Safety in puerto rico: Is Puerto Rico Safe to Visit in 2022? | Safety Guide
Is Puerto Rico Safe to Visit in 2022? | Safety Guide
Puerto Rico is a famous destination for many tourists visiting the Caribbean, and for a good reason. Puerto Rico is nothing short of a paradise, from the pristine beaches to the calm turquoise waters, rich history, vibrant culture, and tropical mountainous regions.
Like other tourist destinations, it has its flaws. Puerto Rico has a long history of drug trafficking, gun crime, and gang activity, potentially compromising your safety.
The island falls victim to earthquakes and hurricanes, the most recent in 2017. Although Puerto Rico has since recovered from its aftermath, you might be wondering if it’s safe to visit.
Here’s a guide showing the safest places to travel in Puerto Rico while providing handy safety tips.
Is Puerto Rico Safe to Visit?
Puerto Rico is safe for travelers. It’s one of the safest islands in the Caribbean. However, it’s essential to keep an eye on factors that could compromise your safety.
Although most drug trafficking and gang-related crimes hardly affect travelers, you must look out for pickpockets and robbers. Most of them are on a hunt for small items like cash, flash jewelry, phones, and cameras, hence the need to stash them away in a safe place.
If going out, dress down, and if using a car, keep valuables away from sight. Otherwise, you may go back to a broken window and valuables missing. Read on to find out how to stay safe in Puerto Rico.
Crime in Puerto Rico
Puerto Rico has a lower crime rate than most states in the United States, albeit having a tainted reputation for high homicide and gun crime rates. This is mainly due to the thriving tourism scene, social and political changes, and anti-crime efforts.
In 2019, the Puerto Rican and US governments launched a crackdown on human traffickers and drug smugglers to combat violence.
As a result, the homicide rate per capita nearly halved, leaving Puerto Rico with the lowest rate in Latin America. The high poverty rate and inequality between the haves and have-nots make Puerto Rico ripe for crimes.
But tourists don’t have to worry because most murders and gun crimes relate to gang-related activities. In addition, such crime affects specific neighborhoods where gangs and criminals reside.
Avoiding Bad Neighborhoods
Source: Wikimedia Commons
Puerto Rico is safe for travelers as long as they stay in safe neighborhoods. Natives recommend avoiding Caserios public housing areas because gangs and criminals reside here.
Although the areas were reserved for low-income families, gangs have transformed them into hideouts for drug-related trades. Caserios are noticeable from afar as apartment-like balconies and cement facades characterize them.
Louis Lloren Torres in San Juan is an excellent example of a Caserios as many crimes happen here. Luckily, it’s a far cry from San Juan’s safe and tourist-friendly spots, but some travelers still visit Louis Lloren Torres to buy recreational drugs at a bargain.
Other crime-prone areas include La Perla, Puerta de Tierra, Pinones, some parts of Santruce, and Parque de la Palomas. San Juan has safe neighborhoods, including Miramar, Hato Ray, Isla Verde, Condado, and the Old San Juan.
Other tourist-friendly areas are:
- Cabo Rojo
- Rio Grande
Note that tourists aren’t limited to visiting these parts of the island. The government and locals encourage travelers to step out and explore other parts of Puerto Rico.
Common Crimes That Affect Tourists
Besides pickpocketing and robbery, tourists are susceptible to carjackings. Crime hotspots make great places for this crime, so avoid driving at night. If you must, avoid crime hotspots like those in San Juan. Tourists are also prone to scams like:
- Rental car scams: The rental car industry is the bread and butter for many households, but some drivers have made it a money-minting scheme by charging excessive toll fees. They may also inflate the deposits and include hidden charges under the pretext of cleaning the car.
- Taxi scams: If taking a cab, look out for tricks drivers use to inflate the cost. They may take a longer route, fail to turn on the meter, or claim they don’t have change. Researching the route beforehand goes a long way in determining the local rates.
- False guides: You also want to look out for locals who disguise themselves as guides. They claim to guide you to a particular destination but take you to where they get commissions for bringing clients.
Is It Safe to Explore Puerto Rico at Night?
The nightlife in Puerto Rico rocks! You should consider spending a night or two dancing the night away. Even so, you must be cautious. Here are some tips to help you:
- Stick to tourist-friendly areas. Areas such as Pinones, La Perla, and Parque de las Palomas are safe during the day but can get dangerous at night
- If you must drink, keep an eye on your drinks
- Avoid taking drinks from strangers
- Avoid getting overly drunk
- Don’t stay out too late
Of course, the best way to stay safe is just to use a little common sense.
