The Caribbean island state of Puerto Rico is still a real insider tip in Europe. Fantastic beaches, rainforests and mountains, Historical Buildings, great shopping opportunities and a wide range of leisure activities – for me, Puerto Rico combines everything I expect from a perfect holiday on almost 9,000 square kilometers.
In this article I have summarized for You the most important tips and advance information for a trip to Puerto Rico.
Our Route to Puerto Rico
Tourism on the island is currently developing, with a strong focus on the capital, San Juan. Here, Americans in particular enjoy their holidays, and more and more cruise ships dock. If you are limited to this part of the island, you will not only miss the beauty of the island, but also the warmth of its inhabitants.
The first destination of our Puerto Rico trip was Arecibo. The coastal city is located in the North of the island, about an hour West of San Juan. Already here you can immerse yourself in Puerto Rico away from US mass tourism and stroll on the Arecibo Flea Market or let your soul dangle on the beach. In addition, the" Diamante del Norte " is a good starting point to visit one of the world's largest cave systems as well as the Arecibo observatory (James Bond sends his regards...).
Arecibo Puerto Rico
Our Stay: 2 Days
Conclusion: A Must for James Bond Fans
More info: Of bats and secret agents
Rincón, the surfer's paradise on the west coast of Puerto Rico. Here, the Atlantic and Caribbean meet and create waves that break in up to 7.5 meters. High season is December to March. And in fact, swimming was not to be thought of at Christmas-but with twelve beaches, the choice is fortunately great.
Surfers get their money's worth in Rincón.
Our Stay: 2 Days
Conclusion: The Perfect Beach Atmosphere
More information: beach hopping in the surfer stronghold
San Germán is the second oldest city in Puerto Rico after the capital San Juan and indeed the many historic buildings immediately catch your eye. The main attraction is the Convento de Porta Coeli. It is one of the oldest churches in Latin America, and today houses the Museo de Arte Religioso.
Our Length Of Stay: Stopover
Conclusion: Nice, but not a Must
More information: a stopover in San Germán
Ponce is the second largest city in Puerto Rico and is located in the south of the island. It enchants with a beautiful old town, in which neoclassical buildings mix with pastel – colored houses in colonial style-partly lovingly restored, partly abandoned to decay. It is also a good starting point for excursions: the Bosque Estátal de Guánica Biosphere Reserve and the Ruta Panorámica are the main attractions here.
Ponce Puerto Rico
Our Stay: 3 Days
Conclusion: here is the authentic Puerto Rico
More information: experience the south up close
Luquillo is located in northeastern Puerto Rico, about 50 kilometers from the capital San Juan, and is for me one of the most beautiful destinations on the island. It is not only a perfect seaside resort, but also an ideal starting point for a whole range of excursions. We visited the El Yunque Rain Forest and flew to the island of Culebra.
Our Stay: 4 Days
Conclusion: My personal Puerto-Rico-Highlight
More information: relaxing and feasting in Luquillo
Culebra, the small island east of Puerto Rico presents itself as a natural and relaxed dream destination and attracts with peace, beautiful beaches and the possibility to swim with sea turtles. Who does not have time to stay here longer, should at least plan a day trip.
At Tamarindo Beach you get very close to sea turtles.
Our Length Of Stay: Day Trip
Conclusion: we would have liked to stay longer
More information: a day trip to the dream island
San Juan is the capital of Puerto Rico and the cultural and tourist center of the island. With its historic buildings, the fortresses of El Morro and San Cristóbal, as well as great shopping and Restaurants, the old town attracts many tourists every year. A visit to the Puerto Rico Baseball League is a fun evening, and Toro Verde Park provides an adrenaline rush when Ziplining.
The Castillo de San Felipe del Morro in San Juan.
Our Stay: 3 Days
Conclusion: great city that invites you to linger
More information: the capital of Puerto Rico
Travel Guide to Puerto Rico
How unknown Puerto Rico is in this country is shown by the fact that there is not a single German-language Travel Guide. In Caribbean Travel Guides, a maximum of a few pages are dedicated to the island. So we went back to the English edition of Lonely Planet Puerto Rico-and were not satisfied with it either. Only online we finally got further: here we came across Puerto Rico day Trips. A Website run by two Americans who have lived in Puerto Rico since 2003. They have systematically explored the entire island, report in detail about their experiences and provide numerous helpful tips. Thoroughly recommended!
Travel time for Puerto Rico
The climate in Puerto Rico is pleasantly tropical. The best time to travel is between December and April. While it can get crowded around San Juan during peak season, there is not much to feel on the rest of the island. From May to November it is rainy season, with precipitation mainly concentrated in the North and the mountain regions. It should be taken into account that Puerto Rico is located in the hurricane area-here you should inform yourself in each case.
Visa for Puerto Rico
The free state of Puerto Rico is a territory of the United States and the entry regulations of the USA apply. You will need a passport and the usual ESTA permit for the USA (cost: 14 US dollars).
Puerto Rico: Flight & Rental Car
We have chosen a direct flight with Condor, the Airline flies every Saturday from Frankfurt non-stop to Puerto Rico. Return flights are also only carried out on Saturday. The flight time is about ten hours. Transfer services include Air Europa (via Madrid) and Delta as well as American Airlines (various US airports).
We have booked our rental car through TUI Cars and picked it up directly at San Juan airport. A midsize car is quite sufficient. We paid around 400 euros for two weeks.
The traffic on Puerto Rico
Public transport is virtually non-existent in Puerto Rico. This makes it impossible to explore the island without a rental car. The low petrol prices are fun - here the travel cash is hardly burdened. We relied on the Navigon U.S. West App for Navigation. In somewhat more remote areas, we also took a look at the road map in advance. Thus, we have always arrived reliably at the destination.
The quality of the roads is mixed. You should always expect potholes-in this respect: foot from the Gas. Roughly, the roads can be divided into the following categories:
Expressway toll roads: relatively well developed, a fee between 50 US cents and 1.50 US dollars has to be paid at the entrances. Keep coins ready.
Highways: to Circumnavigate the island. Two to three lanes in each direction. Many traffic lights and a high traffic volume at peak times often lead to traffic jams.
Small roads: scenic as a rule very beautiful, they often become a small challenge for the driver. They are often narrow and curvy. In the mountains, therefore, you can only progress very slowly. Here you should be particularly vigilant.
Accommodations in Puerto Rico
On this trip we booked all accommodations via Airbnb and have thus made good experiences without exception. The price level of the Hotels in Puerto Rico is relatively high, and the selection outside the capital of San Juan is limited, in part. To experience the island authentically, private accommodation is the much better Option.
Puerto Rico: Language
The official languages of Puerto Rico are Spanish and English. But the further away from the capital San Juan, the less English is spoken – often no more than a few chunks. My Spanish skills were quite helpful here one or the other time. Especially since the Puerto Ricans welcome visitors who make the effort to try it, at least with Spanish. We have brought so many free dessert ... ????
Security on Puerto Rico
The security situation in Puerto Rico is good. There is no big crime problem, but smaller scams and thefts are just as much a part of everyday life here as anywhere else in the world. We didn't even feel uncomfortable on the whole trip – even in more remote regions. We were welcomed with open arms throughout the island and the people were very helpful.
Medical equipment in Puerto Rico
Medical care on Puerto Rico is considered good, but expensive. A health insurance abroad is recommended. The travel pharmacy can be easily replenished/replenished if required. For example, there are several Walgreens on the island.
Do you have any questions about Puerto Rico? Then I look forward to hearing from you! Maybe you can enjoy this beautiful view yourself soon.