Planning a Trip to Puerto Rico: The Step-by-step Guide - ViaHero (2024)

Putting together a Puerto Rico itinerary from start to finish can be super overwhelming—so use this step-by-step guide to plan your trip to Puerto Rico with minimal hassle. And if you have any questions, feel free to send us a message.

To take the stress out of travel planning, connect with a Puerto Rican local. Not only will they design a custom itinerary based on your interests, but they'll let you in on a few of the island's secrets. It's basically like having a best friend in Puerto Rico. Learn more.

Step 1: Choose the best time to go

Planning a Trip to Puerto Rico: The Step-by-step Guide - ViaHero (1)

The best time to visit Puerto Rico really depends on your personal preferences. Puerto Rico’s tourist season runs from December to May because (a) these months tend to be a bit less rainy and (b) people want to escape wintery weather at home. On the flip side, peak season comes with more crowds, and there are just as many amazing things to do in Puerto Rico in the offseason. Plus, the weather is almost identical no matter when you go.

Pro tip: For the best prices, buy your plane tickets at least 2 months in advance of your trip, and don’t forget to look for special flight discounts (think senior citizens, students, groups etc.)

Step 2: Sketch out your itinerary

Make a list, check it twice—it’s time to find out which places to stay are the most...nice…

Sorry. We tried. Anyway, one of the best parts about traveling to Puerto Rico is the island’s size. Since Puerto Rico is only about as big as the state of Connecticut, it’s easy to hit all the tourist attractions—with tons of hidden gems in between—in a relatively short period of time. For this juggling act, we’d recommend getting some input from a local travel planner who knows the island inside and out. They’ll streamline your itinerary with all the sightseeing spots, hidden-gem places to go, and activities you could ever want.

Step 3: Factor in travel time

Planning a Trip to Puerto Rico: The Step-by-step Guide - ViaHero (2)

The amount of time you spend on the airplane is an important detail that often gets lost in the mix. To get the max out of your PR adventure, consider taking an early flight to one of Puerto Rico’s 4 major airports. That way, no matter how long your flight is, you’ll arrive with plenty of energy for tackling some Puerto Rico must-dos. Keep in mind that many attractions are located within a two-hour driving radius of major airports like San Juan.

Pro tip: Most flights to Puerto Rico go through the island’s biggest airport, Luis Munoz Marin International in San Juan. Other airports are located in Aguadilla, Culebra, Mayaguez, Ponce, and Vieques—smaller cities with fewer airline options.

Step 4: Assemble your travel documents

If you’re a US citizen, you don’t need a passport to go to Puerto Rico—just the same ID you’d need to fly anywhere else in the country (one of the many reasons why traveling to Puerto Rico is so easy). For peace of mind, make a photocopy of your ID before you leave, so if it’s misplaced you’re not in too much trouble (and feel free to check out this Puerto Rico travel guide for more helpful tips).

Step 5: Decide what to pack

Planning a Trip to Puerto Rico: The Step-by-step Guide - ViaHero (3)

Bring on the shorts, tank tops, and sundresses—you’re headed to the tropics, baby! Pack your comfiest walking shoes (preferably already broken in)—Puerto Rico’s best places to visit are all walkable. If you forget to bring a few toiletries don’t worry; it’s easy to find convenience stores like Walgreens. Many of Puerto Rico’s best vacation spots are also close to convenience stores or have vendors close by.

Step 6: Let your credit/debit card provider know you’re traveling

Since Puerto Rico uses the US dollar, you don’t need to worry about exchange rates (woo!). However, it doesn’t hurt to call your bank to tell them you’re going to Puerto Rico. That way, they’ll know you’re the one using the card and won’t freeze your account for suspicious activity. And don’t forget to call your cell phone provider too!

