Visitors Guide, Get connected to Puerto Rico
Get connected to Puerto Rico’s top tourism attractions, hotels, restaurants and reliable information about Puerto Rico, America’s Healthcare Island.

General Facts

Located at the gateway to the Caribbean, the island of Puerto Rico is 110 miles long and 35 miles wide. San Juan, the capital city, is a unique blend of old and new with modern business structures and services alongside traditional Puerto Rican and colonial Spanish flavors. In 1493, Columbus claimed Puerto Rico for Spain, and the island remained under Spanish rule until 1898 when Spain ceded the island to the U.S. in the Spanish-American War. In 1917, under the Jones Act, Puerto Rico's residents became U.S. citizens, and the island became a commonwealth of the U.S. in 1952.

Getting there

Puerto Rico is easily accessible to visitors via three major airports. The island's largest airport, the Luis Muñoz Marín International Airport (SJU), is located in the Isla Verde section of San Juan, minutes from the Condado area. Rafael Hernández Airport (BQN) in Aguadilla serves western Puerto Rico and Ponce Mercedita Airport (PSE) handles air traffic in southern Puerto Rico. Other airports on the island are José Aponte de la Torre at Ceiba (RVR), Benjamín Rivera Noriega at Culebra (CPX), Eugenio María de Hostos at Mayaguez (MAZ), Fernando Ribas Dominicci at Miramar (SIG) and Antonio Rivera Rodríguez at Vieques (VQS).

Airlines

Airlines Puerto RicoAt present, Puerto Rico is served by over 12 airlines that provide flights from over 50 destinations. Most major hubs including Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, New York, Philadelphia and Washington, D.C. offer daily non-stop service to San Juan. Airlines serving Puerto Rico include American, Continental, Delta, USAir, United, Jet Blue, Southwest, and Spirit, among others.

Cruise Ports

Cruise Ports, Puerto RicoSan Juan is the second largest port in the Western Hemisphere. Every year 1.4 million passengers arrive at Puerto Rico’s shores. Cruise lines serving Puerto Rico include Carnival, Celebrity, Disney Cruises and Royal Caribbean International, among others. Two additional cruise ports are located in the cities of Mayaguez and Ponce.

Customs and Passport

Customs and Passport, Puerto RicoPuerto Rico is a commonwealth of the United States, and U.S. Citizens do not need passports to visit the island. Non-U.S. citizens have the same requirements as those for entering United States since Puerto Rico is a U.S. territory. When leaving Puerto Rico to return to the U.S. mainland, checked luggage will be examined for agricultural purposes.

Language

Puerto Rico's languajeBoth Spanish and English are the island's official languages. English is widely spoken, especially in the Metro and Eastern areas.

Accommodations

Puerto Rico's AccommodationsPuerto Rico currently boasts more than 14,000 hotel rooms.

Currency: U.S. dollar.

Climate

Puerto Rico's ClimateYear-round tropical climate with average temperatures of 82°F.

Meeting Facilities

Meeting Facilities in Puerto RicoThe Puerto Rico Convention Center (PRCC) opened on November 18, 2005. It is the centerpiece of a $415 million waterfront development project and has 580,000 total square feel of exhibit space to host more than 10,000 attendees. With its capacity for wireless communication, video conferencing and broadband, the facility is touted as the most technologically advanced convention center in Latin America and the Caribbean. The Center will surround itself within a unique village of hotels and an entertainment complex with shops, restaurants, offices and residences, thereby enabling visitors to experience the distinctiveness, vibrancy and uniqueness of Puerto Rico. Additionally, luxurious hotels and resorts, located conveniently throughout the island, can accommodate groups of all sizes.

Ground Transportation

Ground Transportation in Puerto RicoTaxis, buses and rental cars offer visitors convenient ground transportation. Tour operators also service the area with varying transportation and tour packages. Easily identifiable "Taxi Turisticos" or tourist taxis operate on a fare-zone basis between the airport and cruise ship pier to designated tourist zones including Old San Juan and San Juan hotels and resorts.

