The Ultimate Guide to Puerto Rico Solo Travel

The Ultimate Guide to Puerto Rico Solo Travel

ViaHero · June 11, 2019

Traveling solo to Puerto Rico? Here’s everything you’ll need to know, including information on sightseeing safely, where to stay, how to get around, where to eat solo, and tips for female solo travelers.

Remember: traveling solo doesn’t have to mean traveling without support. Have a Puerto Rican local help plan your trip—they’ll help you see PR like a local, and they’ll have your back with 24/7 phone support. Learn more here.

There are lots of great places to stay for solo travelers

Solo travelers in Puerto Rico have lots of lodging options
Beaches of Puerto Rico | Prayitno/Flickr

When selecting from the best places to stay in Puerto Rico, there are two important questions to consider.

1. Which city or town do you want to stay in?

• Puerto Rico’s bigger cities like San Juan or Ponce have diverse lodging options, from pricier resorts to super-affordable Airbnbs. All of these are great for solo travelers, since they’re so centrally located.

• Additionally, Old San Juan itself is quite small—meaning that wherever you stay, you’ll be close to lots of Puerto Rico’s most popular things to do (and people to do them with).

• That said, smaller towns like Utuado or Rincon offer unique, budget-friendly options like rooms in coffee haciendas or family-owned inns, which also offer great options for meeting locals and fellow travelers.

2. Which type of lodging do you want?

• Puerto Rico is very safe to visit, so you don’t have to stick with familiar, big-name hotels, (where all-inclusive packages don’t leave many chances to meet new local friends or experience authentic Puerto Rican culture).

• That said, these hotels do exist if that’s your jam!

• Instead, we’d recommend checking into paradores, quaint family-owned inns where you can stay for $90 to $185 per night (pretty darn good for Puerto Rico prices).

Pro tip: Have a local Puerto Rican trip planner recommend accommodations that’ll fit your travel style, interests, and budget.

It’s a breeze to get around Puerto Rico on your own

It's a breeze to get around Puerto Rico as a solo traveler
Ferry from Vieques | Arnob Alam/Flickr

When you know the ins and outs of the island’s transportation, it becomes really easy to find incredible things to do in Puerto Rico at any price point. Here’s what you should know:

• Rental cars normally go for between $10 and $14 a day—totally doable for solo tours of Puerto Rico. Bookings can be made easily and affordably without hiring a Puerto Rico travel agent. Also, keep in mind that Puerto Rico is pretty small; a drive straight across Puerto Rico takes about 2 hours. All you need is a US driver’s license, and you’re good to hit the road.

• Public shuttles and taxis are also safe to use, averaging just $5–$15 per trip.

• Ferries run to Puerto Rico’s outer islands like Vieques and Culebra for about $2 per trip. Ferry timetables vary according to dates and weather, so make sure to chat with a local for up-to-date ferry information.

• Since Puerto Rico is about the size of Connecticut, it’s much cheaper to rent a car than to fly cross-country. However, if you’re going to Puerto Rico’s outer islands and don’t want to take a ferry, flights are the best way to go. For example, a flight from San Juan to Vieques averages $175 and cuts your travel time by 25–30 minutes.

Pro tip: Right now, Uber is available in San Juan and is planning on expanding to more Puerto Rican cities soon. Until then, use a step-by-step guide to Puerto Rico travel to discover more inexpensive ways to explore the island.

Eating solo in Puerto Rico is a piece of cake (ba-dum)

Eating solo is a piece of cake for solo travelers in Puerto Rico
Solo travelers have many culinary options | Victoria Bilsborough/Unsplash

Want amazing meals but don’t have someone to split the bill with? Have no fear—food in Puerto Rico is super easy on solo travel budgets.

• Predictably, food tends to be most expensive around Puerto Rico's most popular tourist attractions. For example, Condado, a luxurious neighborhood in San Juan, is home to five-star restaurants and $10 ice cream cones. You can get the same (if not even better) flavors in San Juan neighborhoods like Santurce, home to the Miramar Food Truck Park and $2 tacos.

• Street food is safe to eat and packed with flavor. Try locally-favorite spots like La Ruta Lechon (“The Pork Highway”), a 3-mile stretch of highway in central Puerto Rico known for its mouth-watering (and super cheap) BBQ.

• Puerto Rico’s bakeries are one of the island’s best-kept secrets. For under $3, you can get fresh-baked bread, pastries, and sandwiches almost anywhere on the island. We’d travel to San Juan just for Jose Enrique Bakery’s sweet bread.

• Tours of distilleries and breweries frequently include free drinks—much better than pricey drinks at the bar. For example, a tour of Bacardi Rum Distillery, one of Puerto Rico’s best excursions, includes two free drinks.

Solo sightseeing in Puerto Rico is easy and safe with just a little info

Sightseeing is easy and safe for solo travelers in Puerto RIco
Sightseeing in San Juan | Roger W/Flickr

The number one way to stay safe while sightseeing? Do your homework before you travel to Puerto Rico. By keeping up with the most recent Puerto Rico tourism updates, you’ll know exactly what to expect when it comes to important info like hurricane season. Here are the PR safety tips you’ll want to know:  

• Since Puerto Rico is a part of the US, solo American travelers have the same standards of safety as at home—in fact, Americans going to Puerto Rico don’t even need passports.

• Many Puerto Ricans know at least basic English, so Spanish fluency isn’t necessary for getting around Puerto Rico safely. Having a small list of common Spanish phrases or using language apps might help you feel more comfortable, though.

• Solo travelers can easily (and safely) go for a night on the town to meet new local friends. Puerto Ricans usually have a “never-met-a-stranger” mentality that makes it easy to find dance partners and drinking buddies.

• PR’s emergency number is 911, just the same as the mainland US.

• Make sure any Puerto Rico travel advisories come from reliable sources, like on-the-ground government agencies or Puerto Rican travel experts. Keep tabs on everything from travel safety tips (i.e., favorite areas of pickpockets or potential scams) to more serious updates like incoming storms.  

Pro tip: Some areas of Puerto Rico are less safe for solo travelers after dark, particularly in bigger cities like San Juan. Ask a Puerto Rican local about the best neighborhoods, beaches, and clubs for solo travelers—and which ones you should avoid.

There are lots of travel hacks for solo female travelers

Women love solo travel in Puerto Rico
Solo travel is safe for women in PR | Jewel Alexandra/Unsplash

Puerto Rico is very safe to visit for solo female travelers, particularly if you exercise a little travel know-how and keep these tips in mind:

• Know which cities and towns are most welcoming to solo female travelers. Tips from women who actually live in Puerto Rico will take you a long way here, especially since they can recommend family-owned hotels or local lodgings that are safe and authentic.

• While it’s annoying, cat-calling is best ignored. Overall, cat-calling in Puerto Rico is no worse than anywhere else in the mainland US.

• Avoid having belongings or valuables stolen by wearing cross-body purses, carrying minimal cash, and wearing minimal jewelry. Anything you would be devastated to lose is best left at home.

• It’s common sense, but worth repeating—don’t accept drinks or food from strangers. Tainted drinks, drugging, and assault are uncommon in Puerto Rico and no worse than other US destinations, but still.

• As far as dress codes go, some of Puerto Rico's must-visit places (like churches or restaurants) generally require attendees to dress up. Harassment related to clothing is uncommon and not something that solo females regularly deal with. PR is really warm, and people tend to dress for the weather.

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All about that solo travel life? You’re just our type. Get in touch with a Hero, a Puerto Rican local who knows all the ins and outs of solo travel in Puerto Rico. They’ll make you a personalized itinerary and guidebook to show you the island like a local. Seriously, don’t spend hours planning only to find out that you’re missing out on the *real* gems! Any questions? Send us a message, and check out:

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