Puerto Rico: Local Travel Info
Gatekeeper of the Caribbean Sea
Internal Flights and major International Airports
Puerto Rico has a total of 23 usable airports in the country. The major international airports of the country are the Luis Munoz Marin International Airport (SJU) in the capital of San Juan and Rafael Hernandez International Airport in Aguadilla (BQN). The Luis Minoz Marin Airport receives over 10 million passengers in the year, making it the busiest airport in the Caribbean. The airports handle domestic, U.S. and international flights on a daily basis, and are the main connecting airports to the rest of the country. A few of the regional airports of the country include, Fajardo Airport in Fajardo (FAJ), Eugenio Maria de Hostos Airport in Mayagüez (MAZ), Humacao Airport in Humacao (HUC), and Mercedita Airport in Ponce (PSE). Local airlines that operate within the country include Air Flamenco, Cape Air, Isla Nena Air Service, San Juan Aviation, M & N Aviation and Vieques Air Link.
To and From: Luis Munoz Marin International Airport (San Juan)
The Luis Minoz Marin International Airport is located in the district of Carolina three miles south east of San Juan. The airport has a ground transportation information desk which will guide you as to which mode of transport you should use to get to your destination as well as provides services for booking of tickets, etc. The AMA Bus Service and airport shuttles run from the airport into the city at frequent intervals. Most buses ply to into the capital where there is a ferry service that operates across to the bay of Catano. Taxis are available from the first level of each terminal (the airport has 2 terminals), and a ride to San Juan takes 30-45 minutes. The airport has ordinary taxis as well as special taxis known as 'Taxis Turisticos' that have special knowledge of tourist areas. Rates for taxis differ, depending on the zone you are traveling to. A ride from the airport to the city centre will cost $20 to $25.
Travel Costs in Puerto Rico
Travel by public transport in Puerto Rico is affordable and regular but basic. The country's public transport system is made up of buses, taxis, vans, urban trains and ferries. The AMA bus service operates in the San Juan Metropolitan Area and a one way ride costs $0.75 per person. The mini buses, also known as 'Carros Publicos' or 'Guaguas', are independently owned vans that travel to most areas of the country. The vans only depart when they are full, making it the cheapest mode of transport in San Juan. The Urban Train Service (Tren Urbano) is a rapid transit system in the metropolitan area of San Juan that links the central business districts to residential and employment areas. A one way fare ride costs $1.50. Taxis fares in Puerto Rico depend on the zone you are traveling to. The cheapest fare is to zone 1 (Airport to Isla Verde and Punta Las Marias) and costs $10. The tourist taxis, available from the airport, start their meters at $1.75 and go up by $1.90 every mile.
Car Hire in Puerto Rico
Car rental agencies are everywhere in Puerto Rico and many tourists choose to hire cars for their vacations. The Luis Minoz Marin International Airport in San Juan has a number of car rental agencies throughout the terminal ground floor. Most tourists rent cars if they plan to travel beyond San Juan. Age requirements differ with different car rental agencies, but a valid driver's license is mandatory. A day's rental for a mid sized vehicle will cost between $25 to $35. Check the vehicle before driving it and make sure all the valid car documents are present in the car.
Driver's License Requirements in Puerto Rico
A valid international driver's license is mandatory to drive a vehicle in Puerto Rico. Car rental agencies differ in their requirements for a minimum age, but usually 18 is considered. For a stay of more than 120 days in the country, visitors have to apply for a Puerto Rican License.
Rules in Puerto Rico
Driving is on the right side of the road. The same Driving rules in the U.S. apply in Puerto Rico. Most road signs are in Spanish. Speed limit signs are hardly visible in any parts of the country, though in residential areas the average speed limit is 30mph. in rural areas the speed limit is 45mph while zones with schools and urban areas have a 25mph limit. On the highways, the left lanes are reserved for buses. Driving in an inebriated state invites harsh penalties. The legal blood alcohol level is 0.8. Parking in areas that do not permit parking (sidewalks, etc) invites a $125 fine. A speeding ticket is $50.
Buses in Puerto Rico
Buses are the cheapest mode of transport in Puerto Rico. The buses connect different areas of the city as well as different towns and cities. The AMA bus service is the most popular in the country, with bus stops signs in most parts of San Juan denoted as 'Parada'. A full fare one way ride costs $0.75, while a short one or two stop ride costs $0.25. The buses ply from 4:30am to 10:00pm on weekdays and from 5:30am to 10:00pm on weekends, and carry
over 1,12,000 commuters weekly.
The 'Publicos' or public buses are independently owned vans that travel to most areas of the country. The vans only depart when they are full, making it the cheapest mode of transport in San Juan. Publicos tend to make frequent stops, so if you are in a hurry then avoid getting onto one of these. Most of the locals utilize Publicos to travel between islands and far off areas as they are economical, a one way ride from San Juan to Ponce costing just $10!
Taxis in Puerto Rico
Taxis serve as a convenient, reliable comfortable way to travel in Puerto Rico. Taxi fares are government regulated ensuring no overcharging by taxis. There are numerous taxi service companies in Puerto Rico and its easy locating a taxi anywhere in the country. Special tourist taxis, distinguished by a 'Taxi Turistico' label on the front doors, are popular with travelers as the drivers have special knowledge of tourist worthy areas and sights. Tourist taxis run on a zone system whereby certain taxis travel to specific zones only, and passengers are charged a flat rate. Non- zoned taxis are as easy to locate and operate by the meter which starts at $1 and goes up 10 cents for every 1/3 of a mile. Toll fees, excess luggage, waiting charges and night travel attract separate rates. Chartered taxis are also available for a rate of $20 an hour.
Cycling in Puerto Rico
The open spaces of Puerto Rico make it ideal for cycling. The natural beauty of the country prompts travelers to cycle around and explore what the country has to offer. Cycling tours are organized regularly, including mountain-biking expeditions over the rocky terrains. The main cities of Puerto Rico are crowded so try and avoid these areas if you want to cycle around. Smaller less crowded islands are perfect for cycling, with more natural scenic surroundings to soak in! Street bikes and cycles are available on hire from local rental shops, on a daily or weekly basis.
Water Transport in Puerto Rico
The main passenger port of Puerto Rico is San Juan which is the 4th busiest harbor in the western hemisphere, with over a million passengers using the port on an annual basis. There are a number of smaller islands in Puerto Rico which is connected by an efficient ferry service. Government run ferries and boats transport passengers to the surrounding islands, making it an enjoyable mode of transport. Ferries plying between old San Juan and the Catano Bay charge $0.50 per person, and depart every 15 minutes. Vehicles can also be transported on ferries, and the rates differ depending on the island you are traveling to.
Hitchhiking in Puerto Rico
Hitchhiking is not safe in Puerto Rico owing to the dangers that present themselves while hitchhiking, from robbery to rape. Women are especially cautioned against hitchhiking. If it's imperative and you have no other way out, then always make sure you are in two's, preferably two men or a man and a woman.