Puerto Rico   Travel Guide

travel info for puerto rico

Courtesy of John and Tina Reid | Getty Images

travel info for puerto rico

Why Go To Puerto Rico

Puerto Rico is rich in charm and character with a dash of the familiar. Less than a three-hour flight from Miami , Puerto Rico is a U.S. commonwealth (in case your high school history class didn't teach you that). So, when you're shopping in San Juan, the capital city (or anywhere else), you can pay for your souvenirs with American dollars. But don't be mistaken: This isn't quite a home away from home. Puerto Rico has both 20-foot waves for surfers and calm, clear waters for families. It's a stroll back through time ( El Morro ) and an up-close look at the contemporary ( Calle del Cristo ). It's an exhilarating mix of landscapes, from the serpentine jungle of El Yunque to brilliant beaches like Condado in metropolitan San Juan and the high-energy Crash Boat in Aguadilla on the west coast. And if you want to get further away from civilization, you can ferry over to the secluded – not to mention jaw-droppingly gorgeous – islands of Vieques and Culebra .

In 2017, Puerto Rico was pummeled by Hurricane Maria and Hurricane Irma, which combined claimed thousands of lives, destroyed hundreds of thousands of buildings, and left much of the island without power for months. More than five years later, some basic infrastructure has been restored, but reconstruction efforts are ongoing. However, traveling to Puerto Rico is safe, and tourism will help the island in its recovery efforts. So, go ahead and book your flight; a world of natural enchantment, delicious food and historic experiences await.

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  • # 3 in Best Cheap Destination Wedding Locations
  • # 4 in Best Destination Wedding Spots in the Caribbean
  • # 8 in Best Spring Break Destinations

See All 9 Rankings

Best of Puerto Rico

Best hotels in puerto rico.

  • # 1 in Dorado Beach, A Ritz-Carlton Reserve
  • # 2 in The St. Regis Bahia Beach Resort, Puerto Rico
  • # 3 in Condado Vanderbilt Hotel

Dorado Beach, A Ritz-Carlton Reserve

Best Things to Do in Puerto Rico

  • # 1 in Bioluminescent Mosquito Bay (Vieques)
  • # 2 in Old San Juan
  • # 3 in El Morro (El Castillo San Felipe del Morro)

Popular Tours

Icacos Island All-Inclusive Snorkel and Boat Tour

Icacos Island All-Inclusive Snorkel and Boat Tour

(1638 reviews)

from $ 125.00

El Yunque Rainforest, Waterslides, and Beach Tour with Transport

El Yunque Rainforest, Waterslides, and Beach Tour with Transport

(3349 reviews)

from $ 69.99

LED Kayak Night Glow Tour in Condado Lagoon

LED Kayak Night Glow Tour in Condado Lagoon

(3809 reviews)

from $ 65.00

Puerto Rico Travel Tips

Best months to visit.

The best time to visit Puerto Rico is from mid-April to June, right after the busy winter season and just before the rainy summer (August is the month with the most rainfall). Spring weather is also very pleasant, barely escaping the mid-80s on most days. The island sees its best weather in winter – which is partly why this is the most crowded and expensive time to visit – but with careful planning you might uncover a pretty good discount during those months as well, particularly if you travel in the weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas. You could also plan an enjoyable and affordable trip for the fall, when lodging can sometimes be found for under $200 per night. However, keep in mind that fall is also the peak of the Atlantic hurricane season, which runs from June to November.

Weather in Puerto Rico

Data sourced from the National Climatic Data Center

What You Need to Know

It's open for tourism Puerto Rico is safe and ready for visitors. Tourism is a vital part of the island's economy and traveling there is a great way to help Puerto Rico recover from natural disasters.

It's got a great food scene From traditional foods like mofongo (plantains mashed with garlic and topped with meat, fish, vegetables, or other ingredients), arroz con gandules (rice and pigeon peas) and tostones (fried plantains) to staple drinks like rum and coffee, sampling the food of Puerto Rico is a must. Sign up for one of the best tours in Puerto Rico for help navigating the local food scene.

The "paradores" These inns scattered throughout the island's countryside are often an affordable alternative to staying in San Juan.

The sound is the coquí The coquí (pronounced ko-KEE) is a tiny tree frog. It's a symbol of the island and is indigenous to Puerto Rico. You'll hear the males singing nightly throughout the island.

How to Save Money in Puerto Rico

Take an Eastern Caribbean cruise Puerto Rico really should be explored over several days. But if you're short on time, you can get your fill during a shore excursion to San Juan.

Dine local Panaderías in Puerto Rico are far more than simple bakeries: they're also where locals gather for gossip, coffee, and inexpensive meals for breakfast or lunch. Food trucks and stands selling popular street food like alcapurrias (plantain and yucca mash stuffed with meat and deep fried), e mpanadillas , and bacalaitos (fish fritters) are another low-cost but delicious and authentic alternative to expensive restaurant meals.

Ride the Pú blicos If you want to travel like locals do, and at minimal cost, hail a ride from a público, which are transit vans that have specific routes and inexpensive fares (which you can only pay in cash). But, low fares come at a cost: Traveling via público can take a lot of time.  

Culture & Customs

Much of Puerto Rican culture, from the food to the music, represents the island's combined North American, Caribbean, Spanish and indigenous Taíno heritage. In Old San Juan you can grab comida criolla (traditional Puerto Rican meals of pork, rice and beans) just a stone's throw from Calle del Cristo's Coach and Tommy Hilfiger factory outlets.

Speaking of clothes, you're on vacation in the tropics and you're going to want to dress informally. But it's a good idea to cover up your swimsuits with clothing unless you're at the pool or the beach. Also pay special attention to your attire before enjoying Puerto Rico's nightlife – only tourists go out dressing like they're at a barbecue. If you want to blend in at the bar, smart casual attire (slacks or dark jeans for men and dresses with heels or statement flats for women) is a must.

Many Puerto Ricans speak English, but Spanish is the language of daily life. Know some basic phrases such as "hola" (hello), "gracias" (thank you), "por favor" (please) and "de nada" (you're welcome). As you move farther outside San Juan, you'll likely meet fewer people who know English fluently. Pack a Spanish phrasebook, and know that Puerto Ricans welcome your efforts to converse with them in Spanish. In addition, you'll find that chatting with locals may mean carrying on several conversations at once or being interrupted. You may also find Puerto Ricans will stand closer to you when they meet you or reach for a handshake or hug when greeting you.

Since Puerto Rico is part of the United States, the island's currency is the U.S. dollar and credit cards are widely accepted. Tipping etiquette is the same here as in other parts of the United States; 15 to 20% is considered the standard, but more is appreciated for exceptional service.

What to Eat

Dining in Puerto Rico reflects the island's mixture of Caribbean, Latin, North American and indigenous Taíno influences. No matter where you dine, make sure you get a taste of some of Puerto Rico's most authentic eats:  asopao  is a traditional stew often made with chicken or beef;  mofongo  consists of seafood, meat or vegetables atop mashed plantains; pasteles are made of mashed banana (or yucca) and stuffed with pork, chicken or cod; and  lechón  is smoky, roasted suckling pig. Other items to try include tostones (fried plantains), arroz con gandules (rice and pigeon peas). For something sweet, try tembleque (a coconut custard), pastelitos de guayaba (a guava-filled pastry) or mantecaditos (a Puerto Rican shortbread cookie).

Drinks in Puerto Rico are a huge part of the island's dining culture, too. Coffee and rum are its two best-known beverages. Puerto Rico's climate makes it perfect for growing coffee, so you'll find lots of local growers and no shortage of places to enjoy a great cup. You can also visit one of the haciendas for tours of the coffee farms or to enjoy a warm drink.

You won't want to leave the island without trying local rum. Start with a piña colada, which was first created in Puerto Rico (specifically at the Caribe Hilton Hotel ) and is the island's national drink. If you'd rather do a tasting, pop by the Bacardí or Ron del Barrilito distilleries. Each distillery offers tours of its facilities, tastings and mixology classes. And if you visit around the holidays, be sure to sample coquito, a coconut-based drink akin to eggnog.

If you're staying in the northeast, you can expect a quieter dining experience along Luquillo or Fajardo beaches. The kiosks in Luquillo are a must-visit in the area, as you can sample a range of different cuisines. If you want to try some of the best eats in the area, Puerto Rico's tourism board has put together a list of food trails themed around island staples like pork, coffee and rum.

Puerto Rico sees some violent drug-related crime as well as thefts in San Juan and Ponce, but it's usually not directed toward tourists. Still, watch out for pickpockets, especially on the beach, and don't leave your property unattended or it might be swiped. Steer clear of certain areas in San Juan at night, such as La Perla and portions of Santurce, as these towns are prone to drug activity and violence.

Getting Around Puerto Rico

The best way to get around Puerto Rico is by car if you want to see more than the city in which you're staying, you'll need your own vehicle as intercity train service doesn't exist and intercity bus service is time-consuming and uncomfortable. Unfortunately, driving is a courageous pursuit carried out on snaking roads, and you'll need to carry spare change for the occasional toll.

In San Juan, you can likely get around without a car with careful planning. Parking can be expensive and traffic often is a nightmare in the city, so relying on the bus and your own feet are likely your best bet during your time in the capital. Uber is also available in the city.

You'll likely fly in to Luis Muñoz Marín International Airport (SJU), which is about 8 miles east of Old San Juan. You can pick up a rental car here or you can take a taxi to your destination. Taxis from the airport charge a fixed rate to different destinations around the island. The airport's website provides the fare list

Puerto Rico has smaller airports: Mercedita International Airport (PSE) on the southern coast (about 3.5 miles east of Ponce) and Rafael Hernández Airport (BQN) on the west coast in Aguadilla. Check the flight schedule for airlines like Spirit, United and JetBlue that fly into either of those hubs.

Entry & Exit Requirements

You don't need a passport to enter Puerto Rico, as it's a United States territory. However, if you are traveling onward to another Caribbean destination (other than the  U.S. Virgin Islands ) from Puerto Rico, you will need to present your passport. Visit the U.S. State Department's  website  for more information on entry and exit requirements.

El Morro's towers were built to keep soldiers safe while delivering heavy fire against enemy ships.

Explore More of Puerto Rico

Old San Juan

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Best hotels.

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Puerto Rico (U.S.) Traveler View

See the CDC Health Advisory about the Increased Risk of Dengue Virus Infections in the United States (including Puerto Rico).

Travel Health Notices

Vaccines and medicines, non-vaccine-preventable diseases, stay healthy and safe.

  • Packing List

After Your Trip

Map - Puerto Rico (U.S.)

There are no notices currently in effect for Puerto Rico (U.S.).

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Check the vaccines and medicines list and visit your doctor at least a month before your trip to get vaccines or medicines you may need. If you or your doctor need help finding a location that provides certain vaccines or medicines, visit the Find a Clinic page.

Routine vaccines


Make sure you are up-to-date on all routine vaccines before every trip. Some of these vaccines include

  • Chickenpox (Varicella)
  • Diphtheria-Tetanus-Pertussis
  • Flu (influenza)
  • Measles-Mumps-Rubella (MMR)

Immunization schedules

All eligible travelers should be up to date with their COVID-19 vaccines. Please see  Your COVID-19 Vaccination  for more information. 

COVID-19 vaccine

Hepatitis A

Recommended for unvaccinated travelers one year old or older going to Puerto Rico.

Infants 6 to 11 months old should also be vaccinated against Hepatitis A. The dose does not count toward the routine 2-dose series.

Travelers allergic to a vaccine component or who are younger than 6 months should receive a single dose of immune globulin, which provides effective protection for up to 2 months depending on dosage given.

Unvaccinated travelers who are over 40 years old, immunocompromised, or have chronic medical conditions planning to depart to a risk area in less than 2 weeks should get the initial dose of vaccine and at the same appointment receive immune globulin.

Hepatitis A - CDC Yellow Book

Dosing info - Hep A

Hepatitis B

Recommended for unvaccinated travelers of all ages traveling to Puerto Rico.

Hepatitis B - CDC Yellow Book

Dosing info - Hep B

Cases of measles are on the rise worldwide. Travelers are at risk of measles if they have not been fully vaccinated at least two weeks prior to departure, or have not had measles in the past, and travel internationally to areas where measles is spreading.

All international travelers should be fully vaccinated against measles with the measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine, including an early dose for infants 6–11 months, according to  CDC’s measles vaccination recommendations for international travel .

Measles (Rubeola) - CDC Yellow Book

Dogs infected with rabies are not commonly found in Puerto Rico.

Rabies is commonly found in some terrestrial wildlife species and bats.

If rabies exposures occur while in Puerto Rico, rabies vaccines are typically available throughout most of the country.

Rabies pre-exposure vaccination considerations include whether travelers 1) will be performing occupational or recreational activities that increase risk for exposure to potentially rabid animals and 2) might have difficulty getting prompt access to safe post-exposure prophylaxis.

Please consult with a healthcare provider to determine whether you should receive pre-exposure vaccination before travel.

For more information, see country rabies status assessments .

Rabies - CDC Yellow Book

Recommended for most travelers, especially those staying with friends or relatives or visiting smaller cities or rural areas.

Typhoid - CDC Yellow Book

Dosing info - Typhoid

Avoid contaminated water


How most people get sick (most common modes of transmission)

  • Touching urine or other body fluids from an animal infected with leptospirosis
  • Swimming or wading in urine-contaminated fresh water, or contact with urine-contaminated mud
  • Drinking water or eating food contaminated with animal urine
  • Avoid contaminated water and soil
  • Avoid floodwater

Clinical Guidance

Avoid bug bites, african tick-bite fever.

  • Avoid Bug Bites

African Tick-bite fever

  • Mosquito bite
  • An infected pregnant woman can spread it to her unborn baby

Airborne & droplet

  • Breathing in air or accidentally eating food contaminated with the urine, droppings, or saliva of infected rodents
  • Bite from an infected rodent
  • Less commonly, being around someone sick with hantavirus (only occurs with Andes virus)
  • Avoid rodents and areas where they live
  • Avoid sick people

Tuberculosis (TB)

  • Breathe in TB bacteria that is in the air from an infected and contagious person coughing, speaking, or singing.

Learn actions you can take to stay healthy and safe on your trip. Vaccines cannot protect you from many diseases in Puerto Rico, so your behaviors are important.

Eat and drink safely

Food and water standards around the world vary based on the destination. Standards may also differ within a country and risk may change depending on activity type (e.g., hiking versus business trip). You can learn more about safe food and drink choices when traveling by accessing the resources below.

  • Choose Safe Food and Drinks When Traveling
  • Water Treatment Options When Hiking, Camping or Traveling
  • Global Water, Sanitation and Hygiene | Healthy Water
  • Avoid Contaminated Water During Travel

You can also visit the  Department of State Country Information Pages  for additional information about food and water safety.

Prevent bug bites

Bugs (like mosquitoes, ticks, and fleas) can spread a number of diseases in Puerto Rico. Many of these diseases cannot be prevented with a vaccine or medicine. You can reduce your risk by taking steps to prevent bug bites.

What can I do to prevent bug bites?

  • Cover exposed skin by wearing long-sleeved shirts, long pants, and hats.
  • Use an appropriate insect repellent (see below).
  • Use permethrin-treated clothing and gear (such as boots, pants, socks, and tents). Do not use permethrin directly on skin.
  • Stay and sleep in air-conditioned or screened rooms.
  • Use a bed net if the area where you are sleeping is exposed to the outdoors.

What type of insect repellent should I use?

  • FOR PROTECTION AGAINST TICKS AND MOSQUITOES: Use a repellent that contains 20% or more DEET for protection that lasts up to several hours.
  • Picaridin (also known as KBR 3023, Bayrepel, and icaridin)
  • Oil of lemon eucalyptus (OLE) or para-menthane-diol (PMD)
  • 2-undecanone
  • Always use insect repellent as directed.

What should I do if I am bitten by bugs?

  • Avoid scratching bug bites, and apply hydrocortisone cream or calamine lotion to reduce the itching.
  • Check your entire body for ticks after outdoor activity. Be sure to remove ticks properly.

What can I do to avoid bed bugs?

Although bed bugs do not carry disease, they are an annoyance. See our information page about avoiding bug bites for some easy tips to avoid them. For more information on bed bugs, see Bed Bugs .

For more detailed information on avoiding bug bites, see Avoid Bug Bites .

Stay safe outdoors

If your travel plans in Puerto Rico include outdoor activities, take these steps to stay safe and healthy during your trip.

  • Stay alert to changing weather conditions and adjust your plans if conditions become unsafe.
  • Prepare for activities by wearing the right clothes and packing protective items, such as bug spray, sunscreen, and a basic first aid kit.
  • Consider learning basic first aid and CPR before travel. Bring a travel health kit with items appropriate for your activities.
  • If you are outside for many hours in heat, eat salty snacks and drink water to stay hydrated and replace salt lost through sweating.
  • Protect yourself from UV radiation : use sunscreen with an SPF of at least 15, wear protective clothing, and seek shade during the hottest time of day (10 a.m.–4 p.m.).
  • Be especially careful during summer months and at high elevation. Because sunlight reflects off snow, sand, and water, sun exposure may be increased during activities like skiing, swimming, and sailing.
  • Very cold temperatures can be dangerous. Dress in layers and cover heads, hands, and feet properly if you are visiting a cold location.

Stay safe around water

  • Swim only in designated swimming areas. Obey lifeguards and warning flags on beaches.
  • Practice safe boating—follow all boating safety laws, do not drink alcohol if driving a boat, and always wear a life jacket.
  • Do not dive into shallow water.
  • Do not swim in freshwater in developing areas or where sanitation is poor.
  • Avoid swallowing water when swimming. Untreated water can carry germs that make you sick.
  • To prevent infections, wear shoes on beaches where there may be animal waste.

Schistosomiasis, a parasitic infection that can be spread in fresh water, is found in Puerto Rico. Avoid swimming in fresh, unchlorinated water, such as lakes, ponds, or rivers.

Keep away from animals

Most animals avoid people, but they may attack if they feel threatened, are protecting their young or territory, or if they are injured or ill. Animal bites and scratches can lead to serious diseases such as rabies.

Follow these tips to protect yourself:

  • Do not touch or feed any animals you do not know.
  • Do not allow animals to lick open wounds, and do not get animal saliva in your eyes or mouth.
  • Avoid rodents and their urine and feces.
  • Traveling pets should be supervised closely and not allowed to come in contact with local animals.
  • If you wake in a room with a bat, seek medical care immediately. Bat bites may be hard to see.

All animals can pose a threat, but be extra careful around dogs, bats, monkeys, sea animals such as jellyfish, and snakes. If you are bitten or scratched by an animal, immediately:

  • Wash the wound with soap and clean water.
  • Go to a doctor right away.
  • Tell your doctor about your injury when you get back to the United States.

Consider buying medical evacuation insurance. Rabies is a deadly disease that must be treated quickly, and treatment may not be available in some countries.

Reduce your exposure to germs

Follow these tips to avoid getting sick or spreading illness to others while traveling:

  • Wash your hands often, especially before eating.
  • If soap and water aren’t available, clean hands with hand sanitizer (containing at least 60% alcohol).
  • Don’t touch your eyes, nose, or mouth. If you need to touch your face, make sure your hands are clean.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when coughing or sneezing.
  • Try to avoid contact with people who are sick.
  • If you are sick, stay home or in your hotel room, unless you need medical care.

Avoid sharing body fluids

Diseases can be spread through body fluids, such as saliva, blood, vomit, and semen.

Protect yourself:

  • Use latex condoms correctly.
  • Do not inject drugs.
  • Limit alcohol consumption. People take more risks when intoxicated.
  • Do not share needles or any devices that can break the skin. That includes needles for tattoos, piercings, and acupuncture.
  • If you receive medical or dental care, make sure the equipment is disinfected or sanitized.

Know how to get medical care while traveling

Plan for how you will get health care during your trip, should the need arise:

  • Carry a list of local doctors and hospitals at your destination.
  • Review your health insurance plan to determine what medical services it would cover during your trip. Consider purchasing travel health and medical evacuation insurance.
  • Carry a card that identifies, in the local language, your blood type, chronic conditions or serious allergies, and the generic names of any medications you take.
  • Some prescription drugs may be illegal in other countries. Call Puerto Rico’s embassy to verify that all of your prescription(s) are legal to bring with you.
  • Bring all the medicines (including over-the-counter medicines) you think you might need during your trip, including extra in case of travel delays. Ask your doctor to help you get prescriptions filled early if you need to.

Many foreign hospitals and clinics are accredited by the Joint Commission International. A list of accredited facilities is available at their website ( www.jointcommissioninternational.org ).

In some countries, medicine (prescription and over-the-counter) may be substandard or counterfeit. Bring the medicines you will need from the United States to avoid having to buy them at your destination.

Select safe transportation

Motor vehicle crashes are the #1 killer of healthy US citizens in foreign countries.

