#travel to puerto rico
What Do You Need to Know Before You Travel to Puerto Rico?
Will my cell phone work?
Yes, your cell phone should work in San Juan and most of the cities.
Will I need to convert money?
No. The dollar is the only currency you’ll need.
Do I need to know Spanish?
Both Spanish and English are the official languages of Puerto Rico. In the big cities and in the islands of Vieques and Culebra, you can get by without a word of Spanish. The people who work in the tourist trade—waiters, shopkeepers, guides, etc.—usually speak fluent English. The police are another issue: it’s not easy to find an English speaking cop.
The farther away you move into the less urban interior of the island, the more you’ll need to have some command of the language.
When is the best time to go?
This is a matter of some debate. Puerto Rico has two seasons, and these follow the weather. The peak travel period is December to April, when Americans escaping the winter invade the island by boat- and planeloads. In this season, you’ll pay the highest prices for hotels, and you’d be wise to reserve restaurants and activities in advance. The low season falls between May and November, and this is when travelers can find terrific deals on hotels, airfare, and vacation packages. Of course, June 1 to November 30 is also hurricane season.
Hurricanes are no strangers to Puerto Rico, even though the island has not suffered a Category 4 or 5 storm since the 1930s. Hurricane Georges in 1998 did some damage, but it was the only storm that directly hit the island in the past 60 years. Still, a downgraded tropical storm can ruin your vacation just as effectively as a hurricane. If you’re planning a vacation during this season, make sure to check with the following resources for up-to-the-minute forecasts:
- The National Weather Service’s Climate Prediction Center provides online statistics and predictions.
- The Weather Channel offers daily, weekly, and monthly data on every city it covers. You can also call 1-800-WEATHER to hear about up-to-date conditions ($0.95 per call).
Should I rent a car?
Most major national car rental companies have offices on the island, along with many local agencies. The highways are well paved and generally easy to navigate. But before you book your rental, consider the following:
- Cost – In general, you’ll pay a bit more than the average price of a rental in the U.S. (try the local competition for better rates). You may also be required to pay liability insurance: credit cards that offer auto coverage in the continental U.S. don’t always extend that coverage to Puerto Rico, and your insurance company may not cover the island.
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