Suggestions for Packing for a Vacation in Puerto Rico

Vacationers heading to Puerto Rico often wonder exactly what they should carry with them in their luggage

Photo credit: © julialamare

Packing for Puerto Rico

Planning a vacation to Puerto Rico involves a number of different facets, from booking your travel arrangements to planning which activities you will participate in. Of equal importance, though rarely given as much credit, it packing for your trip.

As you make your other arrangements, make mental notes of everywhere you will go, and how high your activity level will be. These notes will come in handy when you get down to filling up your suitcase.

First and Foremost

One of the perks of traveling to Puerto Rico for Americans is that no passport is necessary, due to the country's status as a commonwealth of the United States. Still, this doesn't mean you can enter the country without presenting some form of identification. Unites States citizens will be required to present a government issued identification card as they pass through customs. It is still wise that you bring a passport along (and it can be used as your form of identification), so you don't have any problems when you return home. Also, make copies of your identification and keep it in a separate location in case the originals become lost or are stolen.

Another bonus for American visitors is that the official form of currency in Puerto Rico is the U.S. Dollar, though it is called a peso. Because of this, money exchange is not necessary. Do remember to make sure you have enough cash on hand in case you enter a location that does not accept credit cards, which many travelers prefer to use.

As you travel, there are a few other documents you should keep on hand. Your airline tickets, of course, but also your hotel reservation and rental car information, as well as paperwork confirming any pre-paid activities you have planned. If you travel with medication, throw your prescription slip in the bag also.

View a list of important documents by clicking here.


The people of Puerto Rico are boisterous, but laid back, and their typical style of dress reflects that. American visitors will find that they can wear their usual style and fit in nicely with those around them. The thing you will most want to consider is the weather. Hot temperatures and an often unrelenting sun means you will want to pack light-weight, light-colored clothing in natural fabrics such as cotton. Linen shorts or khakis, and t-shirts and tank tops are common wear amongst tourists. Be kind to your toes, and pack comfortable footwear, such as athletic shoes or hiking boots.

A few other essentials include undergarments, socks, and pajamas. Click here for a checklist of what clothing to bring.

Formal Wear

There are lots of opportunities for you to dress up on your Puerto Rican vacation, and many people travel to the island on business. If you're planning a night out at a fancy restaurant, or have another event in mind, plan accordingly.

Men will be deemed presentable in collared shirts, slacks, and deck shoes; though men in business settings should bring along a sports jacket and a tie. Women can bring along a nice sun dress, a cocktail dress, or a pants suit with the appropriate accessories and shoes.

Swim Wear

Swim suits are a necessity during a vacation in Puerto Rico, but how many do you need? We recommend at least two. This way you not only have the option to determine which type of suit you feel like wearing that day, but you can leave the previous days suit hanging to dry in your hotel room as you go out in the other.

Though Puerto Rico is pretty lax about people walking from the beach to the street in their swimsuits, you may feel more comfortable if you bring along a cover-up. Pack a sarong, or an over-sized shirt the throw on before you head back from the shore. Don't forget sandals or flips flops, a sun hat, and sunglasses.

Toiletries and Health Care

Puerto Rican resorts will often provide you with the basic toiletries you need, and what they don't have, you can easily buy on the island. Still, some guests prefer to bring their own hair care, dental hygiene, and body care products. If this is you, you can purchase travel-sized items to save space. If you do decide to pack them, find a checklist you can use by clicking here.

For the most part, the coqui frog keeps flying insects at bay in Puerto Rico, but you should still play it safe. Bring along insect repellent to spray on your body before you head out to explore, and hydrocortisone cream or Benadryl to relieve you of the itchiness and swelling if you are in fact bit. Find our more by reading our Medication and Health Items checklist.

What Else To Pack

Depending upon your location, a really hot day can turn chilly quickly, especially if you are up in the mountains. A sweater or a wrap packed in your luggage is a great idea. Likewise, bring a rain jacket, poncho, or umbrella so rain doesn't get a chance to ruin your outdoor plans.

As you travel between your home and Puerto Rico, and during down time on the island, you may like to have some of your favorite things with you to prevent boredom. These items may include a good book or your e-reader, an mp3 player, a portable DVD player, a personal journal, a laptop, and a hand held video game system, or a deck of cards. Don't forget to pack enough batteries or power cords to get you through your trip.

A camera is another item you won't want to forget, along with any equipment you need to keep it up an running. Brining along a second memory card is advisable, as well. Click here to for a checklist of electronic items you might want to bring. Also take look at our checklist of Other Miscellaneous Items.

Packing Concerns

Many travelers worry that the airline will lose their luggage, and they will be left with nothing to get them through their vacation. The chances of this happening is slim, but if you are worried, pack a full change of clothes, and your swimsuit in your carry on bag. That way, you'll have a backup outfit while you wait for the airline to locate your belongings, or until you have the opportunity to go out shopping for more.

Here's a tip for you: if you're looking to save space, but still have a different outfit for each day of your trip, try packing clothing items in like styles and colors. Items that are interchangeable can be worn in a number of different ways and still look fresh, while saving space. For example, a pair of shorts will pair nicely with a few different shirts, and solid colored shirts and tanks can be layered for a different look each day.

Packing for Puerto Rico is easier than you think when you use our checklist as a guide. Plan in advance and your trip to the island will be that much more enjoyable.


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