Going to Puerto Rico is just like going anywhere in the United States. U.S. citizens need is a valid ID such as a driver’s license and you can enter. In fact, aside from the U.S. Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico happens to be the only other destination in the Caribbean that doesn’t require U.S. citizens to bring a passport.
But if you’re asking whether you need a passport, then you probably have a lot more questions. In any event, these are things you probably should know if you’re planning to go to Puerto Rico, whether for business or pleasure.
One thing that tourists will love about Puerto Rico is its weather. You don’t have to bring your sweaters because it hardly gets cold here. That may be good news or bad news, depending on how you like your vacation weather. But just so you know, the temperature goes up and down, between 71°F and 89°F. It rains there sometimes, but this usually happens in the mountainous areas and mostly during the hurricane season. If you want to go there during the dry months, plan your vacations between January and April. Next read: Best Time to Visit San Juan, Puerto Rico, Weather & Other Travel Tips
Most U.S. issued cellphones should work just fine in most cities like San Juan. You just need the US dollar. You don’t need to exchange your money into another currency.
The official languages of Puerto Rico are English and Spanish. This means that you can get by without having to learn Spanish, especially in major cities like Vieques and Culebra. This is especially the case for those who work in the tourism industry, such as guides, shopkeepers, waiters, and more. They do this in order to better accommodate tourists.
There’s always a lot to see in Puerto Rico at any time of the year. That being said, there are two different seasons, with the first one between December and April. This is the peak season, since most Americans will be leaving their winter-stricken homes to go to Puerto Rico. Whether you’re travelling by boat or by plane, you can bet that you’ll be competing with countless other travelers, so expect fares to skyrocket if you haven’t booked early. The same goes for hotel reservations.
The other season – when there are travel packages and discounts everywhere – starts from May and goes on until November. So, if you don’t want to experience the hustle and bustle of tourism and want a more easygoing (and less expensive) vacation, book your trips then.
Just keep in mind that hurricane season happens between June and November. It doesn’t always affect your vacation, but every now and then a trip is cancelled due to bad weather.
There are many reasons why people would go to Puerto Rico in spite of the hurricane season, discounts and promos being the most popular. In 1998, Puerto Rico suffered a bit from Hurricane Georges, but that was the first one to hit for more than 60 years.
Of course, tropical storms can potentially ruin your vacation, so it’s not something you shouldn’t consider when making plans. One thing you can do to check if a hurricane might get in the way of your vacation plans is to keep updated with the latest weather forecasts. The National Weather Service has a Climate Prediction Center that provides relevant predictions and statistics. Meanwhile, the Weather Channel provides forecasting on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis.
Cities like San Juan can be explored on foot and, in some cases, are better off experienced through walking. If you do need transportation, you can always reach most points of interest by bus or taxi. In some cases, getting a car can even be a bad idea, since parking and traffic can be tough to deal with and you might just end up spending hours getting stuck in a traffic jam or looking for a parking spot.
However, if you’re planning to go around the farther reaches of the island, you might want to rent a car. Most national car rental companies have branches in Puerto Rico, so you might want to start your inquiries with them.
Don’t worry about the roads. The highways are pretty easy to drive on, and they’re well paved too. The motorists, however, are a different story, since they’re often speeding and mostly disregard the rules of the road. So, play it safe and drive defensively.
Of course, renting a car will you back financially but if you need the car then it will be worth the cost. Chances are, you’ll be required to pay liability insurance as well. Just keep in mind that there are credit cards that offer auto coverage that may not to Puerto Rico, so make sure you know if you’re covered during your vacation or not.
Another thing to remember is that Puerto Ricans use both the imperial and metric systems (i.e. miles AND kilometers). To avoid being confused, remember that distances are measured in kilometers while speed limits are defined in miles. Gas, however, is measured in liters and not gallons.
As one of the destinations around the Caribbean, Puerto Rico is definitely worth the visit. Hopefully, you can better plan and prepare your vacation with the information above, allowing you to make the most of your visit.