Your Trip to Puerto Rico: The Complete Guide (2024)

Puerto Rico is a crown jewel of the Caribbean, a tropical island with great weather year-round and a wide assortment of fantastic attractions. Whether your visit is for a week or a month, you won’t run out of things to do, places to go, and wonders to experience. You may love the beaches the most, or the climate in general, or the deep forest ecosystems, or the mountain peaks and valleys, or the rich and diverse cultural milieu. Whatever your preferences, when you come to Puerto Rico, you’ll find endless delights to enjoy and experience.

Planning Your Trip

Best Time to Visit: The weather in Puerto Rico is ideal during the late fall, winter, and early spring. Temperatures stay warm and comfortable, and there is less rain and humidity than at other times of the year. Summer and the approximate months are sweltering and humid in Puerto Rico, and also represent the beginning of tropical storm and hurricane season. However, because summer is less busy, better deals on travel, hospitality, and recreation can often be found at that time of the year.

Language: Spanish and English are the official languages of Puerto Rico . A fifth of its citizens speak English fluently, but visitors who speak English exclusively will seldom have difficulty being understood.

Currency: The U.S. dollar. Puerto Rico is a part of the United States.

Getting Around: Outside the capital city of San Juan, good public transportation options in Puerto Rico are limited. This means you’ll likely have to rent a car if you want to explore different parts of the island. Taxis are expensive in Puerto Rico and should only be used sparingly, although the service is dependable when you need them. Boat rides are another way to explore the area if you plan to travel along the coast. Uber is an option in the metro area (San Juan and surrounding towns), but they’re scarce the further west and south you travel.

Travel Tip: Not everyone knows it, but there is more to Puerto Rico than just the main island. Just a few miles off the southeastern shore, you can find the small islands of Culebra and Vieques, each of which has been blessed with abundant natural beauty. Formerly used by the U.S. military for various training activities, both are now autonomous and open to receiving tourists. Both small islands are accessible by ferry or a short airplane ride, and a day spent on each would truly complete your trip.

Things to Do

Puerto Rico is one of the few places in the world where you can see and experience the ocean, arid land, forest, and mountain ecosystems and geological features on the same trip. Its culture is active and vibrant, its monuments and museums have faithfully preserved its history and cultural diversity, and there are so many breathtaking beaches you could spend your entire vacation just lying in the sun and enjoying them. Fishing, swimming, snorkeling, rock climbing, mountain biking, hiking, zip-lining, bird watching, boating: name your favorite form of recreation, and your Puerto Rican vacation can include it.

The list of most memorable and enjoyable tourist attractions in Puerto Rico includes:

  • Beaches: Puerto Rico’s most populated cities are almost all located along its contiguous coastline. Virtually all feature clean, sparkling, well-maintained beaches that are considered among the world’s most attractive. In all, Puerto Rico has more than 270 miles of coastline and more than 300 beaches, some of which are crowded but many of which are quiet and secluded.
  • National Forests: The interior region of Puerto Rico is a haven for nature enthusiasts. One of its most visited nature sanctuaries is El Yunque National Forest, the U.S. forest system's only tropical rainforest . Toro Negro in the southeast, and the desert-like Guanica Dry Forest Reserve in the southwest corner, are two other popular destinations.
  • Old San Juan: Old San Juan is the cultural and historical birthplace of Puerto Rico’s capital city. While walking its streets or strolling on its trails, you encounter an impressive array of specialized museums, many historical sites, colorful public art displays, great restaurants and clubs, amazingly well-preserved colonial architecture, and picturesque views of the sea.

Discover more things to do in Puerto Rico, including the best things to do and things to do with kids.

What to Eat and Drink

Puerto Rico does have its own distinct type of cuisine, which is known as cocina criolla, comidas criollas, or Creole cooking. It is a unique blend of Spanish, American, African, and indigenous cooking styles and ingredients, and it creates a broad menu of tasty mixtures that offers something to please the taste buds of every traveler (often at “mom and pop” restaurants and food trucks found off the beaten path). Puerto Rico is also an ideal destination for seafood lovers, as would be expected given its sea-blessed location. Some of the most delicious seafood can be found in restaurants in smaller cities and fishing villages, where fresh-caught fare is the norm.

Puerto Rico is the top rum producer in the Caribbean. Birthplace of the piña colada , the island serves up plenty of tropical co*cktails and other beverages made from local ingredients. While the coffee industry is no longer as prosperous as it once was, Puerto Rican coffee is still some of the highest quality found anywhere, and coffee shops that serve a variety of coffee drinks are standard on the island—offering tasty alternatives to Starbucks.

Find out more about the best restaurants on the island, and learn more about the best bars in San Juan.

