Is puerto rico nice: 14 Reasons to Travel to Puerto Rico in 2022

14 Reasons to Travel to Puerto Rico in 2022

ViaHero

Updated January 24, 2022

Why travel to Puerto Rico? Why not? This island destination is filled with incredible nature, rich history, and fantastic food—not to mention great beaches, bars, and barrios. Here are 14 reasons why you should travel to Puerto Rico in 2022. 

For everything from safety tips to restaurant recommendations, work with a local to plan your trip. They’ll introduce you to a side of the island the most tourists miss. Learn more.

«Linelly helped us beyond anything we could’ve planned ourselves. Everything she suggested for us was spot-on, and I feel we got the best experience by following a local’s guidance.»

—Kate, Recent Traveler

Table Of Contents

  • What’s Puerto Rico like?
  • Do I need a passport to travel to Puerto Rico?
  • Do I need to exchange my money?
  • Has Puerto Rico recovered from Hurricane Maria?
  • Does tourism help Puerto Rico?
  • What language is spoken in Puerto Rico?
  • What’s the food like in Puerto Rico?
  • Is Puerto Rico safe?
  • Is it expensive to fly to Puerto Rico?
  • What are people in Puerto Rico like?
  • What’s the culture like?
  • Is it easy to get around the island?
  • Is Puerto Rico a good family destination?
  • Is Puerto Rico safe for solo travel?

#1: The island is gorgeous

One of our locals in Puerto Rico described the island as «paradise. » We’re into it. Just look at the pictures for yourself! Dreamy beaches, palm trees, old Spanish forts, jungles, waterfalls, tropical drinks, delicious seafood—Puerto Rico has it all. The island is even home to the USA’s only rainforest. It’s no wonder they call it The Island of Enchantment

#2: You don’t need a passport to travel to Puerto Rico

People often ask: «Do I need a passport to go to Puerto Rico?» If you’re an American, the answer is no—after all, Puerto Rico is part of the United States. That’s one less thing to worry about for your travel checklist. 

What kind of traveler are you?

Let’s face it. People want different things when they travel. Rather than spending hours sifting through blogs and top 10 lists written by people who may have totally different interests than you, why not start by sharing a little about what’s important to you when exploring a new destination?

Select your travel preferences below and let a local take it from there. Your personalized guidebook to Puerto Rico is just a few clicks away.

#3: You don’t even need to change your money

Because Puerto Rico is a US territory, they also use the US dollar. That means you don’t have to exchange your money, and you don’t have to pay foreign transaction fees when using your credit or debit cards. Essentially, traveling to Puerto Rico couldn’t be easier—some cellular carriers don’t even charge roaming.

#4: Most areas have fully recovered from Hurricane Maria

One of the worst disasters in US history, Hurricane Maria claimed the lives of over 3,000 American citizens in 2017. And despite well-publicized issues with federal relief efforts, Puerto Rico has since largely recovered from the tragedy (aside from some very remote areas of the island).

You may have read about recent Puerto Rico earthquakes. These largely impacted the south of the island. Well-traveled areas like San Juan are perfectly safe to visit. And if you have concerns—or if you want an insider’s perspective—you can always message one of our locals before booking your trip.  

Which brings us to an important point:

#5: Tourism dollars support Puerto Rico’s economy

How can you help Puerto Rico recover from natural disasters? By putting money directly into the island’s economy.

Tourism dollars make a huge difference—especially when they stay in local communities. That’s why we’re proud that, on average, 70% of travel dollars spent on ViaHero remain in the destination. 

#6: English is widely spoken

Although Spanish is the most popular language on the island, English is an official second language and many people speak it perfectly. If you’re worried about the language barrier, you can ask your local for important phrases to know.

#7: The food is absolutely incredible

Puerto Rico’s cuisine is a dynamic mix of Spanish, Caribbean, African, and Asian influences. The fresh seafood is excellent (our locals say you have to try the aguacate relleno—avocado stuffed with creamy garlic shrimp), and the island grows some of the best coffee, vegetables, and tropical fruit in the entire world.