Step 7: Outline your budget

Planning a Trip to Puerto Rico: The Step-by-step Guide - ViaHero (4)

Even if you’re trying to take a cheap trip to Puerto Rico (which is actually really easy), you might still be tempted to splurge. One of the best ways to save on Puerto Rico travel is by trying off-the-beaten-path options, like Airbnbs, street food vendors, and free attractions. No matter where you stay in Puerto Rico, you can find good deals.

Pro tip: If you’re trying to figure out what to do in Puerto Rico that’s both fun and inexpensive, consider one of these alternative ways to travel to Puerto Rico in 2024.

Step 8: Weigh your lodging options

Planning a Trip to Puerto Rico: The Step-by-step Guide - ViaHero (5)

While PR has the usual hotel chains found anywhere else in the States, some of the best places to stay in Puerto Rico are anything but usual (think one-of-a-kind lodgings like a treehouse in El Yunque or a seaside villa near Rincon). Don’t stress about finding the ideal place on your own—your trip planner will recommend the best lodging options to fit your budget and preferences.

Step 9: Know how to get around

Since Puerto Rico doesn’t have much by way of public transit, decide in advance how you want to get around the island. Uber is an efficient, cheap way to see some major sites—especially if you’re traveling around San Juan. That said, rental cars average just $25/day and are generally the best way to see Puerto Rico at your own pace.

Pro tip: Many highways were damaged in Hurricane Maria, but have since been repaired. It’s entirely safe to travel through Puerto Rico by car—for more information, check out this Puerto Rico tourism update.

Step 10: Prioritize the highlights you want to see

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We all love our guidebooks and TripAdvisor tips. But odds are, your trip will be more fulfilling if you check off the Puerto Rican wonders that you most want to see. Granted, it doesn’t hurt to head over to vacation spots like El Yunque, San Juan, or any of Puerto Rico’s incredible beaches—but the island’s real wonders are gems only locals can show you.


With this guide, you're almost ready to start planning your trip. But to really take the stress out of travel planning, connect with a Puerto Rico local. They'll design a custom itinerary based on your interests, budget, and travel style—so you'll see the real Puerto Rico, your way. Why see Puerto Rico like a tourist when you could see it like a local? Questions? Send us a message!

  • Connect With a Local to Plan Your Trip
  • The 40 Best Things to Do in Puerto Rico 2024
  • Is It Safe to Go to Puerto Rico Right Now?
  • Traveling to San Juan in 2024: What I Learned
  • Puerto Rico Travel Advisory
  • Travel Agencies in Puerto Rico
  • Contact Us

Planning a Trip to Puerto Rico: The Step-by-step Guide - ViaHero (7)

Planning a Trip to Puerto Rico: The Step-by-step Guide - ViaHero (2024)


How do I prepare for a trip to Puerto Rico? ›

13 things to know before you head to Puerto Rico
  1. Check the visa rules and passport requirements. ...
  2. Rent a car for long-distance road trips when traveling in Puerto Rico. ...
  3. Don't expect to see the whole island in one trip. ...
  4. Pack bathing suits and your Sunday best. ...
  5. Buy tickets ahead for tours and attractions.

How much money should I bring to Puerto Rico for 4 days? ›

The average daily budget for a trip to Puerto Rico can vary widely depending on your travel style and preferences. However, a reasonable estimate is around $100 to $150 per day, which includes accommodations, food, transportation, and activities. Of course, this can be higher or lower depending on your choices.

How long should you plan a trip to Puerto Rico? ›

Enjoy some cold, refreshing coconut water while in Piñones.
  • 7 Days of Puerto Rico for First Time Visitors. ...
  • 6 Days of Culinary Adventures in Puerto Rico. ...
  • 5 Days of Relaxation and Luxury in Puerto Rico. ...
  • 4 Days of Romance and Fun in Puerto Rico. ...
  • 5 Days of Fun for Parents with Younger Kids.

Do U.S. citizens need a passport to go to Puerto Rico? ›

Do I need a passport to visit Puerto Rico? United States citizens and permanent residents don't need a passport to travel to Puerto Rico or the US Virgin Islands.