Where to Stay

Even if you plan to explore extensively outside the city limits of San Juan, the capital city may still be the best place to stay. Puerto Rico is not a large island, and you can reach Ponce on the southern coast and Mayaguez on the west coast (the next two largest cities) in two hours or less from San Juan. Budget and luxury hotels alike are widely available in San Juan, Ponce, Mayaguez, and in smaller coastal cities like Arecibo and Ceiba, as are inexpensive Airbnb facilities, giving you a wide range of suitable options if you’d like to stay near the beach and the ocean during your time on the island.

Before you make your reservations, read more about the best places to stay in Puerto Rico, including the top hotels on the island and the top hotels in San Juan.

Getting There

Tourists coming to Puerto Rico will arrive at one of three major airports:

Most tourists fly into the airport in San Juan, since this large, modern facility is designed to handle heavy two-way traffic. If you’re coming specifically to Mayaguez or other locations in western Puerto Rico, the international airport in Aguadilla could be an option, and visitors to southern Puerto Rico may be able to fly directly into Ponce. But service to these two airports is far more limited, meaning San Juan will be your likely arrival point in most instances.

Culture and Customs

It's a good idea to learn at least a little basic survival Spanish, if not more, before you arrive in Puerto Rico. If you venture outside the typical tourist areas, you'll certainly need it, since English is not commonly spoken. Puerto Ricans everywhere will appreciate your attempts to use Spanish, even if your knowledge of the language is sparse, and as long as they see you’re trying, they will usually go out of their way to help you as best they can.

Tipping waitstaff and taxi drivers is normal in Puerto Rico. You should expect to pay the same 15-20 percent range you’d pay in the continental United States. It is generally considered rude not to say “please,” “hello,” and “thank you,” in Puerto Rico, even to people you only encounter briefly or casually. If you say it to them in Spanish (“por favor,” “hola,” and “gracias”), your gesture will be noticed and appreciated.

Money-Saving Tips

The cost of living in Puerto Rico is somewhat higher than in the United States. Many goods must be imported to the island, accruing extra expenses that are ultimately passed on to consumers by retailers.

Consequently, you'll want to save money any way you can while you're on the island. Here are a few money-saving tips that can keep you within the confines of your budget:

  • Rent from Airbnb or stay at a hostel: The prices for quality accommodations at Puerto Rican Airbnbs are surprisingly cheap. Homes, rooms, and apartments are well-maintained and generously furnished, and it usually isn’t hard to find places within walking distance of nearby beaches. Staying at a hostel is another budget-friendly possibility if you don’t mind sharing accommodations with other travelers.
  • Buy your lunches or breakfasts at kioskos: Street vendors selling all types of food from carts or small stands (called kioskos) are common in Puerto Rico, especially in more populated areas. Prices at these food stands are significantly less than you’d pay in a sit-down restaurant, and the food is both diverse and tasty.
  • Soak up as much free history, culture, and nature as you can: In Puerto Rico, museums, and historical sites (like the fortresses at El Morro and La Fortaleza) are often free to enter. When they aren’t, the price of entrance is usually quite low, rarely more than $10. Walking tours won’t cost you a penny, and the historic district of Old San Juan is highly recommended for this type of activity. Popular national forests like El Yunque and Guanica Dry Forest are also free to enter and explore. The beaches, of course, are Puerto Rico’s most famous free attraction, and at many beaches, you’ll be able to park at no cost as well.
  • Travel during the off-season: June to November is hurricane season in Puerto Rico, and the heat, humidity, and rainfall can be quite prodigious. But it is much easier to find deals on flights, hotels, car rentals, and tours if you travel in the summer or fall. If you are at all worried about being in Puerto Rico at this time, because of the weather, you can purchase travel insurance to help alleviate your concerns.

Find out more about the best free activities in Puerto Rico, which will help you get the absolute most out of your marvelous Puerto Rican vacation.

Article Sources

TripSavvy uses only high-quality, trusted sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial policy to learn more about how we keep our content accurate, reliable and trustworthy.

  1. Discover Puerto Rico. "Facts About Puerto Rico."

  2. Discover Puerto Rico. "Best Beaches in Puerto Rico."

  3. United States Department of Agriculture. "El Yunque National Forest."

  4. Discover Puerto Rico. "Culinary & co*cktails."

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Your Trip to Puerto Rico: The Complete Guide (2024)


What is the best month to visit Puerto Rico? ›

The Best Times of Year to Travel to Puerto Rico
  • December - Mid-April. Best for: People seeking the perfect Puerto Rico weather (and an escape from the cold) ...
  • Mid-April - June. Best for: Travelers who want to avoid the winter crowds and enjoy warm weather. ...
  • June - November.

