10 Things To Know Before Moving To Puerto Rico

Are you considering a move to the beautiful island of Puerto Rico? With its tropical climate, stunning landscapes, and rich cultural heritage, it’s no wonder more and more people are deciding to call this island home. However, there are some important factors to take into account before making the big leap. In this article, we will outline 10 essential things to know before relocating to Puerto Rico.

From understanding the cost of living to exploring the island’s unique political status, it’s crucial to be well-informed to ensure a smooth transition. While the overall cost of living in Puerto Rico is about 13% higher than mainland United States, there are advantages like lower rent for apartments and a slower-paced lifestyle. Plus, with its status as a US territory, citizens do not require a passport to move there.

Make sure to dive into the captivating culture and become familiar with key aspects of daily life, such as language, customs, and local experiences. By doing so, you’ll be better prepared to make the most of your big move. Stay tuned as we uncover the 10 essential things you need to know before embarking on your Puerto Rican adventure.

Language and Culture

Puerto Rico boasts a rich and diverse culture, influenced by its Taíno, Spanish, and African roots. When moving to the island, it is important to appreciate and embrace its unique cultural heritage.

Spanish is the predominant language in Puerto Rico, so it would be beneficial to learn some basic Spanish phrases before moving. However, English is also widely spoken, especially in the cities and tourist areas. In fact, Puerto Rico is officially bilingual, with Spanish being the primary language in daily life while English is used in government and business settings.

The island offers a vibrant arts and music scene, with popular Puerto Rican music genres such as salsa, reggaeton, and bomba. Residents can participate in a variety of local festivals and celebrations that showcase the island’s history, cuisine, and traditions. For instance, the annual San Sebastian Street Festival, or SanSe, is a fantastic opportunity to experience Puerto Rican street art, performances, and live music.

Puerto Rican cuisine is a delightful fusion of Taíno, Spanish, and African flavors. Traditional dishes include arroz con gandules (rice with pigeon peas), lechón (roast pork), and mofongo (a dish made from mashed fried plantains). Make sure to also taste the island’s signature drink, the piña colada.

Family plays a significant role in Puerto Rican culture, with strong familial bonds and frequent gatherings. Puerto Ricans are known for their warm hospitality and friendly attitude towards newcomers. Moving to Puerto Rico will undoubtedly provide the opportunity to make wonderful connections and immerse oneself in this vibrant culture.

Housing and Cost of Living

If you’re considering moving to Puerto Rico, it’s essential to understand the housing market and cost of living on the island. The cost of living in Puerto Rico is generally lower than the mainland US, but it varies across the island. With a wide range of property options, including apartments, condos, and houses, you’re sure to find something to suit your preferences and budget.

Monthly rent for a one-bedroom apartment in Puerto Rico typically ranges from $500 to $1,500, depending on the location and quality of the property. When purchasing a property, prices can greatly vary based on location, size, and condition. It’s important to do your research and consider working with a real estate agent to find the best deals on the market.

When it comes to utilities, the good news is that you can save on heating bills since the moderate temperatures of Puerto Rico average between 75-85 degrees Fahrenheit (24-29 degrees Celsius) year-round. Furnaces are not needed, but air conditioning is common, especially during the hot summer months of July and August. Electricity and water costs may be slightly higher than what you’re used to in the mainland US, mainly due to Puerto Rico’s reliance on imported oil for power generation.

Here’s a quick breakdown of the average monthly utility costs:

  • Electricity: $75 – $200 (depending on consumption)
  • Water: $40 – $60
  • Internet: $40 – $70

It is also worth noting that Puerto Rico offers a rich culture, tropical weather, and a slower pace of life, enhancing the island’s appeal and making it a desirable place to call home.

So, as you plan your move to Puerto Rico, take into consideration the housing options, cost of living, and utility expenses you may encounter on the island. With thorough research and a clear understanding of what to expect, you’ll be well-prepared to make a smooth transition to your new life in this beautiful tropical paradise.


When moving to Puerto Rico, it’s essential to familiarize yourself with the different transportation options available. The island offers various modes of transportation to suit different preferences and budgets.

One of the primary means of transportation in Puerto Rico is car ownership. Many residents rely on their cars to get around, especially in areas outside of San Juan. If you plan to own a car, be prepared for traffic during peak hours. Puerto Rico’s traffic can be congested, particularly in the metropolitan areas. However, driving around the island presents an opportunity to explore its gorgeous scenery with relative ease.

Public transportation is available, but its accessibility and reliability can vary depending on your location. The most extensive public transportation system is available in San Juan, where you’ll find the Tren Urbano, a metro-like train that connects parts of the city. Additionally, buses (known as “guaguas”) service the main urban areas, though they might be less frequent outside of San Juan.

Another convenient option to get around Puerto Rico is renting a car. Several rental agencies operate on the island, offering a wide range of vehicles to suit your needs. Renting a car is a flexible choice, particularly for those who want to visit different parts of the island at their leisure. However, remember to take into account the cost of renting, insurance, and gas.

