Puerto Rico Warnings and Dangers

  • My daughter with other volunteers
    My daughter with other volunteers
    by joiwatani
  • Warnings and Dangers
    by joiwatani
  • Jumpingfamily in raincoats at Rainforest, PR
    Jumpingfamily in raincoats at...
    by jumpingnorman

Puerto Rico Warnings and Dangers

  • Car Rental Hassle

    We have been going to PR for yrs and renting cars from several of the rental places. Never have we been asked whether our insurance was definitely valid for PR. After a lot of headache very late at night, the lesson learned is get a letter or some proof from your insurance that PR is included in your plan. Of course, they can provide insurance for...

  • Defining Motel

    I don't know where you are from, but where i'm from I don't know a motel that you can rent by the hour. This is very important for those on a budge, motel means hourly sex room rental. We had to stay in one of these places because we were in such a small town that there wasn't guest houses available. It isn't awful and it isn't dirty. There are...

  • Wear comfortable shoes!

    The streets in old San Juan are made of old bricks. So, figure it out if you can handle walking in uncomfortable shoes.

  • Don't climb the walls of the El Morro

    There are safety precautions instructions at the front of the castle. There are guards who are checking that the tourists are abiding by the rules. My daughter and her friend Khadija climbed the walls and started walking on it. They didn't know that they were not allowed to do that. As teenagers, they were just looking for fun to do! I can't keep...

  • Crimes in Puerto Rico

    I was told by some of the local residents that in some areas of Puerto Rico, the crime has gone up because of the bad economy. And, I think most big cities in the United States as well. As of this writing (9/24/11), the statistics of gun sales have risen to 25% because residents wanted to protect themselves.Most residential houses in the city and...

  • Have to pay in the bathroom!

    The El Morro has two bathrooms: One outside located at the right side of the building where most of the children fly their kites. It's a long ways to walk down the grass but there is a nice bathroom there. If you have children with you, and you intended to go inside the El Morro, you can use the bathroom inside the El Morro instead of the one...

  • Texting while driving, excessive use of...

    This is what I noticed in the whole island of Puerto Rico. Most of the drivers are texting while they are driving. They are constantly on the phone! For the two hours that we were enroute from San Juan to Humacao, the driver of the van that we rented was talking on his cellphone the whole time that one of the parents in our group got mad at...

  • When taking pictures of the big letters...

    In order to take a picture of the letters of P-O-N-C-E on the freeway, make sure to park your car all the way to the shoulder of the road. We had to cross the ramp just to take a picture of the steel letters!

  • Bad tourist information

    Just a warning that the tourist information direct from Puerto Rico is misleading. While the information is technically correct it may be extremely difficult to impossible to get to the attractions. .For instance, the bioluminescent bay. The tourist information makes this sound like a wonderful experiance, which I'm sure it would be. The map...


    Common sense Acommon Travel rules as to where ever you go.#1. Don't go where you shouldn't go.#2. Follow the rule of law in the country that you reside.#3. Adhere to the rule of law from your home country.#4. Respect and "pre-" read up on the culture(s).#5. Gain some familiarity with the country's national language prior to your trip.#6. Practice...


    A lot of tourists go for the traps, metro area ( san juan ) etc. While its great to visit I suggest you stay in smaller towns such as Guayama, Where people are more down to earth and friendlier, I lived in boston practically all my life and am now a resident of puerto rico. Rules of survival: do not give a ride to anyone you know, Do not flash...

  • Bring navigation!!

    I highly recommend bringing a GPS of some kind. I brought my tomtom and it saved me from wasting hours of my time trying to locate places. However, if you are trying to find a residence, a lot of times it will not be able to locate a specific address. Many city streets are not clearly labeled, this is why I recommended having a GPS.

  • Avoid Travel During The Hurricane Season

    The tropical annual storms/hurricanes peak around late July to September, so take this as a serious warning against travel to PR around this time of the year. Check this newly released study about the increase of stronger and more frequent hurricanes in the Atlantic Ocean within the last decade or so....

  • Spanglish

    You will be understood speaking Spanish or English on the islands of Puerto Rico, but this is not really the place to learn either. The island is actually known best for being the travel poster location for Spanglish.

