No inter-island bus system
Unfortunately one thing Puerto Rico is lacking is an around-the-island bus system. Basically if you want to travel around, you have to take taxis ($$$) or rent a car. Luckily we found a car from L&M for about $55 USD per day. If you plan to stay in Old San Juan you really do not need a car but if you have one, there is fairly cheap parking garages at the south end of town. If you have a car and want to take it on the ferry to Vieques or Culebra, you need to make reservations in advanced and even then you may be bumped off due to something more important being sent to the islands. There are parking facilities near the port for $5 per day.Related to:
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Horrible rush hour traffic
The traffic during rush hours in and out of San Juan can be horrific. In fact, we resorted to helicopter when the police couldn't properly escort through the traffic. It seems locals like to relize the number one notion of the American Dream as soon as they hit licence age: a big raft of a car...Related to:
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- Business Travel
Renting a Car
Renting a mobile makes the most sense. The public transportation is basically non-existent once outside of San Juan. We rented from Dollar rent-a-car which we frequent. I always pick the economy class and have never batted an eye for doing so. This time I learned what ECONOMY CLASS means. First car was a Neon. Little piece of garbage that wore make-up of newness. We drive 1 and a half hours east to Seven Seas beach. During the excursion electrical operations were slowly giving out, first a fizzling of radio to dimming of dashboard lights. We park roadside by the beach and galavant for a few hours. We go back to the car to leave to head to Luquillo and instead the engine just won't turn-over. We give it mucho key turns to no avail. We were than forced to fall back on an age old secret. Yuki was bikini-clad so we had her sit outside with the hood up in confusion while I hid out. Sure enough to local guys stop to help the beauty. As they start to help and roll their jalopy up to jump-start I pop out. The engine turned over with help of the jalopy's battery. We handed off 10$ to the help and drove straight back to get an upgraded car and a free day!Related to:
- Road Trip
Rent a Car if you are brave enough!
Now you know driving is bad when someone who comes from the NY/NJ area says it's crazy. Little skinny roads, no turn signals, passing on the shoulder, U-turns done anywhere ya feel like it, anything really goes. Just be super alert, you can do it! Just don't be timid, and try not to hit a dog-they like to sleep in the road.
Oh and if there is a little one lane bridge, honk twice to warn other cars before crossing it.
We rented our car from Hertz, but there are a lot of different companies you can rent from right out of San Juan Airport. After picking up your luggage, walk outside and catch a shuttle to the rental agency. The shuttles are marked with the names of the companies. Bring the phone number for the agency. If you come in late night, or you are waiting more than 15 minutes for a bus, call them and they will send someone over to pick you up. It's a good idea to have a reservation before you go.Related to:
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Driving in Puerto Rico
We rented a car and drove around the island. Once we drove to our hotel in San Juan in bumper to bumper horrible traffic, we parked the car in the hotel garage and took the bus. Then when we left San Juan we found that some of the roads are good but then as we got more off the beaten track and especially up in the mountains, the roads were narrow one lane tracks in places and you would sometimes meet a huge truck loaded with bananas or sugar cane. It was scary. There are also evidently a lot of hazzards on the roads such as nails and screws. We had a total of 3 flat tires. Each time it was a nail or screw in the tire. The stations only charged $5 to fix them but it was very inconvenient. Our rental car was also run into by a large truck while it was parked. We watched them do it. Since in was still drivable and the damage was to the back door, the rental company had us keep the car and just made a report. It was nice to have a car to explore the great places to bird but was also a lot of trouble. The road signs are not good in outlying areas either so we got lost but being an island we usually found outself again. In fact, being birdwatchers, one of the nicest birds we saw on the trip, the Red Bishop, was seen while we were lost.Related to:
- Road Trip
Car Rental In San Juan
Getting around the San Juan area by rental car is not difficult.... scary but not hard if you have a map. The drivers here are not at all considerate or patient.. they honk their horn frequently and drive in "non-lanes". I think driving here makes NYC, Boston, or LA look tame. There is a huge volume of traffic as well. The roads are in moderately good repair but there appears to be lots of road improvements going on and looks as if the improvements are made at a snails pace.Related to:
- Road Trip
Rental cars are avaliable for a reasonable cost at the main cities, ie 30 - 50 $ a day.
