Getting there & away
Mayagüez is Puerto Rico’s gateway to the Dominican Republic, at least by sea. Ferries Del Caribe (787-832-4800; www.ferriesdelcaribe.com, in Spanish), on the docks of Mayagüez north of the tuna canneries, offers the serious ‘off-island’ adventure across the Pasaje de la Mona. Its massive M/S Caribbean Express sails every other day across the Pasaje de la Mona for Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic (a 12-hour trip). On board you will find a restaurant, cafeteria, bar, casino and disco, as well as conference rooms, private cabins, a sauna and a Jacuzzi. There is room for 250 cars along with 1125 passengers.
The ferry usually leaves Mayagüez at 8pm Monday, Wednesday and Friday, and Santo Domingo at 8pm Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday, arriving in the respective destinations at 8am the following morning.
One-way tickets start at $115 for a sleeping chair and $165 for a single cabin. Returns go from $165 for a chair to $250 for a cabin, though there are more deluxe options. If you buy a one-way ticket you must have an airplane ticket or some other proof of departure from the Dominican Republic. You pay extra for your car on a round-trip journey – up to $150. Reserve a day in advance, especially with a car, and show up two hours early.
Hwy 2, part of the island’s nominal ring road, brings you to town from the north or south. While this is a four-lane road, it is plagued by traffic lights. Hwy 105 is the west end of the Ruta Panorámica, which leads from Mayagüez into the mountains and to Maricao.
The Aeropuerto de Mayagüez is about 3 miles north of town, just off Hwy 2. Cape Air (800-352-0714) currently has several flights daily to and from San Juan ($98 one-way). There are also direct flights to the towns of St Thomas and St Croix ($335 one-way) in the US Virgin Islands.