Puerto Rico is known for being an easy-to-reach travel destination. Not only is it a Commonwealth of the United States, making it easy for U.S. and Canadian citizens to enter, it is also home to a major airline hub and one of the world's largest naturally protected harbors. These factors help plenty of tourists pass through its borders each year.
Airline travel is almost always the fastest and most efficient form of transportation to Puerto Rico. in San Juan is the main airport on the island, and is utilized as a regional hub by international flights. This means that many flights will land here from around the world, then transfer guests to a small flight which will head out to islands that may not have such large airports. Because of this, many travelers to the Caribbean and South America must pass through this island before reaching their final destination.
Although most vacationers fly into Luis Muñoz Marín International Airport, this is not the only airport on the island. In fact, there are 19 municipal airports that are available for use for smaller planes used by locals and tourists who want quick travel time between large cities. You can fly from San Juan to Ponce, Culebra, and Fajardo, just to name a few, rather than make the journey in a rental car and shave hours off your trip, allowing you to focus more time on seeing the sites. Read more about getting around by planes by clicking here.
If sailing on a ship that resembles a resort hotel isn't for you, consider chartering your own boat and sailing to and around Puerto Rico. When you charter a yacht, you can choose to hire a crew along with the boat, which will free up time for you to simply relax and enjoy the journey. If you are a seasoned sailor, however, you can make the trip on your own and have complete control. If you choose to sail on your own, it is important that you aware of all of the entry procedures, like you must contact local customs at least 24 hours before you arrive, and that you'll have to pick up a 12-month cruising permit in Puerto Rico or the the USVI for $25 to $37(USD). Click here to learn more.
Cruise passengers also travel to and from Puerto Rico daily. Though it is a popular cruise port for ships leaving from Florida, visitors shouldn't neglect the idea of taking a cruise that begins and ends in Puerto Rico. This means flying into Puerto Rico and leaving from one of the island's ports. This is a great option for guests who want to spend extended time in Puerto Rico either before or after their cruise because it cuts two days cruising time out of your overall vacation.
The mainland of Puerto Rico consists of an island 35 miles wide by 105 miles long (60 km by 170 km). Sandy beaches and mountain ranges share this space, and visitors hoping to see both can choose between the independence of a rental car or the economy of the islands' unique "publicos."'
Rental cars are widely available in larger cities, and drivers will find roadways fast-moving and well-maintained. Because Puerto Rico is a territory of the United States, driving laws and conditions are similar to those U.S. tourists are used to back home, including driving on the right side of the road and the enforcement of traffic laws. Rental cars are easy to come by for vacationers who have a valid driver's license, and cost about $280(USD) for a weekly rental.
Another good way to take in the amazing island surroundings is by renting a bicycle or moped to do a little two-wheeled exploring. Guided tours can be arranged for travelers who like some structure or are simply wary of striking out on their own. Daily and weekly rates allow visitors to tailor a rental plan for their own convenience and expense. While bikes and mopeds can be a fun way to explore the island, erratic driving by locals should discourage you from using these motorbikes as your main form of transportation. Instead, plan a day or two on a bike to explore some of the more rural areas.
"Publicos," which are a bus/taxi hybrid, have low fares and somewhat flexible routes. Travelers will often find themselves sharing a publico with many locals, making it an ideal form of transportation for those interested in meeting new people. Traditional taxis represent another great option for seeing the region. Two types of taxis allow visitors to choose between a flat-rate ride to predetermined tourist areas or a metered fare available anywhere on the island.
Some places, like Isla Verde, have a free trolley that takes visitors around the city, but if you'll be hopping aboard a regular bus, be on the lookout for signs marked "parada," which will lead you to a bus stop. These generic buses can be quite confusing. If you do plan on utilizing this service, our Puerto Rico Bus Guide is a great place to start understanding.
Transportation shouldn't be limited to land, however. Ferries connect the central island of Puerto Rico to its smaller surrounding islands as well as providing a pleasant way for travelers to see Cataño from Old San Juan. Most vacationers find these quick, inexpensive rides a fantastic way to enjoy the natural scenery while getting from place to place.
Any of these transportation methods for seeing the island have their own advantages, but all will no doubt be rewarding. When traveling within Puerto Rico, getting there is half the fun.
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