Recreation & Sports

Recreation & Sports in Puerto RicoPuerto Rico offers 272 miles of coastline and hundreds of beaches. Water sport lovers will enjoy easily accessible activities such as surfing; snorkeling; scuba diving; sailing; deep-sea fishing and windsurfing. Sports enthusiasts also appreciate the more than 100 tennis courts and more than 22 championship golf courses located throughout the island.

Tipping

Puerto Rico's TippingAt restaurants, nightclubs and hotel dining rooms, 15% of the bill is considered an appropriate tip. Fixed service charges are not usually included in the bill, except for special functions or banquets, and some restaurants in tourist areas.

Clothing

Puerto Rico's ClothingIn most instances, lightweight summer clothes are appropriate, but short pants are worn only for sporty occasions. At certain establishments, proper attire is required -- jackets for men and dresses or dress pants for women.

Nature & Adventure Sports

Nature & Adventure Sports in Puerto RicoPuerto Rico possesses a wealth of fascinating flora and fauna and a great variety of ways to see them. From easy leisurely drives and walks to serious hiking, rock climbing, spelunking, kayaking and camping on deserted islands, the nature lover and adventure traveler can find it all in Puerto Rico.

Spas

Spas in Puerto RicoPuerto Rico’s luxurious spa treatments can be enjoyed at any of the freestanding boutique or resorts facilities. Spas on the island offer their pampering through both traditional and indigenous treatments.

Shopping

Shopping in Puerto RicoFrom local craft stores to international designer boutiques, Puerto Rico offers shoppers a multitude of options. Calle del Cristo is the main shopping area in Old San Juan where visitors will find everything from art and jewelry to designer clothing. Shopping in Old San Juan is a mix of trendy and eclectic boutiques found on Cristo, Fortaleza and San Franciso streets, near the craft markets of Plaza de la Darsena and Paseo de la Princesa.

The Condado area is famous for its chic stores like Louis Vuitton and Cartier located on Ashford Avenue.

In the heart of San Juan, the most popular shopping attraction is Plaza Las Américas, currently the Caribbean’s largest shopping center with more than 300 stores. Other large malls around the island are Plaza Carolina, located 20 minutes away from the International Airport; Plaza del Caribe in Ponce; Las Catalinas Mall in Caguas; and Montehiedra Town Center in Río Piedras.

Retail outlets can also be found in Barceloneta and in Canóvanas.

Hours of operation around the island are usually Monday through Saturday from 9:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m., and Sundays from 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Crafts

Crafts in Puerto RicoTraditional and popular crafts include santos - small, wooden figures of saints and religious scenes; mundillo lace- intricate, handmade bobbin lace; and vejigantes - carnival masks made of papier mache or coconut.

Dining

Dining in Puerto RicoThe Island offers some of the finest gourmet dining in the Caribbean. Visitors can feast on Puerto Rican specialties -- a mix of Spanish, African and Indian flavors -- or choose to sample cuisines from around the world.

Nightlife

Nightlife in Puerto RicoPuerto Rico offers visitors a wide variety of nighttime and cultural activities including international casinos and nightclubs typically located in major hotels, and theater, dance, opera and outdoor concerts.

Sightseeing

Sightseeing in Puerto RicoThere is so much to discover in this authentic Latin port from its natural beauty to its diverse attractions to its rich culture. Old San Juan, the only remaining, partially-walled city in the Caribbean, is also one of the oldest cities in the Caribbean and has been beautifully preserved through the city’s architecture. It boasts four fortresses from the Spanish Colonial Empire, cobblestone streets, and a myriad of historic sites and buildings dating from the 17th and 18th centuries, including the El Morro Wall. Outside San Juan, visitors can explore the unique El Yunque Rainforest, the only tropical rainforest in the U.S. National Forest system. The Arecibo Observatory, the largest radio/radar telescope in the world, has been featured in films such as James Bond thriller, Goldeneye and Jodie Foster’s Contact.
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