Is Puerto Rico Safe for Solo Travel?
Solo travel has been all the rage in recent years, and you may wonder whether Puerto Rico is a safe place for such adventure. The truth is Puerto Rico is just as safe as any other place you’d go for solo travel.
Natives are friendly and ready to pitch in by providing directions to your desired destination when exploring the area off the grid. However, you must avoid isolating yourself because you become easy prey for pickpockets.
You must also be aware of your surroundings and those around you and avoid taking moonlit strolls along the beach at night alone.
How Do You Get Around Puerto Rico?
Puerto Rico is one of the cheapest places to get around. There are many transportation channels, including taxis, trains, and buses. The public transport is pretty safe for tourists, but you could get lost when navigating the local services.
If not using private transfers, it’s best to use an inter-city train service like Tren Urbano, which commutes between San Juan, Bayamon, and Guaynabo.
You may also opt for taxis, which offer a better view of the island, and with Uber having entered the scene, you’ve lots of options to choose from. Just remember to watch out for extra fees and scammers, like we mentioned above.
The Weather and Natural Disasters
Another concern for travelers visiting Puerto Rico is the weather. Puerto Rico is prone to hurricanes, and there’s no telling when they will happen. There’s an annual hurricane season from June to November, with September experiencing disastrous storms.
This doesn’t mean that a hurricane will hit the country, but planning a vacation outside of this season takes loads off your back. Mid-April to June and December to March are the best months to visit Puerto Rico.
In addition, hurricanes take an entire week to hit the island, providing adequate time to adjust your travel arrangements.
You also want to take out travel insurance beforehand in the event of flight delays. Earthquakes are also a common phenomenon in Puerto Rico, just like hurricanes.
The country experienced a series of earthquakes in January 2020, but the infrastructure held up pretty well compared to the last hurricane. What’s more, the island has been experiencing telluric movements, but they often go unnoticed.
Things to Consider
Dennis van de Water/Shutterstock
You want to keep a few nitty-gritties in mind when visiting Puerto Rico:
- Buy a local sim card. If traveling from a non-US state, always buy a local sim card before going off the grid.
- Avoid wearing pricey jewelry and clothing that can attract pickpockets.
- Develop friendships with other travelers, especially if on a solo trip. Solo trips can get lonely, but your stay in Puerto Rico becomes more enjoyable with a few drinking buddies. Avoid telling them too much about your plans.
- The population in rural areas largely speaks Spanish. Knowing a few Spanish words goes a long way in communicating with the locals. You can download a translator app or memorize some phrases.
- Do your research before visiting Puerto Rico. Find out the best neighborhoods to visit with kids, friends, or alone, and those to avoid. Check travel review sites to understand their experience here.
- Be careful when visiting tropical areas and carry a map. Inform friends and family where you’re going and wear shoes with great traction.
- Prepare to navigate the roads without traffic lights. Some roads on the islands don’t have traffic signs; it’s up to you to navigate them. Also, you must be ready to navigate the numerous potholes in both urban and rural areas.
- Stash your valuables in the in-room safe at the hotel when going out. And since credit cards are readily accepted, you don’t have to bring too much money when exploring Puerto Rico.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is it safe to swim on Puerto Rico beaches?
It’s safe to swim on the beaches, but you must look out for riptides, or rip currents. For example, beaches along Playa Jobos and Playa Pena have numerous drowning accidents because people are oblivious to the hazard. It’s best to inquire from the locals about the safest areas to swim if visiting beaches with riptides.
Is Puerto Rico Safe for women traveling solo?
Puerto Rico is generally safe for women traveling solo and in groups, but they must follow the highlighted safety tips. San Juan is exceptionally safe for women traveling alone.
What is the legal drinking age in Puerto Rico?
Unlike the United States, where the legal drinking age is 21, adults as young as 18 years can drink in Puerto Rico. However, drinking is restricted to private areas, and if buying liquor from bars and restaurants, you must provide a valid ID. Drunk driving is also an offense that leads to imprisonment and financial penalties.
Is Puerto Rico friendly to LGBTQ+ travelers?
Puerto Rico is one of the most LGBTQ+ friendly destinations in the Caribbean. San Juan, in particular, has a lively gay scene around Condado Beach and Santurce. Moreover, tourists are subject to the US federal hate crime laws even in Puerto Rico. As such, crimes based on one’s sex or gender are punishable.
How hot is Puerto Rico?
