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Traveling to Puerto Rico

Take some time and travel to a tropical island. Hire a cast of thousands to play friendly, welcoming people most of whom speak English (in addition to their native Spanish). When you are looking for exotic locations, miles upon miles of white sand beaches, plus an unbelievable rain forest and mountains, you come to Puerto Rico.

Puerto Rico is a modern progressive and civilized vacation spot that maintains the charm and hospitality of days gone by. You will find everything that the Caribbean has to offer in this all around family destination – and with it is a people whose warmth is equaled only by the sunshine that graces its shores.

Before you go on your trip to Puerto Rico, find out all the basics and all the facts.

When to Go

Puerto Rico enjoys year round summer temperatures, an average annual temperature of 80°F (26°C). The peak tourist season is between December and April, but this has more to do with the climate in U.S. mainland than anything else. July and August represents another peak tourist seasons. The best time to avoid the crowds is the low season between May and November, which, unfortunately, coincides with hurricane season (officially — from June 1 to November 30). In recent years, Puerto Rico has also become popular Spring Break destination.

How to Get and Around Puerto Rico

It’s easy to find your way to and around. There is a wide selection of flights and cruises to Puerto Rico, and there are several ways of getting around when you arrive.

Best Places to Visit in Puerto Rico

Looking for the best of the best? Ask anyone individual and you will get as many different answers as people you ask. Each person sees a different picture of Puerto Rico. Sights, sounds and experiences will forever be embedded in the memories of those who come to visit. The Best of the Best by Frommers offers recommendations to visitors for a must see places, cities. or scenery.

Time

Atlantic Standard Time (AST) (EST +1; GMT -4) all year around, which means that the island does not observe Daylight Saving Time (one hour later than Eastern Standard Time (EST) from October to April, and the same as Eastern Daylight Saving Time from the first Sunday in April to the last Sunday in October).

For the exact time of day call: 787-728-9595.

Gateways & Flying Times

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Tourism Brochures and Other Literature

The Puerto Rico Tourism Company, the island’s official tourist center, produces and distributes several publications. The most popular is Qué Pasa! magazine, a bimonthly magazine that extols Puerto Rico’s vast number of tourist attractions and natural wonders available throughout the island. Featuring outstanding photography and packed with information, every issue of Qué Pasa! includes useful and fully updated lodging and restaurant listings, detailed full-color maps for touring the Island, engrossing feature articles plus vital information on Puerto Rico’s history, local cuisine and night life, arts and crafts, folklore, sports and much more.

For a full information package, call the Puerto Rico Tourism Company at 1-800-866-7827. The official tourism guide is the Que Pasa! magazine, it includes information on accommodations, restaurants, shopping centers, casinos, transportation services, special events and fiestas.

Some other magazines and guides to look for include: Tables Magazine, Places to Go, San Juan Guide, Bienvenidos and Go To Puerto Rico Travel Planner.

You can also buy maps practically at any store or gas station. Many recommend the Puerto Rico Adventure Map. which contains the most current and accurate map information available. If you are renting a car, the car rental agency may also provide you with a map, usually by request.

If you prefer to study your route before traveling you can purchase or download maps online.

Accommodations

Puerto Rico offers a huge variety of lodgings that will appeal to a multiplicity of personalities and pocketbooks. There are 13,000 hotel rooms available in Puerto Rico (2010), 50% are located in the San Juan area. The government sponsors “Paradores Puertorriqueños”, a group of 18 inns located throughout the island. Quality and prices varies among the group. A centralized reservation and information system has been set up. (From the U.S. call 1-800-443-0266. Outside of the San Juan metro area, call 1-800-981-7575. Within the San Juan area, call (787) 721-2884.)

If you are planning on renting, buying or leasing property on the island, Real Estate Agencies offer a variety of services, whether it is a small quiet home or a vacation rental, real estate agents will provide you with the information you need. There is a wide selection of rental properties available in San Juan and throughout the island at beach and resort areas.

Courtesy & Dress

Puerto Ricans are a gentle and friendly people. The island feels more like Latin America than the United States. Swim wear is fine for the beach and leisure wear for the resorts, but elsewhere a little dressing up is in order. Night time in San Juan is somewhat informal.

Light and loose cotton clothing is the best bet year-round for Puerto Rico’s warm tropical climate. Pack a sweater for cool season evenings or if you plan to visit the mountain regions.

There are no nudist facilities (camps and/or beaches) in Puerto Rico. Nudism is illegal in Puerto Rico.

Getting Married in Puerto Rico

Puerto Rico is the perfect destination for an unforgettable wedding. The island provides a wide range of location options that you can choose from, colornial forts, sandy beaches and tropical forests.

Health and Medical Facilities

Health standards in Puerto Rico are generally comparable with those of the United States, its medical facilities are among the finest in the Caribbean. There are physicians and hospitals in all cities. For more information contact the “Departamento de Salud” (Department of Health), (787) 766-1616. Physicians 1 doctor per 523 people Hospital beds (1 per 381 persons) (1993-94) Infant mortality rate: total: 9.14 deaths/1,000 live births (2006 est.)

Handicapped Facilities

Like all major destinations in the world, Puerto Rico provides comfortable conditions for travelers with disabilities. Since Puerto Rico is a territory of the United States business that provides goods or services to the public must comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

All public buildings are wheelchair accessible and have accessible rest rooms. Most hotels and attractions provide wide doorways, wheelchair ramps and elevators.

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For information call: (787) 721-2800, Ex. 1549.

Medications

Bring enough prescription medication for your stay. Unexpected delays and extended stays can upset your medication regimen. Similar to the United States, pharmacists cannot distribute prescription medications without authorization from a doctor.

Vaccinations

No vaccinations are required for visitors to Puerto Rico. However, those arriving from, or transiting through countries where a health epidemic has been formally declared, may need proof of vaccination before they can enter the island.

Vital Records

Puerto Rico Department of Health issues certified copies of Puerto Rico birth certificates. death records. marriage licenses. and divorce decrees for events that occurred within Puerto Rico.

For faster service, visit one of the many offices located throughout the island.

Personal Safety

Robbery and theft does happen occasionally as any place else, but you need not be concerned. Just don’t be too careless. Women can wear as much jewelry as they want anywhere (as the locals do) with no fear.

Always keep a copy of your documents with you. Take precaution and make copies of your important documents. Keep a copy at home. Take a copy with you and leave the originals in a safe place in your hotel room or wherever you are staying.

Travel Insurance

It is a good idea to take out travel insurance covering cancellations, lost or stolen property, injury, and illness. You’re likely to have partial or complete coverage.

Some credit and charge cards provide health insurance for travelers.

Currency

Puerto Rico is a commonwealth of the US and uses the dollar. The US dollar is often referred to as the “peso.”

Currency Exchange

Currency Exchange can be arranged through many institutions in Puerto Rico, including:

  • Banco Popular. Foreign currency exchange: any branch. International division, second floor, 1500 Ponce de León, corner Europa, Santurce, (787) 723-0077.
  • Caribbean Foreign Exchange. 201B Tetuan, Old San Juan. (787) 722-8222.
  • Thomas Cook Foreign Exchange. International Airport, Isla Verde. (787) 791-1960, (787) 791-2233. Popular Center Building, Hato Rey (787) 754-2228.
  • Scotia Bank of Puerto Rico. Canadian exchange only. Any branch. (787) 758-8989.
  • Western Union. Cable money transfer. All Pueblo supermarkets (800) 325-4046.

Banking hours are 9am to 3:30pm.

Currency Exchange Rates

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