Puerto Rico offers the best of both worlds: A tropical vacation destination that avoids the hassles of international travel. Puerto Rico is a territory of the United States, meaning that its people are U.S. citizens, it uses U.S. currency, and there is no need to obtain a passport to go there.
Tourism is also important to the Puerto Rican economy, representing approximately 10% of its gross domestic product. Despite damage to its infrastructure due to a hurricane in 2017, most tourist amenities are back in operation. Here are some tips for planning a fantastic vacation in Puerto Rico.
1. How To Travel
One way of reaching Puerto Rico is via cruises from Miami, which may focus particularly on the island or include several Caribbean stops in their itineraries. Another way of travelling there is by air, which gives you a little more control over your schedule. Luis Munoz Marin International Airport is located five miles outside the capital city of San Juan, making it convenient to book your flight.
Once you arrive in Puerto Rico, you have to figure out how to get around. The easiest and most affordable option is usually to rent a car rather than hire taxis or rely on public transportation. If possible, renting a vehicle through a nationally recognized chain is preferable. It is also a good idea to reserve your rental car ahead of time.
2. When To Arrive
The busy season for tourists in Puerto Rico is from December to April. Therefore, those looking to avoid the crowds should schedule their trips for either early May or late November. This avoids the hurricane season, which runs from summer through most of the fall. It also avoids the higher prices charged during the tourist season.
3. What To See
There are many fascinating places to see and things to do in Puerto Rico and the general vicinity. Examples include La Mina Falls in El Yunque National Forest and the El Morro National Monument in Old San Juan. To the east of the main island is Isla de Vieques, a largely undeveloped jewel. At night, you can sail a bay that is home to bioluminescent organisms that give off a soft glow with the stroke of a kayak paddle. This is less polluted than the better known Bioluminescent Bay in Fajardo. There are also wild horses roaming the island and lots of secluded beaches. However, there are no shops on Isla de Vieques, so you will need to bring your own beach gear and food.
Plan your itinerary ahead of time so that it does not coincide with any national or Puerto Rico-specific holidays, as attractions may be closed. Also, keep in mind that some attractions are only open on certain days of the week. Research this ahead of time so that you do not waste time trying to see an attraction that is closed.
4. Where To Stay
Due to budget cuts, there are few camping facilities and hostels available in Puerto Rico. However, there are many other lodging options, such as bed-and-breakfasts, guest houses for rent, and family-owned hotels. Many of the large hotel chains, including Ritz Carlton and Holiday Inn, have a presence on the island as well. An online booking service may help you find the best option for you. Apart from these basic lodging options, you can always choose the luxurious route and stay in a beachfront hotel and enjoy the beautiful scenery Puerto Rico has to offer.
6. How To Stay Safe and Healthy
Theft from vehicles is not uncommon in Puerto Rico. If you rent a car, you may want to purchase extra insurance coverage for your possessions.
The warm, moist, tropical climate means that mosquitoes are very active in Puerto Rico. Unfortunately, some carry diseases that are transmissible to humans but not common on the U.S. mainland, such as dengue fever. Tourists are advised to wear clothing that covers their limbs and insect repellent containing DEET to prevent mosquito bites. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention encourages travellers to make sure any routine vaccinations are up to date but does not recommend any specific vaccines.
A Puerto Rico vacation offers many of the comforts and conveniences of home while also offering an authentic Caribbean island experience.