Shopping in Puerto Rico

American shoppers will feel right at home in Puerto Rico

Photo credit: © Jorge Quinteros
 

Puerto Rico's visitors from the United States will feel right at home when they go out for shopping trips on the island. Not only is the shopping experience similar, and prices nearly the same, but a sales tax that rivals most states in the U.S. is in full effect.

Where to Shop

Shopping in Puerto Rico is not unlike shopping in the United States. There are super markets, malls, shopping centers, flea markets, open air markets, and stand-alone shops at different locations all throughout the country. Where you are staying, your ability to travel, and the type of items you are looking for will be the biggest factors in the locations at which you shop.

The Old San Juan area has everything you could ask for in a shopping center: book stores, art galleries, clothing boutiques, and jewelry shops. Along Calle Cristo is where you will find the outlet shopping center, while over in Condado and Avenida Ashford is where you will find fashion and luxury items. There are also two craft markets, Plaza de la Darsena (open during the week) and Paseo de la Princesa (open during the weekends).

San Juan is the retail center of Puerto Rico, and home to the largest shopping mall in Puerto Rico, which is Plaza Las Americas. The building holds over 200 shops, restaurants, a bowling alley, and a movie theater.

The area has clothing boutiques and jewelry shops, while Roosevelt Avenue is lined with trendy boutiques.

Over on the east side of the island is the Outlet at Canóvanas; La Plaza de Colòn, Mayaguez Mall are on the west side of the island; and El Muelle Shopping Center and Nueva Plaza Del Mercado can be found on the south side of the island.

If you are planning to visit the small island of Vieques you will find a few small gift shops in the tourist area of Esperanza, as well as a Farmer's Market on Saturdays.

Gifts and Souvenirs

When you shop for souvenirs in Puerto Rico, native handicrafts should be at the top of your list. Purchasing items such as ceramics, cigars, coffee, hammocks, lace work, papier-mâché items, visual arts, wood carvings (especially of religious figures called santos) and woven straw items will not only be an authentic reminder of your trip, but support local artisans.

Grotesque Masks

Made of papier-mâché and worn primarily during Carnival season, grotesque masks serve as both costumes and wall decorations. The masks are half-animal, half-demon faces, with fangs, horns, and bulging eyes. The origin of these masks is still debated, with some believing it dates back to Spain, and others say the tradition is an African one.

Lace

For awhile, it seemed as though the art of lacework in Puerto Rico would die out, but thanks to a recent revival, handmade lade is back in demand once again. Lace making in Puerto Rico dates back to fifth century Spain, and to this day produces a type of lace available only in Puerto Rico and Spain.

Santos

Another age-old craft in Puerto Rico is the production of santos, which are hand-carved wooden figurines of religious idols. This craft dates back to the 16th century, and nearly every home in Puerto Rico has a santo that they pray with regularly.

Outside of local goods, a good bit of digging might procure descent sales on foreign goods such as china, clothes, crystal, and jewelry.

If you're hoping to find some souvenirs you might enjoy a visit to SabaiTao, which is located in Rincón, in western Puerto Rico. Make your feet happy every day of the week from 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. You will be able to find them at 8 Norte Calle Sol.

A second option is El Galpon, which is located a long distance to the east of SabaiTao. If you are looking for a souvenir, but are not looking for magnets or snow-globes, check out El Galpon for some authentic Puerto Rican hats and other gifts. They are situated at 154 Calle Cristo.

A third place to consider is Mi Pequeno San Juan. The owners here painstakingly recreate San Juan on a miniature scale, building by building. You can purchase these pieces of your favorite place, and bring it back with you, or as a gift. The property can be found at 107 Calle Cristo.

Glance through this table to learn more.

Gifts and Souvenirs On Puerto Rico
Name Phone Location
Build-A-Bear (787) 766-0048 Hato Rey, Eastern part of Puerto Rico
Caribbean Novelty (787) 284-5318 1.0 mi. South West of Central Ponce
China House (787) 296-2639 Hato Rey, Eastern part of Puerto Rico
Dream Kandles & Gift Shop (787) 868-6960 Aguada, Western part of Puerto Rico
El Galpon (787) 725-9345 Old San Juan, Eastern part of Puerto Rico
La Barka Smoke & Gift Shop (787) 864-2214 Guayama, Southeastern part of Puerto Rico
La Fortaleza Tours Office & Souvenir Shop -- Old San Juan, Eastern part of Puerto Rico
Mi Pequeno San Juan (787) 977-1636 Old San Juan, Eastern part of Puerto Rico
Nancy Record & Gift Shop (787) 872-4177 Isabela, Western part of Puerto Rico
Parrotphernalia Gift Shop (787) 823-5654 1.9 mi. North of Central Rincón
Pepon Souvenirs (787) 823-1881 Rincón, Western part of Puerto Rico
Puerto Rico Shellcraft (787) 899-2291 Lajas, Western part of Puerto Rico
Regalitos Y Algo Mas (787) 257-2332 1.1 mi. West of Central Carolina
SabaiTao (787) 452-3275 Rincón, Western part of Puerto Rico
San Cristobal Visitors' Center -- 0.4 mi. West of Central Viejo San Juan
Spencer Gifts Llc (787) 881-0099 2.4 mi. West-Northwest of Central Arecibo
Spicy Caribbee (787) 725-4690 Old San Juan, Eastern part of Puerto Rico
The Red Door Boutique & Gift Shop (720) 289-5079 Rincón, Western part of Puerto Rico
Utopia (787) 848-8742 Ponce
Voladoras Gift Shop (787) 877-0744 Moca, Western part of Puerto Rico