Puerto Rico is hot almost all year
, with temperatures regularly as high as 80 degrees. The country also gets pretty humid, increasing the overall heat sensation. It’s best to keep hydrated during your stay here.
So, Is Puerto Rico Safe?
Overall, Puerto Rico is a safe place to visit. It all depends on when and where you want to go. Look out for the safe neighborhoods, and if you must go to Caserios, visit during the day. Also, avoid isolating yourself even when traveling solo.
Pickpockets single out visitors walking alone easily and rob them of valuables. Also, if renting a vehicle, don’t leave any valuables inside.
Carry them with you or stash them away from sight. Finally (and most imortantly), schedule your visit between December and June. These months have the best weather, and you hardly need to worry about hurricanes.
Is Puerto Rico Safe for Travel in 2022?
Updated November 14, 2022
Is Puerto Rico safe for travel in 2022? This enchanting Caribbean island is a popular destination, so we understand if you have questions. All in all, Puerto Rico is very safe — as long as travelers are aware of a few things.
We asked our local trip planners to weigh in on safety in Puerto Rico. Here are their best tips!
Looking for more insider info on safety in Puerto Rico? Work with a local for on-the-ground access as you plan your trip. 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 to know about Puerto Rico and the coronavirus
- Is San Juan safe?
- What’s crime like in Puerto Rico?
- What to know about vaccinations in Puerto Rico
- Drinking the tap water
- Transportation in Puerto Rico
- Languages spoken in Puerto Rico
- Don’t Worry Too Much About Hurricanes
Puerto Rico and the coronavirus
Like any destination, travel to Puerto Rico comes with new risks because of the pandemic. The island has been pretty aggressive in its efforts to keep the virus at bay, but like the mainland United States restrictions are lifting.
So, what should travelers keep in mind?
Domestic travelers (including Americans, remember, Puerto Rico is part of the United States) do not need to present proof of vaccination or a COVID test to visit Puerto Rico.
International travelers must present proof of vaccination (unless you are a U.S. citizen or resident).
Once on the island, locals ask that all visitors follow basic coronavirus precautions. While masks are no longer required (except at events with more than 1,000 attendees), individual businesses can choose to continue requiring masks and implementing other COVID safety measures. Some major venues still require proof of vaccination or a negative test, so don’t forget to check the rules if you book tickets to an event.
Most areas of San Juan are safe
San Juan is an incredible place to visit | sjdents0/Pixabay
Most travelers chose to visit San Juan — which is an excellent choice. Puerto Rico’s biggest city is bustling, beautiful, and full of incredible things to do.
So, is San Juan safe to visit? Here’s what locals say you need to know about staying safe in San Juan:
Most neighborhoods in San Juan are safe during the day, but at night certain places can get a bit sketchy.
Locals recommend that these San Juan neighborhoods are safe during the day or night:
- Old San Juan
- Parque de las Palomas
- Isla Verde
- Santa Teresita
- Ocean Park
- Hato Rey
- Rio Piedras
And these neighborhoods are generally safe only during the day:
- Parque de las Palomas
- La Perla (though this is debatable)
- Puerta de Tierra.
Like elsewhere on the island, visitors to San Juan will be asked to respect pandemic rules like wearing a mask, practicing social distancing, and respecting curfews.
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.
What to know about crime in Puerto Rico
When it comes to crime in Puerto Rico, there are a few things travelers should know.
First of all, the most common crime committed against travelers is petty theft or pickpocketing. Locals suggest keeping an eye on your belongings at all times to avoid this — especially when you’re enjoying one of Puerto Rico’s beaches.
Overall, locals suggest following basic safety guidelines. Don’t walk alone at night. Know which neighborhoods to avoid. Try not to flash expensive belongings or jewelry.
As for serious crimes? It’s true — Puerto Rico has had a historically high homicide rate. However, this has decreased in recent years and most homicides are related to gang activity.
If you feel anxious about crime in Puerto Rico, reach out to a local to get their perspective on life on the island. They can share their best safety practices.
Another reason why traveling to Puerto Rico is so easy is that most Americans probably already have the necessary vaccinations.
If you’re going to Puerto Rico, then the CDC recommends getting the following vaccines if you don’t already have them:
- Hepatitis A and B
- Measles, mumps and rubella (MMR)
- Tdap (tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis)
- Chickenpox and shingles
Some of these are especially recommended if you’re hoping to get off the beaten path in Puerto Rico and explore. (Hello rainforest!)
As for the COVID-19 vaccine? American travelers do not have to prove that they’ve been vaccinated against Covid-19. However, the CDC does recommend that travelers get vaccinated before visiting Puerto Rico. Plus, some businesses may require proof of vaccination.
