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all about Puerto Rico

Reasons to visit Puerto Rico

Determining Puerto Rico's charm is a no-brainer but there is so much to do and see on the island that it can easily overwhelm any traveller visiting for the first time. The island is a U.S. territory – less than three-hours from Miami by plane. So, when you're shopping in San Juan, you can pay for your souvenirs with American bills. Don't be mistaken though: The island isn't quite a home away from home.

Puerto Rico is an exhilarating mix of landscapes, from the serpentine jungle of El Yunque to the corkscrew caves of Parque de las Cavernas del Río Camuy. And if you want to get away from the busting island city entirely, you can ferry over to the secluded islands of Vieques and Culebra.

  • We love Puerto Rico for

  • Coffee
  • Historical Landmarks
  • Snorkelling
  • Local food
  • Golf
  • Water Sports
  • Horse-riding
  • White Sandy Beaches
  • Surfing
  • Rain Forests
  • Quirky Architecture
  • Coastal Walks

When 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. To get the best deals, you will need to book up to a year in advance to get the best rates.

We recommend that you try travelling to Puerto Rico at other times if you are not bound by school holidays, where you will find some great hotel and airfare deals.

Weather in Puerto Rico

Little difference exists between winter and summer temperatures and spring weather is very pleasant, barely escaping the mid-20°s on most days. Daily average temperatures in Puerto Rico range from 24°C to 29°C. Peak temperatures usually occur in August (average 27°C).

Although Puerto Rico's rainy season isn't as distinct as that of many other tropical islands, most rainfall occurs throughout the period from May to November as opposed to during the winter and early spring. Typically, rain occurs in short bursts, rarely lasting more than an hour or two, apart from tropical storms.

Planning your holiday

Places to stay in Puerto Rico

There are many hotels in Puerto Rico ranging from small friendly guesthouses, affordable apartments and hotels to the large all-inclusive 5 star resorts. We recommend that anyone renting a private villa should ensure there is adequate 24-hour security on the site. 

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Puerto Rico for weddings, anniversaries and special occasions

If you are looking for help organising a trip to Puerto Rico for a group, whether it’s for a special family occasion such as an anniversary or wedding just get in touch. We have organised many types of trips, including music tours for some of the most well-known bands throughout the Caribbean.

Puerto Rico for family holidays

You needn't worry when it comes to finding a destination to cater for you and your family. As it turns out, Puerto Rico is a wonderful place for kids. Not only are the hotels quite kid friendly, but In Old San Juan, you can enjoy a day out and discover the grassy slopes of El Morro, where kite flying with a view of the Atlantic is a delight for all ages. 

Puerto Rico for couples

There’s something romantic about Puerto Rico. From the cobblestone streets, bordered by brightly coloured buildings to the architecture that makes you feel like you might be in Europe. The island is often seen as a romantic getaway for couples who enjoy nature, history or the beach.

Beach holidays in Puerto Rico

The island is truly a beach lover’s destination, offering hundreds of beaches to choose from, each with its own unique qualities. Visitors are spoiled for choice when it comes to finding good places for snorkelling & water sports or simply for relaxation. 

Adventure holidays

There are many adventure holidays on offer in Puerto Rico from hiking, caving in the Rio Camuy Cave Systems, safaris, birding and mountain bike tours in Vegabaja. You can take horse riding lessons and do trail rides with various tour companies available locally.

Cultural and educational holidays in Puerto Rico

There is a wealth historical culture throughout the island and visitors can discover the origins of Spanish culture, history and beauty of Puerto Rico on several guided group tours.

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Getting to Puerto Rico

There are direct flights (twice weekly) to Puerto Rico from Gatwick with Norwegian Airlines for the winter season. There are also several connections from Heathrow and Manchester via the U.S. as Puerto Rico has daily nonstop flights to and from the main cities in the United States.

Getting around

The best way to get around Puerto Rico largely depends on where you're staying. In San Juan, a combination of walking and taking the bus is a great way to get around but we recommend hiring a car if you plan to visit other parts of the island.

If you do opt for driving, you'll need to carry spare change for the occasional toll. To rent a vehicle, check the rates at Luis Muñoz Marín International Airport (SJU). Alternatively, we offer some great rates here.

You also have the option of a taxi, but keep in mind that only the white "turístico" taxis will charge fixed rates.

Things to do and see in Puerto Rico

Flamenco Beach

On the island of Culebra — which sits about 20 miles east of Puerto Rico— visitors will find a beach perfect for families, snorkelers and those looking for a remote spot that boasts a delightful aesthetic from nearly every angle. It’s 1½-mile strip of sand is the most popular on Culebra.

El Morro (Fuerte San Felipe del Morro)

The El Morro structure is a hulking six-story fortress that juts out of San Juan harbour. Built between 1539 and 1589, it has withstood two World Wars and several other conflicts. Now, El Fuerto San Felipe del Morro is Puerto Rico's go-to tourist attraction, both for its extensive history and its outstanding panoramas of the Atlantic Ocean. You can also walk through the fortress' depths, which include a maze of tunnels, barracks and prison cells.