  • Sanitation: hidden danger

    Because Puerto Rico is US territory, you might think that sanitation issues are under control. One problem islands often have is the direct release of human waste into water. On Culebra in Puerto Rico we observed that flushing a toilet in our hotel resulted in an immediate discharge into the inner laguna. Even for a hardened traveler like myself,...

  • Up-to-date Maps = Don't Exist!

    Granted, we visited PR during the off season, but it was impossible to find a decent road map! We tracked down 3 maps of PR and San Juan and the maps only show major roads, so look up your directions to your hotel before you leave home! All maps have great "zoom-ins" of Old San Juan, but the accuracy stops there. Driving around in the rest of San...

  • Visiting local beaches

    There are plenty of beautiful beaches however, don't leave your (rental) car at a beach unless you are with locals. One time was enough for me. Luckily I took everything worth of value with me onto the beach. When I returned to my rental car two hours later, the windows had been smashed open, the trunk was open, all my clothes missing. Luckily I...

  • Traffic: Driving needs constant...

    While renting a car and driving is probably the best way to get around the island, it's best to rent a small compact car (since gas gets pricey), and keep your wits about you at all times. The worst is Friday afternoon going from San Juan to the coast areas. What is normally a 30 minute drive suddenly takes 3 hours. The horn is used liberally.One...

  • San Juan crime

    We have been living in San Juan for a couple years, and the biggest problem we have had involves car crimes. We have had a car stolen from our house, 3 break ins, 2 hit and runs, and last night someone broke our passenger side window! Never leave anything visible in your car. Someone will break your window even for an empty plastic bag! All these...

  • go to puerto rico!

    puerto rico is no different than traveling to say new york city just use common sense and go about your business.common sense meaning,where in the world can you really go to a beach by yourself and feel safe?where in the world do you go hangout near a low income housing development?when i go to puerto rico i hang out in isla verde which i find very...

  • beware of EL CHUPACABRAS! (goatsucker).

    I have never personally seen him, but why taking chances?!!! avoid hanging out wherever you see any gatherings of goats or cows (his favorites).

  • Restaurant Sanitation

    Rarely does a typical restaurant restroom have all three: 1. toilet paper 2. paper towels or hand dryer3. SOAP. If these typical sanitary items are not available to customers, then they are probably not available to restaurant staff either. The food preparation is not as sanitary as one may be accustomed to elsewhere. If you want to stay clean...

  • Stay on the main roads!

    Leaving south from Lago Dos Bocas, my wife (now ex) wanted to see some untouched country so we took a small road north. At first it looked like a promising adventure. After 3-4 miles down the road, we were in cane fields and came along these road blocks. I decided it was too dangerous so we turned around and went back to the highway.

  • When renting a car

    Always get the extra insurance. If you love exploring, your rental car is sure to get broken into and the benefit of the insurance is welcome. Make sure when this happens, get a police to write a report so you can replace what was stolen. Be prepared for a fight with the insurance company if you want to be compensated for your personal losses....

  • It's a video game!

    When driving in Puerto Rico, there are several important things to remember.One, nobody follows any sort of rules. It's total chaos. Red lights mean nothing, there is no such thing as driver courtesy, and speed limits are inconsequential. It's hilarious.Additionally, the exits are surprising. One moment it's an arrow or a sign telling you to go...

  • Drought can seriously affect your trip.

    They were having a serious drought when we were here. We were able to buy bottled water at the grocery stores but many of the public rest rooms were closed which is quite inconvenient. At one hotel we couldn't flush our toilet which was awful. At that same hotel there was no water for a shower or even to wash your hands. In San Juan the big hotels...

  • TRAFFIC!!!!!!!

    First of all, if you don't want a ticket, wear your seat belt. Once you see the driving in Puerto RIco, you will want it clipped in tight. The PR drivers are brainless. They create driving lanes on the shoulder, which only create more traffic. The roads have many pot holes. The drivers will do anything to cut ahead of your car. It's a free for all....

  • Stay Inside the Walls!