Work with a local to plan your trip.
See a side most people miss.
The water quality is generally good
There are some things travelers should know about water in Puerto Rico | ulleo/Pixabay
Many people in Puerto Rico opt to buy bottled water—however, the EPA has reported that the island’s water quality is generally good. Rural areas (about 3% of the island) have issues with water availability. However, in cities like San Juan you should be fine drinking tap water.
You can always buy bottled water to allay any concerns. Or, better yet, invest in a reusable water bottle with a filter. Doing so is a great way to travel in a sustainable way.
Locals note that there is also some risk to taking a dip in Puerto Rico — and you’ll definitely be tempted, given the island’s waterfalls and rainforest pools. Make sure you check with a local to see what’s safe and which watering holes you should avoid.
What to know about transportation in Puerto Rico
If you decide to take a cab in Puerto Rico, be sure you’re taking a licensed cab (they’re white with a lit sign on the roof). Once you’re in, check that there’s a meter. Locals suggest also double-checking the rate with the driver so you don’t get ripped off.
Alternatively, you can also take an Uber. This is a good option if your Spanish isn’t very good or you want to be able to track your travel on your phone. Plus, you can book an Uber from the airport in advance.
Languages spoken in Puerto Rico
English is the official second language of Puerto Rico and is widely spoken (especially by authorities). So if you run into any trouble, it shouldn’t be hard to get help. This is one of the big reasons why Puerto Rico is a great travel destination for mainland Americans.
That being said, it can be helpful to know some Spanish. A few basic phrases (hello, thank you, etc) can really go a long way with locals in Puerto Rico. Plus, you’ll feel more confident navigating the island.
Don’t Worry Too Much About Hurricanes
Although Hurricane Fiona hit Puerto Rico in September 2022, the impact on travel this fall and winter is minimal. The San Juan Airport was fully operational within just a couple of days after Fiona made landfall. Hotels that were closed opened up quickly as well.
Many of the island’s popular attractions are up and running. These include:
- The colorful capital of San Juan
- Cayo Santiago (Monkey Island)
- El Yunque National Rainforest
As for future storms, keep in mind that your chances of experiencing a hurricane are low. Hurricane season is from June to November—and if a storm hits, there will be advance warning.
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?
〚Benefits of Establishing a Bank in Puerto Rico〛 ‖ Eternity Law International
Puerto Rico has established itself as one of the leading financial and banking centers in the Caribbean. According to official documents, Puerto Rico belongs to the United States, but it has a certain degree of independence, which gives the island some advantages over the mainland.
Over the past few years, a significant amount of funds coming from the states have been deposited on the island and used to open accounts in order to maximize the benefits of government initiatives in the development of investment programs. For the most part, these investments have been successful. A huge flow of capital and foreign investment has been attracted by the new laws 20 and 22 in Puerto Rico, which were passed by the government in order to stimulate the local economy by attracting international investors. These are two pieces of legislation regarding the tax advantages adopted in Puerto Rico and the wide opportunities for investing foreign capital in certain areas of business activity.
The island has many advantages not found on the mainland, despite being very close to the United States.
Advantages of offshore banks in Puerto Rico:
- Confidentiality of financial information.
- Tax Benefits
- Language and location
- Having access to some of the best investment opportunities.
- Developed infrastructure and economy.
- A large number of services offered.
- Attractive conditions.
- Complete protection and security of property.
- Availability of access to multi-currency accounts.
Bank accounts held in Puerto Rico are held to a high level of confidentiality of account holder information. First, this is because Puerto Rico is not a party to any agreements regarding the automatic exchange of information. In addition, Puerto Rico is not governed by the General Reporting Standard, which is the standard adopted by more than 100 states.
If someone has an account opened with one of the offshore banks in Puerto Rico, financial information and personal data will not be shared with other banking institutions. Private Puerto Rican banks take the privacy of their customers seriously and responsibly and are extremely reluctant to disclose this information except in cases of extreme necessity as part of a criminal investigation.
Being an offshore jurisdiction, Puerto Rico provides extremely pleasant tax benefits. The easiest and most lucrative way to take advantage of these benefits is to open your own banking institution in Puerto Rico. Puerto Rico also allows one person to be only one founder of a bank.
Language and location
Puerto Rico’s unique location lies between North and South America. This area is located just 1,000 miles from the coast of Miami, Florida. This makes it easily accessible to those who live in the United States. In addition, Puerto Rico provides business links between the States and Latin America, giving them access to new investment opportunities.