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El Yunque National Rainforest

This lush expanse is the only tropical forest in the U.S. National Forest System. It's also a distinct favourite for vacationers who like to hike — but even if nature really isn't your thing, you should give it a try anyway.

Camuy River Cave Park

The caverns are tucked into the karst region of the north coast – a perfect day trip approximately a 1 hour and 20 minute drive from San Juan, Puerto Rico.  This cave is the third largest underground cave system in the world, Rio Camuy runs through it.

Castillo de San Cristóbal

Fort San Cristóbal was built to protect the city of Old San Juan from land attacks. It doesn't receive as many visitors as the city's El Morro fort, but visitors are equally amazed by the majesty and significant history of the site.

Calle del Cristo

Outlet shoppers who venture to Old San Juan should be ready to part with a few dollars. The city's Calle del Cristo is a haven of restaurants, art galleries and boutiques. In addition to popular stores, those walking the cobblestone street can discover local crafts and artisan shops along the way.

Cueva Ventana

This is a large cave situated a top a limestone cliff in Arecibo, Puerto Rico, overlooking the Río Grande de Arecibo valley. Fun fact, Between February and March 2009, Disney Channel filmed Wizards of Waverly Place: The Movie in Puerto Rico with scenes shot inside the cave as well as on land that sits in the Río Grande de Arecibo valley in front of the limestone cliff where the cave is found. 

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Events & Holidays

Jan - Three Kings Day, San Sebastián Street Festival
Feb - San Blas de Illescas Half Marathon, Carnival Ponceño, Coffee Harvest Festival, Casals Festival
Mar - Emancipation Day
Apr - Saborea, Cancun Jazz Festival, José de Diego Day, Sugar Harvest Festival
May - Puerto Rican Danza Week, Heineken JazzFest
Jun - San Juan Bautista Day, SoFo Culinary Festival, Aibonito Flower Festival
Jul - Luis Muñoz Rivera's Birthday, El Gigante Marathon, Loíza Carnival
Aug - Cuadragésimo Cuarto Torneo de Pesca Interclub del Caribe, International Billfish Tournament
Oct - La Raza Day (Columbus Day), National Plantain Festival
Nov - Start of Baseball Season, Festival of Puerto Rican Music, Jayuya Indian Festival, Puerto Rico Discovery Day
Dec - Old San Juan's White Christmas Festival, Puerto Rico Heritage Artisans Fair, Las Mañanitas, Lighting of the Town of Bethlehem, Hatillo Masks Festival

Useful Puerto Rican travel information

Language - Spanish is the official language. 

Currency - The US dollar (USD) is the official currency for all cash transactions in Puerto Rico. Present denominations are $1, $2, $5, $10, $20, $50 and $100, although $2 bills are not common.

There are also 1¢, 5¢, 10¢, 25¢ and 50¢ and dollar coins.

Emergencies - Dial 911 for All Emergencies

Local Customs - When it comes to bars and restaurants (unless on the beach), Puerto Ricans tend to dress up, and men with shirt-tails hanging out are regarded as a bit scruffy. Many restaurants and casinos have dress codes, although women tend to be treated more leniently than men.

Tipping - Generally, you tip in Puerto Rico as you would on the US mainland. Buffets Tip staff 10% to 20% if they are serving you your drinks. Luggage attendants $1 to $2 per bag for anyone who helps with your luggage, whether it's a skycap, shuttle driver, bellhop etc.

Voltage - 110-120 Volts (Same as U.S./Canada, most other areas are 220-240 Volts)

Time Difference - GMT -4 hours 

Country dialling code is +1 

Security in Puerto Rico - Most of the crime on the island occurs in and around the San Juan Metropolitan area and in the larger cities of Ponce and Mayaguez to a lesser degree. Most of that crime is directly related to the illegal drug industry, so you need not be unduly worried. 

Old San Juan and other major tourist zones in Puerto Rico are safe and a police presence is visible. As with any large city, one should exercise prudence and avoid wandering into unknown areas of the city, especially at night and one should not leave valuables visible inside a parked rental car.   

Other Risks - To be on the safe side while in Puerto Rico, drink bottled water. If you buy produce from a street market, wash and/or peel it before eating.

Despite the occasional case of Dengue, Puerto Rico requires no specific vaccinations for entry. However, the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention advise travellers to update tetanus and other routine shots before participating in outdoor activities and to always use mosquito preventatives.

Travellers are alsoadvised to bring prescription medicines sufficient for their length of stay. 

Useful Links

 

Insider tips

Bioluminescent Mosquito Bay

Vieques

This south Vieques beach is one of travellers’ favourite experiences in Puerto Rico.

During the day, Bioluminescent Mosquito Bay is your stereotypical Caribbean hideout — but at night, the sky and waters emit a blue glow from the half-plant, half-animal microorganisms that live there. 

More than 700,000 bioluminescent dinoflagellates live in each gallon of bay water, and travellers have been amazed by just how much visibility these tiny creatures provide.

“‘Being a busy working mum means I never have enough time to organise holidays and flights.  The team at Club Caribbee/The Travel Shop are wonderful – thoughtful, considerate, remember every details about our requirements and are always happy to help.’   Gina. Member since Dec 07. ”

Gina Miller - Read more