Oh, and did we mention that Puerto Rico is the world’s second-largest producer of rum? 

Work with a local to plan your trip.

See a side most people miss.

#8: Travel in Puerto Rico is safe

When it comes to safety in Puerto Rico, benefit from insider knowledge—our locals can explain how they navigate the island safely. 

As Puerto Rico heavily relies on tourism, the police are responsive and the island is safe on the whole—just take the same precautions you would in any other city.

#9. You can find great deals on flights

Despite its small size, Puerto Rico has over two dozen airports with cheap, daily flights from all over the US and beyond. All the major US airlines fly there (United, American, Delta, JetBlue, Virgin, Southwest, and even Spirit). 

#10: Locals in Puerto Rico are wonderful

Puerto Ricans often pride themselves on their warm, vibrant culture. They did invent salsa dancing, after all. Which brings us to our next point…

#11 The music and dancing are absolutely incredible

Like its food, Puerto Rico’s music and dance stems from a mix of cultural influences. The Bomba and the Danza, two popular Puerto Rican dances, were invented on the island hundreds of years ago. And if you think the dance scene is incredible, you have to check out the music scene.

Of course, you don’t want to go all the way to Puerto Rico to spend your trip in tourist traps. Get insider tips from the locals—they can share the bars and clubs that the locals love.

#12: The island is easy to navigate

Once you’re in Puerto Rico, transportation couldn’t be easier. You can rent a car (remember: Puerto Rico is a US territory, so it has all the same car rental places as in the continental US), take public transportation, or just use Uber.

#13: It’s great for families

You’ll find tons of great stuff to do in Puerto Rico with kids. From splashing in the shore to hiking through nature to checking out the island’s incredible forts, the island offers a wealth of great activities for the entire family. 

#14: Solo female travelers love Puerto Rico

Puerto Rico is a great place for solo travelers. The island is safe and easy to navigate—and the hostels in Puerto Rico are really great. 

If you’re traveling to Puerto Rico alone, get some local insider advice. Our locals will have your back 24/7 with phone support, and they’ll suggest great solo activities in their hometown. 

Still have questions about travel to Puerto Rico?

Why not ask someone who lives there? ViaHero connects you with a local to help plan your trip. They’ll create a guidebook based on your personal travel style.

You’ll see a unique side of a destination and travel independently—all while saving time and money in the planning process. Find a local today.

Looking for more info?

7 Reasons to Visit Puerto Rico on Your Next Caribbean Vacation

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When you think about a vacation in the Caribbean, which destinations immediately come to mind? Maybe the Bahamas or Jamaica or the Virgin Islands? Maybe a resort in the Dominican Republic, or a beach escape to the Cayman Islands?

But what about Puerto Rico?

If you’re like me, you may not have really considered Puerto Rico as a Caribbean destination before. Maybe it’s because you’ve heard that Puerto Rico is technically part of the United States and figured it’s not “different” enough. Or maybe you know of the territory’s recent natural disasters and financial struggles. Or maybe it’s just because you don’t always hear a lot about Puerto Rico from travelers.

But let me tell you this: Puerto Rico has just about everything you could want in a Caribbean destination – and then some.


Check out my latest Puerto Rico video:

After spending some time on the island for the first time in March 2016, and again in February 2020, here are just a few of the reasons to add Puerto Rico to your must-visit list.

1. You don’t have to leave the U.S.

Even though Puerto Rico sits by itself out in the Greater Antilles, it’s actually a U.S. territory. For Americans, this is great news. It means you don’t have to have a passport to visit, and don’t have to worry about exchanging currency once you get there. You don’t even have to worry about your phone, since your U.S. phone plan will work just fine in Puerto Rico.

And, even though Spanish is the dominant language on the island, most people (and especially people who work in tourism) also speak excellent English.

This could be straight out of New Orleans – but it’s actually San Juan.