What is the best month to visit Puerto Rico? ›

The best time to visit Puerto Rico is from mid-April to June, right after the busy winter season and just before the rainy summer (August is the month with the most rainfall). Spring weather is also very pleasant, barely escaping the mid-80s on most days.

What is the best method of travel in Puerto Rico? ›

The best way to get around Puerto Rico is by car if you want to see more than the city in which you're staying, you'll need your own vehicle as intercity train service doesn't exist and intercity bus service is time-consuming and uncomfortable.

How much is an average trip to Puerto Rico? ›

A one week trip to Puerto Rico usually costs around $1,524 for one person and $3,048 for two people. This includes accommodation, food, local transportation, and sightseeing. A two week trip to Puerto Rico on average costs around $3,048 for one person and $6,095 for two people.

Should I bring cash or card to Puerto Rico? ›

I would suggest to take out a good amount of cash before you go to PR because although the typical American franchises on the island do accept debit cards and credit cards, the card readers can be a little iffy. On top of that taking money out of the ATMs can be around $4-$5 for every transaction.

Is Puerto Rico cheaper than Hawaii? ›

Cost. Generally speaking, tourist activities in Puerto Rico tend to be on par or less expensive than Hawaii. For example, when comparing Hawaii versus Puerto Rico hotel prices, a six-night stay at a 3-star hotel in Puerto Rico in October cost roughly $160 nightly, on average.

Where is the best place to visit Puerto Rico for the first time? ›

Old San Juan (Viejo San Juan)

Spanning 500 years of history, Old San Juan is, without a doubt, one of the most iconic and treasured places in Puerto Rico. Wander the cobblestone streets to soak up the unique architecture and colorful streets.

How to plan a trip? ›

  1. List your dream locations and choose your adventure. The first step in vacation planning? ...
  2. Plan your budget. ...
  3. Check your calendar and research dates. ...
  4. Book flights and hotels. ...
  5. Search for deals on activities. ...
  6. Build your ideal itinerary. ...
  7. Pack your bags. ...
  8. Research local customs.

What is the cheapest time to travel to Puerto Rico? ›

Prices for flights, accommodations, food, and activities are generally lowest from August to November — which, again, aligns with the hurricane season.

Does Puerto Rico use USD? ›

Puerto Rico is a territory of the United States and uses the U.S. dollar. The official languages are Spanish and English.

Can I drink tap water in Puerto Rico? ›

Yes! Tap water in Puerto Rico is potable, meaning it is safe to drink and use. I grew up in Puerto Rico, and all of the water provided by the Island's aqueduct, Puerto Rico's Water and Sewage Authority, is potable (that's 97% of the island).

Is it safe to travel to Puerto Rico right now? ›

Puerto Rico sits comfortably under a 'Level One' travel advisory, signaling a call for normal precautions – Canada, the United Kingdom, New Zealand, and Australia all give the green light. For crime concerns, international travel advisories want you to be vigilant against pickpocketing and purse snatching.

Do you still need a Covid test to enter Puerto Rico? ›

Update 2022-06-29: According to information provided by authorities, it is no longer mandatory for international travellers to present a negative test result when entering Puerto Rico. Travellers are still required to show proof of full vaccination, however.

Do you need cash in Puerto Rico? ›

In Puerto Rico, credit card usage is prevalent and widely accepted, especially in urban and tourist areas. However, cash is still commonly used, and the choice between the two often depends on the situation and personal preference.

Can you drink on the beach in Puerto Rico? ›

Note that the legal drinking age in Puerto Rico is 18, but it is strictly forbidden to drink on the streets (the beach is fine).

What to wear in San Juan Puerto Rico? ›

When thinking about what to wear in Puerto Rico, I recommend bringing light fabrics and flowy outfit options. Sun dresses, particularly, are my favorite as they're cute and easy to dress up or down. I also find them very easy to pack as they don't take up much space.


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