Vacationing in Puerto Rico – What You Need to Know
After years of recovery from disasters both natural and man-made, Puerto Rico is finally back – and not only is it back, but it’s even more popular among sun-and-sand-lovers looking for a warm-weather getaway that doesn’t come with strict quarantines or other pandemic-related constraints.
If you’re considering a vacation to this American territory, here are some things to keep in mind that’ll help make your Puerto Rico vacation a delight.
1. Puerto Rico is part of the United States.
A lot of people don’t realize this, but it’s true! Puerto Rico is a U.S. territory. That means U.S. citizens don’t need a passport to visit.
Puerto Rico’s status also means that federal health regulations apply to American travelers. In other words, if you’re an American citizen visiting Puerto Rico, you won’t have to quarantine to enter unless you test positive while on the island. Discover Puerto Rico has the updated details.
U.S. federal laws apply, though Puerto Rico can pass laws and govern itself, as long as those laws don’t conflict with U.S. statutes. That adds a layer of comfort and familiarity. In addition, your cellphone works. You don’t have to fight the SIM-card battle when you vacation in Puerto Rico. And no need to exchange your cash, dollars are the legal currency.
The fewer the hassles, the greater your chances of enjoying your vacation. And Puerto Rico doesn’t put up many obstacles in the way of your enjoyment.
2. Puerto Rico took some shots – but it’s better now.
Puerto Rico was hit hard by three hurricanes – Irma and Maria in 2017, and Dorian in 2020 – a major earthquake, and the pandemic.
Most of the damage is cleaned up and infrastructure repair is largely complete. In general, if you didn’t know about the hurricanes or the earthquake you wouldn’t know the extent of the devastation, though people returning to the island after several years away will certainly notice changes.
Probably the best news in regard to disaster recovery is that after several years of work, the trails and lodges in the incredible El Yunque National Forest are restored and open. This natural wonder takes you from rainforest to mountain waterfalls and is one of Puerto Rico’s must-sees.
3. Puerto Rico is vibrant.
“Vibrant” is the operative word when describing Puerto Rico. San Juan, the capital, came through the disasters and the pandemic more alive than before. The food and art scenes have been revitalized, and the city’s tempo is definitely picking up.
While the tempo slows down in outlying areas, the friendly people and beautiful scenery more than make up the difference.
Whether you stay close to San Juan, investigate Ponce, or opt for the rural areas, Puerto Rico can deliver an amazing vacation experience.
4. Puerto Rico is fairly safe.
The crime rate in Puerto Rico is lower than in many large American cities. Even so, travelers need to be aware of potential safety issues.
As in most large cities, petty theft can be a problem in San Juan. Dress to fit in and keep your belongings close, and you should be just fine. In addition, walking alone at night through less well-lit areas of the city isn’t advised. As always, there’s safety in numbers.
Mosquito-borne illnesses aren’t as concerning as they were when the Zika virus was more prevalent, but mosquitoes that carry the Zika virus as well as Chikungunya virus and other diseases are still around and can be a problem. Mosquito repellent containing diethyltoluamide(DEET) and window screens without tears or breaks are your best protection.
Finally, be smart about when, where, and how much you drink, and don’t drink and swim.
5. Puerto Rico is a great place to rent a home, villa, or condo.
Puerto Rico has a lot of rental properties. Discover Puerto Rico claims a total of 4,000 vacation rentals. You’re assured a wide selection of locations, amenities, and properties in all price ranges.
A wide variety of properties can also mean a wide variety of rental experiences. While going through a well-established rental site can lessen your chances of unpleasant surprises, you should still take a number of precautions.
- If you’re checking out the property from your home, use Google Street View to investigate the surrounding area. Sometimes listing photos don’t tell the whole story about neighbors, neighborhoods, or things like beach access.
- Ask about parking. Do you have a designated parking space, or will you have to rely on street parking?
- Ask whether the owner/managers are local or remote. That can be a big deal if problems crop up.
- If you’re looking at a long-term rental, will you have to pay for things like pest control and maintenance? Also, who will be doing the maintenance?
- If you’re checking out the property in person, pay special attention to window screens, air conditioners, the plumbing, and the condition of all appliances. Also check for cellphone reception in every room.
Puerto Rico is a great place to vacation – it’s warm, colorful, and dynamic, it’s part of the United States, and rentals are plentiful.
If you’re planning a trip to Puerto Rico, be sure to include travel insurance from Generali -- getting a quote is easy. We can provide coverage for all types of trips and even have plans designed for vacation rentals.