The Caribbean island is one of the most hassle-free vacations you can take—no passport or adapters required, full phone and data service at no extra fee—and for that reason, it can get incredibly crowded.
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Do I need a passport?
No. When you travel to Puerto Rico, it's like going anywhere within the U.S. All you need is a driver’s license or other valid form of photo ID. In fact, Puerto Rico is one of only two destinations in the Caribbean (the other is the U.S. Virgin Islands) that do not require U.S. citizens to carry a passport.
Will my cell phone work?
Yes, your cell phone should work in San Juan and most of the cities.
Will I need to convert money?
No. The dollar is the only currency you’ll need.
Do I need to know Spanish?
Both Spanish and English are the official languages of Puerto Rico. In the big cities and in the islands of Vieques and Culebra, you can get by without a word of Spanish. The people who work in the tourist trade—waiters, shopkeepers, guides, etc.—usually speak fluent English. The police are another issue: it’s not easy to find an English speaking cop. The farther away you move into the less urban interior of the island, the more you’ll need to have some command of the language.
Should I rent a car?
Most major national car rental companies have offices on the island, along with many local agencies. The highways are well paved and generally easy to navigate. But before you book your rental, consider the following:
In general, you’ll pay a bit more than the average price of a rental in the U.S. (try the local competition for better rates). You may also be required to pay liability insurance: credit cards that offer auto coverage in the continental U.S. don’t always extend that coverage to Puerto Rico, and your insurance company may not cover the island.
What do you want to do?
If you plan to explore the island in depth, you’ll definitely need a car. Also, people traveling to Vieques and Culebra should consider renting a jeep or car once they get there. But, if you are sticking around San Juan, forget the rental. Old San Juan is a walking city, and you can easily get around the city in a taxi or a bus. Parking and traffic can be a nightmare in the city, and a rental might be more trouble than it's worth.
For reasons best known to themselves, Puerto Ricans use both miles and kilometers: distances are posted in kilometers, while speed limits are shown in miles. Also, gas is sold in liters, not gallons.
Puerto Rican motorists are in a great, careening hurry to get places, and the orderly laws of road conduct are more loose guidelines than strict rules here. This makes for a sometimes harrowing experience for timid drivers. If aggressive drivers scare you, a rental might not be your thing.
First things first… try to pack as light as possible. (You want to be comfortable.
- Lightweight clothes – Puerto Rico’s weather is hot and very humid year round, so try to dress as comfortable and as light as possible.
- Shorts… lots of shorts! – With an average of 85°F to 95°F, it is likely you will want to wear shorts every day – plus, it’s time to tan those legs! Still, pack one pair of long pants/jeans for any casual occasion.
- Sandals – You’ll see it’s quite common to see people walking the city with their sandals/flip flops. It’s just comfortable and great for the hot weather.
- Swimwear- You WILL go to the beach. Enough said.
- Sunglasses – Protect your eyes and look cool, you’re in paradise!
- Sunblock – Get one with strong UV protection, Puerto Rico’s tropical sun has no mercy.
- Suntan lotion– Well, if you’re into getting really tanned, this will just speedup the process.
- Aloe Vera lotion – In case you took your tanning a step too far. Will help soothe the burning sensation. Believe me, it’s not a pretty sensation, especially if on your back.
- Beach bag (or day pack) and beach towel – You know, to put all these things I’ve mentioned before and to look very cool, casual, and even sexy while laying on the sand.
- Light sweater/jacket – It is highly unlikely you will use it unless you go during “winter” (notice the quotes, since winter in Puerto Rico is still hot!). But, nights might get in the low 70s or high 60s… I know, I know… this is still so tropical!
- Toiletries and medicines – Pack only the essential. There are pharmacies at every corner where you’ll find anything else.
- Evening wear– For some reason, women (and men) love to dress up when going out at night for dinner or to the nightclub (this is mostly in the San Juan area). Don’t just stand out from the crowd by wearing any random travel attire. Do dress up a bit and you’ll see how awesome a night in Puerto Rico can be!
- Camera – Um, yes, the country is beautiful, so you should take lots of pictures to show your friends back at home and make them jealous.
- ID / Passport / Documents – If you’re an American citizen, you don’t need a passport to go to Puerto Rico; just a photo ID will suffice. For kids, usually a birth certificate is good for travel.
Some extra items for the adventurous ones:
- Mosquito net– If you’ll go camping or stay at a parador deep in the mountains, you’ll probably need this – especially in the rainy season.
- Mosquito repellent – No one like to get bitten by mosquitoes, right?
- Camping gear– You can buy these at any big box store or camping store for a relatively cheaper price, but if you have your preferred camping equipment, bring it.
- Hiking boots– There are lots of excellent hiking trails, so get your feel comfortable because you will walk a lot.
- Waterproof Jacket – During the rainy season, it does rain a lot! Hint:Puerto Rico has the only rainforest in US soil. Know which one it is? El Yunque.
Did you know that San Juan, Puerto Rico is considered the Gay Capital of the Caribbean? Well, it is! Not only are there cute gay hotels, bars and events there's also the beaches. Come one, come all to our beautiful little island in the heart of the Caribbean.
The tours are available 7 days/week — Mon – Sat from 9 am – 6:00pm (last tour @ 4:30pm) and Sun 10am – 5pm (last tour @ 3:45pm). Open 357 days a year- closed only 3 Kings Day (1/6), Good Friday, Easter Sunday, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Thanksgiving, Christmas Day and New Years Day
Allow 2 – 3 hours.
Drink responsibly and Don’t Drink and Drive.
Directions from San Juan – By car, get out of San Juan, go on Rt 18 until Highway 22 W, get off at the exit for Catano / Road 165. There is a little brown Bacardi sign. Take Road 165 until km 2.6 – follow the brown Bacardi signs. The Bacardi factory is visible on the right side just before the exit. You can also turn right at the light at Int 888 (it is in an industrial park area).
From Old San Juan – Take the ferry from Pier 2 to Catano, for $0.50 pp, each way. When you arrive in Catano, go to the right for a taxi to the factory for about $3.00 pp each way.
The drive from our house in Rio Grande takes about an hour and 15 minutes. It should be about 20 mins from the San Juan area.
You may be able to get some of the rum cheaper at the Duty Free store in the airport.