Harbour Lakes makes for the perfect Puerto Rico vacation spot. When preparing for your perfect island retreat, here are a few things you should know to make your trip run smoothly.
No Visa. No Passport
If you’re a U.S. citizen, traveling here is uncomplicated, making your perfect trip to Puerto Rico hassle free. There’s no customs, no delay; it’s like traveling from one state to another. Carry your usual ID — a driver’s license (or passport/birth certificate) — even though you probably won’t have to encounter any special checkpoints for it. Visitors from other countries, except those participating in the Visa Waiver Program, will need a valid passport. Foreigners will need the same visas required for visiting the United States.
Puerto Rico is served by an extensive local and federally funded system of roads, highways, freeways, ports, harbors and railways. Cars dominate this world, and one can only be grateful for the PR2 and PR3 freeways that run almost the entire circumference of the island, bringing you easily to its beaches and coastal wonders. Taxis are plentiful in cities. (See our tipping guide below.) The Tren Urbano is the city metro, while local taxis are gathered and dispatched from stands in each town. For “historic train tourism,” narrow gauge train aficionados can look forward to the planned restoration of the old sugar plantation train, the “Tren del Sur.” Uber service is also available and widely used.
120V/60hz. Standard American outlets work just fine; no need for a converter.
ATMs Dispense U.S. Currency
They’re easy to find everywhere, except truly off-the-beaten-path locations. The U.S. dollar is the currency. Beyond that, you can use your credit and debit cards in a variety of locations: restaurants, shops, and all but the most “casual” food trucks and market stalls.
Phone and Internet Access
Cell phone and Internet service in Puerto Rico has seen consistent improvement over the past few years. The Puerto Rico Bridge Initiative will put Puerto Rico ISPs on an equal playing field with their counterparts in the mainland through a fiber-optic bridge linking Puerto Rico to Florida. Cell phone service and coverage is ultimately the same here as it is in the U.S.
The Best Time to Go
Puerto Rico is a tropical island, with an average year-round temperature of 80oF / 27oC. But rather than think of it in terms of temperature, which doesn’t vary much, it’s better to consider the dry and rainy seasons. The dry season runs roughly from mid-December to mid-April and with it comes higher hotel rates (but definitely worth it to escape the North American winter!) Planning far in advance can give you a rate card advantage. It’s easier to find discounts in the equally pleasant shoulder seasons when the crush of tourists abates.
What to Pack
Simply put: pack for the lush Caribbean weather, with sunglasses, flip flops, sandals and perhaps an extra bathing suit, since the beaches are plentiful and you may want to visit more than one a day. Make sure you’re well supplied with a water-resistant sunscreen and DEET, a bug spray used to ward off mosquitoes that show up in early evening. Puerto Ricans dress to go out in the evening; “casual chic” should do the trick — nice but cool. And of course, colorful.
It’s much as it is on the U.S. mainland. Here’s what the Lonely Planet* guide suggests:
Bars — $1 per drink.
Buffets — Tip staff 10% to 20% if they are serving you your drinks.
Luggage Attendants — $1 to $2 per bag for anyone who helps with your luggage, whether it’s a skycap, shuttle driver, bellhop, etc.
Pool/Beach Attendants — $1 to $2 for each service rendered.
Restaurants — 15% to 20% of the bill.
Taxis — 15% of the fare.
Be sure to check for service charges included in your bill at touristy restaurants, even for groups smaller than six. If possible, tip servers with cash, even when paying by credit card.
These guides will help you make your tropical vacation dreams come true with no hassle or worry. Plan your Puerto Rican vacation today, and enjoy the luxury Caribbean lifestyle you deserve.