    Old San Juan is actually a relatively safe place at night. I was stumbling around at night many times without any trouble. When you get to the northernmost part of the city, you can look down outside the walls and see a rundown shanty-type area. This is called "La Perla" and if you venture down, you're asking for trouble. One of my friends was...

  • Saturday night traffic

    In Puerto Rico everyone seems to really enjoy their weekend. Saturday evenings the traffic can get wild, and the roads, especially in the mountains, may be full of people or horses. Its a lot of fun, but if youre in a hurry to get from A to B, it could be dangerous.

  • Caution is always the key. ...

    Caution is always the key. Like any city, you should use common sense and try to avoid any area which is dark or isolated. Be aware of your sorroundings and always have your money in a safe place (money belt, bra?). What I usually do is know exactly where I am going, how to get there. Pickpocketers are found in every major city, so being alert is...

  • Rancho Buena Ventura on Culebra!!

    We stayed for 2 nights on Culebra in the Rancho Bueba Ventura. Don't make the same mistake we did! It was in poor condition, old beds!

  • A note for American tourists:...

    A note for American tourists: Keep in mind that when you are in Puerto Rico you are on American soil, and the local people are American citizens. 'Ugly American' travelers' antics because things are not up to your 'standards' will not be appreciated or tolerated by Puerto Ricans.And they just might tell you so.Also, learn the merengue. It will make...

  • Drug war in San Juan

    There is an escalating drug war going on, mainly in San Juan. To date (4/26/2004) there have been 281 murders, most drug related. There was a shooting death yesterday in Old San Juan. They are shooting people everywhere, including tourist areas (Manager and cook of the Outback Restaurant in the Wynham Casino were murdered last week during a...

  • Crime, drugs, and beggars in Puerto Rico

    Unfortunately, Puerto Rico has problems with crime, drugs, and beggars. As for crime, you should avoid certain parts of San Juan (like la Perla, outside the city walls, and Santurce) and Ponce at night. Some clubs in Santurce and Old San Juan have bad "scenes", but you can tell immediately by the people that are there. Do this and you will be ok. I...

  • Caserios

    Big buildings, 4 to 5 floor high (not always). Usually dirty, lots of peple hanging around, loud music, no happy faces. Not a place to stop!!!! This places are where all drugs move around. You'll see the buildings are really ugly on the outside, but in the inside, expensive televisions, leather sofas, etc.

  • Lets face it!!!

    Yeah, it's not a safe place, you never know if something is going to happen to you. I've had much luck myself, but misfortune can also happen. Always watch out. Try to be polite and don't argue if it is not extremely necessary. Guns and knives are as used as in the states, so if you bump against someone, excuse yourself. It's just education after...

  • Wreckless Drivers!

    Beware of the driving. I know that I was shocked at the way many of the drivers drove. Traffic lights, stop signs, and lane restrictions are many times ignored. It seemed in many different instances that it was a free for all.

  • Driving in Puerto Rico is a little crazy

    Drivers in Puerto Rico are VERY VERY agressive. It is not uncommon to find roadside stands selling bumpers and other car parts because fender benders are commonplace. One of my first days on the island our big ole' tour bus was run off the road by a teeny Toyota. (Hey, affordable paradise has its price..)

  • On Culebra, a small island on...

    On Culebra, a small island on the east end of PR, we stayed at Hotel Puerto Rico because nothing else was available and there were no more ferries off the island. That is the only reason to stay there. The room had 2 double beds for $70 USD. It should have been $20. The door looked like it had been broken into several times. There were mouse...

  • The traffic around San Juan is...

    The traffic around San Juan is terrible! The main road east out of the city and back in is completely clogged on weekend afternoons. We got stuck in a traffic jam for hours on the 4th of July and missed the fireworks. People just parked their cars on the road!Also, the ferry schedule out of Fajardo to Culebra and Vieques is just hearsay! You'll get...

  • After having driven in many...

    After having driven in many small countries, even eastern Europe, etc., I have to say that driving in P.R. is an 'experience'. We spent over a week driving ALL OVER the island, and never ceased to be amazed. The locals must have taken driving lessons from the WW-II Kamikaze pilots! I know thay you don't have to stay stopped at red lights at night...