2. The Spanish culture and history is nevertheless strong

But, having said that, going to Puerto Rico FEELS like visiting another country. The Spanish culture is still strong in Puerto Rico, from the salsa tunes played in bars to the Latin dishes you can find in just about every restaurant (tip: try the mofongo!).

If you’re looking to ease yourself into Latin America, Puerto Rico would make a great introduction.

Cassava mofongoCarnaval masks in Ponce

The Spanish footprint can perhaps best be seen in Old San Juan and its UNESCO-recognized colonial fortresses. The forts – Castillo San Cristóbal and Castillo San Felipe del Morro – offer a unique glimpse into Puerto Rico’s past, and also offer great views out over the city and sea.

View from Castillo San CristóbalSentry box at Castillo San Cristóbal

And, of course, there are the colorful streets of Old San Juan to explore, too, which definitely feel like they’ve been plucked from somewhere else.

Puerto Rico is another fantastic example of how truly diverse the United States is.

Puerto Rico also makes great coffee!

RELATED: Photos to Make You Want to Go to Puerto Rico

3. You can go on adventures

Puerto Rico isn’t very big, but its landscapes are nevertheless diverse. Beaches, rainforest, mountains… it has it all. And you can reach all these different features in about an hour from San Juan.

Toro Verde Adventure Park in Orocovis

My main adventure in Puerto Rico on my first trip was trying out the breathtaking zip lining courses at Toro Verde Adventure Park in Orocovis, which is in the heart of Puerto Rico’s mountainous center.

Not only were the zip lines epic and adrenaline-inducing, but Toro Verde also has some of the best zip lining views I’ve ever seen.

Me on “The Beast” zip line.

If you go to Toro Verde, you have to make sure to brave The Monster, which was the longest zip line in the world (7,234 feet) when it opened. (It’s since been knocked out of that top spot, but it’s still epic!)

4. Or you can just lounge on the beach

Adventure sports not really your thing? Don’t worry – Puerto Rico has its fair share of beautiful beaches, too.

You can head to one of Puerto Rico’s bioluminescent bays like the one in Fajardo, or Mosquito Bay on Vieques if you’re up for a unique experience on the water. Or, San Juan has some nice city beaches, too, where you’ll find locals every day of the week.

But to find the best beaches in Puerto Rico, you have to go to other nearby islands. Culebra and Vieques islands, both reachable by boat or short flight from the main island, have arguably the best beaches in Puerto Rico.

Culebra IslandLooking down at a beach on Vieques

I was lucky enough to take a catamaran trip out to Culebra Island with East Island Excursions on my first trip, which included snorkeling stops and a little more than an hour at Flamenco Beach.

Flamenco Beach often appears on lists of the best beaches in the world. And, while I was skeptical at first (because, how often do those “best” lists let you down?), I have to admit that Flamenco IS indeed one of the prettiest beaches I’ve ever been to. The sand was fine and almost pure white. The water was turquoise and warm. And the beach was surprisingly uncrowded.

Flamenco Beach

Best beach? Possibly.

Complete with old tank left behind from when the U.S. military used to conduct drills here.

Others seem to agree with my assessment, considering that this video has been viewed nearly 3 million times on Facebook.

5. There are also resorts, if that’s your thing

Puerto Rico is easy to explore by car (though watch out for those aggressive drivers in San Juan), but also caters to the crowd who usually turns to the Caribbean for resort vacations. There are some full-on never-have-to-leave-the-resort type properties, as well as plenty of hotels with resort-like amenities.

I stayed at two Hilton properties in San Juan during my first trip. The first was the Caribe Hilton, which is closer to your average resort. With a few restaurants on site and a beautiful pool and beach area, I could have easily hung out here for a day or two.

Sunrise from my balcony at the Caribe Hilton.Caribe Hilton pool/beach.

I also stayed at the Condado Plaza Hilton, which is a more contemporary, “urban” resort. The rooms were super nice, but the beach/pool area wasn’t as exciting – if you stayed here, you would probably want to venture out into San Juan more.

