Helpful Things To Know Before Traveling to Puerto Rico
Puerto Rico is a beautiful island that many have the pleasure of visiting. However, some people either forget or don’t bother to search online as to what can make their trip run more smoothly. This article will give you helpful tips on traveling around the island and tips for those venturing from the island as well!
First off, if you are traveling from the United States, make sure that all of your paperwork is in order before going through customs. Make sure your passport is up-to-date and make sure to have a printed copy of it in case anything happens while going through customs. Keep in mind that Puerto Rico is a United States territory and therefore citizens of the United States do not require a passport to travel (ID card will suffice). Again, make sure all of your paperwork is in order.
Please take note that if you are traveling from another country to Puerto Rico, you may need your passport to enter the island. Make sure to check with an agent before boarding your flight that you will be able to re-enter your country (in case you need another visa to stay with the destination country, etc.)
Be aware that Puerto Rico is not using the American dollar as its currency. The island’s official currency is the U.S. Dollar but many stores, restaurants and hotels will accept both currencies (American versus local) however it is advised to use the island’s currency as much as possible. You can exchange your cash money at any of the island’s banks and you will definitely need cash money if you plan on doing tours, activities or dining at resorts. Credit cards are accepted in most stores but again, it’s best to keep local currency on hand.
Be aware that Puerto Rico does not observe Daylight Savings Time. This means that in the wintertime (November to March) it will be one hour earlier than mainland United States and in the summertime (April to October) it will be one hour later than mainland United States.
When leaving Puerto Rico, you are advised to fill out a customs form when departing from either San Juan, Aguadilla, or Ponce airports. This form will need to be presented at your final destination.
Always have a printed copy of all itineraries including hotels, tours, and other activities you plan on doing while visiting Puerto Rico. Many people lose cell phone service when traveling here which means that if you rely on GPS apps to guide you, you might get lost. You can always call the company or hotel that your itinerary is with to ask for directions, etc.
Make sure to research online about any places you plan on visiting so you know what to expect and also see what precautions need to be taken to interact with the public/environment (if it’s a beach setting, what can be touched or stepped on, etc.).
Keep in mind that Puerto Rico is an island which means that most things are not accessible by car. Make sure to rent a car with GPS so you have the ability to get around easily without getting lost. It’s also best if your driver knows how to drive on the opposite side of the road. Make sure to look before crossing!
A great tip is to bring a portable charger for your cell phone. If you are the type of person who constantly needs their phone for music, games, etc. make sure that wherever you are you will have access to electricity in order to charge it. Puerto Rico is very humid which means that if you are out exploring for a long time, you will drain the battery quickly.
If you are planning on doing tours, make sure to ask about schedules and if their pick-up times fit well with your itinerary. If not, make sure that there is another company nearby where you can take the tour from instead.
Puerto Rico is well-known for its beaches and resorts. If you plan on doing tours, make sure to research which resorts accept non-guests and dress appropriately (covering shoulders and knees) when entering some of them.
Do not be afraid to ask questions. There is nothing wrong with asking general questions about the island (i.e. what time dinner starts at a resort, what can be touched at the beach, etc.) Don’t hesitate to ask if you are unsure about your plans.
Book tours in advance! If there is something that you specifically want to do/see while on the island, make sure to book it ahead of time so you don’t miss out. Keep in mind that tours are limited so it is best to book them as early as possible.