The major roadways are in good condition. In the mountains the roads may be very narrow and windy (but fun). The rules and standards are very much like the continental United States, except that some distances are in Kilometers.
The highways from San Juan to Arecibo, and from San Juan towards Ponce are tollways.
A friend used a shuttle to get from Auguadilla to San Juan for about 50$. I think it was someones personal vehicle and the ride was a bit on the wild side, but interesting.
You can fly to many of the cities and towns within Puerto Rico, including Vieques and Culebra, by chartering a small plane or taking one of the regularly scheduled commuter-type flights from the Ribas Dominicci Airport in Isla Grande, San Juan, or other local airports. If you are staying in the west of the island, look into direct flights to and from the Aguadilla airport. Travel time to Puerto Rico depends on your departure city. Here are some examples to give you a better understanding:
From New York: 3 hours 45 minutes. (with conecting flights travel time will be longer.)Related to:
- Family Travel
rental cars in puerto rico
Make sure that you read the fine lines when renting a car. We used Thrifty. They wanted a $700 deposit- said it was standard on all carribean islands. Then we had to take their insurance, because we did not have a letter from our insurance company stating that we would be covered by them in Puerto Rico
It's not easy to move around Puerto Rico without a car. There is very limited bus service around the island. Having a rental is the most practical way although it is not cheap.
One way to help curb the cost of renting a car..
If you can avoid renting from the San Juan airport you will save money. This is where you fly into Puerto Rico and also has the most expensive car rentals.
Ways to get around renting a car at the airport:
1. Get a one way rental for one day to another town, then drop off your high priced rental for a cheaper rental.
2. Spend you first few days in San Juan without a car (hotel shuttles, walking, cabs, etc.). If you are in Old San Juan a car will be more a hassle than a neccessity anyway.
After visiting San Juan arrange a shuttle van to another city where you can then arrange a rental car pickup.Related to:
- Road Trip
- Budget Travel
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You must go by airplane to San...
You must go by airplane to San Juan, Puerto Rico and rent a car for getting around.
Rent a car without a car it is difficult to get around. There are many carrentals in Puerto Rico.
Check the rates they can be different.
The Metropolitan Bus Authority (or AMA, its Spanish acronym) operates in the San Juan Metropolitan area. Stops are marked by magenta, orange and white signs which read Parada. Buses run between certain hours, usually until 9:00 p.m. For route, terminals, or schedule information, call (787) 250-6064, or the new Metrobus system (San Juan to Río Piedras), (787) 763-4141.
There are taxis, car rentals, buses, public transportation and private limousines available throughout the country.
Driving is on the right-hand side of the road. All the same rules as any part of the United States, except that the signs are in Spanish, the distance markers in kilometers and the gas sold in liters
Ferry to Culebra or Vieques
You can take a ferry from Fajardo to either Culebra or Vieques. This is one of the larger ferries, but depending on how many tickets they have sold you may be riding a much smaller ferry. The ferry is a fun way to go, because you get great views of the Puerto Rican coastine and you get to see other uninhabited islands in the archipelago. The ride can make you a little queasy, so shut your eyes or stare at the horizon and don't eat a heavy meal before you go. Also, the ride was very cheap, less than $5 USD roundtrip.
Charlie's Car Rental
This rental agency had the BEST rates and although their was a considerable line out of the jam packed rental office it was worth the wait, because they are professional, the car was clean and completely fueled, and they offer 24 hour roadside assistance in case anything goes wrong. All the cars they rent out are less than 2 years old, which makes a big difference.
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