Specialty Shops

One of the area's popular speciality shops is The Butterfly People. This venue is found within Old San Juan, in eastern Puerto Rico. Established in 1970, the Butterfly People is one of the more unique art concepts in Puerto Rico. Located in Old San Juan, the Butterfly People invites guests in to view a collection of artwork prepared using the remains of butterflies. They're at 152 Fortaleza.

Another option is Taino Divers, which is found 75.4 mi. (121.4 km) to the west of The Butterfly People. Consistently voted by the people as a top dive operation in the Rincon area with a team of highly knowledgeable and professional, but still fun, divers, Taino Divers can handle all of your diving and other watersports needs. Customers can reach them at (787) 823-6429.

Paradise Scuba Puerto Rico: Paradise Scuba is a dive center that specializes in all forms of water activities from diving and snorkeling tours to boat charters. This center is one of the only centers in the area that offers daily trips to "The Wall" which is one of the most sought after dive sites in the Caribbean. You'll be able to find them on Route 304.

Look through the following chart for more information about your options.

Specialty Shops On Puerto Rico
Name Type Phone Location
Biaggi & Faure Art Gallery (787) 277-2783 3.0 mi. West of Central San Juan
Blue Water Scuba Dive Shop (787) 288-0707 Bayamon
Coral Scuba Shop Dive Shop (787) 817-3716 Arecibo, Northwestern part of Puerto Rico
Galería Éxodo Art Gallery (787) 823-2235 0.8 mi. Southeast of Central Rincón
Galería Éxodo Art Gallery (787) 723-4913 0.1 mi. West of Central Old San Juan
Noryleen Crafts N More Art Gallery (787) 393-6907 Dorado
OBRA Galeria Alegria Art Gallery (787) 723-3206 Ocean Park
Ocean Sports Dive Shop (787) 268-2329 2.4 mi. East of Central San Juan
Oceano Sea Glass Art Gallery (787) 560-2474 Rincón, Western part of Puerto Rico
Pamil Fine Art Art Gallery (787) 756-6831 Ocean Park
Paradise Scuba Puerto Rico Dive Shop (787) 899-7611 La Parguera, Western part of Puerto Rico
Playa Oesta Gallery Art Gallery (787) 823-4424 Rincón, Western part of Puerto Rico
Scuba Dogs Gardenville Dive Shop (787) 783-6377 Guaynabo
Scuba Dogs San Juan Dive Shop (787) 977-0000 Viejo San Juan, Eastern part of Puerto Rico
Sea Ventures Fajardo Dive Center Dive Shop (800) 739-3483 Central Fajardo, Eastern part of Puerto Rico
Sea Ventures Palmas Dive Center Dive Shop (800) 739-3483 Palmas Del Mar, Eastern part of Puerto Rico
Taino Divers Dive Shop (787) 823-6429 1.0 mi. Northwest of Central Rincón
The Butterfly People Art Gallery (787) 723-2432 Old San Juan, Eastern part of Puerto Rico
The Dive Shop Dive Shop (787) 833-6455 Mayagüez
Walter Otero Contemporary Art Art Gallery (787) 627-5797 1.5 mi. East of Central Old San Juan

Clothing and Apparel

Enjoy looking for interesting clothing? You might want to visit Veronica Boutique -- which is located in Manati, in northern Puerto Rico. Veronica Boutique wants to dress you for your special event, be is prom, quinceañera, gala, or ball. Describing the garments offered here would be an understatement, because high end gowns are what this shop is all about. If you want to know more, call them at (787) 854-7281.

Another good option is Stella Nolasco Boutique Atelier -- which is found 27.3 mi. (44.0 km) to the east of Veronica Boutique. Stella Nolasco creates high end, designer clothing that somehow manages to be edgy and soft all at once. Her designs are available at Stella Nolasco Boutique Atttier. You will be able to find them on Avenue de Diego, Plaza de Diego #310 .

Another clothing shop you might enjoy is Ana's Boutique. Ana's Boutique offers one of a kind pieces for formal functions as well as accessories and altering. You can call them at (787) 898-5479.

The chart right below has some key facts regarding the apparel shops located in Puerto Rico.