In many places cars, buses, large trucks, rickshaws, bikes, people on foot, and even animals share the same lanes of traffic, increasing the risk for crashes.

Be smart when you are traveling on foot.

  • Use sidewalks and marked crosswalks.
  • Pay attention to the traffic around you, especially in crowded areas.
  • Remember, people on foot do not always have the right of way in other countries.


Choose a safe vehicle.

  • Choose official taxis or public transportation, such as trains and buses.
  • Ride only in cars that have seatbelts.
  • Avoid overcrowded, overloaded, top-heavy buses and minivans.
  • Avoid riding on motorcycles or motorbikes, especially motorbike taxis. (Many crashes are caused by inexperienced motorbike drivers.)
  • Choose newer vehicles—they may have more safety features, such as airbags, and be more reliable.
  • Choose larger vehicles, which may provide more protection in crashes.

Think about the driver.

  • Do not drive after drinking alcohol or ride with someone who has been drinking.
  • Consider hiring a licensed, trained driver familiar with the area.
  • Arrange payment before departing.

Follow basic safety tips.

  • Wear a seatbelt at all times.
  • Sit in the back seat of cars and taxis.
  • When on motorbikes or bicycles, always wear a helmet. (Bring a helmet from home, if needed.)
  • Avoid driving at night; street lighting in certain parts of Puerto Rico may be poor.
  • Do not use a cell phone or text while driving (illegal in many countries).
  • Travel during daylight hours only, especially in rural areas.
  • If you choose to drive a vehicle in Puerto Rico, learn the local traffic laws and have the proper paperwork.
  • Get any driving permits and insurance you may need. Get an International Driving Permit (IDP). Carry the IDP and a US-issued driver's license at all times.
  • Check with your auto insurance policy's international coverage, and get more coverage if needed. Make sure you have liability insurance.
  • Avoid using local, unscheduled aircraft.
  • If possible, fly on larger planes (more than 30 seats); larger airplanes are more likely to have regular safety inspections.
  • Try to schedule flights during daylight hours and in good weather.

Medical Evacuation Insurance

If you are seriously injured, emergency care may not be available or may not meet US standards. Trauma care centers are uncommon outside urban areas. Having medical evacuation insurance can be helpful for these reasons.

Helpful Resources

Road Safety Overseas (Information from the US Department of State): Includes tips on driving in other countries, International Driving Permits, auto insurance, and other resources.

The Association for International Road Travel has country-specific Road Travel Reports available for most countries for a minimal fee.

Maintain personal security

Use the same common sense traveling overseas that you would at home, and always stay alert and aware of your surroundings.

Before you leave

  • Research your destination(s), including local laws, customs, and culture.
  • Monitor travel advisories and alerts and read travel tips from the US Department of State.
  • Enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) .
  • Leave a copy of your itinerary, contact information, credit cards, and passport with someone at home.
  • Pack as light as possible, and leave at home any item you could not replace.

While at your destination(s)

  • Carry contact information for the nearest US embassy or consulate .
  • Carry a photocopy of your passport and entry stamp; leave the actual passport securely in your hotel.
  • Follow all local laws and social customs.
  • Do not wear expensive clothing or jewelry.
  • Always keep hotel doors locked, and store valuables in secure areas.
  • If possible, choose hotel rooms between the 2nd and 6th floors.

Healthy Travel Packing List

Use the Healthy Travel Packing List for Puerto Rico (U.S.) for a list of health-related items to consider packing for your trip. Talk to your doctor about which items are most important for you.

Why does CDC recommend packing these health-related items?

It’s best to be prepared to prevent and treat common illnesses and injuries. Some supplies and medicines may be difficult to find at your destination, may have different names, or may have different ingredients than what you normally use.

If you are not feeling well after your trip, you may need to see a doctor. If you need help finding a travel medicine specialist, see Find a Clinic . Be sure to tell your doctor about your travel, including where you went and what you did on your trip. Also tell your doctor if you were bitten or scratched by an animal while traveling.

For more information on what to do if you are sick after your trip, see Getting Sick after Travel .

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Home » About Puerto Rico » Travel Information – Know Before You Go » Travel Guidelines

Travel Guidelines

Puerto Rico is enforcing local measures developed by the Puerto Rico Tourism Company (PRTC), alongside U.S. Travel Association (USTA) guidelines , such as social distancing, mandatory face coverings in public areas, and a variety of mandates for businesses – including, but not limited to, reduced capacities and high standards of cleanliness in accordance with CDC and EPA guidelines.

Travelers entering the Island are required to fill out a Travel Declaration Form through the Puerto Rico Health Department’s  online portal , get a molecular COVID-19 test (nasal or throat swab) no more than 72 hours prior to visiting the Island, and show proof of a negative result or they must quarantine. An Island-wide curfew is in effect from 12:00 AM – 5:00 AM, except for emergencies. Puerto Rico is a U.S. territory and excluded from the CDC requirement to provide a negative COVID-19 test result to return to the mainland United States. Quarantine mandates, recommendations, and entry requirements may vary by state.

Public beaches and natural reserves are open, following social distancing guidelines. Public alcohol consumption is prohibited. Supermarkets, pharmacies, and gas stations are open, with supermarket delivery services available through midnight. Restaurants are operating at 30% capacity, while casinos, museums, and pools at hotels are operating at 50% capacity. Bars remain closed.

A continuous assessment of the situation in Puerto Rico and in the United States influences Island-wide orders that prioritize the health and safety of residents and visitors. For travel recommendations provided by the CDC, please see here .

Island Arrival

To further safeguard residents and visitors, all arriving passengers must comply with the following measures before arriving in Puerto Rico:

  • Complete an online Travel Declaration Form from the Puerto Rico Health Department, which can be accessed at www.travelsafe.pr.gov or www.viajaseguro.pr.gov . Kiosks at the airport are also available for travelers to fill out the form upon arrival, as it is a requirement to exit the airport.
  • Demonstrate a negative molecular COVID-19 test result (which consists of a nasal or throat swab), taken no more than 72 hours prior . Testing sites on the mainland U.S. can be found here . It is highly recommended to get tested prior to arriving on the Island given limited resources.
  • Obtain Airport Exit Confirmation number and QR Code , which travelers will automatically receive when uploading their molecular test results to the Puerto Rico Health Department’s online portal.

Airport Processes:

  • The Puerto Rico National Guard is assisting with enhanced health screenings of all arriving passengers at the Luis Muñoz Marín International Airport in San Juan, where all passenger flights are currently being diverted. Face masks are mandatory.
  • All arriving travelers will be pre-screened via thermographic cameras to monitor temperatures, and enhanced protocols will take place at baggage claim before exiting the airport.

Asymptomatic Traveler (person who doesn’t present COVID-19 related symptoms)

  • If an asymptomatic traveler (a person who doesn’t present COVID-19 symptoms) arrives on the Island with a complete Travel Declaration Form , a negative molecular COVID-19 test result , and an Airport Exit Confirmation number and QR Code , the traveler can proceed with their trip.
  • If the molecular test result is negative, the 14-day quarantine will be lifted.
  • If the molecular test result is positive, the traveler must isolate and seek medical attention. Travelers placed in isolation will be responsible for covering their own medical expenses/extended stay.
  • If the on-Island molecular test result is negative, the quarantine will be lifted.
  • If the on-Island molecular test result is positive, the traveler must isolate and seek medical attention. Travelers placed in isolation will be responsible for covering their own medical expenses/extended stay.
  • If the traveler chooses to not take a molecular COVID-19 test on the Island, they must quarantine for 14 days and cover their own extended stay.

Symptomatic traveler (person who is displaying COVID-19 related symptoms)

  • A list of testing sites in Puerto Rico will be available at the airport and can also be found here .
  • If a negative molecular test is not provided, the traveler will be required to quarantine for 14 days, or the length of their stay.
  • If the molecular test is negative, the quarantine will be lifted.
  • If the molecular test is positive, the traveler will continue to isolate and seek medical attention at the traveler’s expense.


  • Public beaches and natural reserves are open, following social distancing guidelines and with the use of masks when not in the water. Public alcohol consumption is prohibited.
  • Museums are operating at 50% capacity.
  • Hotel pool facilities are open at 50% capacity.
  • Common areas at hotels close at 12:00 AM, in accordance with the Island-wide curfew.
  • Marinas are open from 5:00 AM to 12:00 AM, following social distancing guidelines.
  • Some attractions and tours are open. Visitors should connect with their tour operators directly for additional information about operation status and specific protocols.
  • Access to Old San Juan from 12:00 AM – 5:00 AM will be limited to residents and tourists staying in the area.
  • Sports events, as well as sports and recreational activities, are permitted, following local guidelines.
  • Businesses across the Island close at 11:00 PM to comply with the Island-wide curfew.
  • Malls and other retail stores are operating at 50% capacity with curfew hours while restaurants will remain at 30%.
  • Supermarkets, pharmacies, and gas stations are open within curfew hours.
  • Hair salons, barbershops, and individual spas are open via appointment, with the exception of saunas.
  • Gyms and casinos are open at 50% capacity. Theaters remain at 30%
  • Bars and discos remain closed.
  • Taxis are accessible from 5:00 AM – 12:00 AM, except for airport service (available continually.)
  • The Puerto Rico Metropolitan Bus Authority (AMA) and Tren Urbano subway system are operating.
  • Ferries to Culebra are operating. Ferry service to Vieques remains available to residents only.

Is it safe to travel to Puerto Rico? Should I / should travelers cancel their trips?

If you are sick, an older adult, or someone with chronic medical conditions, leading health authorities recommend delaying or avoiding travel. For information about the CDC’s classification for travel to Puerto Rico, please visit their website here .

Puerto Rico is enforcing local measures developed by the Puerto Rico Tourism Company (PRTC), alongside U.S. Travel Association (USTA)  guidelines , such as social distancing, face coverings in public areas, and a variety of mandates for businesses – including but not limited to reduced capacities and high standards of cleanliness in accordance with CDC and EPA guidelines. A new executive order with the latest measures being enforced on the Island was issued on February 4th, in place through March 14th.

An overview of measures at present:

  • An Island-wide curfew is in effect from 12:00 AM – 5:00 AM, except for emergencies.
  • Gyms and casinos are open at 50% capacity. Theaters remain at 30%. Bars and discos remain closed.
  • Museums are operating at 50% capacity, within curfew hours.
  • Malls and other retail stores are operating at 50% capacity, within curfew hours while restaurants will remain at 30%.

If my vacation is booked for the coming weeks, will I be able to enter Puerto Rico?

Yes, given the Island is a U.S. territory, our borders aren’t closed. However, travelers must comply with all necessary requirements, included in the latest travel advisory. Puerto Rico is enforcing local measures developed by the Puerto Rico Tourism Company (PRTC), alongside U.S. Travel Association (USTA) guidelines , such as social distancing, face coverings in public areas, and a variety of mandates for businesses – including but not limited to reduced capacities and high standards of cleanliness in accordance with CDC and EPA guidelines. A new executive order with the latest measures being enforced on the Island was issued on December 3rd. For further information about the CDC’s classification for travel to Puerto Rico, please visit their website here .

Given current restrictions, visitors should connect with their hotels and tour operators directly for additional information about operation status and specific protocols.

Is Puerto Rico a hotspot for COVID-19?

According to the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Puerto Rico is categorized Level 4 due to the high level of COVID-19 cases on the Island. Travel may increase the chances of getting and spreading COVID-19. For more information from the CDC, see here .

What do I need to enter Puerto Rico?

All arriving passengers must comply with the following measures before arriving in Puerto Rico:

  • Before landing, complete an online Travel Declaration Form from the Puerto Rico Health Department, which can be accessed at www.travelsafe.pr.gov or www.viajaseguro.pr.gov . Kiosks at the airport are also available for travelers to fill out the form upon arrival, as it is a requirement to exit the airport.
  • Demonstrate a negative molecular COVID-19 test result (which consists of a nasal or throat swab), taken no more than 72 hours prior. Testing sites on the mainland U.S. can be found here . It is highly recommended to get tested prior to arriving on the Island given limited resources.

What are the airport processes if I do or don’t meet the requirements to enter the Island?

The Puerto Rico National Guard is assisting with enhanced health screenings of all arriving passengers at the Luis Muñoz Marín International Airport in San Juan. Face masks are mandatory at the airport and in public areas. All arriving travelers will be pre-screened via thermographic cameras to monitor temperatures, and enhanced protocols will take place at the baggage claim before exiting the airport.

What is the airport doing to ensure health & safety?

  • The use of face masks by everyone who transits and work at the airport
  • Only passengers are allowed to enter the terminals
  • All screens throughout the airport emphasize COVID-19 prevention guidelines
  • About 100 hand sanitizer stations have been installed
  • The addition of a third layer of disinfection with new fogger-type equipment that allows for more thorough sanitation, in less time
  • A double and high-efficiency air conditioning filter system in compliance with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
  • Touchless hand dryers have been installed in bathrooms
  • An increase in the frequency and intensity of bathroom cleanings, which are performed every 30 to 60 minutes, based on traffic
  • Installation of acrylic barriers at airline check-in counters
  • Increasing the frequency of cleaning boarding pass printing and registration kiosks, in addition to promoting online registration to minimize contact

What type of testing do I need to do prior to my visit to Puerto Rico?

Travelers must take a molecular COVID-19 test, which consists of a nasal or throat swab, taken no more than 72 hours prior to their trip. Testing sites on the mainland U.S. can be found here .

If I take the test a week before, would those results be accepted?

Travelers must present a negative molecular COVID-19 test, which consists of a nasal or throat swab, no more than 72 hours prior to their trip or they must quarantine. However, if an asymptomatic traveler (a person who doesn’t present any symptoms) arrives on the Island with a complete Travel Declaration Form, but without a negative molecular COVID-19 test result and is not awaiting results, a Testing Authorization Voucher will be provided for the traveler to get tested locally. A list of testing sites on-Island will be provided at the airport and can also be found here .

While awaiting results, the traveler will need to quarantine for 14 days at their lodging property, cover their COVID-19 testing fee, and possible extended stay. If the on-Island molecular test result is negative, the quarantine will be lifted.

Do children need to get tested for COVID-19?

Yes. Anyone above the age of 2 must get tested.

Is Puerto Rico accepting travelers from U.S. states with a high number of positive COVID-19 cases?

As a non-incorporated territory of the U.S., Puerto Rico abides by Federal Law and established restrictions on the entry of certain travelers. For more information, visit the CDC .

A continuous assessment of the situation in Puerto Rico and in the United States will influence Island-wide orders that prioritize the health and safety of residents and visitors.

Under the new CDC rule, do I have to get a molecular COVID-19 test to return to the United States from Puerto Rico?

Given Puerto Rico is a U.S. territory, the destination is excluded from the CDC requirement and you do not need to provide a negative COVID-19 test result to return to the mainland United States. The CDC still recommends getting tested 3 – 5 days after arrival and staying home for 7 days post-travel. Quarantine mandates, recommendations, and entry requirements may vary by state.

If I’m in Puerto Rico or going to Puerto Rico, are things open or operating normally?

To protect their health and safety, travelers should note measures are in place and are being strictly enforced, including social distancing and face mask requirements. Those who do not wear face masks in public are subject to a fine. An Island-wide curfew on the Island is in effect from 12:00 AM – 5:00 AM, except for emergencies.

  • Cruise operations: All ports are currently closed for cruise ship vessels.
  • Hotels and small inns: Most hotels and small inns remain open, with distancing measures and face coverings mandatory in public areas. Hotel pool facilities are open at 30% capacity, while spas and wellness centers remain open by appointment, within curfew hours. Restaurants inside hotels are open and welcoming guests at 30% capacity with reservations recommended but are otherwise limited to carry out or delivery services. Room service remains available for guests. Most common areas at hotels close at 11:00 PM, in accordance with the Island-wide curfew. However, high contact common public areas, such as children’s playgrounds, must remain closed for the duration of this executive order. Starting on January 8th, they will close at 11:00 PM.
  • Independent rental units that follow PRTC standards: Hosts are only permitting the entrance of registered guests only as no group gatherings are allowed. Rentals are being thoroughly cleaned and disinfected, including the proper sanitation of kitchenware, glassware, and utensils. They will be equipped with hand soap, hand sanitizer, and sanitizing wipes for guest convenience.
  • Restaurants + Supermarkets: Restaurants are operating at 30% capacity, with reservations recommended, and required to conspicuously post the number of patrons that constitutes 30%, making such posting visible to patrons inside and outside of the restaurant. Delivery for restaurants and supermarkets is available until midnight. Alcohol sales are permitted within the curfew hours, as are operations of restaurant dining rooms, including those in hotels.
  • Small Businesses + Shopping Centers: Malls and other retail stores are operating at 50% capacity. Clothing stores do not permit try-ons in the store.
  • Salons + Spas: Hair salons, barbershops, and individual spas are open, via appointment, with the exception of saunas. Guests are not permitted to congregate in waiting areas. Wellness centers and spa services can operate within curfew hours.
  • Casinos: All casinos are operating at 50% capacity, within curfew hours.
  • Beaches + Nature Reserves: Public beaches and natural reserves are open, following social distancing guidelines and with the use of masks when not in the water. Public alcohol consumption is prohibited.
  • Golf Courses: All golf courses are open, within curfew hours.
  • Museums + Theaters: Museums are operating at 50% capacity while theaters remain at 30%.
  • Attractions and Tours: Some attractions and tours are open. Visitors should connect with their tour operators directly for additional information about operation status and specific protocols. Access to Old San Juan from 12:00 AM – 5:00 AM will be limited to residents and tourists staying in the area.
  • Transportation: Taxis are accessible from 5:00 AM – 12:00 AM, except for airport service. The Puerto Rico Metropolitan Bus Authority (AMA) and Tren Urbano subway system are operating as well as ferries to Culebra. Ferry service to Vieques remains available to residents only.

How can travelers protect themselves?

We urge those visiting to adhere to the measures put in place by the government of Puerto Rico, which includes abiding by the curfew, social distancing, and face coverings, or be subject to a fine.

Additionally, travelers should adhere to healthy travel practices to help protect themselves and prevent the spread of disease. These are the same personal best practices that are standard for a typical flu season and include avoiding close contact with people who show signs of illness, avoiding touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands, and washing your hands often with soap or using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not available. For more information, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) coronavirus (COVID-19) webpage .

I recently got vaccinated. Am I still required to get a molecular COVID-19 test prior to my trip to Puerto Rico?

Yes. All travelers arriving to the Island are required to get a molecular COVID-19 test (nasal or throat swab) no more than 72 hours prior to visiting the Island and show proof of negative results.

Do I have to wear a mask after receiving the COVID-19 vaccine?

Yes. The CDC recommends that during the pandemic, people wear a mask that covers their nose and mouth when in contact with others outside of their household. Additionally, Puerto Rico is enforcing mandatory face coverings in public areas. For more, we recommend visiting the CDC website here .

What should travelers do if they begin experiencing COVID-19 symptoms? What immediate steps should they take?

Travelers experiencing COVID-19 symptoms should stay in their hotel rooms and contact their hotel front desk to get support. If travelers are not staying at a hotel, contact the nearest hospital directly. It’s important that travelers and hotel staff call hospitals first before visiting, so that appropriate transportation, screening, and care can be arranged, to protect those feeling ill and others.

Puerto Rico hospitals adhere to the same federally mandated health safety guidelines as those on the mainland. Common mainland franchises like Walgreens and CVS pharmacies are available Island-wide and are enforcing high standards of health safety throughout the Island.

What actions is the Island taking to prevent the spread of coronavirus?

Puerto Rico was the first U.S. destination to use thermographic cameras in their airport and implement a curfew, effective for everyone including tourists. A curfew on the Island is in effect from 12:00 AM – 5:00 AM, except for emergencies. Strict social distancing measures are in place Island-wide, with face coverings mandatory in public.

The Puerto Rico National Guard is assisting with enhanced health screenings of all arriving passengers at the Island’s airports, where face masks are mandatory and thermographic cameras remain operating to monitor temperatures. All flights, to-date, have been diverted to the Luis Muñoz Marín International Airport in San Juan (SJU).

More on what’s in place, in Puerto Rico:

The tourism industry in Puerto Rico has also taken specific steps to ensure that partners on the Island and their teams have the latest information on COVID-19, including prevention measures on the Island, personal prevention tips to use themselves and to share with travelers, cleaning and disinfecting protocols, and guidance for what to do if they or their guests begin experiencing symptoms.

What health & safety protocols does the Island have in place?

High standards of health and safety have been implemented throughout the Island, which includes local measures developed by the Puerto Rico Tourism Company (PRTC), alongside U.S. Travel Association (USTA) guidelines , to safeguard the wellbeing of residents and visitors.

Transportation: Certified transportation carriers are properly disinfecting vehicles and have hand sanitizer available. Drivers wear gloves when handling doors and luggage. Face coverings are mandatory for drivers and passengers. Ridesharing options like Uber have released regulations that also mandate face coverings for drivers and passengers, with no front seat passengers permitted.

