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Moon Puerto Rico by Suzanne Van Atten

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23 Puerto Rico Travel Tips from a Local (for 2022)

Even if you think you’re prepared for your upcoming trip, there are still some key Puerto Rico travel tips to know.

As a local born and raised in Puerto Rico, I’ve seen a lot of unprepared and clueless tourists facing complications just because nobody told them what to expect.

I don’t want you to be another one of those tourists, so I put together my 23 best Puerto Rico travel tips you should know before visiting the island.

Table of Contents

  • 23 Tips & Things to Know Before Going to Puerto Rico
    • Puerto Rico Isn’t an Island (It’s Several)
    • Pack Your Mosquito Repellent
    • For Short Getaways, Stick to Old San Juan
    • But, If You Can, Leave Old San Juan
    • A Car is Very Helpful
    • Prepare for a Lot of Car Honking
    • There’s A Hurricane Season
    • Keep an Umbrella with You
    • Tipping is Expected
    • Puerto Rico Uses the Dollar
    • Drop the Passport (If From the US)
    • If Not, You’ll Need a Visa
    • You Can Visit on a Cruise
    • Flip Flops Aren’t For Every Occasion
    • Plan Your Budget
    • The Drinking Age is 18
    • Speaking Spanish Comes In Handy
    • Traffic is Heavy
    • You Might Lose Signal
    • Metrics are Different
    • The Most Beautiful Beaches Aren’t in San Juan
    • Some Beaches Have Rip Currents
    • Bring Your Hiking Boots
  • Puerto Rico’s Travel Tips Frequently Asked Questions
    • What do I need to know before traveling to Puerto Rico?
    • Can you drink the water in Puerto Rico in 2021?
    • Is Puerto Rico safe for tourists?
    • Can I travel to Puerto Rico without a passport?
    • Will my cell phone work in Puerto Rico?
    • Can I use my driver’s license to fly to Puerto Rico?

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23 Tips & Things to Know Before Going to Puerto Rico

Puerto Rico Isn’t an Island (It’s Several)

Very few people know that Puerto Rico is actually an archipelago, consisting of several islands – not just the main island also named Puerto Rico.

In fact, you’ll find several of the best places to go in Puerto Rico are actually located on its two other municipalities outside the main island: Vieques and Culebra. Beyond those, the archipelago also sports over a hundred smaller islands and cays like Desecheo, Icacos, and Gilligan’s Island.

Want to Learn More About Puerto Rico? Check out these 41 Fun Facts About Puerto Rico.

Pack Your Mosquito Repellent

Puerto Rico is a tropical island in the Caribbean, which means you’ll find a lot of mosquitos. Mosquitoes can transmit different illnesses like Dengue and Zika so you’ll want to pack your repellent.  

Since DEET repellant can get smelly and isn’t great for the environment, use an alternative like the excellent new DEET-free spray by Ranger Ready.

While we’re on the subject of packing, check out my list of important things to pack for a trip to Puerto Rico (I bet you’re missing at least one!).

For Short Getaways, Stick to Old San Juan

If you only have a weekend in Puerto Rico, Old San Juan still offers a great traveling experience and is probably your best bet for where to stay in Puerto Rico

The old town is home to many of San Juan’s most important points of interest like El Morro Fort, amazing food, gorgeous beaches, and lots of Puerto Rican culture you can explore without the need to rent a car in Puerto Rico.

But, If You Can, Leave Old San Juan

While Old San Juan has the most famous Puerto Rico landmarks, very few travelers know the best beaches in Puerto Rico and the best landmarks are outside San Juan. So if you have some extra time make sure to visit other areas as well, even as a day trip from San Juan.

👉 Bonus Tip: If you’re planning to leave Old San Juan for a day trip, you should take with you a backpack with snacks, since making stops to eat can quickly add to your expenses. This amazing Tourit Cooler Backpack can keep your drinks colder for a longer time, something you’ll need in the Caribbean heat.

A Car is Very Helpful

While there is public transportation in Puerto Rico, it’s not practical for tourists trying to get around Puerto Rico outside of the metropolitan area.

That’s why if you’re visiting Puerto Rico, you should really consider renting a car to go out of San Juan. Driving in Puerto Rico is easier than you might think!

You can use the comparison engine Discover Cars to find the best prices for the days you’ll be staying!

Prepare for a Lot of Car Honking

One thing that surprises a lot of people is how much Puerto Ricans honk their cars. We honk to say hi, to make you know the light changed, to catch your attention, and to curse at you too. You will be able to tell the difference, just make sure you don’t do anything to receive the “cursing” honk.