Although not as modern or extensive as you might find in other locations, taxis and ride-hailing apps like Uber can offer a suitable means of transportation, especially in cities like San Juan. They can be a bit pricier than public transport but offer a faster and more convenient option for short distances or when you’re in a rush.

In summary, when moving to Puerto Rico, consider your daily transportation needs and evaluate which option works best for you. It’s essential to factor in the local traffic conditions, public transportation availability, and any associated costs to make your life on the island as enjoyable as possible.

Climate and Weather

Puerto Rico has a lovely tropical climate with temperatures averaging between 75-85 degrees Fahrenheit (24-29 degrees Celsius) throughout the year. The island experiences warm weather year-round, making it an attractive destination for those looking to escape colder climates. However, it’s essential to understand the different weather patterns to choose the best time for a move.

The island’s climate can be generally categorized into the following regional patterns:

  • Eastern Region
  • Western Region
  • Central Region
  • Northern Region
  • South Region

Each region experiences its own unique blend of temperatures, rainfall, and humidity. While the coastal areas tend to be warmer and more humid, the central region, particularly the mountainous areas, experiences cooler temperatures and higher rainfall levels.

Another crucial aspect of Puerto Rico’s weather is hurricane season. This typically runs from June 1st to November 30th, with the peak occurring between August and October. In recent history, hurricanes have caused significant damage to the island’s infrastructure, so it’s essential to consider potential risks and to prepare for such events.

In conclusion, it is important to understand that the island’s climate and weather patterns vary by region and may be significantly impacted by hurricane season. By researching and planning adequately, you can find the perfect region and time to make your move to Puerto Rico.

Lifestyle and Food

Puerto Rico offers a vibrant lifestyle with a mix of stunning natural beauty, rich culture, and delicious cuisine. The island is filled with beautiful beaches, lush mountains, and a tropical rainforest, which makes it an attractive place for outdoor enthusiasts.

The Puerto Rican culture is a blend of indigenous, African, and Spanish influences. Local festivals and events are a great way to experience this unique fusion. As an unincorporated territory of the United States, Puerto Rico offers the advantage of familiar retailers, brands, and shopping experiences, making it easier for newcomers to feel at home.

When it comes to food, Puerto Rico boasts a culinary scene that is full of flavor, drawing from its diverse cultural heritage. The traditional cuisine, known as “cocina criolla,” primarily consists of rice, beans, plantains, meat, and seafood. Some signature dishes include mofongo (mashed fried plantains), asopao (rice and chicken soup), and lechón (roasted suckling pig). Street food lovers will also find a variety of snacks and treats at local food trucks and kiosks.

Beaches in Puerto Rico are some of the most picturesque in the Caribbean, with white sandy shores and crystal-clear turquoise waters. There are over 270 miles of coastline, offering endless options for beachgoers. Popular beaches such as Flamenco Beach in Culebra and Luquillo Beach in Luquillo are frequented by both locals and tourists alike.

For those who prefer the mountains, Puerto Rico offers ample opportunities for hiking and nature-watching. The El Yunque National Forest, located in the northeastern part of the island, is the only tropical rainforest in the US National Forest System. This lush paradise is home to numerous waterfalls, scenic vistas, and unique flora and fauna – perfect for a day of exploration and adventure.

In summary, Puerto Rico’s combination of idyllic landscapes, inviting culture, and savory cuisine make it an exciting and unique destination for those considering a move to the enchanting island.

Tax Benefits and Incentives

Moving to Puerto Rico offers numerous tax benefits and incentives for new residents. These advantages have the potential to save you a significant amount of money on your tax return and even provide tax-free income in some cases. One of the primary laws benefiting new residents is Act 60.

Act 60, formerly known as Act 20 and Act 22, aims to boost the island’s economy by attracting high-net-worth individuals and businesses. This legislation provides substantial tax benefits, such as:

  • Tax-free interest and dividends earned after becoming a resident
  • No long-term capital gains tax on appreciation after you become a resident
  • 5% tax on long-term capital gains on assets acquired before moving to Puerto Rico

To maximize these tax savings, it’s essential to become a bona fide resident of Puerto Rico. This means relocating your primary home, spending more than 183 days per year on the island, and passing other residency tests.

Additionally, businesses can enjoy tax incentives from Act 60’s Export Services Act (formerly Act 20). This act offers substantial benefits, including:

  • A reduced 4% corporate tax rate for eligible service providers
  • 100% tax exemption on dividends or profit distributions from eligible businesses
  • 50% tax credit for research and development activities

In order to qualify for these benefits, businesses must meet specific requirements and apply through the appropriate channels.

It’s also worth mentioning that there’s no U.S. tax withholding on payments from U.S. customers to Puerto Rico businesses, which can be a significant source of tax savings.

In conclusion, Puerto Rico’s tax benefits and incentives can be a powerful motivation for individuals and businesses considering relocation. However, it’s crucial to research the qualifications and requirements thoroughly to ensure you take full advantage of these opportunities.