Funky bar at the Condado Plaza.

On my next trip to Puerto Rico (because there will definitely be a next trip), I plan on staying at the El Conquistador Resort. It’s a Waldorf-owned property about 40 minutes from San Juan, and is the largest resort in Puerto Rico. It boasts a huge pool area, a water park, a golf course, more than 25 restaurants on site, and its very own private island that guests have access to. THIS is the sort of resort that you might never want to leave.

I’ve never done a resort vacation, but visiting the El Conquistador has me inspired to give it a try the next time I’m in Puerto Rico.

El Conquistador Resort pool

6. It’s easy to get to

Lastly, Puerto Rico is easy to get to, especially from the U.S. There are direct flights from cities all along the East Coast, and you won’t have to sacrifice a full day to travel. San Juan is just a little over 2 hours from Miami, and less than 3.5 hours from New York.

Flight prices aren’t outrageous, either – from where I live in Ohio, you can fly to Puerto Rico for cheaper than you can fly to the West Coast.

You could be sitting here in just a few hours.

7. Yes, it’s open for business

After suffering everything from hurricanes to earthquakes in recent years, many people are under the impression that Puerto Rico is completely destroyed and that they can’t visit.

This isn’t the case at all. On my second visit in 2020, there was little to no evidence of natural disasters in the parts of the island that tourists tend to visit. Not everything is how it was pre-Hurricane Maria (some hotels have not reopened, and some trails in El Yunque rainforest are still closed), but you can still do most of the things you’d want to on a visit to Puerto Rico.

So don’t let hurricanes from years ago stop you from planning a trip to Puerto Rico!


So are you convinced? When are you booking your trip to Puerto Rico?

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*Note: Thanks to the Puerto Rico Tourism Company for hosting me on this trip. As always, all opinions, tips, and photos are 100% my own. I would never recommend something to you guys that I didn’t love myself!

TOP14: The best beaches in Puerto Rico — Ultimate guide (November 2022)

Ultimate guide (November 2022)

Sun Bay is the best beach in Vieques island. Keep in mind that on weekends Puerto Ricans like to come here by car… / read more » /

Rating: 8.6 (226 votes)

Punta Arenas — wild beach in the northwest Vieques Islands, Puerto Rico. The beach is beautiful — with palm trees and good snorkelling. N… / read more » /

Rating: 8.5 (10 votes)

Icacos is a wild beach in the northeast of Vieques Island in Puerto Rico. This is a wonderful place with perfectly clear azure water… / read more » /

Rating: 8.4 (4 votes) The beach is quite beautiful, but not too cozy. Krom… / read more » /

Rating: 8.3 (407 votes)

El Gallito is a beach on the northern coast of Vieques Island in Puerto Rico. This is not the most comfortable beach due to the fact that the sea… / read more » /

Rating: 8.3 (5 votes) Vieques Islands in Puerto Rico. Here is the famous unfinished road leaving … / read more » /

Rating: 8.3 (11 votes)

Media Luna is a nice beach on Vieques island in Puerto Rico. The beach is in a closed bay, so there are no waves here. In addition… / read more » /

Rating: 8. 2 (174 votes)

Black Sand Beach on the south coast of Puerto Rico Island. In fact, the sand here is only partially black… / read more » /

Rating: 8.1 (18 votes)

Ocean Park is the best beach in San Juan, Puerto Rico. It compares favorably with other areas of the city because there is no… / read more » /

Rating: 7.8 (97 votes)

The beach overlooks the open ocean, so there are always waves here, which are good for… / read more » /

Rating: 7.6 (102 votes)

Playa Escambron is an excellent public beach in the city of San Juan (Puerto Rico). There are many palm trees on the beach and… / read more » /

Rating: 7.3 (226 votes)

Esperanza is a city beach on the island of Vieques. Most of the coast is unsuitable for swimming. However, if you walk a little… / read more » /

