Puerto Rico: Things You Should Know Before Visiting

Puerto Rico: Things You Should Know Before Visiting

Here’s a quick, yet comprehensive list of things that you need to know if you travel to, from and within Puerto Rico.

CLIMATE – One of the main things about the Island is it’s great climate! The average year-round temperature is 82š F (28š C), with mild easterly trade winds. A rainier season starts in August and ends in October, but due to our tropical climate you can expect brief rain showers at any time. Wanna see some radar views of the Island?

CUISINE – Although a wide range of international cuisines are available, authentic Puerto Rican and Caribbean are more common. Many major American restaurant chains are found island-wide.

PUERTO RICO CURRENCY – The U.S. dollar is the official and only currency used in Puerto Rico. Major U.S., Canadian, and European banks have branches on the Island. ATM’s are plentiful, and linked to major worldwide banking networks.

¿DO YOU NEED A PASSPORT TO GO TO PUERTO RICO? – Nope. Puerto Rico is a U.S. Commonwealth with U.S. citizenship. Therefore, passports are not necessary for U.S. citizens. Foreign nationals should have valid passports and visas as required.

Travelers flying from Puerto Rico to the U.S. are subject to check-in baggage inspection by the U.S. Department of Agriculture at the airport because they prohibit taking certain fruits and plants into the U.S. For more information call (787) 253-4505 or U.S. Customs at (787) 253-4533.

DRIVING – Gas is sold by the liter, distance is measured in kilometers, and speed is measured in miles per hour. However if you ask a puertorrican for directions they will tell based in minutes. The legal driving age is 16. Many national and local car rental companies operate at the airport and at key locations in the tourist districts.

ELECTRICITY – Electricity is 110 volts, with U.S. style power outlets.

GAMBLING – Gambling is legal in Puerto Rico and all major hotels have casinos.

LANGUAGES – Puerto Rico has two official languages, Spanish and English.

LIQUOR LAWS – The legal drinking age is 18. Alcohol consumption in the streets of Old San Juan has been forbidden by law.

PHONE SYSTEM – The phone system is the same as in the U.S. (Sprint, T Mobile, AT&T, etc.) The Island’s area codes are 787 and 939. You need to dial the area code before placing a call anywhere within Puerto Rico and the U.S. For international calls, international codes apply. Calling cards used in the U.S. can be used in Puerto Rico as well.

POSTAL AND MAIL SERVICES – The U.S. Postal Service provides the same reliable service as in the U.S. and all major courier services, such as FedEx, DHL, Eagle, UPS among others service Puerto Rico.

SIZE AND POPULATION – Puerto Rico is approximately 100 by 35 miles (160 by 56 km), which is roughly the size of Connecticut. The Island’s population is 3.9 million.

TAXES – For the first time in Puerto Rico, a Sales and Use Tax (IVU, for its acronym in Spanish) system which substitutes the 11% general excise tax has been implemented. The Sales & Use Tax rate is 5.5%. The Act also establishes that each municipality has the option to impose an additional sales tax of up to 1.5% as of July 1, 2006; therefore, the total Sales & Use Tax is between 6.5% and 7%.

There is an 11% tax on room charges in hotels with casinos, 9% tax on hotels without casinos and 7% on small inns. Hotels in San Juan have an additional tax between $3 and $5 per room, per person.

TELEVISION – Cable and satellite TV service are available island-wide, with local television stations and all major English language stations from the U.S.

TIME – The clock in Puerto Rico is never reset because we are on Atlantic Standard Time. Here’s a tip: If for some reason you need to know the time in Puerto Rico and are not near an internet connection, you can call (787) 728-9595 to know the time (really!).

TIPPING – A 15% to 20% tip is customary. Some hotels and restaurants add a 10% to 17% service charge to the total bill.

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