What to pack for your Puerto Rico vacation
Spectacular beaches, a lush rainforest, historic landmarks and a thriving culinary scene are just a few reasons travelers flock to Puerto Rico each year. Plus, ample direct flights from the U.S. and no need for a passport (for U.S. citizens) makes a Puerto Rico escape extremely easy for U.S.-based travelers. Preparing for your trip is even a breeze with these handy packing tips. Whether you’re here for a quick weekend getaway or staying a week or more, we have you covered.
Here are a few travel essentials you should include for any trip:
- Vaccination card (or proof of negative test)
- Drivers license if you plan on renting a car or indulging in adult beverages
- Personal prescriptions or over-the-counter medicines you use frequently
- Some cash and smaller bills (tips for tours and restaurants)
- Hand sanitizer
- Travel-size umbrella
- Smart phone chargers
- Camera and accessories (if you use something other than your phone for photos)
Clothes and accessories
Puerto Rico’s Caribbean climate makes it an ideal destination any time. Year-round average temperatures in Puerto Rico vary between 75 and 85 degrees Fahrenheit (24 and 29 degrees Celsius), with higher elevations averaging between 61 degrees Fahrenheit and 80 degrees Fahrenheit.
Choosing what to wear in Puerto Rico is easy, as the vibe here is laid back and comfortable. However, you should also bring some resort casual-style pieces if you’ve booked dinner at an upscale restaurant or plan to enjoy Puerto Rico’s lively nightlife scene. Ladies, pack a maxi sundress or long skirt. Men, bring a pair of chino pants. Here are other ideas on what to pack for your Puerto Rico trip.
- Shoes: Casual slip-on shoes or sneakers for daily walking, flip flops for beach days and stylish sandals or close-toed shoes for men for evening dinners/drinks.
- Pants/shorts: A few pairs of casual shorts, as well as athletic-type shorts if you have active excursions or water sports on your itinerary.
- Shirts: Quick dry tank tops and short-sleeved shirts work well for all activities. Men—include a collared button up shirt for evenings out.
- Light sweater or jacket: Perfect for cooler evenings—especially if you’re staying in the mountain region.
- Hat: An essential item to protect you from the sun during time outdoors. Either a wide brimmed hat or baseball hat will work.
- Refillable insulated water bottle: Stay hydrated during walking tours, beach time or any island activity. Your water stays cool and you cut down on plastic usage. The environment thanks you!
Activity-based must haves
There’s plenty of ways to pass the days in Puerto Rico. Whether you hit the beaches, go out on (or below) the water or hike verdant mountain trails, here are packing tips for all your Puerto Rico activities.
- Bathing suit/swimming trunks: Pack at least two so you have one to wear while the other is drying from yesterday’s water activities.
- Hat: We recommend a wide-brimmed one.
- Sunglasses: UV blocking, of course!
- Sunblock: Help protect our island’s ecosystem by using ocean-friendly sunscreen that doesn’t contain avobenzone and oxybenzone. Those chemicals aren’t good for you or the environment.
- Insulated beach bag: Collapsible beach bags are easy to pack and keep your beverages cold while you explore Puerto Rico’s amazing beaches.
- Insulated water bottle: Stay hydrated and reduce the amount of plastic at the same time.
- Beach towel: Your hotel or resort may provide one, but we suggest bringing a lightweight sand-resistant one.
This towel is amazing! I take it everywhere with me. It serves as both a towel and body wrap. I never have to worry about it drying slowly. – Adriana Serrano
Watersports / Boat tour / Bioluminescent bay
- See above: Many of the items on our beach list apply to all watersport adventures.
- Flotation wrist strap: These work well for your keys, camera and any items you want to keep with you when you’re in or around water.
- Waterproof phone case: Keep your phone protected while you take epic underwater photos or snap Instagram-worthy selfies poolside.
- Dry bag: This is a must for keeping everything you want to stay dry in one convenient spot. They’re lightweight, waterproof and won’t take up much space in your luggage.
- Snorkel/dive gear: Some outfitters may provide them with guided tours (due to COVID-19, call ahead to confirm). If you have your own equipment, use it. You can be sure it fits you and you can snorkel on your own whenever you want.
- Water shoes: These come in handy when snorkeling around rocky areas.
Hiking El Yunque or other nature trails
- Athletic-type shoes: We recommend either water resistant hiking shoes or waterproof sandals like Teva or Chacos. Non-slip shoes are especially important for exploring El Yunque’s refreshing waterfalls.
- Bug repellant: Bug sprays that contain DEET are terrible for you and the environment. Use eco-friendly versions that are made from natural ingredients.
- Cooling towel: Made of breathable mesh material, they keep cool for up to 3 hours.
- Lightweight backpack: It’s an easy way to store your hiking essentials like bottled water, bug spray, sunscreen and a change of clothes. If you already have a dry bag for your water activities, use it.
- Rain jacket or poncho: This is good to have for a rainforest hike or if you visit Puerto Rico during the rainy season (from April–November).
- Flashlight or headlamp: A helpful item to have if you hike in darker parts of the rainforest.
No matter how you decide to fill your days on the island, thanks to these tips, you’ll know what to pack for your Puerto Rico adventure!