Rating: 6. 7 (77 votes)

Isla Verde is a new popular neighborhood in San Juan in Puerto Rico, located on the coast of a cozy bay. Coastal strip and d… / read more » /

Rating: 6.2 (161 votes)

Condado is the most famous beach in Puerto Rico. Historically, beach development in San Juan began in this area, so there are… / read more » /

Rating: 6.1 (voted 271)

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Puerto Rico has reached its breaking point, and what lies ahead for the once prosperous island in the future

Puerto Rico is again in crisis, both politically and economically. A U.S. territory of more than three million people, larger than many states. But its population and real (inflation-adjusted) output have been declining since 2006. More than half of Puerto Rico’s natives have left the island, most of them going to the US mainland, where even the poorest states have double the per capita income.

The Puerto Rican economy bottomed out in 2016, but its troubles began much earlier. Over the past decade, successive governments promising balanced budgets have consistently been forced to borrow after their estimates proved overly optimistic. Ultimately, Puerto Rico was unable to meet its debt service obligations. By 2015, its per capita debt was over $16,000, compared to the 50-state average of $1,473, and the country’s government still had large unpaid liabilities.

Then, in June 2016, the US Congress passed PROMESA (Puerto Rico Supervisory, Governance, and Economic Stability Act), which allowed Puerto Rico to enter quasi-bankruptcy proceedings under the supervision of the newly created Financial Conduct and Stewardship Council. The FOMB will approve the territory’s budgets. The island defaulted on its debt in 2017, and legal battles have been fought ever since.

Puerto Rico’s economy had a number of structural problems until 2016. But FOMB, as the name suggests, was not empowered to decide them and could not force the Commonwealth government to do so. Worse, as soon as FOMB began its work, Hurricanes Irma and Maria hit the island, further weakening the economy. The electricity grid was cut off and the state-owned electricity company PREPA was unable to provide an adequate response. In addition to leaving some residents without electricity for almost a year, storms reduced access to roads and hindered the delivery of humanitarian aid for several weeks.

Now the political crisis has worsened. The immediate cause was the publication of personal messages in which Governor Ricardo Rossello referred to the victims of Hurricane Maria in shameful and degrading terms. Rossello has already resigned. But accusations of corruption and poor economic performance are fueling widespread public discontent across the island, prompting the resignation of other senior officials as well.

Like economic weakness, Puerto Rico’s political problems are hard to put into words. The unique governance structure allows both the government of Puerto Rico and the US federal government to blame each other for the island’s plight. When the federal government provides low income tax credit (EITC) to low income individuals, it only does so for those who live in the states of the United States, not for Puerto Ricans. While the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) does extend Medicaid to eligible Puerto Ricans, the island’s federal grant is too small to cover the cost.

In addition, the island is subject to the Jones Act of 1920, which, by requiring the use of US-owned and operated ships to and from the US mainland, makes shipping costs much higher than those of its Caribbean neighbors. And despite the low income, Puerto Rico has a federal minimum wage. As a result, many workers cannot leave the informal sector.

On this topic

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During a visit to Puerto Rico, Joe Biden again fell into a stupor

The American president increasingly falls into a stupor, forgetting what he needs to do and where to go. In Puerto Rico, Biden again puzzled with his behavior.

But the federal government can also point to the failures of Puerto Rico’s own. For example, the island’s labor law requires employers to award annual bonuses equal to one month’s wages, raising the minimum wage higher than on the mainland. Puerto Ricans also benefit from overly generous annual leave, sick leave, and severance pay policies. In addition, the land registry of the island is extremely outdated. And for 30 years after 19In the 1980s, the authorities increased the number of teachers by 25%, although the number of students decreased by at least the same proportion. This contributes to an increase in pension liabilities.

Unless budgetary issues are directly involved, the FOMB has no authority to demand that the government of Puerto Rico address its egregious structural problems. This leads to constant clashes, and the FOMB even sued the governor for allowing municipalities to transfer their pension obligations to the territory.

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