How To Sail From Florida To Puerto Rico

How To Sail From Florida To Puerto Rico | Life of Sailing

Last Updated by

Daniel Wade

September 12, 2022

Creating travel plans for sailing is a fun experience. A popular one on the Atlantic coast is how to sail from Florida to Puerto Rico.

Making these plans requires a lot of time and energy, so it is important not to miss a step. So how would someone sail from Florida to Puerto Rico?

The sailing distance between Miami, Florida, and Aguadilla, Puerto Rico is 1,139 nautical miles. Assuming you are leaving Miami, you could pass through ports of the Bahamas, Cuba, and the Dominican Republic. The trip is estimated to take between four and seven days, depending on conditions and stops.

There are a handful of crucial decisions to make ahead of time before navigating, like having a passport. This, in particular, is something you need to account for in advance.

According to expert sailors, you should look to plan for every possible outcome regarding weather, preventative maintenance, and paperwork. Even though the trip is potentially only a few days back and forth, you still need to take precautions.


Table of contents

How to Get From Florida to Puerto Rico

Depending on the starting location you have for Florida, the trip could vary in days between there and Puerto Rico. Looking at this example, we are using Miami as the beginning port of the trip and Aguadilla as the ending port.

This destination is around 1,139 nautical miles, which would take about five days straight nonstop to travel. This is assuming you have a perfect 10 knots. You can likely achieve this in less than 10 days, so it is important that you do not rush.

Miami to Ports Around Bahamas

When you begin your journey from Miami, you will need to head southeast towards the Bahamas. While you have a goal in place to reach Puerto Rico, you should check out some scenery between these two locations.

There are plenty of things to do in the Bahamas. These include Paradise Island, the Queen’s Staircase, Rawson Square in Nassau, and Fort Charlotte. Once you are finished in the Bahamas, you will need to head to Cuba.

The Bahamas to Ports in Cuba

Leaving the Bahamas might be tough due to the scenery. You could have potentially bypassed the Bahamas and went to the northern part of Cuba.

There are plenty of marinas spread out, with the best option being somewhere around Marina Gaviota Puerto Vita if you are leaving the Bahamas. From there, you can check out Malecon, the Museum of the Revolution, Vinales Valley, and the National Capital of Cuba.

Cuba to Ports in Dominican Republic

Next up is the Dominican Republic, where beautiful marinas sit along the coast throughout. Depending on where you want to stop could make a difference in what you are able to see and do if you are trying to stick to your schedule. It has some breathtaking scenery that you do not want to miss out on.

Some places to check out are Saona Island, Lake Enriquillo, the Three Eyes National Park, and Bavaro Beach. You will also likely see tons of tourists out sailing or snorkeling, so you can join in on the fun as well.

Dominican Republic to Ports in Puerto Rico

When you are ready to say your goodbyes to the Dominican Republic, you should only have one stop left. You are getting closer to Puerto Rico, especially close to the port of Aguadilla.

There is an endless amount of opportunities to find something to do in Puerto Rico. These include visiting Playa Crashboat, Survival Beach, and checking out the Old Aguadilla Lighthouse Ruins.

Tips for Sailing from Florida to Puerto Rico

Planning any sailing adventure sounds like a good idea, but you have to make sure everything is in working order before you go. Things to have or checked out before you go include proper gear, plenty of food, and preventative boat maintenance.

In addition, you need to have the right boat for the occasion. This means you do not want to rough it out in a small dinghy, so preferably a larger size boat to accommodate all of your gear and essentials.

The Right Boat

You have to be honest with yourself on the condition of your boat. This means checking out the sails, no cracks along the bow, and everything is operating as designed. Furthermore, pretend that you are selling it tomorrow and that it has no flaws.

If you are without a boat, then this is a different topic at hand. If you are considering buying a sailboat for traveling this course, it is recommended that you find one around 25 to 40 feet.

One example of a good boat type to use for a trip like this would be a trawler. They provide plenty of comfort for long distance traveling. Whether you use a monohull or catamaran is up to you and your sailing goals.

Planning Your Trip

The example scenario from Miami, Florida to Aguadilla, Puerto Rico is meant to be for education. Everyone else’s situation is likely going to be different. Planning your specific trip is part of the sailing experience.

Since you are spending time around the Atlantic Ocean and parts of the Caribbean, you will need to account for harsh weather patterns and hurricane seasons. The best time to travel would be anywhere between December and April to avoid excessive heat and bad weather.

Not only do you have to plan for the weather, but plan for making stops along the way in different countries where you need your passport. Getting all of your paperwork in order could take quite some time, so it is recommended you plan this out a year in advance.


Depending on what sailboat you have and how much fuel it consumes, it is recommended you stop every 450 miles or so to refuel. Even though the trip is estimated to be 1,139 nautical miles in the scenario, you still need to fuel up each chance you get.

Topping off your boat is one of the best options you can do so you do not have to worry about running out. If you have the space, you could look into carrying extra fuel on board. There are some locations you may want to check out that do not have fueling capabilities, so having extra on board would be essential.

Sailing Gear

Before going on this trip, you have to make sure you have proper GPS, navigational charts, and even a VHF radio. Even though your GPS is supposed to work, you will need to make plans to read charts if it fails. In addition, a heavy-duty radio is critical for emergencies or to receive information.

Since you are traveling in warm climates throughout this trip, you can likely leave the cold weather gear at home or tucked away on your boat. If you live on your boat, then just the warm weather gear is all you need.

It is also recommended to have a quality anchoring system for when you do not want to stay at a marina for the night. These are also necessary if you want to explore small islands or coves.

Food and Fresh Water

Even though the trip is estimated to be less than 10 days, according to this scenario, you still want to pack plenty of food and water to last two weeks if not more. Having overkill on these items is not the end of the world, but being without them is.

Canned or packaged foods are going to be the easiest to store and eat for longer periods of time. However, you should visit local markets when you can to gather proper nutrition and to avoid monotonous packaged food.

As for drinking water, you will need a high-quality filter or look into purchasing a desalination device that processes salt water into clean water. Having drinkable water is necessary for anyone sailing.

How To Sail From Florida To Puerto Rico
Daniel Wade

Daniel Wade

I've personally had thousands of questions about sailing and sailboats over the years. As I learn and experience sailing, and the community, I share the answers that work and make sense to me, here on Life of Sailing.

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