Dining: Options within the lodging section ensure floor plans maintain distancing protocols, with buffets, salad bars, and self-serve options eliminated, and reusable menus prohibited. Employees are required to use face coverings and if serving guests, gloves

Lodging: Thoroughly sanitized properties that follow PRTC standards may be certified with Island-specific health certification seals. Guests will receive a Health & Safety guide detailing the specialized measures implemented by each property individually. We recommend visitors connect with their hotels/hosts directly for additional information.

  • Hotels/Resorts: Temperature checks, screen symptoms, and disinfect luggage in reception areas are conducted upon entry while following high standards of cleanliness and housekeeping procedures in accordance with CDC and EPA guidelines. Hotel pool facilities and fitness centers are open at 50%, while spas remain open. Face coverings are required in public areas, with limited capacity encouraged in elevators. Furniture, chairs, tables, and surfaces will be sanitized continuously. Most common areas at hotels close at 12:00 AM, in accordance with the Island-wide curfew. However, high contact common public areas, such as children’s playgrounds, must remain closed for the duration of this executive order.
  • Short-Term Rentals: Hosts are responsible for thoroughly cleaning and disinfecting the property, following the health and safety protocol enforced by the Government and the PRTC, including the proper sanitation of kitchenware, glassware, and utensils. Only registered guests are permitted to stay at the property as group gatherings are prohibited. Guests are required to complete a Travel Declaration Form from the Puerto Rico Tourism Company.

Attractions: Some attractions and tours are open. Visitors should connect with their tour operators directly for additional information about operation status and specific protocols. Public beaches and natural reserves are open, following social distancing guidelines and with the use of masks when not in the water. Public alcohol consumption is prohibited. Gyms and casinos are open at 50% capacity. Theaters remain at 30%. Bars and discos remain closed. Museums, malls, and other retail stores are operating at 50% capacity.

Are Island hospitals equipped to address coronavirus?

All hospitals on the Island have established protocols for admitting, treating, and collecting samples from patients who are experiencing symptoms, and hospital staff will work with the Department of Health if testing is needed. Funds have been made available on the Island to help hospitals prepare facilities, purchase materials, and train nurses and paramedic staff.

Puerto Rico also has epidemiologists throughout the Island, who specialize in disease control and prevention, to advise on transportation, testing, and care for individuals who think they may have COVID-19.

Where will people be housed if they need to be quarantined?

The 14-day quarantine is mandated until proof of a negative molecular test result is uploaded to the Puerto Rico Health Department’s online portal . Travelers must quarantine at their hotel or lodging option. We recommend visitors connect with their hotels/hosts directly for additional information.

What will hotels, restaurants, and tour operators do if a staff member tests positive?

The CDC has outlined  specific guidance for businesses and employers , with information on what to do if employees are sick, cleaning advice, and contingency planning.

Along with the Puerto Rico Tourism Company (PRTC), we have also provided guidance and information to all tourism partners. The industry has specific measures in place to ensure hotel management, businesses, and other partners within the industry have the latest information on COVID-19, including prevention measures on the Island, personal prevention tips for their teams and travelers, cleaning and disinfecting protocols, and guidance for what to do if their staff or guests begin experiencing symptoms.

It is critical to seek medical advice from a regional epidemiologist if you are concerned your  guests or staff may have COVID-19 . Symptoms include, but are not limited to, fever, cough, sore throat, fatigue, and shortness of breath. The Puerto Rico Health Department has specific protocols in place with state epidemiologists to screen and test patients. More information on specific steps can be found in the latest industry guidance from the Puerto Rico Tourism Company .

What will hotels, short-term rentals, restaurants, and tour operators do if a tourist who has recently visited them tests positive?

Along with the Puerto Rico Tourism Company (PRTC), we have provided guidance and information to all tourism partners. The industry has specific measures in place to ensure hotel management, businesses, and other partners have the latest information on COVID-19, including prevention measures on the Island, personal prevention tips for their teams and travelers, cleaning and disinfecting protocols, and guidance for what to do if their staff or guests begin experiencing symptoms. More information on specific steps can be found in the latest industry guidance from the Puerto Rico Tourism Company . This guidance is consistent with what the CDC has outlined for businesses and employers .

Given the curfew issued by the Governor of Puerto Rico, do tourists have to stay in their rooms?

A curfew on the Island is in effect from 12:00 AM – 5:00 AM, except for emergencies. Starting February 8th, it will be in effect from 12:00 AM to 5:00 PM.

Can tourists staying at hotels use the pool and/or go to the beach?

Public beaches and natural reserves are open for recreational use, following social distancing guidelines and with the use of masks when not in the water. Public alcohol consumption will be prohibited. Hotel pool facilities are open at 50% capacity. Please consult with your specific property for other policies in place.

Can I go to Vieques & Culebra?

Ferry service to Culebra is currently available, and service to Vieques remains available to residents only.

Can I hang out in the lobby of my hotel when I’m in Puerto Rico?

If in a public area of a hotel or resort, social distancing and face coverings are mandatory, or individuals will be subject to a fine. Please consult with your specific property for other policies in place.

Are the beaches OK to go to if I keep my distance from people?

Public beaches and natural reserves are open, following social distancing guidelines and with the use of masks when not in the water. Public alcohol consumption will be prohibited.

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  • 3 Other destinations
  • 4.1 History
  • 4.2 Climate
  • 4.3 Terrain
  • 4.4 Geography
  • 4.5 Visitor information
  • 6.1.1 Customs
  • 6.2 By boat
  • 7.1 By taxi
  • 7.3 By público
  • 7.4 By ferry
  • 7.5 By train
  • 7.7 By plane
  • 10.2 Shopping
  • 11.1 Cuisine
  • 11.2 Places to eat
  • 11.3 Dietary restrictions
  • 16 Stay safe
  • 17 Stay healthy
  • 19.1.1 Voice coverage
  • 19.1.2 Data coverage
  • 19.2 Internet
  • 20.1 Consulates

Puerto Rico ticks all the boxes for a picture-perfect Caribbean island holiday. Its white sandy beaches can compete with any in the world and vary from metropolitan cocktail heavens and bustling surfing hotspots to quiet island getaways. Easily accessible diving and snorkeling spots and the excellent bioluminescent bays offer great maritime experiences. Still, there's more to this tropical island than sunny beach life. The Spanish-American influences make for a fun melting pot of culture with an abundance of heritage to explore and some delightful food to enjoy.

As Puerto Rico is a self-governing commonwealth, an insular area of the United States of America , it's a particularly hassle-free and therefore popular destination for US citizens, but well worth any trip to get there. It is known as the "Island of Enchantment".

travel info for puerto rico

  • 18.465556 -66.118056 1 San Juan – The capital and largest city with its historic old town, vibrant nightlife and one of the best natural harbors in the Caribbean.
  • 18.470556 -66.720833 2 Arecibo – A historic city with access to beaches and the nature of the Karst country, formerly the home of the world's largest radio telescope.
  • 18.480278 -67.144444 3 Aguadilla – Entry point into the western coast famous for its beautiful beaches, surfing and Thai food.
  • 18.233333 -66.033333 4 Caguas – The largest inland city and an important entry point into the Cordillera Central.
  • 18.388889 -65.966667 5 Carolina – Location of Luis Muñoz Marín International Airport, and the Isla Verde club scene with its hotels and casinos.
  • 18.325833 -65.6525 6 Fajardo – Famous for its large marina, bioluminescent bay, and ferries to Vieques and Culebra .
  • 18.201111 -67.139722 7 Mayagüez – The largest city in the western coast is a vibrant and historic college town.
  • 18.010833 -66.613611 8 Ponce – Puerto Rico's second city hosts a number of important museums like the Ponce Museum of Art and the Museum of Puerto Rican Music, as well as the Tibes Ceremonial Indigenous Center, and access into the highest mountains in the island.
  • 18.078917 -67.040736 9 San Germán – Small town famous for its historic downtown, named a National Historic District with its colonial architecture and Porta Coeli, one of the oldest churches in the Caribbean.

Other destinations

  • Guánica State Forest – (Bosque Estatal de Guánica) is also the name of a small dry forest reserve east and west of the town, the largest remaining tract of tropical dry coastal forest in the world and designated an international Biosphere Reserve in 1981. The park comprising much of the dry forest is known as el bosque seco de Guánica.
  • San Juan National Historic Site – includes forts San Cristóbal, San Felipe del Morro, and San Juan de la Cruz, also called El Cañuelo, plus bastions, powder houses, and three fourths of the city wall. All these defensive fortifications surround the old, colonial portion of San Juan, Puerto Rico and are among the oldest and best-preserved Spanish fortifications of the Americas.
  • El Yunque National Forest - the only tropical rainforest in the U.S. national forest system, a rocky, misty peak covered in waterfalls
  • Mona Island (off of the west coast of PR, halfway to the Dominican Republic) - this island is a secluded island only inhabited by wildlife. You can only go to the island by appointment.
  • Rio Camuy Caverns (in the north/northwest) – a 45-minute guided walking tour of the main cave, Cueva Clara, including a view of the "3rd largest underground river in the world" and an enormous sinkhole.
  • Bioluminescent bay at La Parguera
  • Caja de Muertos Island , or Caja de Muertos for short – is an uninhabited island off the southern coast of Puerto Rico. The name means "Box of the Dead", which some have linked to the "Dead Man's Chest" of pirate lore. The island is protected because of its native turtle traffic. Hikers and beachgoers are often seen in the island, which can be reached by ferry or through diving tour operators from the La Guancha Boardwalk sector of Ponce Playa.

Puerto Rico is a self-governing Commonwealth with an area of more than 9,100 km². Famed for its sunny beaches, it boasts a colorful swashbuckling history, tropical forests and a vibrant amalgam of Spanish, African and American cultures.

The Europeans first named it San Juan Bautista in honor of Saint John the Baptist. The island's present day name, Puerto Rico (Spanish for "Rich Port") , was the name that Christopher Columbus gave the island. It was then settled by explorer Ponce de Leon and the island was under Spanish possession for over four centuries. The island became United States territory under the Treaty of Paris, which also ended the Spanish-American War. The United States passed Law 600 giving Puerto Rico authorization to create and approve its own constitution, with the United States Congress approval. The relationship between the United States and Puerto Rico is known in English as a "commonwealth". There is no precise Spanish equivalent to this word; thus locally it is translated as "Estado Libre Asociado" (literally, "associated free state"). Most laws passed by Congress apply to Puerto Rico as they do in the fifty states. While Puerto Rico in general enjoys a greater degree of autonomy than one of the US states, including the right to send its own team to the Olympics, its residents are neither entitled to representation in Congress nor allocated electoral college votes in presidential elections. Nevertheless, as Puerto Ricans are U.S. citizens, they may freely move to any of the 50 states and gain the right to vote by doing so, and people born in Puerto Rico are eligible to run for the U.S. presidency.

Puerto Rico has a tropical marine climate, which is mild and has little seasonal temperature variation. Temperatures range from 70 to 90 ˚F (21 to 32 ˚C), and tend to be lower at night and up in the mountains. Year round trade winds take part in ensuring the sub tropical climate. The average annual temperature is 26 °C (80 °F). Rainfall is abundant along the north coast and in the highlands, but light along the south coast. Hurricane season spans between June and November, where rain showers occur once a day, almost every day. Periodic droughts sometimes affect the island.

Puerto Rico is mostly mountainous, although there is a coastal plain belt in the north. The mountains drop precipitously to the sea on the west coast. There are sandy beaches along most of the coast. There are many small rivers about the island and the high central mountains ensure the land is well watered, although the south coast is relatively dry. The coastal plain belt in the north is fertile. Puerto Rico's highest point is at Cerro de Punta, which is 1,338m above sea level.

The island of Puerto Rico is a rectangular shape and is the smallest, most eastern island of the Greater Antilles. It measures almost 580 km of coast. In addition to the principal island, the commonwealth islands include Vieques, Culebra, Culebrita, Palomino, Mona, Monito and various other isolated islands. Puerto Rico is surrounded by deep ocean waters. To the west Puerto Rico is separated from Hispaniola by the Mona Passage which is about 120 km wide and as much as 3,300 m deep. The 8,000-m-deep Puerto Rico Trench is located off the northern coast. Off the south coast is the 5,466-m-deep Venezuelan Basin of the Caribbean. Because Puerto Rico is relatively short in width it does not have any long rivers or large lakes. Grande de Arecibo is the longest river in Puerto Rico which flows to the northern coast. Puerto Rico does not have any natural lakes but it does however have 15 reservoirs.

Visitor information

  • Discover Puerto Rico

Both Spanish and English are the official languages of Puerto Rico, but Spanish is without a doubt the dominant language . Fewer than 50 percent of Puerto Ricans speak English fluently, according to the 2010 U.S. Census. Spanish is the mother tongue of all native Puerto Ricans, and with the exception of San Juan and Guaynabo, traffic signs and such are written exclusively in Spanish. Even in tourist areas of San Juan, employees at fast-food restaurants generally have a somewhat limited comprehension of English. However, people who are highly educated or those who work in the tourism industry are almost always fluent in English. Locals in less touristed areas of the island can usually manage basic English, as it is taught as a compulsory second language in most schools.

travel info for puerto rico

As in any country, it's respectful to make an effort and try to learn at least the basics of Spanish. Average Puerto Ricans appreciate efforts to learn the most widely spoken language of their territory, and most are more than happy to help you with your pronunciation. If you're already familiar with the language, be aware that Puerto Rican Spanish speakers have a very distinct accent, similar to the Cuban accent, which is full of local jargon and slang unfamiliar to many outside the island. Puerto Ricans also have a tendency to "swallow" consonants that occur in the middle of a word. Puerto Ricans also speak at a relatively faster speed than Central Americans or Mexicans. It is not offensive to ask someone to repeat themselves or speak slower if you have trouble understanding them.

Examples of words that are unique to Puerto Rican Spanish include:

  • china – orange (ordinarily naranja )
  • zafacón – trash can ( basurero ). Zafacón comes from zafa in southern Spain, derived from an Arab word zafa meaning trash container.
  • chavo – penny ( centavo )
  • menudo – loose change. Moneda is coin.
  • flahlai – flashlight ( linterna )
  • wikén – weekend ( fin de semana )

When the Spanish settlers colonized Puerto Rico in the early 16th century, many thousands of Taíno people lived on the island. Taíno words like hamaca ("hammock"), huracán ("hurricane"), and tabaco ("tobacco") came into general Spanish as the two cultures blended. Puerto Ricans still use many Taíno words that are not part of the international Spanish lexicon. The Taino influence in Puerto Rican Spanish is most evident in geographical names, such as Mayagüez, Guaynabo, Humacao or Jayuya. You will also find Taino words in other parts of the Caribbean.

The first African slaves were brought to the island in the 16th century. Although 31 different African tribes have been recorded in Puerto Rico, it is the Kongo from Central Africa that are considered to have had the most impact on Puerto Rican Spanish. Many words originating among the Kongo people are used in Puerto Rican Spanish today.

Since Puerto Rico is a U.S. territory, travelers from outside the United States must meet the requirements that are needed to enter the United States . For travel within the United States, there are no passport controls between the U.S. mainland and Puerto Rico, or vice versa. There are also no customs inspections for travel to and from the U.S. mainland, but the USDA does perform agricultural inspections of luggage bound from Puerto Rico to the U.S. mainland.

travel info for puerto rico

Puerto Rico's main airport is Luis Muñoz Marín International Airport ( SJU  IATA ) in Carolina , near San Juan . American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, JetBlue, Southwest, Spirit, and United have service from the United States; Air Canada Rouge and WestJet from Canada; American from Venezuela; Avianca from Colombia; Copa Airlines from Panama; JetBlue from the Dominican Republic; and Volaris from Mexico; and Air Europa and Norwegian Air Shuttle from Europe. Cape Air and Vieques Air Link provide domestic air service from other points in Puerto Rico. JetBlue, United, and Spirit have service to the airport in Aguadilla and JetBlue has service to Ponce .

Ceiba Airport has service to Puerto Rican island-cities of Vieques and Culebra on MN Aviation and Vieques Air Link.

As Puerto Rico is part of the US, U.S. Immigration and Customs Laws and Regulations apply . Travel between the mainland and San Juan, Ponce and Aguadilla is the same as if it were between two mainland cities.

Most U.S. and many international airlines offer direct flights from many cities to Puerto Rico. Flights are economical and numerous. SJU is the biggest and most modern airport in the Caribbean and offers all the conveniences and services (McDonalds, Dominos, Starbucks, etc.) of a major city airport. San Juan's airport has five concourses (labeled terminals A-E) split across two terminals which are connected. JetBlue and Cape Air operate hubs at San Juan.

A secondary commercial airport in San Juan, Fernando Ribas Dominicci Airport, also known as Isla Grande Airport, has limited air service from the Dominican Republic, the United States Virgin Islands, Culebra and Vieques on Cape Air and Vieques Air Link. Ribas Dominicci Airport is located right by old San Juan and close to the Condado Beach and Caribe Hilton Hotels.

If you have lots of luggage, beware there are no baggage carts in the domestic terminal, although there are plenty of baggage porters available to help you for a tip or fee. Luggage Carts are available in the international terminal of the airport. At the exit, a porter will assist you with your luggage for a fee.

Transferring from the airport to your hotel usually requires taking a taxi, although some hotels provide complimentary transportation to their properties in special buses. Puerto Rico Tourism Company representatives at the airport will assist you in finding the right transportation. All major car rental agencies are located at the airport, and others offer free transportation to their off-airport sites.

Typical flight times (outbound flights are slightly longer due to headwinds):

  • Miami 2.5 hours
  • Orlando 2.5 hours
  • Charlotte 3 hours
  • Philadelphia 3.5 hours
  • Washington D.C. 3.5 hours
  • Atlanta 3.5 hours
  • Boston 4 hours
  • New York 4 hours
  • Dallas / Fort Worth 4.25 hours
  • Toronto 4.25 hours
  • Chicago 5 hours
  • Frankfurt am Main 11 hours
  • Madrid 9 hours

travel info for puerto rico

When departing Puerto Rico to the mainland, your bags will be inspected by the US Department of Agriculture before departure. Generally the same rules apply as when returning to the United States from a foreign country: although certain local fruits such as avocado, papaya, coconut and plantain may be brought back, mangos, soursop, passion fruit, and plants potted in soil may not. In any event, all agricultural items will be checked for disease [dead link] . If you are carrying prescription drugs (especially prescription narcotics) with you, you must have the original prescription with you, or a letter from your physician.

Cruise ship passengers with ship luggage tags are exempt from customs screenings.

More than a million passengers visit the island on cruise ships every year, whether on one of the many cruise lines whose homeport is San Juan, or on one of the visiting lines. No passport is required for U.S. citizens who use this service.

Public transportation in Puerto Rico is fairly bad: outside the Metro Area (San Juan, Guaynabo, Carolina and Bayamon), there are no scheduled buses or trains. Most travelers choose to rent their own cars, but intrepid budget travelers can also explore the shared cab ( público ) system.

Official Tourism Company-sponsored taxis on the Island are clean, clearly identifiable and reliable. Look for the white taxis with the official logo and the "Taxi Turístico" on the front doors.

Under the Tourism Taxi Program, rates are set for travel between San Juan's major tourist zones. See San Juan#By taxi for details.

Official Puerto Rico Tourist Taxi ☏ +1 787-969-3260

Several other taxi company numbers:

Asociación Dueños de Taxi de Carolina ☏ +1 787-762-6066

Asociación Dueños de Taxi de Cataño y Levittown ☏ +1 787-795-5286

Cooperativa de Servicio Capetillo Taxi ☏ +1 787-758-7000

Cooperativa de Taxis de Bayamón ☏ +1 787-785-2998

Cooperativa Major Taxi Cabs ☏ +1 787-723-2460 or ☏ +1 787-723-1300

Metro-Taxi Cab. Inc. ☏ +1 787-725-2870

Ocean Crew Transport ☏ +1 787-645-8294 or ☏ +1 787-724-4829

Rochdale Radio Taxi ☏ +1 787-721-1900

Santana Taxi Service, Inc. ☏ +1 787-562-9836

travel info for puerto rico

If you are planning to explore outside of San Juan, renting a car is by far the most convenient way to get around. Rentals are available from the airport as well as larger hotels. There are sometimes long waits of up to an hour when renting a car at that airport, especially with some companies. Rental cars can be had for as little as $28 a day.

Many U.S. mainland car insurance policies will cover insured drivers involved in rental car accidents that occur anywhere in the United States, including outlying territories like Puerto Rico, so check with your own insurer before you rent a car in Puerto Rico. If you have such coverage, you can probably decline collision insurance from the car rental company and request only the loss damage waiver.

Red lights and stop signs are treated like yield signs late at night (only from midnight to 5AM) due to security measures.

The roads can be quite bad, with potholes and uneven pavement. Pools as a result of rainfall can render some smaller roads impassable. Be cautious of other drivers, as turn signals are not commonly used or adhered to. Most natives do not drive like mainlanders are used to. Watch out for cars pulling out in front of you, or crossing an intersection, even if you have right of way. Also, there are many cars with non-functional headlights or tail lights, making driving in traffic even more dangerous. If you are not a very confident, even aggressive driver, you may not wish to drive in urban areas. Speed limits are considered suggestions for the locals (particularly taxi drivers), but high fines should make wise tourists cautious.

Parking in the Old Town of San Juan is virtually non-existent. There is a public parking lot called "La Puntilla". On weekends you only pay a fixed rate for the whole day and on weekdays you will pay less than $5 for a full day. The lot usually has available parking spaces. Traffic in all major cities is bad during rush hour (8AM-10AM, 4PM-6PM), so give yourself plenty of time coming and going.

Road signs are Spanish-language versions of their U.S. mainland counterparts. However, note that distances are in kilometers, while speed limits are in miles . Gas is also sold by the liter, not by the gallon, and it's a little bit cheaper than on the mainland.

In addition to the regular free highway ( carretera ) network, there are three toll roads ( autopista ) on Puerto Rico. They're much faster and less congested than the highways, and it's worth using them if you are in a hurry. Tolls for a 2-axle car range from $0.50 and $1.50. The lanes on the left are reserved for people with RFID (Autoexpreso) toll passes (an electronic pass typically called a speed or E-Z pass in the states), which you probably won't have on your rental car. Lanes marked with an "A" generally accept only coins. If you need change, head for the lanes marked with a "C", usually the furthest to the right. Note that if you are heading to Ponce on PR-52, the autopista toll system has gone all RFID, so head to the first "C" booth you come to and buy a travel card if they will let you, or they might require you to buy the Autoexpreso RFID tag for $10. If you put $10 on the tag it will get you to Ponce and back once.

Off the main highways, roads in Puerto Rico quickly become narrow, twisty and turny , especially up in the mountains. Roads that are only one-and-a-half lanes wide are common, so do like the locals do and beep before driving into blind curves. Signage is often minimal, although intersections do almost always show the road numbers, so a detailed highway map will come in handy. Expect hairpin turns in the mountains - experience driving in West Virginia can help a good deal here. Don't be surprised if you see chickens in the middle of the road - Puerto Rico is one place where the local fowl are still trying to figure out the old joke. They are harmless to vehicles - just drive around them or wait for them to move aside. Something else to look out for is sudden fog and zero visibility; when crossing the central mountain range, keep your car at a slow and steady pace.

Navigating a car can be very challenging because most locals give directions by landmark rather by address and using maps in Puerto Rico can be very challenging for visitors. Google Maps has lately been improving and now most small roads and all major roads are covered. Slight problems include street names either missing or incorrect, and address lookups & business entries (POI's) either give no result or are wrong. Other online maps suffer the same issues. Note that the larger metro areas, especially San Juan, can have several streets with the same name, so it's important to know the neighborhood ( urbanization ) name when communicating with taxi drivers, etc.

Police cars are easy to spot, as by local regulation, they must keep their blue light bar continuously illuminated any time they are in motion. Avoid getting a speeding ticket: fines start at $50 + $5 for each mile above the speed limit. It is also against the law to talk or text on a phone while driving, except when using BlueTooth or a speakerphone. The fine for talking or texting on the phone is $50.

Due to the limitations of public transport in San Juan and the metropolitan area, getting around by car is by far the easiest option. The following table showcases the four types of roads in Puerto Rico.

travel info for puerto rico

A público is a shared taxi service and is much cheaper than taking a taxi around the island, and depending on your travel aspirations, might be cheaper than renting a car. Públicos can be identified by their yellow license plates with the word "PUBLICO" written on top of the license plate. The "main" público station is in Río Piedras, a suburb of San Juan . They're also known as colectivos and pisicorres .

There are two ways of getting on a público. The easier way is to call the local público stand the day before and ask them to pick you up at an agreed time. (Your hotel or guesthouse can probably arrange this, and unlike you, they probably know which of the multitude of companies is going your way.) This is convenient, but it'll cost a few bucks extra and you'll be in for a wait as the car collects all the other departing passengers. The cheaper way is to just show up at the público terminal (or, in smaller towns, the town square) as early as you can (6-7AM is normal) and wait for others to show up; as soon as enough have collected, which may take minutes or hours, you're off. Públicos taper off in the afternoon and stop running entirely before dark.

Públicos can make frequent stops to pick up or drop off passengers and may take a while to get to their destination terminal, but you can also request to be dropped off elsewhere if it's along the way or you pay a little extra. Prices vary depending on the size of the público and the distance being traveled. As an example, a small público that can seat three or four passengers from Ponce to San Juan will cost roughly $15, while a 15 passenger público that is traveling between San Juan and Fajardo will cost about $5 each person.

Públicos are not very popular, and many Puerto Ricans without access to a vehicle simply keep the phone numbers for Uber drivers they know in order to arrange rides directly with them.

Ferries depart from San Juan and Fajardo , and the most popular arrivals are Cataño, Vieques Island & Culebra Island. Also, the Mayaguez ferry travels between the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico.

  • Mayagüez, Puerto Rico ☏ +1 787-832-4800 or ☏ +1 787-832-4905
  • San Juan, Puerto Rico ☏ +1 787-725-2643 or ☏ +1 787-725-2646
  • Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic ☏ +1 809-688-4400
  • Santiago, Dominican Republic ☏ +1 809-724-8771

There are no long-distance train services in Puerto Rico. San Juan has a single rapid transit line serving the metro area, but it covers neither the old city nor the resort area of Condado and is thus of very limited utility to most visitors.

travel info for puerto rico

Autoridad Metropolitana de Autobuses, also known in English as Metropolitan Bus Authority or by its initials in Spanish, AMA , is a public bus transit system based in greater San Juan. It is the only regular scheduled bus system in Puerto Rico. The AMA provides daily bus transportation throughout San Juan , Guaynabo , Bayamón , Cataño , and Carolina through a network of 30 bus routes, including 2 express routes and 3 "Metrobus" routes. It also provides limited service to and from the outlying municipalities of Loíza , Toa Baja and Trujillo Alto. Its fleet consists of 277 regular buses and 54 paratransit vans for handicapped persons. Its ridership is estimated at 112,000 on weekdays.

travel info for puerto rico

The daily, weekend and holiday bus service from 4:30AM to 10PM with the exception of a few routes that are limited to certain hours and the express routes.

There are two routes which are very reliable, M-I & M-II, commonly called Metrobus (metroboos). MetroBus M1 transit between Old San Juan to Santurce downtown, Hato Rey Golden Mile banking zone and Rio Piedras downtown where a nice open walking street mall and great bargains could be found, the Paseo De Diego. The Metrobus II transit from Santurce to Bayamon city, passing Hato Rey, including Plaza Las Americas Mall and to Guaynabo City. Many interesting places could be found on the routes, like the remains of the first European settlement on the island and the oldest under USA government, the Caparra Ruins (Ruinas de Caparra Museum) .

As a tourist staying in the Isla Verde hotel district, be aware there is a bus line going to and from Old San Juan. It costs only 75 cents, but takes 45 minutes to an hour and the right bus comes by irregularly. The bus as of 2022 only takes quarters and no bills, so plan ahead. So the trade-off is between low cost versus your time and convenience. In the rainy months, standing at the bus stop can be uncomfortable.

Cape Air flies between San Juan (both ( SJU  IATA ) and Isla Grande ( SIG  IATA ) airports) and Culebra ( CPX  IATA ), Mayaguez and Vieques. Vieques Air Link flies between San Juan, Culebra and Vieques, with onward connections from its Vieques hub to other Caribbean islands. Vieques Air Link also flies from Culebra to Vieques and from Ceiba to Vieques. Air Culebra also flies from San Juan to Culebra and Vieques as does Air Flamenco. Air Culebra also flies from Ceiba to Culebra. MN Aviation provides charter flights between San Juan, Culebra and Vieques and from Ceiba to Culebra and Vieques. Tickets from San Juan-SJU to Vieques on Vieques Air Link cost around $250 return (2015), and the flight takes about 30 minutes.

There is one UNESCO World Heritage Site on Puerto Rico, namely La Fortaleza and San Juan National Historic Site.

travel info for puerto rico

Coffee Plantations Coffee, sugar cane, and tobacco were the three main agricultural products exported by Puerto Rico in the old days. Sugar cane was produced in the hot low-lands by the sea while tobacco and coffee were grown in the mountainous interior of Puerto Rico. A few coffee plantations are still active or have been turned into museums. Most of them can be found and visited in the mountains region just North of Ponce .

Bioluminescent Bays The bioluminescent bays near Fajardo and in Vieques are an experience that should not be missed. The microscopic organisms that live in every drop of water in these bays will glow when they dart away from movement. Take a kayak or boat tour during a new moon for the best results; they're hard to see during a full moon and impossible to see in sunlight. The bioluminescent bay in Lajas is by far the most famous one to visit, with many kiosks and restaurants there for the traveler to enjoy as well as boat tours.

travel info for puerto rico

El Yunque rainforest is a must-see. At any altitude you'll see numerous varieties of plant and animal life. If you're lucky you can catch a glimpse of the endangered Puerto Rican parrot & hear the song of the local Coqui tree frog. Since it is a rain forest, expect it to rain daily and frequently. It's a good idea to dress as you would for wet weather at home.

Sports Whether you're dreaming about spectacular surfing waves, a challenging golf course, or the perfect sunbathing beach, Puerto Rico offers the active traveler a tremendous array of opportunities. Surfing and golf compete with tennis, fishing, kayaking, scuba diving, and horseback riding, not to mention windsurfing and parasailing, for your active time. The island has more 15 championship golf courses a short drive away from the San Juan metropolitan area.

Outdoor adventures There is plenty to do outside the metropolitan areas. Many small family owned tour companies provide guided tours of the Central Mountains in Utuado near Río Tanama, Repelling in Arecibo, kayak tours of Lake Guajataka, and horse back riding on the beach in Aguadilla. Some of the tour operators also provide low cost or free lodging.

Snorkel and scuba dive Puerto Rico's coastlines and minor islands such as Vieques and Culebra are best. They each contain scenic landscapes and a diverse population of wildlife. But be sure that if you book with a snorkel trip—that they guarantee you will be taken to true snorkeling sites. Dive operators (for instance, the outfit named Sea Ventures) have been known to book snorkelers on day trips along with scuba divers, taking them all to deep water sites suited only to scuba diving!

travel info for puerto rico

Puerto Rico uses the U.S. dollar , denoted by the symbol " $ " (ISO code: USD ).

There are plenty of ATMs around the commonwealth. Most are linked to the Cirrus, Plus, American Express and Discover networks.

Plaza las Americas is the largest shopping mall in the Caribbean and one of the largest in Latin America. It offers a wide array of stores, eating facilities, and a multi-screen movie theater. Most major U.S. mainland and European mass retailers are located in the mall.

The Condado section of San Juan is home to fine designer stores such as Cartier, Gucci, Ferragamo, Mont Blanc and Dior.

You might want to check out the Belz Factory Outlets and Puerto Rico Premium Outlets (Barceloneta). They house stores like Polo Ralph Lauren, Hilfiger, Banana Republic, Puma, Gap, PacSun, etc.

Most of the large cities on the island have a large regional mall with very familiar international stores.

If you're looking for local crafts of all sorts, and want to pay less than in Old San Juan while getting to know the island, try going to town festivals. Artisans from around the island come to these festivals to sell their wares: from typical foods, candies, coffee and tobacco to clothing, accessories, paintings and home décor. Some of these festivals are better than others, though: be sure to ask for recommendations. One of the most popular (yet remote) festivals is the "Festival de las Chinas" or Orange Festival in Las Marías .

Don't forget that Puerto Rico is a large rum-producing island. Hand made cigars can still be found in San Juan, Old San Juan, and Puerta de Tierra. Also a wide variety of imported goods from all over the world are available. Local artesanías include wooden carvings, musical instruments, lace, ceramics, hammocks, masks and basket-work. Located in every busy city are gift shops with the typical tee-shirts, shot glasses, and other gifts that say Puerto Rico to bring home to friends and family. Make sure to visit the Distileria Serralles, the home of Don Q, one of the oldest rums made in Puerto Rico. You would not only enjoy tours of the process of making rum, but a little taste of the rum. They also have a museum and it is an enjoyable place for a warm afternoon in the Enchanted Island.

Puerto Rico is a drive-through buffet. All you need is a car, an appetite (the bigger the better), time, and the realization that your swimsuit won't fit as well when you get to your destination. The island has the most diverse culinary offerings in the entire Caribbean. There's something for everyone. You can enjoy the finest Puerto Rican food at most traditional town squares and also (for those of you who get homesick) have a steak at a place like Morton's.

travel info for puerto rico

Authentic Puerto Rican food ( comida criolla ) can be summed up in two words: plantains and pork , usually served up with rice and beans ( arroz y habichuelas ). It is rarely if ever spicy, and to many visitors' surprise has very little in common with Mexican cooking.

Plantains ( plátanos ) are essentially savory bananas and the primary source of starch back in the bad old days, although you will occasionally also encounter cassava ( yuca ) and other tropical tubers. Served with nearly every meal, incarnations include:

  • mofongo — plantains mashed, fried, and mashed again, when filled up ( relleno ) with seafood this is probably the best-known Puerto Rican dish of them all
  • tostones — twice deep-fried plantain chips, best when freshly made.
  • amarillos — sweet fried plantain.
  • sopa de plátanos — mashed plantain soup

The main meat eaten in Puerto Rico is pork ( cerdo ), with chicken a close second and beef and mutton way down the list. Seafood, surprisingly, is only a minor part of the traditional repertoire: the deep waters around Puerto Rico are poorly suited to fishing, and most of the seafood served in restaurants for tourists is in fact imported. Still, fresh local fish can be found in restaurants across the east and west coast of the island, especially in Naguabo or Cabo Rojo respectively.

  • chicharrones — crispy dry pork rinds.
  • chuletas — huge, juicy pork chops, available grilled or deep fried.
  • lechón asado — roast suckling pig, this is the pinnacle of Puerto Rican porkcraft. Served at specialty restaurants, with the Cayey city's barrio of Guavate off the San Juan-Ponce highway being particularly famous.
  • morcilla — blood sausage
  • pernil de cerdo — pork shoulder with oregano and garlic

A few other puertorriqueño classics include:

  • arroz con gandules — rice with pigeon peas, the unofficial national dish of Puerto Rico
  • arroz con jueyes — rice with land crab meat
  • asopao — a spicy tomato stew with rice and chicken or seafood
  • bacalaitos — salted cod fritters
  • chillo — red snapper, the most common fresh fish on the island
  • empanadillas — fritters of cheese, meat or lobster
  • sofrito — a fragrant sauce of sweet pepper, herbs, garlic and oil, used as base and seasoning for many dishes
  • quenepas — a green grape-like fruit common in summer, don't eat the skin or seeds (and watch where you put them, they stain clothes easily)
  • sorrullos — corn sticks, which come either sweet or salty

Places to eat

Meals in sit-down restaurants tend to be fairly pricey and most touristy restaurants will happily charge $10–30 for main dishes. Restaurants geared for locals may not appear much cheaper, but the quality (and quantity) of food is usually considerably better. It's not uncommon for restaurants to charge tourists more than locals, so bring along a local friend if you can! Note that many restaurants are closed on Mondays and Tuesdays .

If you want to eat like a local, look for places that are out of the way. There is a roadside food stand or 10 at every corner when you get out of the cities. Deep-fried foods are the most common, but they serve everything from octopus salad to rum in a coconut. You might want to think twice and consult your stomach before choosing some items - but do be willing to try new things. Most of the roadside stand food is fantastic, and if you're not hung up with the need for a table, you might have dinner on a beach, chomping on all sorts of seafood fritters at $1 a pop, drinking rum from a coconut. At the end of dinner, you can see all the stars. In the southwest of the island, in Boqueron , you might find fresh oysters and clams for sale at 25 cents apiece.

If you are really lucky, you might get invited to a pork roast. It's not just food - it's a whole day - and it's cultural. Folks singing, drinking, hanging out telling stories, and checking to see if the pig is ready, and staying on topic, you'll find the pig likely paired with arroz con gandules .

Typical fast food restaurants, such as McDonald's, Taco Bell, and Wendy's are numerous in Puerto Rico and are almost identical to their American counterparts with minor exceptions.

Finally, there are some wonderful restaurants, and like everywhere, the best are found mostly near the metropolitan areas. Old San Juan is probably your best bet for a high quality meal in a 5-star restaurant. However if your experimental nature wanes, there are lots of "Americanized" opportunities in and around San Juan. Good luck, keep your eyes open for the next roadside stand, and make sure to take advantage of all the sports to counteract the moving buffet.

Dietary restrictions

Strict vegetarians will have a tough time in Puerto Rico, although the larger towns have restaurants that can cater to their tastes. Traditionally almost all Puerto Rican food is prepared with lard, and while this has been largely supplanted by cheaper corn oil, mofongo is still commonly made using lard, bacon or both. As a general rule, foods that are perceived as more traditional are much more likely to be made with lard.

Unlike most U.S. territories and states, Puerto Rico's drinking age is 18 . That, coupled with the fact that the U.S. does not require U.S. residents to have a passport to travel between Puerto Rico and the continental U.S., means Puerto Rico is becoming increasingly popular during spring break. Beer and hard liquor is available at almost every grocery store, convenience store, panadería (bakery), connell cabinet shop, and meat shop. There are many bars just off the sidewalk that cater to those of age, especially in San Juan and Old San Juan.

travel info for puerto rico

Puerto Rico is famous for its rum and rum drinks, and is the birthplace of the world renowned Piña Colada . Several rums are made in Puerto Rico, including Bacardì, Captain Morgan and Don Q. Rum is, unfortunately, not a connoisseur's drink in the same way as wine or whiskey, and you may get a few odd looks if you ask for it straight since it is almost always drunk as a mixer. The best rum available in Puerto Rico is known as Ron de Barrilito . It has only been available in the mainland U.S. since the 2020s, and is considered to be the closest to the rums distilled in the Caribbean in the 17th and 18th centuries, both in taste and the way it is distilled. It has an amber-brown color and a delicious, clean, slightly sweet taste. Very refreshing on a hot day with ice and a mint leaf.

The local moonshine is known as pitorro or cañita , distilled (like rum) from fermented sugarcane. It is then poured into a jug with other flavorings such as grapes, prunes, breadfruit seeds, raisins, dates, mango, grapefruit, guava, pineapple, and even cheese or raw meat. Its production, while illegal, is widespread and a sort of national pastime. If you are lucky enough to be invited to a Puerto Rican home around Christmastime, it is likely that someone will eventually bring out a bottle of it. Use caution as it is quite strong, sometimes reaching 80% alcohol by volume (although typical alcohol levels are closer to 40-50%).

Another often-homemade drink is maví, made from fermented tree bark, which is refreshing with a strength and taste about halfway between soft apple cider and beer.

During Christmas season, Puertoricans also drink "Coquito," an eggnog-like alcoholic beverage made with rum, egg yolks, coconut milk, coconut cream, sweet condensed milk, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves. It is almost always homemade, and is often given as a gift during the Christmas holidays. It is delicious, but very caloric. It will also make you very sick if you drink too much of it, so be careful if someone offers you some.

Most stores stock a locally produced beer called Medalla Light that can be purchased for $1–$2 each. Medalla Light is only sold in Puerto Rico, and is first in the Puerto Rican market share. It is comparable in taste to American light beers, i.e. bland and watery. Other beer options for the discriminating drinker include Presidente , a light Pilsner beer from nearby Dominican Republic (note: it's a different brew from the Dominican version), and Beck's. Beck's imported to Puerto Rico and the rest of the Caribbean is a different brew from the one that makes it to the U.S. mainland, and is considered by many to be better. Other beers which have popularity on the island are Budweiser (Bud Lite is not available or very difficult to find), Heineken, Corona and Coors Light, which happen to be one of the prime international markets. Many other imported beers are also available, but usually at a higher price.

Most of the beers sold vary from 10- to 12-ounce bottles or cans. The portions are small (compared to the Mainland) in order to be consumed before the beer has time to warm up.

Tap water is treated and is officially safe to drink, although somewhat metallic-tasting.

If you are an avid coffee drinker, you may find heaven in Puerto Rico. Nearly every place to eat, from the most expensive restaurants to the lowliest street vendors, serves coffee that is cheap, powerful, and delicious. Puerto Ricans drink their coffee in a way particular to the Caribbean, known as a café cortadito , which is espresso coffee served with sweetened steamed milk. A cup of coffee at a good panadería is rarely more than $1.50. Although coffee was once a formidable component of Puerto Rico's agriculture, its domestic production has declined significantly and most coffee sold in Puerto Rico is actually from Brazil or Colombia. However, indigenous coffee is experiencing a comeback, with a variety of excellent brands such as Alto Grande , Yaucono , Altura , and Café Rico . Puerto Rico's best coffee is now some of the most expensive and exclusive in the world, and a box of estate-grown coffee is an indispensable souvenir for the passionate coffee lover.

