ViaHero · Updated January 28, 2019
Puerto Rico has had a really hard go of things this past year. And it’s true—the island hasn’t fully recovered from Hurricane Maria. But that’s just all the more reason you should go; in fact, 2019 is the absolute right time to visit The Island of Enchantment. This tourism update will show you 7 reasons why.
Want to explore Puerto Rico differently? Have a local plan your trip.
Update 1/28/19: With the government shutdown over, Puerto Rico tourism is back to normal
With the end of the 2019 government shutdown, travelers to San Juan can once again tour the interiors of Castillo San Felipe del Morro and Castillo San Cristobal (the city's two massive forts). El Yunque and other public parks are once again accessible, and other tourism points are back to normal. For more information, feel free to contact a local Puerto Rican travel expert directly.
However, it has to be said that the shutdown unduly affected Puerto Ricans more than many other American citizens—which is all the more reason to travel there right now. Here's why:
#1: Tourism is the best way to help the recovery process
Seriously. Aside from donating to charity, traveling to Puerto Rico is the best way to help the island recover from Hurricane Maria. Why? It’s simple—money. Hurricane Maria caused over 80 billion dollars in damages. Federal relief and monetary assistance efforts have been an overwhelming failure, so tourism dollars have become an extremely important part of Puerto Rico’s economy. Basically, every minute you spend sipping piña coladas on the white sands of a pristine Puerto Rican beach, you’re aiding the island’s recovery effort. Total win-win.
#2: It’s entirely safe for travel
Make no mistake: many parts of Puerto Rico are still struggling mightily in the aftermath of the storm. But for the most part, these are extremely remote areas. For the majority of the island, including San Juan, Ponce, Arecibo, and nearly anywhere a traveler would likely care to visit, it’s life as usual. You can stop worrying if it’s safe to travel to Puerto Rico right now—because it is.
#3: The hotels and beaches are open for business
As of publication, almost all of Puerto Rico’s hotels are open for business. The beaches are ready for swimming and sunbathing, and even remote places to visit like El Yunque rainforest are receiving visitors. And remember: you can always chat with a Puerto Rican local to verify what’s good to go.
#4: It’s really inexpensive
As if you needed another reason to visit Puerto Rico, you should know that it’s a really inexpensive vacation. Though Puerto Rico uses the US dollar (it is a US territory, after all), the cost of living in Puerto Rico is much lower than it is on the mainland. Example: restaurant prices are, on average, a whopping 26.33% lower in Puerto Rico than in the continental US.
#5: There are tons of awesome volunteer opportunities
If you wanted to spend your entire vacation galavanting through Puerto Rico, we wouldn’t blame you one bit. But remember: there are incredible volunteer opportunities all over the island. We’re talking about rebuilding national parks, interacting with Puerto Rican locals, even getting a firsthand view of some of Puerto Rico’s most incredible wildlife! And make sure to take tons of pics for Instagram—voluntourism is so hot right now.
#6: You’ll get to avoid the crowds
Ever wanted to vacation on your own private island? If you travel to Puerto Rico right now, you’re nearly there. Tourism has taken a dip since Maria, so you’ll get to experience all of Puerto Rico’s charm and attractions without the crowds. Have a travel expert plan your trip to complete the private vacation vibe!
#7: No matter how cold it gets on the mainland, it’s endless summer in Puerto Rico
The days are getting shorter, the nights are getting colder, and Starbucks is going buck wild with its seasonal beverage menu (Chestnut Praline Latte? Really?)—but it’s always nice and warm in Puerto Rico! With an average high of 82° and low of 62°, Puerto Rico is just the thing to cure those winter blues.
Ready to fly off to Puerto Rico? We don’t blame you. Make sure to get in touch with a Hero to plan your dream trip, and don’t hesitate to send us a message if you have any questions at all. And make sure to check out: