Is Puerto Rico Safe for Travel in 2020?

Updated March 16, 2020

Generally, Puerto Rico is a safe place to visit. And, generally, we highly encourage tourism to this fantastic destination because of the powerful impact it has on Puerto Rico's economy. Below, we've detailed why Puerto Rico is a safe place to visit—in normal circumstances. 

However, the island has announced its first confirmed cases of coronavirus. Check out our update below: 

"Linelly helped us beyond anything we could've planned ourselves. Everything she suggested for us was spot-on, and I feel we got the best experience by following a local's guidance."
Kate, Recent Traveler
Kate, Recent Traveler

UPDATE: What to know about coronavirus

Like most places around the world, Puerto Rico has confirmed cases of coronavirus

Please read our full update about travel and coronavirus HERE. It includes info on our flexible cancelation policy. 

And if you're looking for specific info on Puerto Rico, reach out to one of our local trip planners. It's free to send a message. 

In the meantime, read on to learn why Puerto Rico is safe—in normal circumstances. We love this island destination, and can't wait to visit it again ourselves. 

Puerto Rico has largely recovered from Hurricane Maria

Hurricane Maria ravaged Puerto Rico in Fall 2017, tragically killing countless American citizens and destroying much of the island’s infrastructure. However, over the past 2 years, Puerto Rico’s tourism, economy, and natural wonders are well on their way to restoration.

It's an impressive recovery given well-documented issues with federal relief efforts and major political shifts.

With Puerto Rico’s hurricane recovery in its final stages, here are the latest updates on safety at some of the island's popular attractions

As for future storms, keep in mind that your chances of experiencing a hurricane are low. Don’t be dissuaded from seeing all the incredible things Puerto Rico has to offer. Hurricane season is from June to November—and if a storm hits, there will be advance warning.

When a ViaHero local help to plan your trip, 70% of the cost goes directly to the local. Short of donating to charity, spending tourism dollars is one of the easiest ways to help the island recover

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Crime rates are lower than many U.S. states

According to FBI statistics, Puerto Rico has a lower violent crime rate than many US states including California, New York, Washington, and Texas. Plus, according to US News and World Report, San Juan’s crime rate is far below the national average.

Puerto Rico is an American territory. That means that the laws and police departments function as they do in the United States. The FBI reports that Puerto Rico's violent crime rates are low—and serious crimes are most often found in neighborhoods where few travelers venture.

Petty theft is the main problem

Petty theft—especially pickpocketing—is the most common issue travelers face in Puerto Rico. Stay aware, take normal precautions, and get some helpful safety tips from a local—after all, no one knows a place like the people who live there. Our trip planners in Puerto Rico will design your trip with safety in mind. 

Most areas of San Juan are safe

Most neighborhoods in San Juan are safe during the day, but at night certain places can get a bit sketchy. Locals recommend that these San Juan neighborhoods are safe during the day or night

Old San Juan, Santurce, Parque de las Palomas, Condado, Miramar, Isla Verde, Santa Teresita, Ocean Park, Hato Rey, Piñones, and Rio Piedras.

And these neighborhoods are generally safe only during the day:

Piñones, Santurce, Parque de las Palomas, La Perla (though this is debated), and Puerta de Tierra.

    Looking for more info about ViaHero and what to expect? Feel free to chat with one of our Puerto Rico locals.

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    No special vaccinations are needed

    Another reason to visit Puerto Rico: you probably have all your necessary vaccinations already. The CDC only recommends getting the Typhoid and Hepatitis A vaccines (if you don’t already have them), particularly if you’re visiting Puerto Rico’s more off-the-beaten-path places

    Note: Although there is no current outbreak of Zika in Puerto Rico, you should consult your doctor about precautions (including vaccines) before you make travel plans.

    The water quality is generally good

    Many people in Puerto Rico opt to buy bottled water—however, the EPA has reported that the island's water quality is generally good. Rural areas (about 3% of the island) have issues with water availability. However, in cities like San Juan you should be fine drinking tap water. 

    You can always buy bottled water to allay any concerns. Or, better yet, invest in a reusable water bottle with a filter. Doing so is a great way to travel in a sustainable way.

    Uber is a solid way to travel

    Taxis can be a bit hit-and-miss in San Juan (and Puerto Rico in general). If you do decide to take a cab, just make sure there’s a meter and that you’ve negotiated your rate in advance so you don’t get ripped off. Or, you can just take an Uber! It's way easier and really cheap. Transportation to and from the airport is also easy to book in advance.

    Languages spoken in Puerto Rico

    If you run into any issues, don’t worry about a language gap—English is the official second language of Puerto Rico, and is widely spoken (especially by authorities). It’s one of the big reasons Puerto Rico is a great travel destination for mainland Americans.

    Still have questions about travel to Puerto Rico?
    Why not ask someone who lives there? ViaHero connects you with a local to help plan your trip. They’ll create a guidebook based on your personal travel style.
    You’ll see a unique side of a destination and travel independently—all while saving time and money in the planning process. Find a local today.

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