For those who want non-alcoholic drinks, horchata is a popular drink in Puerto Rico that is made from vanilla, cinnamon and sesame seeds, and differs significantly from its better-known Mexican counterpart.

As a legacy of Puerto Rico's status as one of centers of world sugarcane production, nearly everything is drunk or eaten with sugar added. This includes coffee, teas, and alcoholic drinks, as well as breakfast foods such as avena (hot oatmeal-like cereal) and mallorcas (heavy egg buns with powdered sugar and jam). Be aware of this if you are diabetic.

travel info for puerto rico

There are over 12,000 hotel rooms in Puerto Rico and 50% are located in the San Juan area.

  • All major international hotel chains have properties in Puerto Rico. Guests can expect a high level of service even in lower quality properties. The San Juan area is very popular and perennially full of visitors but also suffers from a shortage of hotel rooms which results in high prices during the winter season. New developments on the horizon look to alleviate this problem.

International chains such as Sheraton, Westin, Marriott, Hilton, Ritz-Carlton, Holiday Inn as well as some luxurious independent resorts offer very reliable accommodations. There is a boom underway in boutique hotel construction which promise a higher level of service and Miami-chic appeal. Most large cities have at least one international chain hotel.

There are properties to rent, buy, or lease available, whether it is a quiet home or a vacation rental. There are also many fully furnished apartments you can rent by the day, week and month, especially in Old San Juan. These are usually inexpensive, clean and comfortable and owned by trustworthy people. They are located mostly in the residential area, which is safe (day and night), and within walking distance to everything from museums to nightlife.

See the San Juan section for contact numbers for hotels and short-term rental apartments.

Most universities in Puerto Rico are accredited by US authorities and they offer quality educational programs. It's very easy to find Spanish courses as well as learn to dance salsa.

Puerto Rico has 3 ABA-accredited law schools which are very competitive. The University of Puerto Rico Law School is very friendly towards international students and is a great option for foreigners looking for a quality, cheap education (subsidized by the government) that is less than 10 minutes from a beach!

Also the island has major medical teaching centers which are internationally acclaimed such as the University of Puerto Rico Center for Medical Sciences and the Ponce School of Medicine.

There is a small international workforce on the island. In general, it's possible to find a nice job on the island doing various things. The island is full of international businesses which look for skilled labor all the time. Tourism is obviously a big industry for Puerto Rico. Also, the majority of pharmaceutical companies can be found here and the island plays a very important part in pharmaceutical manufacturing for the U.S. and other places in the world.

If you look at the statistics, it's clear that Puerto Rico has a crime problem , but tourists generally encounter no major problems when simply applying common sense. The tourist areas of San Juan and Ponce are heavily patrolled by police, and violent crime directed against tourists is extremely rare. The main problem is theft : never leave your belongings unattended anywhere (on the beach, in a restaurant/bar, etc.) The crime rate is lowest in the wealthier suburbs outside major metropolitan areas, such as Isla Verde, Condado, San Patricio, and Guaynabo. Car theft is a minor issue, so park your car in a garage and don't leave valuables inside.

travel info for puerto rico

After the traditionally high murder statistics peaked in 2011, the FBI increased its involvement in Puerto Rico, taking charge of a large number of cases as well as addressing corruption and other problems in the island's police force. This FBI involvement and other initiatives to increase public safety seem to be paying off, as the island has seen a promising decline in heavy crime over the past few years. Like all cities in the US, serious crime is concentrated in the densely populated metropolitan cities of San Juan and Ponce. Most of it is committed by the youth or young adults, and almost always there's a connection to the drug trade. Puerto Rico's history of rampant and staggering drug smuggling during the 1970s is now mostly over thanks to a beefed-up law enforcement presence, but the island's location still makes it a major point of entry for narcotics into the US. Make sure to stay away from public housing complexes known as caseríos , which are numerous and widespread throughout the island, and avoid shanty slums as well (La Perla in San Juan). These are frequently the location of drug dealers and other illegal activity as well as violent crime. If you must venture into such a location, do so during the day, try to blend in and avoid attracting attention, and be polite at all times.

Beggars are common in large cities and tourist attractions. If you feel you are being harassed, a firm "No" will usually suffice.

Stay healthy

Freshwater lakes and streams in metropolitan areas are often polluted so avoid going in for a dip. You can, however, find freshwater streams and ponds in the rain forest that are safe to swim in. Generally, if you see Puerto Ricans swimming in it then you are probably okay, especially high in the rain forest. Puerto Rico is a tropical island, but is free of most diseases that plague many other tropical countries of the Caribbean and the world. Tap water is safe to drink almost everywhere, and your hosts will let you know if their water is suspect. Bottled water, if necessary, is available, at grocery and drugstores in gallons, and most small stores have bottled water as well.

Medical facilities are easily available all around the Island, and there are many trained physicians and specialists in many medical fields. There are a number of government as well as private hospitals. Health services are fairly expensive. Keep in mind that a visit to the doctor may not be as prompt as one is used to, and it is common to have to wait quite some time to be seen (three to four hours would not be exceptional).

Visitors should expect a high level of quality in their medical service - it is comparable to the U.S. mainland. Drug stores are plentiful and very well stocked. Walgreens is the biggest and most popular pharmacy chain, although Wal-Mart, K-Mart, and Costco offer medicines, as do numerous smaller local chains.

travel info for puerto rico

Politeness and a simple smile will get you far. Unspoken rules regarding personal space differ somewhat from the American mainland; people generally stand closer together when socializing. For either gender, it is very common to customarily kiss on one cheek when greeting a female. This is never done by a male to another male (except between relatives). Puerto Rican society is generally very social, and you will commonly see neighbors out at night chatting with each other.

It is wise in some cases to avoid discussing the island's politics, especially with regards to its political status with the United States. Arguments are often very passionate, and can lead to heated debates. In the same manner it may be wise not to discuss the political parties either, as Puerto Ricans can be very passionate about the party they affiliate with. Puerto Rico has 3 political parties, marked (among other things) by different stances towards the relation to the United States: PNP (statehood), PPD (commonwealth) and PIP (independence). PNP and PPD share the majority of the voters, whilst PIP has a relatively negative rating.

It is fairly common for attractive women to have cat calls, whistles, and loud compliments directed at them. These are usually harmless and it is best to just ignore them.

Puerto Ricans love board games. Some would even say that the national game of Puerto Rico is dominos . It is a very common pastime, especially among older people. In some rural towns, it is common to see old men playing dominos in parks or the town square. Chess is also popular. Either a chess set or a box of dominos makes a great gift.

Respect for the elderly is very highly valued in Puerto Rico. When saying goodbye to an older person, it is a gesture of great respect to say "Bendicíon" (a request for his/her blessing), to which s/he will respond, "Díos te lo bendigan" ("May God bless you").

LGBTQ visitors will find Puerto Rico a far more tolerant destination than many in the Caribbean (particularly the Anglophone Caribbean). Same-sex marriage was legalized in 2015, and discrimination in public accommodations against LGBTQ people is against the law. Nevertheless, Puerto Rico is still far behind Western Europe in this respect, and more comparable to the American South than the US coasts in its attitudes. Open displays of affection will be met with stares and catcalls, but the likelihood that a tourist will encounter open hostility is very low. Youth are usually much more open than the older generation. The most gay-friendly areas are in San Juan, particularly Condado, Santurce and Hato Rey.

Cellular phones

travel info for puerto rico

Puerto Rico has a modern cellular network. All the major US carriers are represented and are not roaming for US subscribers with nationwide plans. Services are provided by Claro (owned by América Móvil) and the US-based telcos, T-Mobile US (which also merged with Sprint), and AT&T (which sold its network to Liberty Latin America in Nov 2020).

Voice coverage

All of the major metro areas have solid coverage with all carriers. For rural areas and the islands Culebra and Vieques, coverage is pretty good but can be spottier than in the states and you may find poor or no coverage at the beaches. AT&T/Liberty is generally regarded to have the best voice coverage, followed by T-Mobile, and Claro.

Data coverage

T-Mobile has 3G, 4G LTE, and 5G data in the major metro areas, averaging over 1,500 kbit/s or higher, but they only have 2G outside those areas. Personal hot spots work well for streaming and other uses in the 3G areas.

AT&T/Liberty has the most consistent and by far the fastest data coverage on the island, with solid 4G LTE/HSPA+ and 3G coverage in the metro areas and 3G or 2G in the rural areas. Data rates average around 500 kbit/s on 3G and speeds on the 4G LTE network can be up to 10 times fast than 3G. Personal hot spots work well for streaming and other uses in the 3G and 4G areas.

Claro also has 3G and 4G LTE data. Verizon Wireless also uses Claro's network for roaming coverage and Verizon Wireless customers won't be subject to any charges when using Claro's Network in Puerto Rico.

Public access internet penetration is not yet as good as in the mainland US or in Europe. Internet cafes exist but are not very common, although some cafes, such as Starbucks, and restaurants, such as Subway, provide free WiFi. Some of the major metro areas provide free WiFi zones, such as along Paseo de la Princesa in Old San Juan, but these tend to be slow and unreliable. There is no free WiFi at the primary airport, Luis Muñoz Marín International Airport (SJU). Most hotels provide wired or wireless (or both) internet for guests, either for free or a fee, however many motels do not. Puerto has continually strived to improve the Internet on the island.

Puerto Rico uses the U.S. Postal Service with zip codes 00601-00795 and 00901-00988 with a state code of "PR". Postage to the United States (including Alaska and Hawaii), St Thomas, and to overseas U.S. military and diplomatic posts (with APO, FPO or DPO addresses) are the same domestic rates as it would be to send something within Puerto Rico and to Vieques and Culebra Islands.

travel info for puerto rico

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COVID-19: travel health notice for all travellers

Puerto Rico travel advice

Latest updates: The Health section was updated - travel health information (Public Health Agency of Canada)

Last updated: July 2, 2024 09:25 ET

On this page

Safety and security, entry and exit requirements, laws and culture, natural disasters and climate, puerto rico - take normal security precautions.

Take normal security precautions in Puerto Rico

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Petty crime, such as pickpocketing and purse snatching, are prevalent. Violent crime also occurs.

Ensure that your belongings, including your passports and other travel documents, are secure at all times.


Demonstrations occur from time to time. Even peaceful demonstrations can turn violent at any time. They can also lead to disruptions to traffic and public transportation.

  • Avoid areas where demonstrations and large gatherings are taking place
  • Follow the instructions of local authorities
  • Monitor local media for information on ongoing demonstrations

Mass gatherings (large-scale events)

Women’s safety

Women travelling alone may be subject to some forms of harassment and verbal abuse.

Advice for women travellers

Power and telecommunications outages

Puerto Rico experiences frequent disruptions to power and telecommunications services after Hurricane Maria destroyed much of the power grid in 2017.

Water activities

Coastal waters can be dangerous. Riptides are common.

  • Consult residents and tour operators for information on possible hazards and safe swimming areas
  • Follow the instructions and warnings of local authorities

If you participate in water sports, such as diving:

  • choose a well-established and reputable company that has insurance
  • ensure that your travel insurance covers the recreational activities you choose

If in doubt concerning the safety of the facilities or equipment, don’t use them.

Water safety abroad

Adventure tourism

If you engage in adventure tourism:

  • never do so alone
  • always hire an experienced guide from a reputable company
  • buy travel insurance that includes helicopter rescue and medical evacuation
  • ensure that your physical condition is good enough to meet the challenges of your activity
  • ensure that you’re properly equipped
  • ensure that you’re well informed about weather and other conditions that may pose a hazard
  • inform a family member or friend of your itinerary obtain detailed information on each activity before setting out

Road safety

Road conditions and road safety vary greatly throughout the island.

Drivers may be aggressive, and few use their signals. There is heavy traffic in larger centres, particularly San Juan.

Roads in mountain areas can be narrow, winding, and poorly paved.

Public transportation

Bus and light rail services.

Bus and light rail (Tren Urbano) services are available in the metropolitan San Juan area.

Ferries travel to and from the islands of Culebra and Vieques, as well as the Dominican Republic.

Taxis are widely available. Fares are metered, except for major tourist destinations in San Juan, where they are fixed. Tourist taxis are white and have a “Taxi Turístico” label on the door.

We do not make assessments on the compliance of foreign domestic airlines with international safety standards.

Information about foreign domestic airlines

Every country or territory decides who can enter or exit through its borders. The Government of Canada can’t intervene on your behalf if you don’t meet your destination’s entry or exit requirements.

Puerto Rico is a territory of the United States. We have obtained the information on this page from the American authorities. It can, however, change at any time.

Confirm entry, exit and visa requirements prior to travelling:

  • Entry and exit requirements for the United States
  • U.S. Customs and Border Protection
  • U.S. Embassy and Consulates

Entry requirements vary depending on the type of passport you use for travel.

Before you travel, check with your transportation company about passport requirements. Its rules on passport validity may be more stringent than the country’s entry rules.

Regular Canadian passport

Your passport must be valid for the duration of your stay.

Passport for official travel

Different entry rules may apply.

Official travel

Passport with “X” gender identifier

While the Government of Canada issues passports with an “X” gender identifier, it cannot guarantee your entry or transit through other countries. You might face entry restrictions in countries that do not recognize the “X” gender identifier. Before you leave, check with the closest foreign representative for your destination.

Other travel documents

Different entry rules may apply when travelling with a temporary passport or an emergency travel document. Before you leave, check with the closest foreign representative for your destination.

Useful links

  • Foreign Representatives in Canada
  • Canadian passports

Other entry requirements

Customs officials may ask you to show them a return or onward ticket and proof of sufficient funds to cover the cost of your stay.

  • Children and travel

Learn more about travelling with children .

Yellow fever

Learn about potential entry requirements related to yellow fever (vaccines section).

Relevant Travel Health Notices

  • Global Measles Notice - 13 March, 2024
  • Zika virus: Advice for travellers - 31 August, 2023
  • COVID-19 and International Travel - 13 March, 2024
  • Dengue: Advice for travellers - 2 July, 2024

This section contains information on possible health risks and restrictions regularly found or ongoing in the destination. Follow this advice to lower your risk of becoming ill while travelling. Not all risks are listed below.

Consult a health care professional or visit a travel health clinic preferably 6 weeks before you travel to get personalized health advice and recommendations.

Routine vaccines

Be sure that your  routine vaccinations , as per your province or territory , are up-to-date before travelling, regardless of your destination.

Some of these vaccinations include measles-mumps-rubella (MMR), diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, polio, varicella (chickenpox), influenza and others.

Pre-travel vaccines and medications

You may be at risk for preventable diseases while travelling in this destination. Talk to a travel health professional about which medications or vaccines may be right for you, based on your destination and itinerary. 

Yellow fever is a disease caused by a flavivirus from the bite of an infected mosquito.

Travellers get vaccinated either because it is required to enter a country or because it is recommended for their protection.

  • There is no risk of yellow fever in this country.

Country Entry Requirement*

  • Proof of vaccination is not required to enter this country.


  • Vaccination is not recommended.

* It is important to note that country entry requirements may not reflect your risk of yellow fever at your destination. It is recommended that you contact the nearest diplomatic or consular office of the destination(s) you will be visiting to verify any additional entry requirements.

About Yellow Fever

Yellow Fever Vaccination Centres in Canada

There is a risk of hepatitis A in this destination. It is a disease of the liver. People can get hepatitis A if they ingest contaminated food or water, eat foods prepared by an infectious person, or if they have close physical contact (such as oral-anal sex) with an infectious person, although casual contact among people does not spread the virus.

Practise  safe food and water precautions and wash your hands often. Vaccination is recommended for all travellers to areas where hepatitis A is present.

In this destination, rabies  may be present in some wildlife species, including bats. Rabies is a deadly disease that spreads to humans primarily through bites or scratches from an infected animal. 

If you are bitten or scratched by an animal while travelling, immediately wash the wound with soap and clean water and see a health care professional. 

Before travel, discuss rabies vaccination with a health care professional. It may be recommended for travellers who will be working directly with wildlife. 

Measles is a highly contagious viral disease. It can spread quickly from person to person by direct contact and through droplets in the air.

Anyone who is not protected against measles is at risk of being infected with it when travelling internationally.

Regardless of where you are going, talk to a health care professional before travelling to make sure you are fully protected against measles.

  Hepatitis B is a risk in every destination. It is a viral liver disease that is easily transmitted from one person to another through exposure to blood and body fluids containing the hepatitis B virus.  Travellers who may be exposed to blood or other bodily fluids (e.g., through sexual contact, medical treatment, sharing needles, tattooing, acupuncture or occupational exposure) are at higher risk of getting hepatitis B.

Hepatitis B vaccination is recommended for all travellers. Prevent hepatitis B infection by practicing safe sex, only using new and sterile drug equipment, and only getting tattoos and piercings in settings that follow public health regulations and standards.

Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is an infectious viral disease. It can spread from person to person by direct contact and through droplets in the air.

It is recommended that all eligible travellers complete a COVID-19 vaccine series along with any additional recommended doses in Canada before travelling. Evidence shows that vaccines are very effective at preventing severe illness, hospitalization and death from COVID-19. While vaccination provides better protection against serious illness, you may still be at risk of infection from the virus that causes COVID-19. Anyone who has not completed a vaccine series is at increased risk of being infected with the virus that causes COVID-19 and is at greater risk for severe disease when travelling internationally.

Before travelling, verify your destination’s COVID-19 vaccination entry/exit requirements. Regardless of where you are going, talk to a health care professional before travelling to make sure you are adequately protected against COVID-19.

 The best way to protect yourself from seasonal influenza (flu) is to get vaccinated every year. Get the flu shot at least 2 weeks before travelling.  

 The flu occurs worldwide. 

  •  In the Northern Hemisphere, the flu season usually runs from November to   April.
  •  In the Southern Hemisphere, the flu season usually runs between April and   October.
  •  In the tropics, there is flu activity year round. 

The flu vaccine available in one hemisphere may only offer partial protection against the flu in the other hemisphere.

The flu virus spreads from person to person when they cough or sneeze or by touching objects and surfaces that have been contaminated with the virus. Clean your hands often and wear a mask if you have a fever or respiratory symptoms.

Safe food and water precautions

Many illnesses can be caused by eating food or drinking beverages contaminated by bacteria, parasites, toxins, or viruses, or by swimming or bathing in contaminated water.

  • Learn more about food and water precautions to take to avoid getting sick by visiting our eat and drink safely abroad page. Remember: Boil it, cook it, peel it, or leave it!
  • Avoid getting water into your eyes, mouth or nose when swimming or participating in activities in freshwater (streams, canals, lakes), particularly after flooding or heavy rain. Water may look clean but could still be polluted or contaminated.
  • Avoid inhaling or swallowing water while bathing, showering, or swimming in pools or hot tubs. 

Typhoid   is a bacterial infection spread by contaminated food or water. Risk is higher among children, travellers going to rural areas, travellers visiting friends and relatives or those travelling for a long period of time.

Travellers visiting regions with a risk of typhoid, especially those exposed to places with poor sanitation, should speak to a health care professional about vaccination.  

Insect bite prevention

Many diseases are spread by the bites of infected insects such as mosquitoes, ticks, fleas or flies. When travelling to areas where infected insects may be present:

  • Use insect repellent (bug spray) on exposed skin
  • Cover up with light-coloured, loose clothes made of tightly woven materials such as nylon or polyester
  • Minimize exposure to insects
  • Use mosquito netting when sleeping outdoors or in buildings that are not fully enclosed

To learn more about how you can reduce your risk of infection and disease caused by bites, both at home and abroad, visit our insect bite prevention page.

Find out what types of insects are present where you’re travelling, when they’re most active, and the symptoms of the diseases they spread.

There is a risk of chikungunya in this country.  The risk may vary between regions of a country.  Chikungunya is a virus spread through the bite of an infected mosquito. Chikungunya can cause a viral disease that typically causes fever and pain in the joints. In some cases, the joint pain can be severe and last for months or years.

Protect yourself from mosquito bites at all times. There is no vaccine available for chikungunya.

  • In this country,   dengue  is a risk to travellers. It is a viral disease spread to humans by mosquito bites.
  • Dengue can cause flu-like symptoms. In some cases, it can lead to severe dengue, which can be fatal.
  • The level of risk of dengue changes seasonally, and varies from year to year. The level of risk also varies between regions in a country and can depend on the elevation in the region.
  • Mosquitoes carrying dengue typically bite during the daytime, particularly around sunrise and sunset.
  • Protect yourself from mosquito bites . There is no vaccine or medication that protects against dengue.