There’s A Hurricane Season

Before visiting Puerto Rico, you should know Puerto Rico has a hurricane season that goes from June to November. During this period, hurricanes and tropical storms that form in the Atlantic could impact the island directly or indirectly. This doesn’t mean the island will get affected by hurricanes yearly. The last hurricane to impact the island was Hurricane Fiona in 2022.

👉 Bonus Tip: While the hurricane season represents an additional risk, traveling during this season to Puerto Rico can save you a lot of money in hotels, car rentals, and tours. Just consider if you should protect your trip with insurance. You can easily compare quotes in minutes at VisitorsCoverage.

Keep an Umbrella with You

In San Juan it rains frequently

While Puerto Rico is sunny all year round, it rains quite frequently. Even if showers are short, you should always keep an umbrella with you, especially if you choose to visit Puerto Rico during the rainy season, which goes from April to November. 

If you need one, check out Lydia’s post reviewing several of the best umbrellas for travel. Spoiler alert: the Rain Mate umbrella came out on top!

Tipping is Expected

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. 

Puerto Rico Uses the Dollar

Puerto Rico is a non-incorporated territory of the United States, which means the island’s currency is the US dollar. So if you’re traveling from the USA, you don’t need to worry about finding a currency exchange!

Drop the Passport (If From the US)

If you carry a USA passport, you can leave it home when coming to Puerto Rico. Due to the island’s political status, US citizens can travel freely between the USA and Puerto Rico using just their licenses. Read my guide to passport requirements for Puerto Rico for more information.

If Not, You’ll Need a Visa

If you’re not a US citizen but you want to visit Puerto Rico, you must know you’ll need the same entry requirements and visa requirements you would need to enter any other part of the United States.

You Can Visit on a Cruise

Puerto Rico is a popular cruise port. While some cruises depart from here and others just make a quick stop, Old San Juan receives up to two million cruise ship passengers per year. So, if you rather party while you travel, you can take a cruise to visit the island.

Since cruises typically only have a short time in port, you may want to check out my guide to the best tours and excursions from San Juan port.

Flip Flops Aren’t For Every Occasion

While you may be spending most of your days exploring Puerto Rico’s beautiful beaches, you should pack something more than sandals and bathing suits in your pack.  

Many tourists believe they can wear their swimwear everywhere, but in reality, Puerto Ricans dress up even before leaving the beach. You’ll need an extra change of clothes for restaurants, hospitals, bars, and even for walking around the city.

Plan Your Budget

Puerto Rico is not a cheap destination. You can expect more or less the prices you would find in cities like Orlando or Miami, and you should plan your budget for Puerto Rico accordingly. You can save money by eating in food kiosks outside the tourist zone, like in Piñones, renting an Airbnb with a kitchen, booking a hotel with breakfast included, or traveling during the low season.

The Drinking Age is 18

Young international visitors thinking about traveling to Puerto Rico to party the night away may be in for a nasty surprise: the legal drinking age in Puerto Rico is 18 years, though some clubs may require you to be 21 to enter. 

The drinking age in Puerto Rico is well-enforced too. Bars, gas stations, and even convenience stores will ask you for an ID every time you try to buy a drink and will certainly deny it to you if you’re under 18.

If you are of age and want to try something local, bookmark my article on the best Puerto Rican drinks.

Speaking Spanish Comes In Handy

Puerto Rico sports two official languages, Spanish and English, but you’ll find people that speak English mostly within tourist areas. That’s why, before visiting the island you should learn some basic Spanish phrases to get around.

Traffic is Heavy

If you’re renting a car, you should know Puerto Rico sports some heavy traffic, especially in the metro area. The peak traffic hours could make a simple 20-minute route take 45 minutes or an hour. Be sure to go out with plenty of time to your destinations.

You Might Lose Signal

Me outside the metro area

US travelers could get surprised when learning their phones work perfectly fine in Puerto Rico without the need to pay for roaming. But, if you adventure into the central area, you’ll probably lose your signal at some point. 

Metrics are Different

You will notice Puerto Ricans use both the Imperial System of Measurement and the Metric System of Measurement, which means you’ll see things in inches and others in meters. For example, distances get measured in kilometers, speed limits in miles per hour, and gas in liters.

The Most Beautiful Beaches Aren’t in San Juan

San Juan sports multiple great beaches for couples, families, and solo travelers, but you should know the top clearest, and paradisiacal beaches in Puerto Rico are outside San Juan. If you’ve got extra time you should explore the beaches on Vieques, Culebra, and the west coast.

Some Beaches Have Rip Currents

While you can’t leave Puerto Rico without visiting some of the best beaches, you should know some beaches on the island are home to rip currents like Playa Jobos and Playa Peña. You can ask your Puerto Rico travel guide about them, or you can check the local media.

Bring Your Hiking Boots

You’ll find lots of incredible hiking trails in Puerto Rico, and getting out on them is a great activity!

