Puerto Rico Travel Guide
Everything you need to know before you fly to Puerto Rico
About Puerto Rico
Puerto Rico is an unincorporated territory of the United States and has it all. You can literally pick your pleasure when visiting this Caribbean island. From pristine beaches to cultural experiences, Puerto Rico can satisfy any interest the world traveler has in mind. You can see the rainforest or go snorkeling off the coast. Swim under Cascada La Mina (La Mina Falls) or shop at the kiosks at Luquillo. Get a luxurious massage or go island hopping. The possibilities are endless.
Old San Juan is a gem from the Spanish Empire. This walled city is still home to an impressive fortress and the brightly colored houses for which San Juan is known. If museums, lively music, trendy restaurants, and nightlife are your thing, Old San Juan is where you will spend a great deal of your time.
Puerto Rico is also home to El Yunque National Rain Forest in Northeast Puerto Rico. Its lush tropical paradise is a sight to behold.
If you like beaches, Puerto Rico does not disappoint. There are 270 miles of coastline to explore. Enjoy the clear waters at Luquillo Beach or the scenic beauty of Boquerón Beach. Surround yourself in the natural beauty of the island. If you want to go island hopping, try the vastly different satellite islands off the mainland. Culebra offers a look into what the Caribbean used to be like. Its rustic charm appeals to those who are looking for a respite from the glitz of the mainland and want to relish in the serenity and slow pace of traditional island living. Lax is the order of the day. Stores are open at sporadic times, hens wander around in the streets, and the pace of the people is taken down several notches from what you might be used to. And the people like it that way—no flashy nightclubs, no packed restaurants, just natural living at its finest.
Vieques is one of Puerto Rico’s best-kept secrets. A small island off the mainland of Puerto Rico, Vieques is quickly becoming a sought-after travel destination for visitors from all over the world. This little island is the home of the world’s brightest bioluminescent bay in the world. After sundown, you can visit Puerto Mosquito and watch the water light up bright blue around your boat, oars, and anything else that dips into or shakes up the water due to the levels of Pyrodinium bahamense dinoflagellates concentrated there. It is one of the most unique excursions around.
Travelers in search of everything from water sports to luxurious accommodations will find what they are looking for in Puerto Rico. The island’s exquisite food, pleasant people, and picturesque landscape will forever bet etched in your heart.
Where To Stay In Puerto Rico
Visitors to Puerto Rico stay in a wide variety of accommodations, including private rental, guesthouses, and luxurious all-inclusive hotels. Some of the best hotels in Puerto Rico include:
- Hotel El Convento
- La Concha Resort
- St Regis Bahia Beach Resort
- Dorado Beach, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve
- El Blok Hotel, Vieques
- Condado Vanderbilt Hotel
- Olive Boutique Hotel, Condado
- InterContinental San Juan, Isla Verde
- Royal Isabela
Activities In Puerto Rico
Major tourist activities in Puerto Rico include:
- Touring Old San Juan with 500-years of history making it one of the most historic cities in the Americas
- Swimming and relaxing at one of the many excellent urban beaches in San Juan
- Checking out the street and galleries along with bar hopping in the Santurce neighborhood
- Touring and sampling the rum at the Barcadi Rum Factory
- Hiking within the lush El Yunque National Forest
- Surfing the waves at one of the beaches in Rincon
Facts About Puerto Rico
3,515 square miles
Spanish & English
Commonwealth; an unincorporated territory of the United States
Telephone Country Code:
787 or 939
right side of the road
Luis Muñoz Marín International (SJU)
120 V/60 Hz – plugs are US standard two and three-prong
Visa Information For Puerto Rico
Puerto is a territory of the United States, and as such American immigration rules apply. That said, no visa is required for citizens of the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, France, and most other European countries.
Americans from the mainland just need a valid ID (i.e., driver’s license) to enter Puerto Rico. All other visitors to Puerto Rico must have a passport with at least another six months’ validity. Furthermore, all visitors must have a return or onward ticket plus sufficient means to support themselves during their stay in Puerto Rico.
How Long Does It Take To Get A Visa For Puerto Rico
With a valid passport and supporting documents, it can take between two to four weeks for a US tourist visa application to be processed by the nearest American Embassy.
Is It Safe In Puerto Rico
In comparison to major American and European cities, Puerto Rico is relatively safe, but petty crime can be an issue in tourist areas. As such, it is recommended that visitors be vigilant at all times, especially when away from the major hotels. Tourists to Puerto Rico should take extra precautions to safeguard their passports, money, tickets, mobile phones, and other valuables.
How To Get To Puerto Rico
Most visitors to Puerto Rico arrive via the Luis Muñoz Marín International Airport (IATA: SJU, ICAO: TJSJ, FAA LID: SJU), which is located in suburban Carolina, just three miles southeast of San Juan.