Potential language barriers that offshore account holders may face are alleviated by the fact that one of Puerto Rico’s official languages is English.
Developed infrastructure and economy
Puerto Rico’s economy is characterized by a high level of stability and profitability. In addition, Puerto Rico has high-quality infrastructure, excellent education, first-class healthcare, transportation, and public services.
Having access to some of the best investment opportunities
Having an offshore bank under the jurisdiction of Puerto Rico provides unlimited access to some of the best investment opportunities with high returns. Since you will be the owner of an offshore bank, you will have access to various types of trading and investment instruments. In addition, the activities of a banking institution in Puerto Rico are not limited to serving individuals and companies worldwide.
A wide range of services offered
Private offshore banking institutions registered and operating in Puerto Rico offer their customers a wide range of high-quality services, in particular sophisticated banking services, including online banking, multi-currency accounts, foreign exchange trading, etc.
Banking institutions in Puerto Rico have minimum requirements for customers. Since FATCA was introduced in the United States, many offshore banks have closed their doors to US residents because the costs and efforts to enforce FATCA are too high. However, because Puerto Rico is an associated state, this problem does not arise there.
Access to multicurrency accounts
Offshore Puerto Rican banking institutions provide account holders with the ability to open accounts in multiple currencies and simultaneously hold and operate in multiple currencies. Thanks to this, currency risks are effectively hedged and opportunities for foreign exchange trading are actively used.
Complete and reliable protection and security of property
The fact that property is stored outside your home provides you with a reliable level of security and protection. Having a bank account in a foreign country increases the level of privacy, which ensures the safety of investments through the diversification of currencies and accounts.
Our company has a unique opportunity and resources to create your bank in Puerto Rico.
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A story about Puerto Rico, travel tips. Puerto Rico holidays, tickets, hotels, car rental, what to see, beaches, prices, safety
Puerto Rico. Independent travel.
If you drive from San Juan west along the north coast, then turning right off the highway closer to the sea, you will arrive at Los Tubos beach. This Los Tubos is considered one of the best beaches in Puerto Rico.
Evening, deserted, in the bushes between the highway and the beach, harbors for cars are arranged. You need to walk with caution: no, no, yes, you stumble upon couples busy in cars with their proper couple business. The sound of the ocean and the noise of wheels on a fast narrow road. Striking, I tell you, external resemblance to the shore of Lake Razliv in St. Petersburg. Only instead of a half-dead lake — the mighty Atlantic. The surf, of course, is strong and it’s dumb to swim. The water is cloudy. In some places at the entrance to the water there is an uneven stone slab instead of sand. Stone, muddy water and a wave — beautiful, noisy, spray, sunset …. And in order to swim, you have to look for an even piece of the beach …
Found. And there a couple flounders peacefully in the water …. And it is inconvenient even somehow to disturb them. Who knows how peacefully they flounder there … The beach is almost empty, but try to swim without disturbing anyone. In short, until Roma drank, he didn’t get into the sea. Well, as soon as I took a sip, a cloudy, to match the water, sunset immediately began … and not only for me, for everyone — I asked. Rum is normal, it does not darken in the eyes if you do not drink a lethal dose.
Here it is, Los Tubos.
Not far from Los Tubos is the famous Arecibo telescope. It seems to be the largest telescope in the world. Ant-men crawl along special paths in a 300-meter bowl. They let the curious in during working hours, obviously not on Friday after 7 pm. On Friday after 7 pm, Puerto Ricans have completely different concerns, understandable to a Russian person. They have nothing else to do but stand and yawn and make sure that the tourist ants do not steal their telescope to pieces.
Our goal is the northwestern tip of the island. Aguada and Agadilla — two villages — like a mother and daughter. On the spot it turned out that the entire coast was sparsely populated and systematically built up with private houses, small shops and other low buildings. Here is a bar right on the beach, music is playing in the bar. There are plenty of places for palm trees, lawns and all kinds of front gardens. Therefore, it is very cozy and calm: the ocean, greenery, crickets, houses, lanterns, shops.
Beaches: come in, swim, just look under your feet: pebbles, slippery polished by the ocean. It is not forbidden to keep an eye on the wave: the beaches are surfers. Locals claim to have seen a wave 40 feet high. Still, in the regions with free marijuana, a wave is possible and under 100 feet, I guess.
We settled in the Atlantis hotel, the balcony overlooks the ocean. In the morning we woke up and gasped — what a beauty! And flocks of black pelicans fly here and there in front of the balcony.
To be continued…
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