So just remember that your Puerto Rico packing list should include more than your swimwear when visiting Puerto Rico. In top destinations like El Yunque National Forest, you’ll need boots, long sleeves t-shirts, and even a light rain jacket!

Puerto Rico’s Travel Tips Frequently Asked Questions

What do I need to know before traveling to Puerto Rico?

Before traveling to Puerto Rico, tourists should know the island has a hurricane season from June to November, locals speak mostly Spanish, and there aren’t any public transportation routes outside the metro area. These are some of my top travel tips for Puerto Rico.

Can you drink the water in Puerto Rico in 2021?

Drinking water in Puerto Rico in 2021 is completely safe. Puerto Rico follows the same standards as the USA to sanitize water by following the EPA Safe Water Act. Visitors can also opt for buying bottled water.

Is Puerto Rico safe for tourists?

Overall Puerto Rico is safe for tourists. While the vaccination rate continues rising, the government still takes measures against the pandemic. The use of masks is mandatory and people keep social distance in interiors and exteriors. Otherwise, tourists should take general precautions when visiting Puerto Rico.

Can I travel to Puerto Rico without a passport?

US citizens can travel to Puerto Rico without a passport and without any additional entry requirements since Puerto Rico is a territory of the United States. Visitors from any other country will need the same requirements they need to enter the USA.

Will my cell phone work in Puerto Rico?

Visitors from the United States will have a phone signal in Puerto Rico without any additional cost, but they might experience some signal issues while exploring the center of the island.  

Can I use my driver’s license to fly to Puerto Rico?

Travelers from the United States can use their driver’s license to visit Puerto Rico.


That was the complete list of great tips for traveling to Puerto Rico. I hope they can help you enjoy your vacation. If you’re still figuring out what to do, then check out my complete guide to the 49 Best Things to do in Puerto Rico.

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Tours to tropical exotic Puerto Plata.

Puerto Plata is a resort region of the Dominican Republic, which, in addition to the charming town of the same name, also includes several resorts. The Atlantic Ocean splashes along their shores, and shining paradise beaches are favorably set off by lush tropical greenery. In Puerto Plata, you will feel as close to nature as possible, but you can do it without leaving civilization. Each of the Puerto Plata resorts offers a good selection of hotels (4 and 5 stars). This tempting offer attracts up to six hundred thousand tourists annually. nine0003

Beach holidays

This resort region is part of the Caribbean, which means that you can safely claim paradise landscapes, always warm ocean and amazing riot of nature, which has tried not only on land, but also under water. Of course, from December to March, the water temperature drops somewhat, but those who want to swim are still there.

Resorts of the region:
  • Puerto Plata;
  • Playa Dorada;
  • Cabarete;
  • Cofresi;
  • nine0013 Sosua;

  • Maimon;
  • Luperone.

Playa Dorada is not just a resort, it is a colossal complex. Here are hotels of world famous chains, and their guests have a great time getting covered with a golden crust on the ocean or pools. This wonderful activity is interrupted by inspired shopping at the local mall, a game of golf. From evening to morning, nightclubs and discos are at the disposal of vacationers, there is even a quite decent casino here. nine0003

The beaches of Puerto Plata — perfect picture and no less great content. Clean and well maintained, covered with silk sand. Tourism has flourished here for a long time, so it is very difficult to find a wild beach. The most popular well-maintained beaches:

  • Cabarete;
  • Playa Encuentro;
  • Playa Dorada;
  • Cofresi.

Attractions of the resort region

Even if you decide to lie on the beach for the whole vacation, on the second or third day you will want to break away from this blissful event and get to know the sights better. In principle, Playa Dorada offers an extensive list of interesting places, including a number of amusement parks for every taste. If you are interested in the excursion program, get acquainted with the Spanish fortress of San Felipe, take a walk to the Central Park to admire the complex of buildings in the Victorian style. nine0003

For connoisseurs of the beautiful and interesting, the Taino Art Museum is open, revealing the history and culture of the Indians to the curious. On Duarte Road, you can see how artists work on their paintings, sitting right along the street. The Amber Museum is another interesting place, by the way, amber is a very common gift that is brought to friends and relatives from the resort.