Zika virus is a risk in this country. 

Zika virus is primarily spread through the bite of an infected mosquito. It can also be sexually transmitted. Zika virus can cause serious birth defects.

During your trip:

  • Prevent mosquito bites at all times.
  • Use condoms correctly or avoid sexual contact, particularly if you are pregnant.

If you are pregnant or planning a pregnancy, you should discuss the potential risks of travelling to this destination with your health care provider. You may choose to avoid or postpone travel. 

For more information, see Zika virus: Pregnant or planning a pregnancy.

Animal precautions

Some infections, such as rabies and influenza, can be shared between humans and animals. Certain types of activities may increase your chance of contact with animals, such as travelling in rural or forested areas, camping, hiking, and visiting wet markets (places where live animals are slaughtered and sold) or caves.

Travellers are cautioned to avoid contact with animals, including dogs, livestock (pigs, cows), monkeys, snakes, rodents, birds, and bats, and to avoid eating undercooked wild game.

Closely supervise children, as they are more likely to come in contact with animals.

Person-to-person infections

Stay home if you’re sick and practise proper cough and sneeze etiquette , which includes coughing or sneezing into a tissue or the bend of your arm, not your hand. Reduce your risk of colds, the flu and other illnesses by:

  •   washing your hands often
  • avoiding or limiting the amount of time spent in closed spaces, crowded places, or at large-scale events (concerts, sporting events, rallies)
  • avoiding close physical contact with people who may be showing symptoms of illness 

Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) , HIV , and mpox are spread through blood and bodily fluids; use condoms, practise safe sex, and limit your number of sexual partners. Check with your local public health authority pre-travel to determine your eligibility for mpox vaccine.  

Medical services and facilities

Good health care is available but conditions may vary throughout the island.

Ensure you have sufficient medication for your stay and extra in case of emergency. It can be difficult to get prescriptions refilled.

Medical evacuation can be very expensive and you may need it in case of serious illness or injury.

Make sure you get travel insurance that includes coverage for medical evacuation and hospital stays.

Travel health and safety

Keep in Mind...

The decision to travel is the sole responsibility of the traveller. The traveller is also responsible for his or her own personal safety.

Be prepared. Do not expect medical services to be the same as in Canada. Pack a   travel health kit , especially if you will be travelling away from major city centres.

You must abide by local laws.

Learn about what you should do and how we can help if you are arrested or detained abroad .

Penalties for possession, use or trafficking of illegal drugs are severe. Convicted offenders can expect jail sentences and heavy fines.

Drugs, alcohol and travel

Dual citizenship

Dual citizenship is legally recognized in the United States.

If you are a Canadian citizen, but also a citizen of the United States, our ability to offer you consular services may be limited while you're there. You may also be subject to different  entry/exit requirements .

  • General information for travellers with dual citizenship
  • Dual Nationality  - U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Consular Affairs

International Child Abduction

The Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction is an international treaty. It can help parents with the return of children who have been removed to or retained in certain countries in violation of custody rights. The convention applies between Canada and the United States.

If your child was wrongfully taken to, or is being held in Puerto Rico, and if the applicable conditions are met, you may apply for the return of your child to the Puerto Rican court.

If you are in this situation:

  • act as quickly as you can
  • contact the Central Authority for your province or territory of residence for information on starting an application under The Hague Convention
  • consult a lawyer in Canada and in Puerto Rico to explore all the legal options for the return of your child
  • report the situation to the nearest Canadian government office abroad or to the Vulnerable Children's Consular Unit at Global Affairs Canada by calling the Emergency Watch and Response Centre

If your child was removed from a country other than Canada, consult a lawyer to determine if The Hague Convention applies.

Be aware that Canadian consular officials cannot interfere in private legal matters or in another country's judicial affairs.

  • List of Canadian Central Authorities for the Hague Convention
  • International Child Abductions: A guide for affected parents
  • The Hague Convention – Hague Conference on Private International Law
  • Canadian embassies and consulates by destination
  • Request emergency assistance

You can drive in Puerto Rico with a valid Canadian driver’s licence for up to 90 days. If you plan to stay longer, you must obtain a Puerto Rican licence.

The currency of Puerto Rico is the U.S. dollar (USD). Credit cards are widely accepted.

Hurricane season

Hurricanes usually occur from mid-May to the end of November. During this period, even small tropical storms can quickly develop into major hurricanes.

These severe storms can put you at risk and hamper the provision of essential services. You could face serious safety risks during a hurricane.

If you decide to travel to a coastal area during the hurricane season:

  • be prepared to change your travel plans on short notice, including cutting short or cancelling your trip
  • stay informed of the latest regional weather forecasts
  • carry emergency contact information for your airline or tour operator
  • follow the advice and instructions of local authorities
  • Tornadoes, cyclones, hurricanes, typhoons and monsoons
  • Large-scale emergencies abroad
  • Active storm tracking and hurricane watches and warnings – U.S. National Hurricane Center

Puerto Rico Emergency Management Bureau  - United States Homeland Security

Local services

Dial 911 for emergency assistance.

Consular assistance

Florida, Puerto Rico, US Virgin Islands

For emergency consular assistance, call the Consulate General of Canada to the United States, in Miami, and follow the instructions. At any time, you may also contact the Emergency Watch and Response Centre in Ottawa.

The decision to travel is your choice and you are responsible for your personal safety abroad. We take the safety and security of Canadians abroad very seriously and provide credible and timely information in our Travel Advice to enable you to make well-informed decisions regarding your travel abroad.

The content on this page is provided for information only. While we make every effort to give you correct information, it is provided on an "as is" basis without warranty of any kind, expressed or implied. The Government of Canada does not assume responsibility and will not be liable for any damages in connection to the information provided.

If you need consular assistance while abroad, we will make every effort to help you. However, there may be constraints that will limit the ability of the Government of Canada to provide services.

Learn more about consular services .

Risk Levels

  take normal security precautions.

Take similar precautions to those you would take in Canada.

  Exercise a high degree of caution

There are certain safety and security concerns or the situation could change quickly. Be very cautious at all times, monitor local media and follow the instructions of local authorities.

IMPORTANT: The two levels below are official Government of Canada Travel Advisories and are issued when the safety and security of Canadians travelling or living in the country or region may be at risk.

  Avoid non-essential travel

Your safety and security could be at risk. You should think about your need to travel to this country, territory or region based on family or business requirements, knowledge of or familiarity with the region, and other factors. If you are already there, think about whether you really need to be there. If you do not need to be there, you should think about leaving.

  Avoid all travel

You should not travel to this country, territory or region. Your personal safety and security are at great risk. If you are already there, you should think about leaving if it is safe to do so.

30 Travel Tips & Things To Know Before Traveling To Puerto Rico (2024)

  • Travel Tips

Puerto Rico is a beautiful island in the Caribbean.

This Caribbean archipelago I call home hosts visitors from all across the world thanks to its warm weather, stunning beaches and great people.

Because I have spent so much time here, I can tell you with what you need to know before you arrive.

In this article, I will share 30 travel tips that you need to know before visiting Puerto Rico:

1. Most people speak English

Puerto Rico has both English and Spanish as its national languages. 

You don’t need to learn Spanish in order to visit, but learning a couple of phrases can’t hurt!

image of Old San Juan street

Beach towns and bigger cities along the metro usually have full English menus and websites to make it easier for guests.

You can find English-speaking restaurants and stores by walking down any street!

Find more ideas for things to do by reading our article 45 Things To Do In Puerto Rico .

2. Renting a car is useful

Puerto Rico has little to no public transportation outside of the Metro area.

Even Uber, Lyft, and taxis are hard to find. 

Traffic is a big problem on the island!

image of Carolina, Puerto Rico

If you’re thinking of traveling across the island, renting a car is your best option. US license is valid and rental companies are available in all airports.

Learn more by reading our article Renting A Car In Puerto Rico – All You Need To Know.

3. Driving here takes time

The island may seem small, but the roads are twisted and long!

travel info for puerto rico

Roads go around the island, so direct drives from town to town aren’t a possibility.

Driving from San Juan to Cabo Rojo can take up to three hours with traffic, so make sure to factor in driving time when making plans.

4. GPS maps don’t always work

Because Puerto Rico has so many twisting roads and rural landscapes, GPS maps aren’t always reliable.

image of Dorado Beach

Maybe the road hasn’t been updated, or maybe you lost the signal and can’t update the map.

Either way, looking up directions beforehand or having a tour guide is always a good idea when headed to areas where signals can get spotty.

Learn more about things to do in nature in our article 15 Best Outdoor Activities In Puerto Rico . 

5. There’s more to see outside of San Juan

Most tourists stay around Old San Juan for their whole vacation, but there’s so much to see!

Some of the best beaches in Puerto Rico are in the west and southwest, and the best hiking trails run along the west coast and central cordillera.

image of Buyé Beach

Buyé Beach in Cabo Rojo is a must-visit spot a few hours drive from San Juan.

6. Island towns; Vieques and Culebra

Puerto Rico isn’t just an island, it’s an archipelago.

image of Culebra Island

Vieques and Culebra are both fully established island municipalities just a boat ride away from the mainland.

image of Flamenco Beach

The best beach in Puerto Rico, Flamenco Beach , is located in Culebra.

Learn more about getting to these islands by reading our article How To Get To Vieques From San Juan .

7. Cruise ships stop here

The port of San Juan is a stop for most large cruise companies.

image of San Juan port

Many boats arrive and depart here, but even one-day visitors can enjoy the San Juan area.

8. There are three airports

Puerto Rico has three airports!

The main one is SJU in San Juan, where all international flights arrive and leave.

image of Luis Munoz Marin International Airport

The Borinquen Airport in Aguadilla (BQN) has fewer flights, but it’s still a popular choice for locals.

The smallest airport is Mercedita in Ponce. It only offers flights to and from JFK in New York and MCO in Orlando.

9. No passport is necessary

US citizens don’t need a passport or visa to enter the island! Having a valid US form of ID is enough to grant entry.

Puerto Rico’s Capitol waves both flags!

image showing Puerto Rico’s Capitol

International visitors do need visas, but it’s the same process as a visa to the US mainland.

10. We use the US dollar

Because Puerto Rico is a territory of the United States, we use the American dollar.

image of US dollar

United States citizens don’t need to worry about exchanging currency, but international travelers can visit the designated centers at each airport to obtain valid currency

11. Tipping is customary

Tips are not mandatory but highly encouraged. 

image of an alcohol

Restaurant waiters, bartenders, bellhops, housekeepers, tour guides, etc., all can and should receive tips.

For ideas on where to go, check out our article that features the 35 Best Restaurants In Puerto Rico .

12. Hurricane season is September-November

The hurricane season in Puerto Rico can be brutal. 

image showing a radar shot of hurricane María in 2015.

Prices drop significantly from September to November, so visiting is a good option as long as you keep an eye on inclement weather.

Learn more by reading our article When Is Hurricane Season In Puerto Rico? – All You Need To Know.

13. There’s rain year-round

Puerto Rico is a tropical island!

Tropical weather means lots of rain.

image showing a strong winds blowing palm trees during a rainstorm

Of course, the hurricane season brings more rain than winter or summer, but bringing an umbrella is always a good idea.

Keep in mind that swimming in the ocean during rainstorms is highly discouraged due to the risk of lightning strikes. Stay safe!

14. The Piña Colada was invented here

image of Barrachina's piña colada

The famous tropical drink was invented in Barrachina in Old San Juan!

Now you can find it all across the world, but trying it in its home country is ideal.

15. The legal drinking age is 18

Puerto Rico’s legal drinking age is 18, as opposed to 21 in the US.

image of Don Q rum

No matter the age, please drink responsibly, and never drink and drive.

16. All beaches are public

Puerto Rico has no private beaches! All beaches are public property and can be accessed by anybody for free.

image of Dorado Beach

Feel free to head to any beach that calls your name!

You can check out our 30 Best Beaches in Puerto Rico   to get some ideas. 

17. Hiking trails are popular and plenty

Aside from beaches, Puerto Rico has amazing hiking trails.

image of a jungle trail in El Yunque

Beach towns like Cabo Rojo and Rincón often have trails with amazing views, while the mountain region has more intense trails. 

Learn more by reading our article 20 Best Hiking Trails In Puerto Rico.

18. Booking tours is always helpful

Whether it’s your first or your tenth time visiting, booking a tour is always a good idea.

image of two people in a kayak in the water with bioluminescence glowing around them

Some natural areas like bio bays, caverns, and rainforests are safer with a trained professional by your side.

Cultural town tours are also highly recommended. If there’s only one thing better than seeing old buildings, it’s learning the history behind them. 

Isla Caribe offers tours along the south, especially in Ponce .

          View this post on Instagram                       A post shared by Puerto Rico Cultural Tours (@islacaribepr)

Learn more by reading our article 25 Best Tours & Excursions In Puerto Rico .

19. Pack bug repellent 

Because it’s a humid tropical climate, bugs are inevitable.

Packing bug repellent and wearing thin, breathable clothing can help prevent bug bites.  

          View this post on Instagram                       A post shared by Max and Erika’s Bug Pics (@mc_emla_bugpics)

Photo Credit: @mc_emla_bugpics

20. There are lots of stray animals

Sadly, Puerto Rico has a stray animal problem with dogs, cats, and horses.

Efforts are being made to spay these animals and provide them with safe homes, but we know it can be a shock for people visiting the island.

image of stray cats

If you want to learn more, check out animal conservation initiatives like SASFA . 

21. You can hear coquí frogs at night

Speaking of animals, this small frog native to the island will either be your new best friend or your new enemy.

Coquí frogs are tiny animals that make a noise that sounds just like their name; coquí, coquí .

For locals, the sound is like white noise. For visitors, it might take some getting used to.

Below is a video showing coquís singing at night:

22. It’s hot year-round

Because it’s a tropical island, Puerto Rico has an eternal summer.

image of a beachfront in San Juan, PR

Temperatures have an average range of 72 ° to 88 ° F, but it can climb above 100 °F in the summer!

If you’re sensitive to the heat, try visiting the central Cordillera during winter, where temperatures can drop to the 40s. 

23. There’s a thriving art scene

Puerto Rico has always been home to artists from every walk of life.

The island currently boasts the Ponce Art Museum, and the San Juan Art Museum, and has small art installations in almost every municipality.

image of a street art installation

Learn more by reading our article 12 Best Museums In Puerto Rico .

24. Bring more than just flip-flops 

Even though the weather is hot, flip-flops aren’t appropriate for everything on the island.

Plenty of restaurants have more formal dress codes, closed-toe shoes are a must for all tours, and swimsuits are only for the beach.

image of a girl packing for a trip

Still, the most important fashion tip is to stay cool and follow your own personal style. 

For more details, read our article 21 Essential Things To Pack For Puerto Rico .

25. We have a rainforest

El Yunque is the only rainforest in the United States National Forest System.

image of La Mina Falls in El Yunque

If you decide to hike across the forest, make sure to reach the waterfalls! They make the long walks totally worth it.

Keep an eye out for new plants and animals! This lush landscape is home to over 240 tree species and over 200 animals. 

The Puerto Rican parrot is one of the endangered native species that live in the rainforest.

          View this post on Instagram                       A post shared by Fernando (@finaleclipseshots)

Photo Credit: @finaleclipseshots

26. We have three Bioluminescent Bays

There are only five bioluminescent bays in the world, and Puerto Rico has three of them!

They’re located in Lajas, Fajardo , and Vieques.

image of Mosquito Bay

Tours are available for all bays and can be seen especially well on moonless nights.

Check out our Bioluminescent Bays Puerto Rico – All You Need To Know article to learn all about these unique places!

27. There are lots of hotels to choose from

There’s no shortage of boutique hotels, beachside resorts, and chain hotels across the island.

If you’re visiting during peak seasons, make sure to have reservations well in advance. Popular stays fill up quickly so snatch them up quickly!

One of the most popular chains stays is the Condado Vanderbilt Hotel , located right along the Condado strip near Old San Juan.

          View this post on Instagram                       A post shared by Condado Vanderbilt Hotel (@condadovanderbilt)

Photo Credit: @condadovanderbilt

If you’re headed west, Rincón Beach Resort is a local favorite for events and getaways.

          View this post on Instagram                       A post shared by Rincon Beach Resort (@rinconbeachresort)

Photo Credit: @rinconbeachresort

Learn more in our article Where To Stay In Puerto Rico .

28. The local food is delicious

You can’t miss all the delicious eateries across Puerto Rico.

image of a local fruit market in PR

Make sure to stop by the fresh produce markets for amazing locally-grown food.

You can also check out our Best Local Food Tours to get a taste of everything Puerto Rican cuisine has to offer. 

29. Visiting doesn’t break the bank

It’s an affordable trip great for families and people on a tight budget. 

image of a tourists in Old San Juan

If you want to visit Puerto Rico, we have an article covering How Much it Costs to Go to Puerto Rico . 

30. Puerto Rico is safe!

It’s a great, safe destination for families and individuals alike.

image of a tourist

We cover everything you need to know about Safety in Puerto Rico . 

FAQ section

Is it best to bring cash or a card to puerto rico.

I recommend bringing both. Small vendors don’t always have card readers, and most money transfer apps aren’t used in the island, so bringing a small amount of cash is smart. 

Is tipping a thing in Puerto Rico?

Yes! It’s customary to tip all service employees, and some locations add an automatic gratuity fee for larger parties. 

Final thoughts

Puerto Rico is a dream travel destination!

If you’re thinking of traveling here, take a look at our 7-Day Itinerary to put all these tips to use! 

For even more vacation ideas, check out our 72 Places To Take Pictures In Puerto Rico.  

You may also enjoy our article 45 Best Things To Do In Puerto Rico .

30 Travel Tips & Things To Know Before Traveling To Puerto Rico (2024)

Adriana Mercado

Writer at PuertoRico.com. I am a writer, editor, and freelancer. I was born and raised in San Germán, Puerto Rico, where I experienced the best landscapes, local eateries, and shops the region has to offer. Sharing the rich culture and history of Puerto Rico’s Southwest gives me the perfect reason to keep exploring! 

Find the best things to do by interest

Outdoor adventures, food & drinks, history, culture & art.

A beginner's guide to visiting Puerto Rico: Everything you need to eat, see and do

Victoria M. Walker

Puerto Rico is beloved by travelers around the world, and for good reason.

From bioluminescent bays, pristine Caribbean beaches and lush forests to historic streetscapes, a vibrant local food scene and fascinating cultural attractions, each region of Puerto Rico offers visitors a distinct experience.

And there's simply never a bad time to visit. Better yet, you can often find cheap nonstop flights to both San Juan's Luis Muñoz Marín International Airport (SJU) and Aguadilla's Rafael Hernández Airport (BQN) on the stunning northwest coast. If you're traveling from the U.S., you don't even need a passport or have to change your money.

It's a perfect tropical weekend getaway from the Eastern Seaboard; you can board an early morning flight and enjoy lunch and a pina colada with your toes in the sand.

In short: Paradise awaits.

travel info for puerto rico

Where to eat and drink in Puerto Rico

Puerto Rico is a wonderful destination for foodies. Along the cobblestone streets of Old San Juan, you'll find gourmet cuisine served in elegant, historic townhomes rubbing shoulders with atmospheric hole-in-the-walls that serve traditional fare.

Following Hurricane Maria, restaurants became ever keener to support local agriculture and celebrate food that is grown entirely on the island. The result is farm-fresh, hyper-seasonal cuisine infused with Creole, Taino and Spanish influences.

The much-loved national dish is mofongo — deep-fried mashed plantains served with a side of seafood or meat and chicken broth soup. Among the best places to try it are Santaella in San Juan and Mi Casita in Pinones.

travel info for puerto rico

Lechon — a whole pig roasted over a fire for at least four hours — is another hearty mainstay of traditional Puerto Rican cuisine. Around an hour's drive south of San Juan, dozens of lechoneras dot the famed Ruta de Lechon, or "Pork Highway," where trays of succulent, tender pork are served at communal tables, usually accompanied by copious cold beer and live music.

If you want to graze on authentic local delicacies beachside, head for Luquillo (near El Yunque National Forest), where more than 60 kiosks ranging from rustic beach bars to full-service restaurants serve authentic Creole cooking as well as Latin American signature cuisine.

A colorful pit spot while exploring San Juan's trendy Santurce district, Alcapurria Quema is a no-frills Santurce locale that's one of the best places to try Puerto Rico's ubiquitous local snack, alcapurrias: deep-fried fritters made from plantains (or grated yucca) stuffed with flavorful beef, pork or fish.

Fine dining in Puerto Rico

If you want to splurge, San Juan has plenty of upscale dining venues.

