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.


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.


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 enjoy shopping for gifts consider heading to Build-A-Bear, which is located in Hato Rey, Puerto Rico. A trip to Build-A-Bear Workshop is an experience. When you walk in the door, you get to choose which type of bear (or other stuffed animal) you'd like to build from scratch in a process called "Choose Me." Then, you walk through the building process by visiting the following stations: Hear Me, Stuff Me, Stitch Me, Fluff Me, Dress Me, and Name Me. If you have questions and want to call before making reservations, do so at (787) 766-0048.

A second place to consider is Mi Pequeno San Juan, which is located 4.2 mi. (6.7 km) away from Build-A-Bear. 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. You'll find them at 107 Calle Cristo.

Still another option is Parrotphernalia Gift Shop. Located at a popular local inn, the Parrotphernalia Gift Shop is a fun and funky little spot where guests and anyone simply walking by can stop to grab a souvenir. Customers can contact them at (787) 823-5654.

Many of the gift and souvenir shops located in Puerto Rico can be seen in the table below.

Gifts and Souvenirs On Puerto Rico
Name Phone Location
Atrium Gift Shop (787) 253-7183 Isla Verde, Eastern part of Puerto Rico
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
Claire's (787) 269-3455 Arecibo, Northwestern part of Puerto Rico
James Souveniers (787) 725-7390 Old San Juan
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
Paco Pepe (787) 860-4412 Fajardo
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
Rincon Souvenir (939) 697-8178 0.9 mi. Southeast of Central Rincón
San Cristobal Visitors' Center -- 0.4 mi. West of Central Viejo San Juan
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 specialty retailers is The Butterfly People. They are found within Old San Juan, in eastern Puerto Rico. The gallery is open everyday from 10:00 a.m. until 6:00 p.m. You'll find them at 152 Fortaleza.

Another option is Taino Divers, which is found 75.4 mi. (121.4 km) from 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. You can call 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. Find them on Route 304.

Take a moment to look through this table to learn more.

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
Casa Cortes Gallery Art Gallery (787) 523-4642 3.4 mi. Northwest of Central San Juan
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
Liceo Del Arte Del Sur Art Gallery (787) 284-5959 Ponce
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
Siena Art Gallery Art Gallery (787) 724-7223 Ocean Park
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

Clothing and Apparel

Want to shop for some clothing? Perhaps you would enjoy Stella Nolasco Boutique Atelier -- which is situated in Old San Juan, in eastern Puerto Rico. Famous around the world for her sense of style that couples modernity with classic styles, Stella Nolasco has dressed celebrities like Beyonce Knowles, Judy Reyes, and Bo Derek. Now, you can wear her designs, too. You'll be able to find them on Avenue de Diego, Plaza de Diego #310 .

A second place to consider is Veronica Boutique -- which is located 27.3 mi. (44.0 km) to the west of Stella Nolasco Boutique Atelier. 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 would like to call before booking a room, you can do so at (787) 854-7281.

A third place to consider is Looks Boutique. Every outfit you own from Looks Boutique will always get that second glance you want when you're wearing something fabulous. Vibrant offerings for all figures are available here, where every woman is made to feel not only beautiful, but electric. Customers can contact them at (787) 731-6484.

The following table shows more details regarding the 20 apparel shops located in Puerto Rico.

Clothing and Apparel On Puerto Rico
Name Phone Location
Cigar House (787) 723-5223 Old San Juan
Concalma (787) 421-4212 Old San Juan, Eastern part of Puerto Rico
Looks Boutique (787) 731-6484 Guaynabo
Natty Surf Boutique (787) 823-7000 Rincón, Western part of Puerto Rico
Passo Boutique (787) 744-7668 Caguas
Piccolina (787) 993-5678 Hato Rey
Pirana Joe San Juan -- Old San Juan, Eastern part of Puerto Rico
Protokolo PR (787) 312-1106 Ocean Park
Sassy Girl (787) 725-2486 Ocean Park
Stella Nolasco Boutique Atelier (787) 723-2897 Old San Juan, Eastern part of Puerto Rico
The/Uncharted/Studio (939) 697-8177 Rincón, Western part of Puerto Rico
Valija Gitana Aguadilla (787) 891-8943 Aguadilla
Valija Gitana Canovanas (787) 886-1615 Canovanas, Eastern part of Puerto Rico
Valija Gitana Guaynobo (787) 782-1885 3.3 mi. North of Central Guaynabo
Valija Gitana Hatillo (787) 880-3000 Hatillo, Western part of Puerto Rico
Valija Gitana Mayaguez (787) 265-5007 2.4 mi. West-Northwest of Central Arecibo
Valija Gitana Plaza del Sol (787) 395-7965 1.7 mi. North of Central Bayamon
Valija Gitana Plaza las Americas (787) 765-7903 1.3 mi. South of Central San Juan
Valija Gitana Ponce (787) 290-0015 1.1 mi. South-Southeast of Central Ponce
Veronica Boutique (787) 854-7281 Manati, Northern part of Puerto Rico

Food and Grocery

Hungry? Kasalta Bakery, Inc. is located in Ocean Park, in eastern Puerto Rico. Elegant and classy, Kasalta Bakery is a favorite spot for a relaxed lunch or dinner in a sleek, clean restaurant. If you want to be sure they're open , call them at (787) 727-6593.

Another possibility is Freshmart, which is located a long distance 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 Customers can reach them 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. They can be found at 304-305 Marginal La Rambla.

Check out this table for 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
Ferrocarril Bakery Bakery (787) 633-6789 Isabela, Western part of Puerto Rico
Freshmart Grocery Store (787) 882-2656 Aguadilla, Western part of Puerto Rico
GNC Aguadilla Nutrition and Body Care Store (787) 891-0980 Aguadilla
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 (787) 721-3358 0.2 mi. North of Central 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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