The ferry to Culebra and Vieques can be problematic.
Getting to the smaller Islands of Vieques and Culebra can be tough. Ferry tickets can be quite difficult to get and it seems like I am always hearing a horror story about the ferries. If you plan to explore one of these islands, you may want to consider going by private charter boat or small plane. These options may be much more expensive but you will have peace of mind, which is priceless. Vieques is home to the highest rated bioluminescent bay in the world as well as thousands of wild horses. The problem is that after you have your amazing experience, you will not be able to find a way back to the main Island of Puerto Rico and may not be able to find a hotel or Airbnb with any availability if you didn’t plan ahead. Culebra is home to some of the most beautiful beaches in the world such as Flamenco beach. This beach has been rated in the top 10 most beautiful beaches in the world. Puerto Rico Ferry Tickets More information about Vieques and Culebra can be found in our Island Resources.
Scooters are a great way to explore San Juan, but can’t be used in Old San Juan.
You will see scooters parked all over the place in San Juan. Most scooters have a QR code that you can scan and download the app. After about 5 minutes of setting everything up, you will be cruising and exploring San Juan. They are a bit pricey, so be mindful of how much time you are spending on the scooter. Also, the app will not allow you to take the scooter into Old San Juan.
You can’t take scooters into Old San Juan because the roads are very narrow and congested and the sidewalks are packed with pedestrians. Scooters were allowed in Old San Juan for a short period of time, but they just caused more problems.
There are little shuttles available to help you get around Old San Juan. Side note: I was contacted by a group of disabled people a while ago. They want to know if I knew any companies that provided tours using Mobility Scooters in Old San Juan. I informed them that I did not and that I don’t think that would be a very enjoyable experience because both the streets and sidewalks of Old San Juan are normally pretty packed.
The streets of Old San Juan are made of cobblestone and are pretty bumpy. They contacted me a short while after and told me that after doing additional research, they agreed with my initial opinion and did not attempt to tour Old San Juan in that manner. If you would like a guided tour of Old San Juan, please fill out this form.
Renting a car is a must!
Unless you plan to spend all of your time in San Juan or in a resort area, you will definitely need to rent a car.
Taxis and Uber are not reliable outside of the San Juan area. Also, don’t forget that in some places, you may not have a cell phone signal at all. This applies mostly to areas in the center of the Island, but can also apply to the El Yunque National Park area.
You may be able to get transportation to the park, but might not have a cell phone signal to call for a ride back. Rent and car and thank us later. Here is a link where you for a rental car quote. If you don’t want to rent a car, our team can connect you with one of our preferred transportations companies. Fill out this form and we will do the rest!
Driving in Puerto Rico can be a little scary.
While driving in Puerto Rico, pay attention to the road and not the sights. Driving in Puerto Rico is not like driving in the States. It is not uncommon to see a car go from the far left lane across all lanes of traffic at the last minute to take an exit. Some people drive fast and some people drive slow. There is really no such thing as a passing lane in Puerto Rico. Move past slower cars however you can. Also, don’t be alarmed to see lights flashing from a Police car or ambulance. Their lights are pretty much always on. It doesn't mean anything. It’s just their way of establishing their presence. Also, many streets, including major highways, outside of the San Juan area are not well lit. I ride a scooter everyday from Luquillo, Puerto Rico to Fajardo, Puerto Rico to get to the boat that I captain. I do not look forward to the days that I have to drive home in the dark. You just never know when a new and dangerous pothole or sinkhole may form. This is particularly dangerous if you are riding a scooter or motorcycle. The traffic light situation can be confusing and dangerous also. There is a law that you can go when the light is red from midnight to 5am; however you MUST STOP and MAKE SURE TRAFFIC IS CLEAR IN ALL DIRECTIONS! Be careful doing this. Also, If you are stopped at a light at night anywhere in Puerto Rico and don't feel safe, JUST GO–so long as it is safe to do so.
The Weather/Hurricane Season
For the most part, the weather is mostly the same-about 85 and sunny with a beautiful tropical breeze. Don’t worry too much if you see a lot of rain in the forecast-especially if you’re staying in or near Rio Grande, as that’s where most of the rainforest is located. Also, Rio Grande literally translates to ‘big river!’ Yes, it will probably rain somewhere on the island everyday at some point. You likely will be sleeping and not even notice it. The rain is normally quick in and quick out.