Located inside the elegant Condado Vanderbilt Hotel, 1919 is widely hailed as the best fine dining restaurant in Puerto Rico. Helmed by Juan José Cuevas, who worked at the Michelin-starred Blue Hill in New York, menu highlights include scallops with organic mushrooms, kale and sunchoke, as well as robalo (snook) with pistachio, local white beans and dill. For an unforgettable dining experience, opt for the chef's menu ($199) accompanied by sommelier-selected wine pairings. Make a reservation, dress the part and enjoy every moment. It's one of the island's most expensive restaurants, but worth it.

Vianda 's stylish midcentury modern-style bar and sleek, moody dining room draw well-dressed locals with its innovative mixology and farm-to-table cuisine. Vianda means "root vegetable," and the small, seasonal menu riffs on Puerto Rico's rich culinary heritage while showcasing the island's incredible bounty of tropical fruits, vegetables and herbs. Start the evening with a Corazon de Melon ($15) cocktail, made with tequila, watermelon, cucumber, mint and rosemary, followed by a signature entree such as the Mar y Tierra, a rich medley of cod loin, crispy pork belly, mussels, sofrito butter and white beans ($44).

Most epicureans will have heard of Marmalade , the internationally renowned restaurant credited with putting Puerto Rico on the foodie map. It remains one of the best gourmet dining experiences on the island. Iowa native chef Peter Schintler deftly blends indigenous and international ingredients to produce a truly memorable five-course prix fixe menu ($135 per person). It changes frequently, but menu classics include local organic rabbit with black olive garganelli and grilled ahi tuna with peanut-miso broth.

Chef José Santaella 's namesake restaurant is a lively, fun place to dine on nouvelle Puerto Rican cuisine with family and friends. The edgy industrial decor (it used to be a hardware store) contrasts with the menu's vibrant "tropical creole" gastronomy. Arrive early for cocktail hour and try a Lady Bullet (Woodford Reserve bourbon, fig marmalade, lavender syrup, orange bitters and lime juice; $16) and stay for the duration, grazing on delectable small plates, including wagyu sliders ($26), grilled Spanish octopus ($32) and escargot ($18).

What to see and do in Puerto Rico

Puerto Rico has a ton of sightseeing you'll want to add to your itinerary, too.

El Yunque National Forest is just 45 minutes from San Juan and is the only tropical rainforest on U.S. soil. It's famous for its incredible hiking, an abundance of waterfalls and endemic wildlife.

travel info for puerto rico

There are just five bioluminescent bays in the world, and Puerto Rico is home to three: Bahia Mosquito, Laguna Grande and La Parguera. To access Puerto Rico's bio bays via kayak or paddleboard, you'll need to paddle through dark mangrove channels — signing up with a tour operator is definitely the way to go. Most companies operate two tours each night, at sunset and 9 p.m.

The protected wildlife reserve of Bahia Mosquito is located on Vieques, an island municipality a short flight from San Juan. Famed for its picture-perfect crescents of sand, boutique hotels and crystalline waters, Vieques is the quintessential Caribbean idyll. Boasting the highest concentration of phosphorescent dinoflagellates (plankton that make the water sparkle with just the touch of a hand), Mosquito Bay is the brightest of the world's five bio bays.

For travelers with limited time, Laguna Grande is the most accessible bio bay in Puerto Rico, less than an hour's drive from San Juan on the northeast coast. What sets Laguna Grande apart is that the bay is actually a lagoon nestled within an area of spectacular natural beauty.

Puerto Rico is replete with gorgeous, sandy beaches. Near Luquillo, La Pared is an often deserted stretch of almost golden sand. The beach town of Naguabo, in the southeast corner of the island, is also incredibly quiet, and palm trees frame the soft, sandy beach and turquoise water.

travel info for puerto rico

Ponce is Puerto Rico's second-largest city. Located on the island's southern coast, it's chock-full of history. Be sure to check out Plaza Las Delicias, which has a cathedral as well as an old firehouse (Parque de Bombas) that's now a museum.

Museo de la Musica Puertoriquena has a rich history dating back to the 19th century. Here, you'll find traces of Taino, Spanish and African influences. You'll also learn about Puerto Rico's musical history, which you can now hear throughout other parts of the Caribbean, the mainland and around the world.

Where to stay in Puerto Rico

Hyatt regency grand reserve puerto rico.

Fresh from a multimillion-dollar face-lift, this 579-key beach resort reopened in 2019 as the Hyatt Regency Grand Reserve.

Rooms (starting at 520 square feet), suites and villas are contemporary and inviting, with simple wooden furnishings, marble floors, a white-on-white color palette and furnished terraces and patios. Bathrooms feature rainfall showers with separate tubs and Pharmacopia toiletries.

Beyond the hotel's natural assets — a beautiful white-sand beach and 72 acres of flamboyant tropical vegetation — amenities include a lagoon-style pool, a state-of-the-art fitness center, a luxurious spa, two Tom Kite-designed 18-hole championship golf courses and several upscale restaurants serving everything from Pacific Rim cuisine and sushi at Nori Asian to prime cuts of beef and seafood at Prime 787, a contemporary American steakhouse.

The hotel can arrange a number of activities nearby, including horseback riding, an all-terrain-vehicle excursion at nearby Carabali Rainforest Adventure Park and hikes through El Yunque National Forest.

Rates at the Hyatt Regency Grand Reserve start at $300 or 12,000 World of Hyatt points per night.

Hilton Ponce Golf & Casino Resort

The rambling 255-key Hilton Ponce Golf & Casino Resort is the only Hilton hotel outside of the San Juan area.

While rooms are rather spartan and generic, they have an inviting beachy vibe with a green-and-white color palette, light wood furnishings, tiled floors and balconies with ocean views (in most rooms). Comfort-enhancing modern touches include coffee makers, minifridges and flat-screen televisions.

At this amenity-rich, family-friendly resort, there's plenty to keep adults and children entertained, including two expansive pools, a 27-hole championship golf course, a miniature golf course, tennis courts, a playground and a splash park. It's also home to one of the largest casinos in Puerto Rico and four restaurants: El Bohio, La Cava, La Terraza and Sancho's Sushi Bar.

While it isn't the splashiest Hilton property in Puerto Rico, it's a great base for exploring Puerto Rico's southwest coast.

Rates at the Hilton Ponce Golf & Casino Resort start at $230 or 50,000 Hilton Honors points per night.

The St. Regis Bahia Beach Resort

travel info for puerto rico

Located between El Yunque National Forest and Espiritu Santo River State Preserve, The St. Regis Bahia Beach Resort places guests within striking distance of two of Puerto Rico's top attractions.

Designed by Puerto Rican fashion designer Nono Maldonado, the spacious (and completely refurbished) accommodations channel a breezy Caribbean aesthetic with a serene white-and-cream color palette, abstract artworks and sleek, modern furnishings.

However, it's the luxe details and exquisite service that really set this property apart. There's the cozy pillow-top bed dressed with a cashmere throw, the marble spa-style bathroom with a centerpiece deep soaking tub that's stocked with luxe Frette bathrobes, and, of course, the St. Regis' private butler service.

A surfeit of amenities include a beautifully landscaped swimming pool, a lavish spa, a Robert Trent Jones Jr.-designed golf course and three acclaimed restaurants.

Rates at The St. Regis Bahia Beach Resort start at $695 or 70,000 Marriott Bonvoy points per night.

Dorado Beach, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve

Puerto Rico's most exclusive resort, Dorado Beach, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve , combines unbridled luxury and impeccable attention to detail with a sustainable ethos. Built by the Rockefeller family in the 1950s, it remains a magnet for tycoons, celebrities and, these days, cryptocurrency investors.

Nestled on a glorious 2-mile beach amid a riot of mature tropical vegetation, beautifully appointed rooms and suites are equipped with every creature comfort imaginable and assigned their own private butler. Standard rooms are huge (they start at 1,000 square feet), while deluxe suites also feature private plunge pools.

The resort's amenities are, as you'd expect, exceptional. There are two gorgeous pools fronted by swaying palms, three Robert Trent Jones Sr.-designed golf courses and one of Puerto Rico's finest restaurants: Coa, a culinary homage to the region's Taino roots. A roster of family-friendly activities includes the signature Jean-Michel Cousteau's Ambassadors of the Environment program.

Rates at Dorado Beach, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve start at $1,995 or 170,000 Marriott Bonvoy points per night.

Related: Puerto Rican renaissance: A review of Dorado Beach, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve

The details

Getting there.

If you're interested in visiting Puerto Rico, flights are plentiful. There are more than 120 nonstop flights between the island and major mainland U.S. cities, according to Discover Puerto Rico . That means you can fly nonstop between the island and cities like New York, Miami, Fort Lauderdale and Chicago. Most of the nonstop routes are to San Juan.

While the cheapest available flights to Puerto Rico typically range from $300 to $600, you can pick up deals with both legacy carriers as well as low-cost carriers such as Spirit Airlines and Frontier Airlines .

Of course, a cheap deal isn't the only way to get to the island.

You can easily use points and miles to get you from major cities to Puerto Rico. American Airlines , for example, offers off-peak MileSAAver awards from 17,000 miles one-way in economy or 59,000 in business class.

With United Airlines , expect to spend between 20,000 and 65,000 miles for a one-way ticket from cities like Newark and Chicago.

But perhaps the best way to use points to visit Puerto Rico is through JetBlue .

travel info for puerto rico

On JetBlue, you have several destinations beyond San Juan to consider. For instance, you could fly round-trip from New York to Aguadilla for just $274 or 23,000 TrueBlue points in August this year, or to Ponce for $386 or 31,000 TrueBlue points round-trip.

You can transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards points to JetBlue at a 1:1 ratio, but this might not be the best use of your Chase points .

JetBlue is a transfer partner of American Express Membership Rewards as well, but TPG doesn't recommend transferring Amex points to JetBlue because of the limited value you'll get. Additionally, points transfer at a weak 250:200 transfer ratio.

You can also transfer Citi ThankYou Rewards to JetBlue, though the transfer ratio isn't great — either 1:0.8 or 1:0.5, depending on which Citi card you have.

Do you need a passport to go to Puerto Rico?

Nope! Puerto Rico is an unincorporated U.S. territory, so you don't need a passport or a visa to visit if you're a U.S. citizen. Just bring your state ID and you'll be good to go.

Getting around

Ride-hailing Uber is the only ride-hailing app that made its way to Puerto Rico and survived the pandemic. The mobile app is equally as effective as it is on the mainland and is very popular with locals for its competitive rates (compared to local taxis), efficiency and reliability.

Taxis Within San Juan, taxis are frequent, reliable and comfortable; look for white cabs labeled Taxi Turistico. Designated taxi stands are located at key tourist points in San Juan (including cruise ship piers, major hotels, Plaza de Armas and Plaza Colon). Taxis operate a fixed-rate system according to specified zones, but they can be pricey. Once you leave the metro area, it becomes increasingly expensive to travel between towns.

If you plan to stay in neighborhoods like Old San Juan, you probably won't need a car, Uber or taxi since the area is pretty walkable.

If you're a public transportation geek like me, make sure the Tren Urbano is on your radar. It's an 11-mile rapid transit system that serves San Juan, Guaynabo and Bayamon. The trip between Bayamon and San Juan is just 30 minutes, and the one-line train system has 16 stops; it passes through the University of Puerto Rico as well as the Santa Rosa shopping mall. It's very affordable, too: A regular fare is just $1.50 and if you're between the ages of 60 and 74, just 75 cents. Better yet, if you're 6 years of age or younger, or 75 or older, it's free.

Renting a car in Puerto Rico is pretty straightforward with all the major rental companies to consider, including Avis, Enterprise and Hertz, each of which is located at the airport.

The best times to visit Puerto Rico

The majority of hurricanes in Puerto Rico typically occur between August and October, while hurricane season runs from June 1 to Nov. 30, according to the U.S. National Weather Service . Notably, Hurricane Maria made landfall on Sept. 20, 2017.

Many people I spoke with on the island said, "Summertime is all the time" in Puerto Rico, with temperatures hovering in the 80s daily. If you're trying to avoid the infamous daily Caribbean rains, you'll want to plan to visit between January and March, as precipitation is low .

travel info for puerto rico

If you want to avoid the hordes of people traveling during spring break but still want to visit before hurricane season kicks in, the spring is the best time to score flight and hotel deals. As an added bonus, you'll have the beach all to yourself.

Bottom line

Puerto Rico has come a long way since Hurricane Maria in 2017 and Fiona in 2022. Let it be known that the island is open for travelers — and eager for the business. From beach resorts to landmarks, excellent food and great hospitality, there's something for everyone who makes the short flight down to visit.

Related reading:

  • The best hotels in Puerto Rico
  • 8 reasons to visit Puerto Rico in 2023
  • Best points hotels in the Caribbean
  • Start booking your summer trips now — here's why
  • The 26 best Marriott hotels in the world

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It’s graced by fabulous beaches, year-round sun and numerous opportunities for deep-sea fishing, diving and surfing, but there’s far more to Puerto Rico than suntans and snorkelling. Beyond the glitzy veneer of San Juan the coast remains incredibly raw and unspoiled, lined with miles of glittering white sands. Dig deeper and you’ll see the influence of the island’s rich stew of cultures – African, European and Taíno – in an exuberant array of festivals, tantalising criollo food, gracious colonial towns, world-class rum and a dynamic musical tradition that gave birth to salsa. 

Where to go in Puerto Rico

Best beaches of puerto rico, when to go to puerto rico, puerto rican coffee, best things to do in puerto rico, puerto rican food to try, how to get to puerto rico.

When you think of Puerto Rico, imagine a place where you can experience everything from misty rainforests to crumbling karst formations. Take a drive through El Yunque, and you'll find yourself in a lush, green paradise. Head towards the southwest, and you'll encounter the dry forests that contrast sharply with the rest of the island's greenery. 

Don't miss the chance to visit the bioluminescent bays, where the waters glow magically at night. Renting a car makes it easy to hop between these diverse landscapes, from cool mountain forests to sun-drenched beaches, all in a matter of minutes.

Start in San Juan

Most journeys in Puerto Rico kick off in the bustling capital, San Juan , one of the Caribbean's largest and most vibrant cities. Here, you’ll find a delightful mix of history and modernity.

Old San Juan is a treasure trove of Spanish colonial charm. Wander through its cobbled streets, where elegant eighteenth-century houses are adorned with vibrant flowers. You'll come across quaint chapels and grand mansions, each telling a story of the island's rich past.

When the sun sets, San Juan comes alive with an energetic nightlife. 

Relax on the beaches of Condado and Isla Verde

For those looking to unwind, the resort zones of Condado and Isla Verde offer beautiful stretches of beach. 

These areas combine the luxury of resort living with the natural beauty of Puerto Rico's coastline, making them perfect spots to relax and soak up the sun.

A visit to Luquillo isn't complete without indulging in the wickedly tempting kiosco food. This town serves as the gateway to the east coast and offers a delightful culinary experience you won't want to miss.

El Yunque National Forest

Overlooking the entire region is El Yunque National Forest , a stunning rainforest filled with towering peaks and lush greenery. Explore the crisscrossing hiking trails that take you through this tropical paradise.

You can enjoy a range of activities at  El Yunque can such as trekking, swimming in natural pools and waterfalls, birdwatching, and picnicking. 

Vieques for the bioluminescent bay

The island of Vieques is blessed with vast stretches of sugary sand backed with nothing but scrub, palm trees and sea grape. 

Swimming in the bioluminescent bay here is a bewitching experience, boats leaving ghostly clouds of fluorescence in their wake. 

Inland Puerto Rico

While the coast attracts the most tourists, the spiritual heart of Puerto Rico lies in the mountains, accessed by the winding Ruta Panorámica and famous for its lechoneras, roadside diners roasting whole pigs over wood or charcoal fires. 

Other highlights include the massive flower festival at Aibonito, the jaw-dropping Cañón de San Cristóbal, and the rural town of Jayuya, which offers poignant reminders of Puerto Rico’s Taíno heritage. 

At the far end of the route, Maricao is the producer of some of the world’s finest coffee.

Things not to miss: Flamenco Beach, Isla Culebra, Puerto Rico.

Things not to miss: Flamenco Beach, Isla Culebra, Puerto Rico  © AdobeStock

It's no surprise that the beaches are one of Puerto Rico's main attractions. Thanks to dedicated environmental groups, development has been limited, preserving the natural beauty.

  • Flamenco Beach, Culebra Island : Often rated one of the best beaches in the world, Flamenco Beach boasts soft white sand, clear turquoise waters ideal for swimming and snorkelling, and a laid-back atmosphere.
  • Playa Crash Boat, Aguadilla : Known for its vibrant atmosphere and clear waters, Playa Crash Boat is popular for swimming, snorkelling, and enjoying local food from nearby kiosks.
  • Luquillo Beach, Luquillo : Just a short drive from San Juan, Luquillo Beach offers a crescent of golden sand, gentle waves suitable for families, and nearby food stalls serving local cuisine.
  • Playa Buyé, Cabo Rojo : Located on the southwest coast, Playa Buyé is known for its calm, crystal-clear waters, ideal for swimming and snorkelling, with soft sand and a relaxed vibe.

Cueva del Indio, Puerto Rico © AdobeStock

Cueva del Indio, Puerto Rico © AdobeStock

The best time to visit Puerto Rico is from December to April , during the dry season, when the weather is warm and perfect for beach activities and exploring the island’s natural beauty. 

This period also coincides with peak tourist season, so expect higher prices and larger crowds. 

For a more budget-friendly and quieter experience, you could consider visiting between May and November — though do know this is the hurricane season, particularly from August to October. 

This off-peak season offers lower costs and fewer tourists, though the weather can be unpredictable with occasional rain showers. 

Puerto Rico boasts a rich coffee heritage, with its mountainous regions providing ideal conditions for growing high-quality beans. 

The island’s coffee plantations, particularly in areas like Yauco, Adjuntas, and Maricao, produce some of the world’s finest coffee. Puerto Rican coffee is known for its smooth, balanced flavour, often featuring notes of chocolate, caramel, and nuts. 

Visiting these coffee-growing regions offers a unique opportunity to tour plantations, learn about the coffee-making process, and sample freshly brewed cups right at the source

The old town of the city of Ponce in Puerto Rico © Aneta Waberska/Shutterstock

The old town of the city of Ponce in Puerto Rico © Aneta Waberska/Shutterstock

Besides the beaches and parks, you’ll find that Puerto Rico is a place with plenty of things to do . 

Take a tour at Casa Bacardi

Discover the history behind Bacardi rum, a cherished local tradition. During your tour, you'll get a behind-the-scenes look at the distillery operations, learn about the rum-making process, and even try your hand at mixing cocktails.

Toro Verde Adventure Park

At Toro Verde Adventure Park in Orocovis, Puerto Rico, you'll find plenty of heart-pounding activities nestled in the island's lush mountains. 

Strap in for "The Monster," one of the world's longest and highest zip lines, offering breathtaking views and an adrenaline rush like no other. If you're up for more, explore hiking trails with scenic vistas, conquer suspension bridges, or try your hand at rappelling. 

Cueva Ventana natural cave in Puerto Rico © AdobeStock

Cueva Ventana natural cave in Puerto Rico © AdobeStock

Cueva del Indio

This archaeological site is known for its petroglyphs, which are ancient rock carvings created by the indigenous Taíno people. These carvings depict various symbols and figures, providing insights into the culture and beliefs of the Taíno civilization.

Take a kayak-guided tour of the Mosquito Bay

Don’t be afraid of the name of this bay! Taking a guided kayak tour is one of the best things to do in Puerto Rico. 

Here you get the chance to experience the natural wonder of bioluminescence as tiny organisms in the water create a stunning light show when disturbed. Paddle through the bay under the starlit sky and watch as your movements leave trails of glowing blue-green light. 

Ride the trolley in Camuy River Cave Park

Venture underground at Camuy River Cave Park near Lares, where a trolley takes you deep into a labyrinth of limestone caverns. 

Here you’ll find stalagmites, stalactites, and underground rivers that have been sculpted over millennia. Guided tours provide insights into the geological wonders and conservation efforts in place to protect this natural treasure.

Zipline in Adventure - Puerto Rico,  Toro Verde © AdobeStock

Zipline in Adventure - Puerto Rico,  Toro Verde © AdobeStock

Puerto Rican cuisine reflects a blend of indigenous, Spanish, African, and American influences. Here are some of the best Puerto Rican dishes you must try:

  • Mofongo : Mashed green plantains seasoned with garlic, olive oil, and pork cracklings (chicharrón), often served with a choice of meat or seafood.
  • Lechón : Roast suckling pig, seasoned with a blend of spices and slow-roasted until crispy on the outside and tender on the inside, a staple at celebrations and festivals.
  • Arroz con Gandules : Rice cooked with pigeon peas, typically seasoned with sofrito (a mix of onions, peppers, garlic, and herbs) and often served as a side dish with various meats.
  • Pasteles : Similar to tamales, pasteles are made with green banana and plantain dough filled with seasoned meat (often pork), wrapped in banana leaves, and boiled or steamed.