How many days do you need to enjoy Puerto Rico? ›

Its complexity is also its beauty, and its story is still unfolding. And it is a magical place to visit. What is this? Spending 4 days in Puerto Rico is just enough to get a taste of what the island has to offer.

Do US residents need a passport to go to Puerto Rico? ›

United States citizens and permanent residents don't need a passport to travel to Puerto Rico or the US Virgin Islands.

How much is a trip to Puerto Rico for 7 days? ›

How much is the average trip to Puerto Rico? The average cost for one person is around $1,300 for seven days. The average cost for a couple for seven days is about $2,300.

How much does an average trip to Puerto Rico cost? ›

What is the average daily budget for a trip to Puerto Rico? The average daily budget for a trip to Puerto Rico can vary widely depending on your travel style and preferences. However, a reasonable estimate is around $100 to $150 per day, which includes accommodations, food, transportation, and activities.

What is the rainiest month in Puerto Rico? ›

When is Rainy Season? Puerto Rico's rainy season bridges spring through fall, lasting from April through November. August is typically the wettest month, averaging seven inches (178 mm) of rain. The island's north experiences more rainfall than the south.

How much money should I bring to Puerto Rico for 4 days? ›

You should plan to spend around $218 per day on your vacation in Puerto Rico. This is the average daily price based on the expenses of other visitors.

Where is the best place to visit Puerto Rico for the first time? ›

Spanning 500 years of history, Old San Juan is, without a doubt, one of the most iconic and treasured places in Puerto Rico. Wander the cobblestone streets to soak up the unique architecture and colorful streets. You'll find fun local shops and lively restaurants and bars scattered throughout the old city.

How much money do I need for 1 week in Puerto Rico? ›

A one week trip to San Juan usually costs around $1,342 for one person and $2,685 for two people. This includes accommodation, food, local transportation, and sightseeing. A two week trip to San Juan on average costs around $2,685 for one person and $5,370 for two people.

Can I drink tap water in Puerto Rico? ›

Yes! Tap water in Puerto Rico is potable, meaning it is safe to drink and use. I grew up in Puerto Rico, and all of the water provided by the Island's aqueduct, Puerto Rico's Water and Sewage Authority, is potable (that's 97% of the island).

Is it safe to travel to Puerto Rico right now? ›

Puerto Rico sits comfortably under a 'Level One' travel advisory, signaling a call for normal precautions – Canada, the United Kingdom, New Zealand, and Australia all give the green light. For crime concerns, international travel advisories want you to be vigilant against pickpocketing and purse snatching.

Can you drink on the beach in Puerto Rico? ›

Note that the legal drinking age in Puerto Rico is 18, but it is strictly forbidden to drink on the streets (the beach is fine).

Is it cheap to eat in Puerto Rico? ›

Food and drinks: Puerto Rico is a food lover's paradise, and you don't have to break the bank to enjoy delicious meals. At budget restaurants, you can expect to spend around $10 to $15 per meal. However, if you opt for street food or convenience store meals, you can save even more.

Is Puerto Rico cheaper than Hawaii? ›

Cost. Generally speaking, tourist activities in Puerto Rico tend to be on par or less expensive than Hawaii. For example, when comparing Hawaii versus Puerto Rico hotel prices, a six-night stay at a 3-star hotel in Puerto Rico in October cost roughly $160 nightly, on average.

What is a famous Puerto Rican dish? ›

The vibrancy of Puerto Rican culture comes alive in its dishes, a celebration of flavors that visitors have the opportunity to indulge in. Some of the favorites are mofongo, tostones, pasteles, arroz con gandules, tembleque, and coquito.

What are the best and worst months to go to Puerto Rico? ›

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).

What months does Puerto Rico have bad weather? ›

Like the majority of tropical Caribbean destinations, Puerto Rico enjoys warm weather year-round, but it's also subject to an intense hurricane season. Hurricanes are a risk from June to November, with the season peaking in August and September. In the past, major storms have devastated the island.

What month does hurricane season start in Puerto Rico? ›

The hurricane season in Puerto Rico runs from June to November. The peak months for hurricanes and storms on this Caribbean island are august, September, and October. Since tourism levels are usually low during the hurricane season, beaches and hotels are less crowded.

What months can you swim in Puerto Rico? ›

Enjoying the Summer Period (June – August)

Summer in Puerto Rico is synonymous with hot, sunny days and the warmest water temperatures of the year. The water temperature during the summer season ranges from 80°F to 84°F (27°C to 29°C), providing bath-like conditions for swimmers and beach enthusiasts.


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