From Canada, book flights to Puerto Rico via:
- Air Canada (Seasonal): Montréal–Trudeau, Toronto–Pearson
- Air Transat (Seasonal): Montréal–Trudeau
- WestJet (Seasonal): Toronto–Pearson
From the United States, book flights to Puerto Rico via:
- Allegiant Air: Orlando/Sanford (Seasonal: Cincinnati, Pittsburgh, Raleigh/Durham)
- American Airlines: Charlotte, Chicago–O’Hare, Dallas/Fort Worth, Miami, Philadelphia
- Delta Air Lines: Atlanta, New York–JFK (Seasonal: Detroit, Minneapolis/St. Paul)
- Frontier Airlines: Atlanta, Baltimore, Boston, Chicago–O’Hare, Miami, Newark, Orlando, Philadelphia, Raleigh/Durham (Seasonal: Tampa)
- JetBlue: Boston, Fort Lauderdale, Hartford, New York–JFK, Newark, Orlando, Philadelphia, Punta Cana, Raleigh/Durham, Tampa, Washington–National
- Southwest Airlines: Baltimore, Chicago–Midway, Fort Lauderdale, Houston–Hobby, Nashville, Orlando, Tampa
- Spirit Airlines: Baltimore, Boston, Fort Lauderdale, Newark, Orlando, Philadelphia, Tampa
- Sun Country Airlines (Seasonal: Minneapolis/St. Paul)
- United Airlines: Chicago–O’Hare, Houston–Intercontinental, Newark, St. Thomas, Washington–Dulles
From Europe, book flights to Puerto Rico via:
- Iberia: Madrid
Within the Caribbean region, book flights to Puerto Rico via:
- Air Antilles: Pointe-à-Pitre, St. Maarten
- Air Century: Santiago de los Caballeros, Santo Domingo–La Isabela
- Air Sunshine: Anguilla, Dominica–Douglas-Charles, Nevis, St. Maarten, St. Thomas, Tortola, Vieques, Virgin Gorda
- Cape Air: Culebra, Mayagüez, Nevis, St. Croix, St. Thomas, Tortola, Vieques, Virgin Gorda
- Frontier Airlines: Santo Domingo–Las Américas
- InterCaribbean Airways: Tortola
- JetBlue: Santo Domingo–Las Américas, St. Thomas
- Seaborne Airlines: Anguilla, Antigua, Dominica–Douglas-Charles, Nevis, St. Croix, St. Kitts, St. Maarten, St. Thomas, Santiago de los Caballeros, Tortola
- Silver Airways: Anguilla, Antigua, Dominica–Douglas-Charles, Santo Domingo–Las Américas, St. Croix, St. Kitts, St. Maarten, St. Thomas
- Tradewind Aviation: Anguilla, St. Barthélemy
- Vieques Air Link: Culebra, Vieques
From Latin America, book flights to Puerto Rico via:
- Avianca: Bogotá
- Copa Airlines: Panama City
When To Go To Puerto Rico
The most popular time to visit Puerto Rico is from mid-December to mid-April, when the weather is warm, sunny, and typically dry. From August to late October is the low season as temperatures are hot and muggy; also, there is an increased risk of tropical storms. Many hotels offer deep discounts during the low season.
Major events attracting visitors to Puerto Rico include:
- January: Fiestas de la Calle San Sebastian
- January: Festival de la Novilla
- February: Carnaval Ponceño
- April: Saborea Puerto Rico
- June: Festival de la Piña Paradisíaca (Pineapple Festival)
- July: Festival de Santiago Apóstol
- October: Divas Half Marathon
- November: Festival Nacional Indígena
- December: Festival de las Máscaras de Hatillo
Weather In Puerto Rico
The weather in Puerto Rico is tropical all year round. The temperature averages 80°F year-round. The island benefits from the trade winds that bring a breeze that keeps the island temperature comfortable. April through November is the island’s rainy season.
Getting Married In Puerto Rico
All couples looking to get married in Puerto Rico who are not residents will need to file a request at the Demographic Registry.
In addition to the completed application for marriage, both the bride and groom will need their:
- birth certificates along with driver’s licenses or other forms of identification
- certificates of no impediment or single status report
- medical certificate stating that you have complied with all the tests required for marriage in your place of residence
- an affidavit which states you are: not a resident of Puerto Rico, the purpose of your visit is for marriage, and if a foreign citizen, you will not stay in Puerto Rico for more than the time established in the permit to enter the United States territory granted by the appropriate federal agency
Also, if applicable:
- divorce papers, i.e., decree absolute and/or death certificate of spouse
- proof of parental consent if under 18, stamped and signed by a solicitor
- proof of name change by Deed Poll stamped and signed by a solicitor
None but would recommend at least two days before the ceremony.
The special marriage license fee is free, but further copies cost US$2. Also, the Ministers fee is US$100 to $US125.
Two witnesses must be present at the ceremony.
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