Nature, creating Puerto Plata, showed remarkable generosity and imagination. You can verify this in the Isabel del Torres National Park or on a trip to 27 waterfalls. Guests of Puerto Plata often return from travel as true connoisseurs of rum, practically the national drink of the Dominican Republic. You can see how cane becomes an exquisite drink at the Brugal rum factory. nine0003

Cuisine and restaurants Puerto Plata

Like any self-respecting resort region, Puerto Plata cannot offer its guests anything, so you can easily find a cafe or restaurant of almost any world cuisine, including Russian. On the other hand, it would be blasphemy not to get acquainted with the national cuisine of the Dominican Republic, which is presented here in all its glory. The traditional menu is replete with meat dishes, generous use of fruits, rice and legumes. Fish dishes are not as popular as seafood culinary delights. nine0003

Puerto de la Cruz. Reviews of tourists. 22 reviews – Turister.Ru







Puerto de la Cruz

/ Reviews of tourists about Puerto de la Cruz


Tenerife. The story of a journey. Part 3

Helsinki — Finland, Barcelona + 1 city — Spain

Walking around Puerto de la Cruz, visiting the Lago Martianez complex and the Jardin Botanico botanical garden. Return to Barcelona. «Scary story» about the early morning Rumble. And also along the way, some «thinking aloud» about different things: about female beauty and topless, about Spanish…

9 7
Oksana_Bocharova August 2017



o. Tenerife: Me gusta mucho!

Santa Cruz de Tenerife, La Gomera + 4 cities — Spain

New Year independent budget trip to the island of Tenerife. A brief description of the sights visited, beaches, cities and just interesting places.

15 2
JulGer December 2014



Tenerife. The story of a journey. Part 2.

Puerto de la Cruz — Spain

I propose, my friends, in the second part of the story, to relocate from Las Americas to Puerto de la Cruz. I’ll tell you what attracted us to another part of the island. I will show everything that impressed me so much in Loro Park, as well as on the top of the Teide volcano.

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Oksana_Bocharova August 2017


hotel review

4. 8 / 5

Hotel El Tope

Hotel El Tope Puerto de la Cruz

And, in my opinion, they did not lose. To be honest, this is one of the best hotels we have stayed in in the Old World.
The cost of living including breakfast and …

r_shaggy April 2015


review about the object

All this is Loro Park (Tenerife, Puerto de la Cruz).

Loro Parque in Tenerife — Puerto de la Cruz

Having visited Tenerife, most tourists cannot avoid visiting Loro Parque. Many go to the island already knowing about the existence of this amazing place. Visited here twice. On the second visit, I allocated a whole day for visiting the park to see my favorite…

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Anna_Vikulova June 2017


photo album

Tenerife — 2017 (2)Surprise Tenerife — Romeria

Canary Islands, Puerto de la Cruz, Tenerife — Spain

the most colorful romeria (feast-procession dedicated to the Virgin or some saint) will take place in Los Realejos. And on the 30th, on the day of the Canary Islands, in Puerto itself. Well, how not to visit such holidays?!
Los Realejos struck us with a contrast:…

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Anna_Vikulova June 2017



The colorful north of Tenerife. Puerto de la Cruz, Orotava.

La Orotava, Puerto de la Cruz, Canary Islands — Spain

Puerto de la Cruz is the oldest resort in the north of Tenerife in the picturesque Orotava Valley volcano Teide. Most people come here to visit the famous Loro Park. But there is also wonderful nature and authentic…

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olesig December 2014


photo album

On a yacht around the Canaries. Loro Parque

Loro Parque in Tenerife

The previous text can be seen here: https://amour.tourister.ru/photoalbum/29769
On April 1st we decided to visit Loro Park. We intensively mastered Tenerife, ahead of us was the conquest of the volcano and a long journey around the island, and in Loro Park we just had a rest with relaxation.
Sitting at the bus station on …

10 8
AMour April 2009


photo album

Three best places in the north of Tenerife in 1 day

Puerto de la Cruz, La Orotava — Spain

In the north of the island there are several cities that are well, just a must-see. I think that every tourist who has visited Tenerife must visit them; their list includes La Orotava, Santa Cruz and Puerto de la Cruz. Since we lived in Santa Cruz, the first desire was to visit the town of La Orotava….

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photo album

Tenerife, Puerto de la Cruz, part 2

Puerto de la Cruz — Spain Cruz. It was once one of the most active ports in Tenerife and a thriving fishing center.

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sonnenschein January 2016


photo album

Tenerife, Puerto de la Cruz

Puerto de la Cruz — Spain

Fog is a mysterious phenomenon in its essence, but when you observe it almost every day for three months , then I want one, quickly run away to the sun. So we, dazed by the fog, chose a place of rest according to one criterion, where there is sun in January. We chose the Canary Islands,…

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sonnenschein January 2016

Hotel Reviews In the morning, cold scrambled eggs, burnt corn, soy sausage and all pastries were rancid every day. Cheap «juices», tea and decent coffee in the morning. The coffee was running out quickly and a decent queue formed waiting for the waiters to deign to come up….

17 37
sonnenschein January 2016


hotel review

5.0 / 5

Hotel Apartamentos Park Plaza

Apartamentos Park Plaza — Puerto de la Cruz

Friendly and helpful staff The price/quality ratio is excellent. Excellent location of the hotel. Near almost everything.

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