photos are amazing and lovely, makes me wanna go back!

    1. Puerto Rico has so many gorgeous beaches and small islands, it is worth coming back over and over again to see more of them!

  5. A lot of information here, not just about the island trip and the beauty, but also practical details on the catamaran experience, which puts things into perspective and helps set the right expectations.

  6. Puerto Rico is so exotic for me! Of course here in Greece we are super famous about our beaches and the sea in general, but it is totally different with this one you describe here! Maybe one day I will have the chance t odo like that! I want to buy a drone! Which one do you have?

    1. Ah, I have spent a great deal of time in the Mediterranean and specifically Greece. Beautiful waters, but I still prefer the Caribbean. I have a small Dobby drone, beginner model, but it takes great photos!
      I hope you make it over to the Caribbean to compare to Greece and judge for yourself.

  7. I’ll compliment you on one good detail–you provided lots of current info about the different companies, prices, and other details of how to actually do this trip. So many blog posts just rave about an island and never tell you how to get there, so cheers to you for being not just a writer but a researcher.

    1. Thank you! I am glad that you appreciate the difference. There are many ways to visit this beautiful island, and I like choices.

  8. This place looks like paradise I would so love to be there right now. I love snorkling. the sailing trips seem a great price too think I might have to look into this further and book a trip

  9. Looks like a great beach trip. I have been on a few like this in other places. Makes for a nice day as long as the beach isn’t too crowded. The lunch looks good did they grill up some fish?

    1. No, it was just deli selection and PB&J for the kids. There are more luxury trips with gourmet cuisine that I am planning to try in the near future.

  10. While I’m not a huge fan of recreational beach activities, there’s something about docking on an island and being able to eat lunch freshly cooked by the seamen. It’s also nice to hear that this activity is family friendly as I hate things are are too exclusive!

    1. Puerto Rico and surround islands (still part of Puerto Rico territory) have so MANY amazing beaches!! There are more and more of those stunning white sand beaches, golden sand beaches, black beaches, and even pink beaches. Puerto Rico is a not to miss destination!

    1. So that is why I kept hearing “Sara, Sara come here” the entire time I was on this beach. Mystery solved! You should answer the call and visit Puerto Rico soon.

  11. Jennifer, your adventure reminded me of island hopping that I did in the Philippines last year. It is so important to use SPF and I actually even wore a kaftan with long sleeves, because the sun is so active when sailing.
    Now I am ready to go sailing in Puerto Rico. The prices are very reasonable!

  12. I love a good day excursion. Travel doesn’t always have to involve a plane ride away. Looks like this place was a little slice of heaven

  13. Those rungs to get off the boat can be tricky! Lucky you for staying dry while you walked ashore. A wave came just at the same time I went to step off and by the time I did I was completely submerged WITH my backpack on my back. At least it was sunny to get everything dry again relatively quick haha. I’d love to visit Puerto Rico and take a catamaran though!

  14. This looks incredible! What a way to get away for it all. I spent a few years in the Navy and there is nothing better than being out at sea just surrounded by water. I always found it so peaceful. Although the boat you were on is just a bit different from living on a big gray war ship hahaha. I’d take yours anyway!

  15. This sounds absolutely beautiful! And a great way to escape from the rest of the world for a while by the sounds of things. We have similar island trips here in Fiji which is pretty awesome – the day sailing, the relaxing, the feeling of being in a remote spot in the South Pacific – bliss!

  16. Cayo Icacos looks like absolute paradise! I’m really missing the warmth and palm tress right now haha. (Greetings from chilly Canada :P)

  17. What a great trip! The island looks amazing and the food great. I would love to do this one day. Thanks for sharing.

  18. This looks like paradise! The prices seem very reasonable for a full day excursion. I wonder is it possible to camp on these islands for a real adventure? Either way I would definitely enjoy the food, swimming and rum!

    1. Camping is allowed on most beaches on Puerto Rico. Not sure about camping on Icacos, it is a protected reserve.

  19. I love that there is nothing on the island. Not having electricity is so rare these days especially cause everyone needs to be plugged in. Love the list of what to pack. Now I don’t need to think about it.

  20. You are killing me (slowly of course) with this post and the photos are so great. It’s winter here in Romania and I am looking forward to enjoying that summer that is still so far away. But the good point is that I have a new destination for Puerto Rico now. 🙂

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