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Top Things to Know Before you Travel to Puerto Rico A to Z


If you're planning to go to Puerto Rico, here are a few things you should know before you go.

Accessibility

Like all major destinations in the world, Puerto Rico provides comfortable conditions for travelers with disabilities. But some advance planning will still make it easier for you to get around.

Alcohol

To buy wine or beer in Puerto Rico, the minimum age is 18 years.

Brochures

The Puerto Rico Tourism Company, the island's official tourist center, produces and distributes several publications. For a full information package, call the Puerto Rico Tourism Company at 1-800-866-7827. The official tourism guide is the Que Pasa! magazine, it includes information on accommodations, restaurants, shopping centers, casinos, transportation services, special events and fiestas.

Budget Travel

Yes, it's possible. With smart planning and a little bit of research it is possible to travel to Puerto Rico without spending a fortune.

Crime

Although Puerto Rico has a high crime rate, the vast majority of crimes are related to drug trafficking, and tourists aren't targeted.

Daylight Saving Time

Puerto Rico does not observe Daylight Saving Time (DST).

Drinking Water

It's generally safe to drink tap water in Puerto Rico, and tastes great. No need to buy bottled water.

Driving

Valid resident country or international driver's license required. You can drive for up to three months in Puerto Rico using your internationl driver's license.

Driving is on the right-hand side of the road. All the same rules as any part of the United States, except that the signs are in Spanish, the distance markers in kilometers and the gas sold in liters. In many rural areas, road signs are missing, and roadways can be narrow and winding.

Electricity

The electrical current in Puerto Rico is 110 volts/60 cycles, exactly the same as in the continental U.S. and Canada.

Emergency Telephone Numbers

  • Emergency Services: 911
  • Police: 787-343-2020
  • Ambulance: 787-343-2222
  • Civil Defense: 787-724-0124
  • Fire Department: 787-343-2330
  • F.B.I: 787-754-6000
  • U.S. Secret Service: 787-766-5539
  • U.S. Coast Guard: 787-729-6770

Foreign Languages

Both Spanish and English are the official languages of Puerto Rico, but Spanish is without a doubt the dominant language, as the majority of the people in Puerto Rico are not proficient in English. Fewer than 20 percent of Puerto Ricans speak English fluently, according to the 2000 U.S. Census.

The more you venture outside rural areas or small towns, the less you will be able to communicate in English. But still, basic communication is always possible.

Gambling

To gamble in Puerto Rico, the minimum age is 21 years.

Getting To Puerto Rico

By plane or by boat, you can easily get to Puerto Rico and there are several ways of getting around when you arrive.

Internet Access

Internet access is good in most cities, either through mobile data and Internet services provides. Mobile data coverage will be spotty in sparsely populated areas.

Passports and Visa Requirements

There are no passports or visas necessary for United States citizens. Citizens of other countries have the same requirements as for entering the USA.

Planning

Book your trip as early as possible. The earlier you book your flight and accommodations, the easier it is to do, specially if when looking for non-stop flights.

Public Holidays

Puerto Rico observes the traditional holidays of the United States and also observes nine local public holidays.

Smoking

Indoor smoking in public places is prohibited. This includes hotels, bars, restaurants and all other establishments where food and beverage are served. You must be over 18 years to buy tobacco products.

Time Zone

Puerto Rico is in the Atlantic Time Zone (AST) (EST +1; GMT -4) all year around. Puerto Rico does not observe daylight saving time. For the exact time of day call: 787-728-9595.

Toll Roads

Puerto Rico has many toll roads, each toll being between $0.75 and $3.

What to Wear

Puerto Rico enjoys warm and sunny days most of the year. Lightweight clothing is appropriate year-round. Pack a sweater for cool season evenings or if you plan to visit the mountain regions.

When to Go

Puerto Rico enjoys year round summer temperatures, an average annual temperature of 80° (26°C). The peak tourist season is between December and April, but this has more to do with the climate in U.S. mainland than anything else. July and August represents another peak tourist seasons. The best time to avoid the crowds is the low season between May and November, which, unfortunately, coincides with hurricane season (officially -- from June 1 to November 30). In recent years, Puerto Rico has also become popular Spring Break destination.



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Did You Know?

There are more Puerto Ricans living in the rest of the United States than in the island of Puerto Rico itself.