Why you should travel to Puerto Rico right now
Hassle-free travel, a variety of stays and countless diversions are just a few reasons to travel to Puerto Rico.
Known as the Island of Enchantment, Puerto Rico lives up to its moniker in so many ways. The island ranks as one of the most affordable Caribbean islands to visit. However, that’s just one reason Puerto Rico should be at the top of your “to go” list.
It’s easy to get there for Americans
Due to COVID-19, many travelers are apprehensive about traveling internationally. Because Puerto Rico is a U.S. commonwealth, visitors can combine Caribbean exoticism with the accessibility and convenience of the U.S. Also, Americans don’t need a passport to visit.
There are frequent daily direct flights from the U.S. to Puerto Rico’s Luis Muñoz Marín International Airport (SJU). Your tropical getaway is just under 4 hrs. (from New York) or 2½ hours (from Miami). Other cities offering non-stop flights to San Juan include Chicago, Orlando, Newark, Raleigh, Dallas, Atlanta and Philadelphia. Additionally, Puerto Rico’s airports in Aguadilla (northwest region) and Ponce (southern region) accept international flights. Budget airlines like United, JetBlue and Spirit service those airports.
No hassle once you’re here
The official languages in Puerto Rico are Spanish and English. However, you don’t need to be bilingual to get around. For the most part, English is widely spoken throughout the island. Puerto Rico’s official currency is the U.S. dollar (USD), so U.S. residents don’t have to worry about exchanging currency before their trip. Banco Popular is the only bank with a Foreign Exchange Department in Puerto Rico and the Caribbean. Most major credit cards are accepted, too. Those include Visa, American Express, Discover, Master Card and bank credit cards.
High vaccination rate in Puerto Rican population
Puerto Rico is one of the safest, post-pandemic destinations in the U.S. The island boasts one of the nation’s highest vaccination rates. Stringent health and safety protocols have been implemented across both the public and private spheres. Also, regulations and guidelines have been updated to address the Omicron variant. Puerto Rico ranks 20th among 233 global destinations (with a population of more than 200,000) in having the most vaccinated residents— 89.7% of Puerto Rico’s population is fully vaccinated.
We’ve created a comprehensive and updated guide regarding Puerto Rico COVID-19 requirements for visitors, as well as updates on travel and health protocols.
Variety of accommodations for every budget and style
Visitors to Puerto Rico can choose from a wide range of accommodations. From high-rise hotels and luxury all-inclusive resorts to Airbnbs and family-owned paradores, there’s something for every style and budget.
High-rise hotels situated along San Juan’s Condado and Isla Verde beaches appeal to travelers who crave lively days and a thriving nightlife. Options include San Juan Marriott Resort at Stellaris Casino, El San Juan Resort & Casino or Hotel InterContinental San Juan Resort.
Sequester yourself in one of many sprawling luxury resorts throughout the island with Copamarina Beach Resort (southwestern coast), Wyndham Grand Rio Mar Beach Resort (near El Yunque rainforest) and El Conquistador, A Waldorf Astoria Resort (Fajardo).
There are more than 10,000 Airbnb-listed accommodations in Puerto Rico, ranging in size, style and price. Overnight it in a treehouse tucked within El Yunque National Forest, enjoy a laid-back getaway in a beachside guest house or soak up coastal views from a luxury apartment perched on a hill.
For an authentic experience, consider a parador. In 1973, the Puerto Rico Tourism Company established a network of small inns to promote tourism throughout the island. Locally owned, they offer affordable rates, charming locations (all outside the Metro area) and often include a traditional Puerto Rican meal with your stay. Check out Turtle Bay Inn (La Parguera), Villas Del Mar Hau (Isabela) and Boquemar (Boquerón).
Activities for every interest
There are nearly limitless ways to explore Puerto Rico. The island’s unique attractions range from adventurous outdoor excursions in the Cordillera Central to authentic culinary tours in the Metro area—and everything in between.
Puerto Rico boasts an immense selection of natural wonders. They include three of the world’s five bioluminescent bays (Mosquito Bay in Vieques, Laguna Grande in Fajardo and La Parguera) and El Yunque National Rainforest, the only tropical rainforest within the U.S. Forest System.
Add to that more than 300 beaches providing opportunities to snorkel, scuba, kayak and surf. Of course, they also provide the ideal setting for a relaxing day in the sun.
Opportunities to step back in time present themselves all over the island. Castillo San Felipe del Morro (El Morro), Castillo de San Cristóbal, La Fortaleza and other historic sites await visitors to Old San Juan.
In Arecibo, stroll along the oceanfront promenade Paseo Las Damas. Built with stones from an 18th-century fort, it’s listed in the U.S. National Register of Historic Places.
Walk through the two-story mansion Palacete Los Moreau, located outside the northwestern town of Isabela.
Founded in 1512, San Germán is the second oldest town in Puerto Rico. Picturesque, cobblestone streets and plazas form a timeline of architectural styles from the 1850s to the 1960s.
From restaurants and food kiosks to guided food tours, there are many places to sample local favorites. Whever you go, don’t miss your chance to savor authentic Puerto Rican cuisine.
Blending culinary traditions from around the world, Puerto Rican cuisine is a delicious fusion of Spanish, Taíno, American and African influences. Add to that a touch of Créole cooking (known as cocina críolla), similar to Cuban and Dominican cuisine.
Savor mofongo, one of Puerto Rico’s most popular dishes. It’s made from plantains mixed with garlic, salt and olive oil. It’s served with broth and usually paired with meat or seafood. Vegetarian mofongo is available, too.
Another Puerto Rican favorite are empanadillas. These large pastries are filled with meat, fish, vegetables or cheese. Get them either baked or fried. Papa rellenas, pasteles and tostones are other foods you should check out during your visit.
Distinct beverages (of both the alcoholic and non-alcoholic types) are plentiful here and well worth seeking out when you travel to Puerto Rico.
It’s worth noting that Puerto Rico is known as the “Rum Capital of the World.” Seventy percent of the rum sold in the U.S. is produced in this island territory, including the top-selling brand, Bacardí. Tours are available at many local distilleries, including San Juan Artisan Distillers (Vega Alta), La Destilería Craft Spirits (Jayuya), Serrallés Distillery (Ponce), Crab Island Rum Distillery (Vieques) Ron del Barrilito (Bayamón), and others.
Puerto Rico is also the birthplace of the iconic piña colada (the island’s national drink). Most narratives place its invention in San Juan. Some claim it was first created in 1954 at the Caribe Hilton Hotel. Others believe it originated at Barrachina restaurant in 1963. A plaque at the restaurant’s entrance claims it to be so. Wherever it originated, it’s imperative that you sample one (or a few) while you’re here.
The rich history of coffee production in Puerto Rico dates back to 1736 when it was first introduced on the island. Registered coffee haciendas expanded quickly. More than 800 of them have been in business in 69 of the island commonwealth’s 78 municipalities since the late 1800s. Enjoy a cup at any number of coffee shops and restaurants. Or, opt for an in depth experience with a coffee plantation tour.
Looking for more inspiration for planning travel to Puerto Rico? Our Budget-Friendly Guide to Puerto Rico provides tips on stretching your budget. Best Airbnbs and Best Beach Resorts are great resources on where to stay.