Clothing and Apparel On Puerto Rico
Name Phone Location
Amazonas Brazil (787) 800-4559 Puerto Rico
Ana's Boutique (787) 898-5479 2.1 mi. West of Central Hatillo
Chik Fit (787) 781-9112 Guaynabo
Chikas Shoe Boutique (787) 462-5488 4.6 mi. North of Central Maricao
Cigar House (787) 723-5223 Old San Juan
Concalma (787) 421-4212 Old San Juan, Eastern part of Puerto Rico
E'Leonor (787) 725-3201 Condado District
Looks Boutique (787) 731-6484 Guaynabo
Marshmallow Women & Girls Fashion (787) 246-1131 Caguas
Passo Boutique (787) 744-7668 Caguas
Perla Negron Boutique (787) 843-5155 Ponce
Piccolina (787) 993-5678 Hato Rey
Pirana Joe San Juan -- Old San Juan, Eastern part of Puerto Rico
Raquel Cohen (787) 789-1303 Guaynabo
Sassy Girl (787) 725-2486 Ocean Park
Stella Nolasco Boutique Atelier (787) 723-2897 Old San Juan, Eastern part of Puerto Rico
The Shoe Closet (787) 708-3399 Guaynabo
The/Uncharted/Studio (939) 697-8177 Rincón, Western part of Puerto Rico
Valija Gitana Aguadilla (787) 891-8943 Aguadilla
Veronica Boutique (787) 854-7281 Manati, Northern part of Puerto Rico

Food and Grocery

Want to check out some local food offerings? Kasalta Bakery, Inc. is located within Ocean Park, in eastern Puerto Rico. This spot is a mixture of a deli, bakery, and bistro, where you'll find a nice selection of gourmet fare. This includes dinner dishes like fish and vegetables, baked goods, sandwiches and the ingredients to make sandwiches, and more. If you're looking to call in advance, do so at (787) 727-6593.

Another option is Freshmart, which is located 71.7 mi. (115.5 km) to the west of Kasalta Bakery, Inc.. RW: Monday to Friday 8:00 am to 7:30 pm; Sunday from 11:00 am to 5:00 pm For customers who want to call before booking a room, do so at (787) 882-2656.

Los Cidrines: The leader in bread making on the island, this company produces and distributes over 300,000 pounds of pastry item every week. You'll find them in every major grocery story around Puerto Rico, and many resorts and hotels use their products as well. You will find them at 304-305 Marginal La Rambla.

Take a minute to read the following table if you want more information.

Food and Grocery Stores On Puerto Rico
Name Type Phone Location
Bonet Liquor Store Beer, Wine, and Liquor Store (787) 823-3504 Rincón, Western part of Puerto Rico
Creaciones De La Cuesta Bakery (787) 891-3705 Aguadilla
Freshmart Grocery Store (787) 882-2656 Aguadilla, Western part of Puerto Rico
GNC Aguadilla Nutrition and Body Care Store (787) 891-0980 Aguadilla
Galeria De Bizcochos Bakery (787) 744-1100 Caguas
J J Cake & Pastries Bakery (787) 703-2853 Caguas
Kasalta Bakery, Inc. Bakery (787) 727-6593 Ocean Park, Eastern part of Puerto Rico
Los Cidrines Bakery (787) 843-1616 Ponce
Mi Pan Asociados Bakery (787) 784-6604 Dorado
Old San Juan Farmers Market Fruit and Vegetable Market -- Old San Juan
Panaderia La Ceiba Bakery (787) 706-8470 Guaynabo
Panificadora Pepan Inc Bakery (787) 767-4222 Rio Piedras
R & R Liquor Store Beer, Wine, and Liquor Store (787) 826-1994 Anasco, Western part of Puerto Rico
Vita Natura Nutrition and Body Care Store (787) 793-8855 Guaynabo
Wine Gourmet Store Beer, Wine, and Liquor Store (787) 884-3431 Manati, Northern part of Puerto Rico

Duties, Taxes, and Tips

Because Puerto Rico is a commonwealth of the United States, vacationers from the U.S. are exempt from duty fees, however taxes are still applied. There is a 7 percent sales tax applied to most items. Prices for most items in Puerto Rico are comparable to those in the United States, so if there is something you plan to purchase while in Puerto Rico, check out the prices in your hometown first. This way you will know when you have found a good deal.

Despite being referred to as a peso, the official currency of Puerto Rico is the United States Dollar (USD).

Compared to the rest of the Caribbean, store hours are much more similar to those in the United States. You can expect shops to remain open from 9 a.m. to at least 9 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and from 11 a.m. until 5 p.m. on Sunday. Click here to read more about business hours of operation.

There is nothing tricky about shopping in Puerto Rico. Shopping hours, prices, taxes, and currency are all similar to what American visitors will experience – the only difference is the unique locally made items that are produced. Pick up a few of these souvenirs before you head home as a symbol of the time you spent on the island.

 

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