Travel guide to Puerto Rico

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» Puerto Rico (USA)
Puerto Rico has a hectic nightlife, a beautiful nature, and some of the best beaches in the Caribbean. The exotic climate makes this island the perfect destination for the pleasure-seeking traveler all year round.

Facts

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Local name
Commonwealth of Puerto Rico
Capital
San Juan
Size
9,104 km2
Principal Languages
Spanish and English
Principal Religion
Roman-Catholic
Inhabitants
3,915,798 (2000)
Government
Commonwealth under the USA
Geography
Geography: Puerto Rico is one of the four islands that make up the Greater Antilles located south of Florida. The island has approximately 600 km of coastline, and the water becomes relatively deep not far from the shore. Puerto Rico presents around 20 forest reserves together with a wide variety of water-sport activities and numerous aged buildings dating back to the 17th century.

Travel preparation

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Best time to visit

The temperature in Puerto Rico never drops bellow 20 degrees Celsius, but the warmest season is during the summer months - also are the rainiest months of the year.

Literature

Lonely Planet Puerto Rico Kicking Off the Bootstraps Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Island Guide Pocket Guide - Puerto Rico

Local conditions

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Currency

Dollar (US. Dollar), 1 dollar = 100 cents.

Net cafes

There are several Internet cafés in Puerto Rico; most of them are located in San Juan.

In case of emergency

Emergency (911) Police (343 2020) Fire Department (343 2330)

Tipping

Unless tips are included, it is normal procedure to add 15-20% to the check.

Timezone

When the time is 12:00 p.m. in the UK (GMT), it is 05:00 p.m. in Puerto Rico (summer time). When the time is 12:00 p.m. in the UK (GMT), it is 06:00 p.m. in Puerto Rico (winter time).

Weight and Measures

Weight: kilos Length: metres The Imperial mile, pound, and gallon system is also used from time to time.

Photography

The are no restrictions on photographing, but is a good idea to ask for permission before taking pictures of the locals, or in the churches.

Drinking water

It is safe to drink the tapwater in Puerto Rico. However, it is recommended that you stick to bottled water just after a storm as these can disturb and temporarily pollute the water.

Electricity

110V/60 Hz

Behaviour

Show ordinary decency and respect for the locals. Apart from this, there are no restrictions on how to dress or behave.

Business Hours

The banks are open between 09:00 a.m. and 02:30 p.m. (Monday - Thursday) and between 03:30 p.m. and 05:00 p.m. (Friday). The shops are open between 09:00 a.m. and 05:00 p.m. (Monday - Friday). Some shops are open on Saturdays.

Food and drink

The food in Puerto Rico is a unique combination between Spanish, African, and Caribbean cuisine. The national soup is called asopao - it has chicken-flesh, rice, and some of the islands deep-fried 'specialties' in it.

Disabled travellers

There are adequate facilities for the disabled in Puerto Rico. Several buildings and means of transport are fitted with facilities for those confined to wheelchairs. For further information phone the following number: (+1 787 721-2800).

Holidays

New Years Day, 1st January Twelfth Night, 6th January The Birthday of José de Diego, 15th April Feast of Saint John the Baptist, 24th June Independence Day, 4th July The Birthday of Luis Muñoz Rivera, 16th July The Birthday of José Celso Barbosa, 24th July Constitution Day, 25th July Veterans Day, 11th November The Discovery of Puerto Rico, 17th November Christmas Day, 25th December Martin Luther King Jr. Day, third Monday in January President Day, third Monday in February Memorial Day, last Monday in May Labor Day, first Monday in September Columbus Day, second Monday in October Thanksgiving, last Thursday in November

Accommodation / Hotel

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Camping

Tourists are allowed to camp in the forest reserves, but you need a permit in order to do so. The beach is not exactly a safe place to spend the night, and in some cases, it is even illegal to do so. The Yunque rainforest also has camping facilities and the safest camping site is situated just south of the forest.

Hotels

On the small island of Puerto Rico there are not less than 44 different hotels, all rated by between one and five stars. However, the hotels are a lot more expensive than the guesthouses.

Bed og breakfast or guesthouse

In Puerto Rico, you'll find 18 of the so-called Paradores Puertorriquenos (guesthouses subsidized by the government) mostly used by the local tourists. Many of these guesthouses are located a little west of the capital, San Juan.

Local transport

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Planes

There are several domestic flights available in Puerto Rico, for instance between Ponce and San Juan.

Bus

In San Juan, yellow tourist buses can take you to the sights of the island free of charge. Ordinary bus routes also connect different parts of the island, but remember to bring exact change on the trip.

Trains

There are no train connections on the island.

Taxi

All the taxis in Puerto Rico have a meter, but not all of the driver actually use them. Because of this, it is a good idea to agree with the driver on a fixed price before you embark. The white tourist taxis with a certain logo painted on the door have fixed prices on different routes. Here it is also a good idea to inquire about the price before embarking.

Car rental

There are good opportunities for renting a car in Puerto Rico, and furthermore it is quite inexpensive. An American driver's license is often preferred, but it all depends on the car renting company and the general demand.

Other Transport

It is possible to find shared taxis in Puerto Rico, but it is less comfortable than an ordinary taxi, and you'll often have to wait until the taxi is full.

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