Flying is the most convenient option, with Aeropuerto Internacional Luis Muñoz Marín in San Juan serving as the island’s main gateway, offering numerous connections across the US and Caribbean. Regional airports like Aguadilla and Ponce also accept direct flights from mainland US and nearby islands.

Direct flights from major US cities like New York and Miami are common, with American Airlines often offering competitive rates. 

For those traveling from Europe, routes typically involve a layover in the US, though British Airways and Virgin Atlantic now offer seasonal direct flights via Antigua.

For a more detailed overview, see our guide on how to get to Puerto Rico .

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15 Best Things to Do in Puerto Rico

Puerto Rico El Yunque National Forest

Whether you're a city person or a country person, a beachgoer or a hiker, an art lover or an adventurer, Puerto Rico has something—many things, in fact—for your every desire and persuasion. Parties, farmers’ markets, galleries; from the expansive collection at the Museo de Arte de Puerto Rico to a cave through which to view the rainforest below, to farms ready to welcome you in like you're part of the family, the island makes the most of its 3,500 square miles. Here is a sampling of the many ways you can spend your time during your next trip to Puerto Rico.

Click the link to read our complete Puerto Rico guide .

Editor's note: Given the changing nature of the COVID-19 pandemic, the hours and accessibility of many places are fluid and subject to change. We advise you to contact businesses directly for updated safety guidelines and hours of operation before visiting.

Puerto Rico Cueva Ventana

Cueva Ventana Arrow

Cueva Ventana is a cave atop a limestone cliff in the mountainous town of Arecibo about an hour from San Juan . Its name translates to “cave window.” One hikes up and looks through for a gorgeous view of mountains and river. Head over on a weekday, when non-resident tickets are $19 for a 90-minute guided tour. Although the cave isn't recommended for anyone with mobility issues, adventurous travelers who aren't afraid of heights will love it.

Puerto Rico Publica

Pública Arrow

Pública Espacio Cultural is a large gallery, open to the public, with rotating exhibitions, usually featuring Puerto Rican artists. The spacious gallery provides ample light and room for browsing. Political programming, such as events about sustainable agricultural in conjunction with similar efforts in New York City , help broaden the public's understanding of the Puerto Rican diaspora. They feature occasional fashion and food market pop-ups, and are now the home to Radio Red, a local internet radio station featuring DJ sets and podcasts.

Puerto Rico El Yunque National Forest

El Yunque National Forest Arrow

The only tropical rainforest in the U.S. National Forest System, El Yunque National Forest is home to an incredible amount of biodiversity—even after Hurricane Maria (although while recovery continues, only about 40 percent of the forest is open to the public). There are 240 tree species alone, making it a must-see on any nature-lover's itinerary. One need not worry about big wildlife, but lizards and frogs—like the island's coqui mascot—abound. Hike the rather easygoing trails to see all the vegetation, small animal life, and waterfalls.

Puerto Rico Restaurant La Estacion

La Estación Arrow

The moment you walk into La Estación, a quirky gas station-turned-restaurant off the highway in Fajardo, you know you're in for a wild ride. It's a little tiki and a little industrial-chic, with indoor tables, outdoor tables, grungy automotive paraphernalia, and leafy jungle vibes. (And the whole place smells like Texas BBQ .) The food here is just as eclectic—you'll find everything from delicate, bright, catch-of-the-day ceviches to fried chicken with mac 'n cheese. But the barbecue is the real showstopper: slow-cooked beef brisket, smoky, fall-off-the-bone ribs, and juicy pulled pork, all stuffed into a plantain "canoe."


La Placita de Santurce Arrow

On weekends, La Placita de Santurce farmers' market is a packed-to-the-gills party featuring small bars and restaurants. The central market is housed in a historic building, giving the revelry a truly escapist feel. But the real joy here is getting a rum drink in a plastic cup and walking around while taking in the sights. There are excellent restaurants on the outskirts, as well, including Jungle Bird , Santaella , and Mai Pen Rai.

Puerto Rico Museo de Arte de Puerto Rico

Museo de Arte de Puerto Rico Arrow

Once a hospital, the Museo de Arte de Puerto Rico was restored and given new life in 1995. The grand building houses the work of the island's artists dating from the 17th century to the present day. The museum, located in the Santurce neighborhood, is a San Juan institution. The permanent collection includes more than 1,000 works ranging from painting to sculpture to installations. Rotating exhibitions, often with a political undercurrent, are part of the appeal. The exchange project Repatriation , for example, showcased the work of Puerto Rican artists living in Chicago .

Puerto Rico Castillo San Felipe del Morro

Castillo San Felipe del Morro Arrow

Castillo San Felipe del Morro is one of the most recognizable landmarks in Puerto Rico—the iconic lookout is even on the island's license plate. The fortification dates back to the 16th century, during Spanish rule. There are no guides, but you can hire someone to show you around Old San Juan, including a stop at El Morro. Anyone bored by history or who can't be out in the sun too long should skip it, but the scale and longevity inspire awe among most visitors.

Puerto Rico San Juan Farmers Market

Mercado Agrícola Natural Viejo San Juan Arrow

The Mercado Agricola Natural farmers market takes place on Saturday mornings in the big plaza of the San Juan Museum. Local farmers and makers bring their fruits, produce, and artisanal wares. Because the island imports 85 percent of its produce, supporting local purveyors is an important act of solidarity. Be sure to pick up some of the kombucha, which is made with fruit grown nearby.

El Tour de Vaca Negra Arrow

Vaca Negra is a local maker of fine aged cheeses. They offer tours, for which they gather a small group to learn about what they do, have a cheese tasting, and then make their own cheese that will be available in two months. Make the reservation for brunch here as well as the tour, for the full experience. Most of the people who come to Vaca Negra will be a fan of their cheeses already, or interested in how it's made. The focus on local, agroecological ingredients stands out.

Puerto Rico Parque Nacional de las Cavernas del Río Camuy

Parque Nacional de las Cavernas del Río Camuy Arrow

Parque Nacional de las Cavernas del Río Camuy, a natural limestone cave system, is a family-friendly natural wonder. And the Río Camuy that runs through it is the third-largest underground river in the world. It's a grand experience that provides a lot of photo ops, particularly Clara Cave, which you need to visit via a ticketed trolley tour. If you're visiting Puerto Rico for the island's outdoor sights and adventures, don't skip this.

Puerto Rico Playa La Pocita

Playa La Pocita Arrow

The beach Playa La Pocita is close to Piñones, the long line of kiosks serving traditional Puerto Rican cuisine like alcapurrias and pastelillos. The low price of food and drinks, the free access to the beach, and the fact that an Uber from the city won't cost more than $10 makes this an extremely worthwhile way to spend a day—so long as you have all the beach gear you need with you.

Puerto Rico La Factoria

La Factoría Arrow

Dark, dim, and a little grungy, with its scuffed checkerboard floors, worn old couches, peeling walls, and chalkboard menus, La Factoria feels like a clandestine underground speakeasy. The bar is famous for taking Puerto Rican mixology to the next level and the cocktails are refreshingly simple but masterfully made. The signature drink, the Lavender Mule—a mix of vodka, ginger beer, and homemade lavender infusion—is the perfect way to kick off the night.

Boqueron Puerto Rico

Boquerón Arrow

This small town on the southwest coast of Puerto Rico is a great reprieve from the busier cities of Rincón , Aguadilla, and Isabela. Here, the water is calm and shallow—so family-friendly—and the kiosks selling oysters and clams, as well as local bars on the main strip, offer relaxed entertainment and sustenance. Don't miss Balneario de Boquerón, one of the most beautiful beaches in Puerto Rico . The water is calm; there are trees for shade; and parking and places to eat are not a far walk. This is the spot for those who love a calm day at the beach, as well as snacking on fresh seafood.


Te.ta's Arrow

At Te.ta's you'll be among a crowd of families and friends, usually locals making a day trip out of the San Juan metropolitan area for some fresh air. Te.ta's is a destination; no one simply stumbles upon it. This is comida criollla , or Puerto Rican homestyle cooking, made with local ingredients and a bevy of options for those with dietary restrictions. The portions are big and designed for a hearty appetite or sharing among friends. The house cocktails are impeccable but you can also ask for a classic. There is a housemade sangria available by the pitcher, too. Make a reservation for the weekend, with a big group or as a date, and go expecting to drink, eat, and relax. Because it's off the beaten path, it will impress anyone with an adventurous spirit.

Tamarindo Beach Puerto Rico

Tamarindo Beach Arrow

While the shore is a bit rocky, this is a quiet and secluded beach and a snorkeler's delight. Turtles and tropical fish abound. This is also the water to visit with a kayak or paddle board. The vistas, too, are picturesque—visitors feel like they've stepped into a postcard. This is a beach for those who have brought their own supplies or have rented them elsewhere on the island. It's a more rugged beach for those who love the outdoors and wildlife. Those who love calm beach life need to visit Culebra, which is a short trip from the east coast of Puerto Rico by ferry or a quick plane ride from San Juan. 


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You’ll find plenty of things to do sure to make your stay in Vieques enjoyable and fun!

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Governor discloses Puerto Rico trip, updates info sharing policy

B OSTON (SHNS) – Gov. Maura Healey’s office will share the location of her out-of-state personal travel to media upon request at the end of each month, it said Friday morning after Healey made headlines this week for keeping her travel under wraps.

The Boston Globe reported last week that Healey’s office would not disclose where the governor went during a four-day trip out of Massachusetts last month. The governor’s office announced last fall that it would stop informing the press and public ahead of time about Healey’s travels out of Massachusetts, though officials said they would share her monthly calendars after the fact.

But February’s four-day trip appeared on the calendar as merely “Gov OOS,” or out of state, with no location listed. Healey doubled down on maintaining privacy for her and her family Monday, telling reporters “my personal life is my personal life” and adding that she is “constantly working.” Other governors have also emphasized that they are connected while out of state, but have also disclosed the purposes and destinations of out-of-state travel ahead of time, including personal vacations.

“I don’t know that other governors have done it differently. And there have been times when I’ve disclosed where I’ve been on personal trips, as other governors have done. And also, it’s not the case that that’s the way it’s always been done,” Healey said this week on WBUR. “So, look, I think the important thing for people to know is that I will always and will continue to disclose my work-related travel and all I do as governor, whether it’s in the state or out of the state. And with respect to personal time and personal family time … I’m going to continue to keep that personal.”

Friday’s announcement represents a change in that policy.

“The Governor’s focus is on balancing the need to protect the privacy and security of her family while also providing information to the public,” spokesperson Karissa Hand said.

Hand said Healey’s out-of-state trip last month was to travel to Puerto Rico for a long weekend to celebrate her birthday with her partner, Joanna Lydgate.

“Last month, the Governor’s partner, Joanna Lydgate, took her to Puerto Rico for a long weekend for her birthday – their first vacation together in a long time,” she said.

Healey and Lydgate also appeared this week as guests on the Boston Globe’s “Love Letters” podcast, talking about their relationship, the role that music plays in their lives, how Healey serving as governor affects their personal lives, the governor’s fondness for folding laundry, and more.

For the latest news, weather, sports, and streaming video, head to WWLP.

Governor discloses Puerto Rico trip, updates info sharing policy

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This Famous Ice Cream Brand Has a New Flavor Celebrating Puerto Rico — and You Can Try It for Free in NYC This Week

In time for National Piña Colada Day, which falls on July 10, Discover Puerto Rico and ice cream brand Van Leeuwen have teamed up to celebrate with a special flavor.

travel info for puerto rico

Courtesy of Discover Puerto Rico

Discover Puerto Rico and Van Leeuwen Ice Cream are coming together to give everyone a taste of island life.

Just in time for National Piña Colada Day, which falls on July 10, the destination marketing organization and ice cream brand have teamed up to celebrate with a special flavor with the help of Puerto Rican mixologist Roberto Berdecia and Don Q rum — and will be giving out free tastings in New York City this week. "Bringing the vibrant flavors of Puerto Rico to the streets of New York City with this exclusive Piña Colada ice cream is a true celebration of our Island's rich heritage and culture," Leah Chandler, the CMO of Discover Puerto Rico, said in a statement shared with Travel + Leisure. "In collaboration with Van Leeuwen Ice Cream, we are thrilled to share a scoop of paradise, melding the legacy of Puerto Rico's beloved cocktail with delicious creativity."

If you live in New York City, or happen to be visiting on Wednesday, Discover Puerto Rico and Van Leeuwen Ice Cream will be driving around in their tricked-out ice cream truck, handing out free scoops of the Piña Colada flavor and even some sweet merch. The route includes a stop at Bryant Park between 11:00 p.m.-12:30 p.m., Union Square between 1:15 p.m.-2:45 p.m., and 787 Coffee at 204 W 10th St, between 4:00 p.m.-5:00 p.m. Even if you aren't around this week for a scoop, that's okay, as pints of the new flavor will be available for purchase at most Van Leeuwen NYC locations while supplies last.

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    Puerto Rico is full of people who are welcoming and buena gente (which is Boricua lingo for kind and friendly). Here, you'll feel like family instead of just a visitor. Discover vibrant cultural experiences, a celebration of life, and a captivating rhythm around every corner. Let us be the first to say ¡ bienvenidos!

  2. 13 things to know before going to Puerto Rico

    You'll soon learn the art of Puerto Rican small talk and taking a breather while you wait. 10. Be aware of the hurricane season. Hurricane season in the Caribbean runs from June 1 to November 30, and while Puerto Rico isn't typically hit by hurricanes, when they do hit, they can be devastating.

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    Millions of passengers also arrive in Puerto Rico each year by cruise, and the San Juan Cruise Port is ranked among the top 20 ports in the world. Once you've arrived, you can comfortably get around San Juan by taxi, rideshare, or public transportation. Or, explore more of Puerto Rico by renting a car! You can drive all the way around the ...

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    Puerto Rico is enforcing local measures developed by the Puerto Rico Tourism Company (PRTC), alongside U.S. Travel Association (USTA) guidelines, such as social distancing, mandatory face coverings in public areas, and a variety of mandates for businesses - including, but not limited to, reduced capacities and high standards of cleanliness in accordance with CDC and EPA guidelines.

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  8. Traveling to Puerto Rico

    Puerto Rico is home to three international airports. In the east region, San Juan's Luis Muñoz Marín Airport (SJU) is a major transportation hub. More than 20 airlines fly there, from large-scale operators like Jet Blue, Delta, United, American, Iberia, and Southwest to regional carriers like Intercaribbean and Air Antilles. You'll find ...

  9. Puerto Rico

    The island of Puerto Rico is a rectangular shape and is the smallest, most eastern island of the Greater Antilles. It measures almost 580 km of coast. In addition to the principal island, the commonwealth islands include Vieques, Culebra, Culebrita, Palomino, Mona, Monito and various other isolated islands.

  10. Puerto Rico Travel Guide & Tips

    A comprehensive travel guide and a collection of tips for visiting Puerto Rico from the experts at Condé Nast Traveler.

  11. Travel advice and advisories for Puerto Rico

    Puerto Rico experiences frequent disruptions to power and telecommunications services after Hurricane Maria destroyed much of the power grid in 2017. ... We take the safety and security of Canadians abroad very seriously and provide credible and timely information in our Travel Advice to enable you to make well-informed decisions regarding your ...

  12. Puerto Rico Travel Requirements: What Travelers Need to Know

    Puerto Rico should be high on their list as Americans can visit without a passport. That's a significant advantage given the current extended wait time for a new travel document. Routine processing times are up to 10-13 weeks while expedited processing (for an additional $60) can still take as long as 7-9 weeks.

  13. 30 Travel Tips & Things To Know Before Traveling To Puerto Rico (2024)

    12. Hurricane season is September-November. The hurricane season in Puerto Rico can be brutal. Hurricane season in Puerto Rico is the cheapest time of year to travel to the island. Prices drop significantly from September to November, so visiting is a good option as long as you keep an eye on inclement weather.

  14. A beginners guide to visiting Puerto Rico

    With United Airlines, expect to spend between 20,000 and 65,000 miles for a one-way ticket from cities like Newark and Chicago. But perhaps the best way to use points to visit Puerto Rico is through JetBlue. ZACH GRIFF/THE POINTS GUY. On JetBlue, you have several destinations beyond San Juan to consider.

  15. 20 Best Places to Visit in Puerto Rico

    Luquillo. Puerto Rico's Capital del Sol (Capital of the Sun) is fittingly home to some of the island's most beautiful beaches. Balneario La Monserrate is popular for its extensive public amenities ...

  16. Puerto Rico Travel Guide

    When to go to Puerto Rico. Thebest time to visit Puerto Ricois from December to April, during the dry season, when the weather is warm and perfect for beach activities and exploring the island's natural beauty. This period also coincides with peak tourist season, so expect higher prices and larger crowds.

  17. Puerto Rico Travel Guide

    Get information on Puerto Rico Travel Guide - Expert Picks for your Vacation hotels, restaurants, entertainment, shopping, sightseeing, and activities. Read the Fodor's reviews, or post your own.

  18. 15 Best Things to Do in Puerto Rico

    Cueva Ventana is a cave atop a limestone cliff in the mountainous town of Arecibo about an hour from San Juan. Its name translates to "cave window.". One hikes up and looks through for a ...

  19. Vieques Puerto Rico Travel Guide

    Isla de Vieques, one of the offshore island municipalities of Puerto Rico, is located just 7 miles off the east coast. Vieques is one of the last destinations that truly remains like the Caribbean of the past: quiet, lush, uncrowded, with unmatched natural beauty. Vieques is home to Mosquito Bay, the brightest bioluminescent bay in the world ...

  20. Puerto Rico Tourist and Travel Information

    Before you go on your trip to Puerto Rico, find out all the basics and all the facts. This information is also provided in abbreviated form, Travel Information A to Z. What is the best way to travel to Puerto Rico? The easiest way to get to Puerto Rico is by plane. The Luis Muñoz Marín International Airport in San Juan (SJU) is the island's ...

  21. 23 Puerto Rico Travel Tips from a Local

    Tipping in Puerto Rico is not compulsory, but it's expected within restaurants, hotels, and bars. Some common tipping quantities are $2 or more per day for the housekeeping staff, $1 per drink for bartenders, and 15% of the check for restaurant servers. You can also tip cab drivers, uber drivers, and bellhops.

  22. Puerto Rico Travel Tips : r/PuertoRicoTravel

    Puerto Rico Travel Tips I just visited Puerto Rico for the first time last week and absolutely loved it. I joined this sub to get some tips and suggestions for my trip. I wanted to share some tips/information: For context, I traveled alone and stayed in Aguadilla (on the far west side of the island. I was interested in visiting the beaches and ...

  23. 3-week family vacation in Puerto Rico + more?

    We are a family of four from Scandinavia with kids aged 6 and 8 (at time of travel), who are travelling to Puerto Rico in February 2025. We have bought flight tickets to and from Puerto Rico and are now starting to plan what to experience in more detail. So far, we have planned for: - Old San Juan - El Yungue - Vieques and/or Culebra

  24. The Island of Puerto Rico

    Welcome to the heart and soul of the Caribbean! Puerto Rico is an archipelago in the Caribbean Sea consisting of the main island, four small islands, and hundreds of cays and islets. The island territory is only 100 miles long and 35 miles wide (8,870 square kilometers). Still, it packs a fantastic diversity of sights, scenery, and culture.

  25. Best Itinerary for the Puerto Rico Rum Trail

    Puerto Rico has a long history that intertwines agriculture and rum production with its cultural identity. Sugarcane is an important crop, and Puerto Ricans use rum liberally in traditional drinks ...

  26. Our Readers' Favorite Resorts in Puerto Rico of 2024

    Travel + Leisure Readers' 5 Favorite Resorts in Puerto Rico of 2024. Readers favored resorts in Puerto Rico with private beach access, spacious villas, and impeccable service in our annual "World ...

  27. Updated

    Several marine weather alerts have been issued for portions of the USVI and Puerto Rico as Beryl travels south of the local islands. (Photo courtesy NWS, San Juan, Puerto Rico) Regarding the potential impacts on the USVI and Puerto Rico, the National Weather Service in San Juan, Puerto Rico, provided the following information on Monday afternoon:

  28. Governor discloses Puerto Rico trip, updates info sharing policy

    Healey's out-of-state trip last month was to travel to Puerto Rico for a long weekend to celebrate her birthday with her partner, Joanna Lydgate. WWLP Springfield. Governor discloses Puerto Rico ...

  29. Van Leeuwen Ice Cream Teams Up With Discover Puerto Rico for ...

    In time for National Piña Colada Day, which falls on July 10, Discover Puerto Rico and ice cream brand Van Leeuwen have teamed up to celebrate with a special flavor.

  30. Smoking Weed in Puerto Rico: Everything You Need to Know

    Driving to my hotel in San Juan on a recent trip to Puerto Rico, I was surprised to see a large cannabis dispensary on the corner before its entrance with a sign touting it issued tourist medical ...