Helpful Tips for Traveling in Puerto Rico
1.) Plan out your accommodation beforehand
One of the most frustrating things about Puerto Rico is the lack of accommodation, or affordable accommodation, for backpackers. Thousands of tourists visit San Juan annually and stay in the fancy beach front hotels, or one of the other numerous resorts around the island. However, if you are someone one a budget or who doesn’t want to spend $150 a night, then your options are limited. There are a few hostels on the island and guesthouses as well. However, you just need to plan it a bit early if you don’t want to get stuck out. By the way, the busy season in Puerto Rico is from Late November until May/June. Other parts of the year will be less crowded and more options.
2.) Either have a lot of time to explore or a really strict schedule
Puerto Rico is a great travel destination because of the variety of things that it offers. However, as I have mentioned in some other articles, it is not the most travel friendly island. Getting around the island is not always easy without a car, taxi, or the like. You can pay a tour guide, but public transportation could be considered as none existent. Therefore, plan your trip out and transportation methods well if you are limited. If you have time, then take it easy. Make sure you have read my article and overview tips for getting around Puerto Rico.
3.) Always carry a plastic bag
One travel lesson that I learned in Puerto Rico was always keep a ziplock or sealable plastic bag with you. This is because of the many random rainstorms that could pass through at any time. During the rainy season, you could have a monsoon in a matter of minutes. That plastic bag may save your electronics.
4.) Get out of the touristy areas if you want to save money
San Juan, particularly Old San Juan and the beach front (Condado), is filled with overpriced restaurants and tourist shops. Taxi drivers will overcharge tourists relentlessly. The areas outside of touristy places are much more economical as far as food prices go for example.
5.) Speak Spanish
As with learning the language in any place you visit, speaking Spanish in Puerto Rico will enrich your experience. It will give you the opportunity to connect with more people and learn more about the island and way of life of the locals. Use it as an opportunity to improve.
6.) Get off the beaten path
Until I started traveling around the island, I really didn’t appreciate the beauty of it. I had only seen San Juan and a few surrounding places. The island has so many beautiful hidden treasures and sights that few people who visit the island every experience. You can see some of them on my article, Things to do in Puerto Rico.
7.) Take the weather into account
As I mentioned in the tip for bringing a plastic bag with you, the weather can change drastically. During the rainy season, storms can blow in within a few hours. Before visiting the island, try to plan around the weather a bit if you can.
8.) Have a back up plan
Keeping in line with tip number 7, because things change from time to time, you need to have alternatives to things that you would like to do. For example, there was a chemical spill in one of the island’s Bio Bays last year. Therefore, you wouldn’t be able to do it. Early in 2014, there was a storm in El Yunque, that blocked off one of the roads for a few days. You wouldn’t have been able to visit it. The ferry times and schedules can change from time to time, so don’t expect them to work exactly as planned. Of course, all of this being said, everything could go perfectly well. You just need to be sure that a change in something on the island, won’t ruin your trip.
Are you traveling to Puerto Rico?
Be sure to read my other articles and travel tips for Puerto Rico:
Read about my experience with the Taíno Indians of Puerto Rico
Don’t miss these delicious foods of Puerto Rico
See some of the amazing works of Street art on the island
Lastly, a collection of the my favorite photo moments from Puerto Rico
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For future travel advice, please stay tuned!