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Frequently Asked Questions About Puerto Rico

Find quick answers to the top most frequently asked questions.

Q. Who were Puerto Rico's first inhabitants?
A. Puerto Rico's first known inhabitants were the Taino Indians.

Q. What is the origin of the country's name?
A. Christopher Columbus discovered the island on Nov. 19, 1493, and gave it the name of San Juan Bautista (St. John the Baptist). Soon after the first Spanish settlement in 1508 at Caparra on the north coast, the island became known as San Juan Bautista de Puerto Rico. The additional designation (meaning "rich port") referred to the large, protected harbor on the northern coast where the present capital is located. Later it became customary to call the city San Juan and to designate the island as Puerto Rico.

Q. What language is spoken in Puerto Rico?
A. Spanish and English are the official languages of Puerto Rico.

Q. What city is the capital of Puerto Rico?
A. San Juan

Q. Is Puerto Rico an independent country?
A. Puerto Rico is a territory (Commonwealth) of the United States of America and Puerto Ricans have common citizenship, currency and defense. Although Puerto Ricans are U.S. citizens, residents of Puerto Rico pay no federal income tax (but neither can they vote in presidential elections). Over two million Puerto Ricans live in the United States, primarily in the northeast.

Q. Where is Puerto Rico located?
A. Puerto Rico is in the Caribbean region; the island is located between the Caribbean Sea and the North Atlantic Ocean, east of the Dominican Republic (about 1,000 miles (1,600 km) southeast of Miami, Florida). Latitude 18.5 - Longitude 66.9.

Q. What is the temperature like in Puerto Rico? What type of clothing should I wear?
A. Puerto Rico averages a comfortable 80 degrees throughout the year so dress requirements are understandably casual. During the day shorts, and bathing suits (light clothing in general) are acceptable. An old pair of tennis shoes or plastic sandals is good to have for walking on the reef. In the evenings, many hotels ask the men to wear long pants, shirt, and not be barefooted. Casual shoes, thongs, jeans or slacks are quite acceptable for the men and a light sun dress, slacks or shorts for the ladies.

Q. When is the best time to visit the island?
A. The best time of year to go to Puerto Rico depends on what you want to do while you are there. Although holiday seasons tend to be crowded and the summer can be quite hot and receive more rain.
The peak tourist season is between December and April, but this has more to do with the climate in North America than anything else. Rates drop by 25% to 50% from April 15 to December 15 at many of the resorts that depend on international tourists. The best time to avoid the crowds is the low season between May and November.

Q. When is the best time to book my trip?
A. If you book early and then the price goes down, if you are working with a good agency that follows through, they will give you the lower price up until the day you travel.

Q. How about the people?
A. Puerto Rico has a very big cultural diversity. White, black and others are well represented in our island.

Q. How to get there?
A. By air: Puerto Rico is easy to get to and easy to move around in. Domestic and international flights are frequent due to the island's central location in the Caribbean.
By sea: Puerto Rico is a port of call for several prestigious cruise lines.

Q. What is the legal age for gambling?
A. The legal gambling age is twenty-one.

Q. What is the legal age for drinking?
A. The age of legal majority in Puerto Rico is eighteen (18).

Q. Is crime a problem in the country?
A. As in any country there is crime. Puerto Ricans are a warm and friendly people, but we do ask that you exercise the usual measure of caution.

Q. Are things expensive in Puerto Rico?
A. Prices in Puerto Rico are comparable to prices in the United States.


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Did You Know?

The world famous drink, the Piña Colada was invented in a house on Fortaleza Street in Old San Juan and that its main ingredient Coco Lopez was invented by Ramon Lopez Irizarry.