Getting Around Puerto Rico – Traveler’s Tips
The islands of Puerto Rico offer visitors lush tropical jungle, thundering waterfalls, arid desert-like landscapes, cloud shrouded mountains and pristine beaches. You will also find incredible nightlife, especially in and around the capital, San Juan. Getting around the island is imperative for your enjoyment. Here are some tips to make the most of your trip and minimize hassle when navigating this island paradise.
Flying – Flying is the best (almost the only) way to get to Puerto Rico. However, it is also a great way to get around the island if you don’t want to drive. There are more than 30 airports in Puerto Rico, from grass strips less than 5,000 feet long to paved runways and, of course, the international airport in San Juan. There are numerous airlines and private charters available to get you where you need to go. You can rent a car at the other end of the flight, or take advantage of the “publicos,” minibuses and cars that serve as public transportation on the island.
Rental Cars – Renting a car can be the perfect way to get around Puerto Rico. The incredible scenic views from the road make driving here a beautiful excursion. However, while it can be stunningly beautiful, it can be frustrating, as well. The island’s roads are often congested, poorly maintained, very small, or all three at the same time. Road signs are posted in Spanish, so having an English/Spanish map is advisable. In addition, distances are posted in kilometers, while speed limits (where they are posted) are in miles per hour. Driving can be fun, but it can be a headache, as well.
Public Transportation – While Puerto Rico does not have a mass transit system, there is a system of minibuses and cars that can get you where you need to go. The rates for the “publicos” are set by the government, so you should have a good idea of fair fares. Rates also vary with special pickup needs. For instance, it is cheaper to catch a ride at the public square or along the highway than it is to have them pick you up from the hotel. Rates are usually low and the transportation is reliable, if slow. If you have the time and don’t mind sharing your trip with other passengers, picked up along the way, this can be the best option for you.