Puerto Rico - Frequently Asked Questions
For everything you ever wanted to know about Puerto Rico but we haven't covered in detail throughout our travel guide, here is that famous little list of Frequently Asked Questions about this beautiful Caribbean destination.
Covering all the basics and resolving those important doubts most people have about this emerging holiday paradise, our FAQs section aims to help you with the things you want to find out most about before and after you book your getaway there.
Table of contents
- When is the best time to go?
- Do you need a visa?
- How can I get there?
- What is the local currency and what currency should I take?
- What is there to see and do?
- What is the local language, do people speak English?
- Do I need to avoid hurricane season?
- Should I rent a car?
When is the best time to go?
The temperature in Puerto Rico is fairly consistent across the year, thanks to its location in the middle of the tropics. However, the weather you get can change dramatically depending on whereabouts you are staying. The climate is best throughout the winter and this is peak season for tourism, so if you want to travel you should be prepared to see a lot of crowds. Travelling in April, May and June will allow you to benefit from pleasant weather, avoiding the rainy season, and it should also be much quieter. During this time you can also get great deals on accommodation throughout the island.
Do you need a visa?
As Puerto Rico is an American territory, visa regulations are the same as those travelling to the US. If you live in the UK and are planning on staying for no longer than 90 days, there's no need to get a visa. However, you will need to complete an Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA), which is a short form that can be filled out online. It normally takes a few minutes and will cost less than £20.
How can I get there?
There are a few direct flights to Puerto Rico from the UK but most will include one or two stopovers. Flights with just the one stop will take somewhere between 13 and 14 hours to arrive at the destination, which is commonly the capital San Juan.
What is the local currency and what currency should I take?
US Dollars ($) are used across the island and cash machines are easily found in all but the most rural areas and major credits cards are also accepted. It's advisable that you don't carry a lot of cash around with you as tourists can fall victim to pickpockets.
What is there to see and do?
There is plenty on offer in Puerto Rico. Those after a bit of adrenaline can go ziplining or cave exploring but there are also beautiful beaches across the island. A number of luxury resorts offer a more relaxed holiday, while the historic town of Old San Juan can provide your culture fix.
What is the local language, do people speak English?
Puerto Rico has two major language - Spanish and English. Most people in the urban, tourist areas will speak some English but learning a few phrases of Spanish may come in handy if you are looking to explore some of the more rural areas of the island.
Do I need to avoid hurricane season?
Travelling to Puerto Rico during the hurricane season - running from June until the end of October - isn't completely impossible but you will need to consider a number of things before booking a holiday. It's always wise to take out travel insurance, but it's especially important if travelling to any country during their hurricane season. Companies may also increase their rates for cover during these times. However, Puerto Rico only occasionally gets major storms and hurricanes - unlike parts of the US - and the weather is still pleasant. Warnings are given before the storm hits so it's important to check the forecast closely a week before traveling in hurricane season.
Should I rent a car?
If you want to explore more of the island, or your hotel is quite a distance from the airport, it's best to rent a car. Public transport is unreliable and even non-existent in some areas of Puerto Rico so if you want to see more than what's in walking distance from your hotel, having access to a car is a great idea. Booking ahead will get you the best price and give you the freedom to see as much of this beautiful island as you like.
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In spite of damage from Hurricane Maria, Puerto Rican travel officials say they are hopeful that tourists will return to the islands in December, the beginning of the high tourist season. Many of the island’s hotels remain closed, and hundreds of businesses are without power, but tourism officials are optimistic that the tourists, a major part of the country’s economy, will return this year.
Carnival Cruise Line has revealed that it has postpones all sailings of Carnival Fascination from San Juan in Puerto Rico, following the devastation caused by the recent series of hurricanes and storms. The cruise line announced that the vessel will be used to assist hurricane relief workers in the Caribbean and will be chartered by the Federal Emergency Management Agency. The cruise ship will resume its Caribbean holiday sailings from February 2018.
Aloft Hotels has announced that it will make its debut in the Caribbean with the launch of a new hotel in Puerto Rico. The luxury property will be located in the mixed-used development, The District, in the capital San Juan’s Miramar Convention Centre District. The hotel will have 175 loft-style guest rooms and is scheduled to open in the second half of 2019.