Working and Doing Business

Relocating to Puerto Rico can be an attractive option for many, especially given the island’s generous tax incentives. For those considering moving to this destination, it’s important to understand the working environment and business climate in order to make the most of the opportunities available.

Puerto Rico is a US territory, so US citizens do not need a visa to work on the island. It’s important to note, however, that the bureaucracy might be slightly different compared to the mainland US. Before moving, it is required to obtain a criminal background check from the state you currently reside in.

The island has been working hard to create a business-friendly atmosphere, with the government taking significant steps to attract foreign investment. The tax benefits are a key aspect of these efforts, allowing individuals and businesses to enjoy lower taxes compared to the mainland US, thanks to legislation like Act 60.

When setting up a business in Puerto Rico, there might be some local requirements and regulations to consider. It’s crucial to familiarize yourself with these to ensure a smooth entry into the market, and to avoid potential legal issues.

The cost of living in Puerto Rico is about 13% higher than in the mainland US. This is partly due to The Jones Act of 1920, which requires that everything that comes to the island must first be shipped to the States before being transported to Puerto Rico by US transport, increasing cost.

In conclusion, moving to Puerto Rico to work or set up a business can be an advantageous decision due to its tax incentives and business-friendly environment. Thorough preparation and research before moving, such as understanding the cost of living, adhering to bureaucratic requirements, and familiarizing oneself with the local market, can help ensure a successful transition.

Relocation Process

Moving to Puerto Rico can be an exciting adventure, and understanding the necessary steps to relocate successfully will make the process smoother. As a U.S. territory, relocating to Puerto Rico is relatively easy for U.S. citizens. Here are some key aspects to consider when planning your move.

Firstly, no passport is required for U.S. citizens moving to Puerto Rico, as it is considered a domestic flight. However, a valid government-issued photo ID, such as a driver’s license, will be necessary for identification purposes. It’s essential to have your birth certificate and Social Security card with you during the move. These documents are vital for various legal and administrative processes, such as obtaining a driver’s license, registering your vehicle, and applying for residency.

One critical aspect of relocating to Puerto Rico is establishing bona fide residency. It entails fulfilling specific requirements, such as being present in the territory for at least 183 days per calendar year and not having close connections to the mainland United States. Bona fide residency is essential for those looking to benefit from Puerto Rico’s Act 60 tax incentives, which offer lower tax rates on certain types of income. Keep in mind that not all types of income qualify for these tax benefits.

When moving to Puerto Rico, it is essential to know the local customs regulations. You may need to fill out a U.S. Customs form and provide original power of attorney documents to facilitate the importation of your household belongings. Research beforehand to avoid any complications during the relocation process.

In preparation for your move, consider requesting a background check from your home state, as Puerto Rico wants to ensure the individuals moving to the island don’t have any criminal backgrounds. Procedures for obtaining a background check may vary by state, so familiarize yourself with your specific state’s requirements.

Lastly, it’s important to familiarize yourself with Puerto Rico’s real estate market and legal matters. Consulting with a real estate professional who specializes in mid-to ultra-luxury properties can help you find the perfect home to buy or rent. They can also provide valuable insights on legal matters related to notaries, banks, and other relocation-related concerns.

In summary, moving to Puerto Rico involves logistical considerations, including documentation, establishing residency, and familiarizing yourself with local customs and regulations. A well-planned move will help you ensure a smooth transition into your new life on this beautiful island.

Exploring Puerto Rico

Puerto Rico, a beautiful Caribbean island, is a U.S. territory with a rich history and diverse attractions that cater to tourists from around the world. The island offers a mix of urban life in bustling cities and a tropical paradise with various natural wonders, ideal for a vacation or as a new home.

When relocating to Puerto Rico, one can experience the vibrant culture in its cities. San Juan, the capital, boasts colonial-era architecture, lively neighborhoods, and delightful cuisine. Ponce, another major city, is known for its art museums and historic sites.

Nature lovers won’t be disappointed with Puerto Rico’s diverse landscapes. The island is home to El Yunque, the only tropical rainforest in the U.S. National Forest system. Hiking through this lush environment, one can encounter numerous waterfalls, unique flora and fauna, and breathtaking views. Additionally, there are stunning beaches, such as Flamenco Beach in Culebra and Playa Sucia in Cabo Rojo, perfect for relaxing by the crystal-clear waters and soaking up the sun.

Renting a car and driving around the island can serve as an adventurous way to explore Puerto Rico. However, bear in mind that driving conditions might differ from mainland U.S., and some roads can be challenging. Using a reliable GPS and staying aware of your surroundings will make your drive safer and more enjoyable.

While there are many pros to living in Puerto Rico, it’s essential to also consider potential cons. The island is known for its frequent power outages and tropical storms. However, with proper preparation and awareness of the weather situation, you can navigate these challenges.

In summary, Puerto Rico offers a diverse range of activities and attractions, with charming cities, stunning natural environments, and friendly people. Whether you’re on vacation or planning to relocate, exploring Puerto Rico promises a truly unforgettable experience.

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