Some days are sunny and some days are more cloudy. The temperature will not fluctuate more than 20 degrees at the most, for the most part. We do have a rainy/Hurricane season.
Hurricane season is from June 1-November 30. Direct hurricane hits don’t happen annually, but when they do, chances are much more likely it will be in August, September and October–especially the third week of September, and then the probability drops greatly.
Also, we have warnings when tropical storms/depressions and hurricanes are forming. Always make sure to buy travel insurance during this period. It will be hot and humid most of the time. It's normally pretty pleasant in the evenings, especially if you have a nice cross breeze. It will however be a bit colder in the higher elevations. Puerto Rico Forecast
Cell Phone Reception.
Most cell phones and providers will work in Puerto Rico, but not all of them. T-Mobile works best. Verizon also works good, as well as AT&T and MetroPCS.
Straight Talk does not work; I also believe there may be complications with Consumer Wireless. It seems to be mostly prepaid providers that don’t service the island; others require an international SIM card. You will need to do your homework on this one–check with your provider BEFORE you leave home and make sure the rep you’re speaking to understands Puerto Rico is part of the United States as it’s often confused as being “international” or a “country,” both of which it’s not.
If you’re still unsure, then we suggest asking about your specific provider or plan in one of the Puerto Rico Travel Facebook groups. Facebook tends to be the best source for first-hand experience as it’s the most accurate and up to date information regarding Puerto Rico.
The rip currents in Puerto Rico are no joke and they can and do kill people. The island does a pretty good job of keeping the flag system up to date, but there isn’t nearly as many warnings as there should be, especially in more dangerous places.
If the red flags are out, please stay out of the water. Also always check the National Weather Service- San Juan’s Facebook page and your weather app to see what the current status of the sea is.
We recommend you watch some YouTube tutorials on how to escape from a rip current. If you need or want to use a life vest, don’t feel ashamed to do put one on! Staying calm is key! People drown when they panic. Understanding how to deal with rip currents is imperative. Rip Currents: How to Survive the Deadliest Ocean's Trick
Brown Water in the Mountains.
There are many streams in the mountains and you will see people jumping off rocks, piers, and bridges in many places throughout the island.
Please be very careful when climbing on and jumping off rocks. Follow the locals. If they’re only jumping from one spot, there is a reason why–there may be rocks, etc. Follow their lead! They know the island best!
Puerto Rico even has natural rock slides (that are super fun!). The normal color of the mountain water is clear or like a very deep blue color. When it is that color it is safe.
If the stream is brown or especially dark brown, it is not safe. The water turns that color during and shortly after the mountains receive heavy rain. Heavy rain in the mountains can cause flash floods and heavy currents. Either of those situations can be deadly.
Our advice is, if the water is brown, just stay out of it PERIOD.
We can connect you with a great personal guide to ensure you are safe and have an amazing time.
If you would like our team to connect you with an amazing guide, please fill out this form.
Car Fuel/Gas Stations
Don't get too excited when you see fuel is .85-that's per liter, not per gallon-which is about $3.12 a gallon. Also, you can't pay at the pump here. You must pay for your gas inside at all gas stations in Puerto Rico.
The Puerto Rican culture is LOUD. They love to play their music loud and cram the maximum amount of speakers into everything. The church service is loud and long and churches are everywhere. Their vehicles are also very loud. Not to mention the wildlife. You will almost always hear chickens, dogs and the famous coqui frogs.
If you plan to work remotely while visiting Puerto Rico and will be on the phone or video calls a lot, be very diligent about when and where you plan to stay. High-quality noise-canceling earbuds can really help also.
This is a real thing. If you are coming from a place in the states where service is quick and efficient, Puerto Rico is going to test your patience. You're on vacation so don't get upset about Island time. It is just the way of life here and that is not going to change, so get used to it while you’re visiting. 🙂
Google vs. Facebook.
Most businesses in Puerto Rico do NOT have a website, but most do have Facebook pages primarily. If you can’t find the company you are looking for on Google, search for them on Facebook. We guess you will find them there.
If you need any help locating a place or experience you saw online or heard about, fill out this form and we will be happy to help you!