  • As with any large city, be...

    As with any large city, be mindful of where you go, especially alone, and make sure you keep your money in a safe place.

  • We were told that San Juan...

    We were told that San Juan (and Puerto Rico in general) has a high crime rate, so be sure to secure all of your valuables. We stayed at the ESJ towers in San Juan, and we didn't have a problem at all. Of course I can't speak for some of the other 'hotels' we saw down there! Just use common sense and you should be fine.


    BEWARE OF THE DRIVERS! I can't say that enough. They were fast and pulled out in front of us. If you are from Italy or Germany it probably won't matter but anyone from the U.S watch out. Also in Old San Juan a lot of the streets are one way but it doesn't say they are.You have to wait to get pulled over like we were!!

  • Arrive on this island early,...

    Arrive on this island early, or plan to stay late. See my page on Puerto Rico for additional information.If you are standing in line at the airport, find out what line you are standing in. Time was tight, and I was standing in line for an American Airlines flight, yet what I wanted was a line for Northwest Airlines. There was no sign or person to...


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Comments (1)

  • Jul 25, 2013 at 12:14 PM

    I truly disliked everything about PR. In general, the people are not friendly, there is a lot of drug use and violence, and customer service is a lost concept.

    I stayed at a "4 Star" resort, or at least what Puerto Ricans think is a 4 star resort. The blankets had bed bugs, the beaches were covered in sand fleas, and the water is only blue for about two months out of the year. For the other ten months, the seas are very violent, the water is dark brown, and a lot of debris stacks up on the beach, which the locals just leave there.

    Old San Juan is okay, I guess. We went to San Cristobal Fort, which has some decent views. Climbing through one of the towers my 9 year old daughter stumbled upon a hypodermic needle, and the taxi drivers will rape you to the tune of $60.00 for one way transportation anywhere!

    We have trekked many rain forests in our travel and thought a jungle tour would be nice. Unfortunately, Puerto Rican "jungles" are not lush, they are not green, and there is ZERO wildlife, not even birds. So if you are hoping to see something photo-op worthy, I wouldn't waste my time. By comparison, during a jungle tour in Yucatan, Mexico, we encountered one jaguar, three monkeys, several hundred beautiful birds, and a range of other small mammals. Our count for Puerto Rico: one bat.

    Going to lunch anywhere is a two hour ordeal, just waiting for service. Dinner, is up to a four hour deal. Puerto Ricans will literally look at you from behind the counter while they text on their iphones. Then, when you do get service, it is rude. A simple lunch such as chicherones de pollo, with rice and native beans called "Abechuelas" will run you about $20.00 per person. I'm not a picky person, but $20.00 per plate is a little more upscale for me.

    As for those of you asking about violence, San Juan is not a good place to be when the sun goes dowm. Their current crime rate is equal to that of inner city Los Angeles. There is a lot of prostitution and drug use, so if you choose to go out; leave the kids at the hotel. I cannot say enough times that if you want to go to the Caribbean, Jamaica, Arube, Cancun, Riviera Maya, Belize, are all WAY BETTER options than Puerto Rico. Mark my words, you will be disappointed.

    • ShannaD's Profile Photo
      Aug 19, 2013 at 10:39 PM

      You can't base your opinion of the entire island from one experience... there are beaches that stay beautiful all year around, there are amazing, friendly people all over. Try to maybe explore more of the island, the more tranquil SW coast may be what you're looking for? Puerto Rico has tons to offer.

    • Lorenajortiz's Profile Photo
      Oct 17, 2013 at 12:05 PM

      coregrader, it's a shame your experience of Puerto Rico was not memorable, but please do not presume, based on a single visit, to be an expert with the knowledge to generalize and make value judgments wholesale. By the way, if you know anything about the Caribbean, you would know that Jamaica, Aruba, the Mexican Caribbean (that's Cancun and Riviera Maya to you), and Belize are each a very different destination with a very distinctive product, not comparable in any way, shape or form to each other or to Puerto Rico. The things one has to read...

Puerto Rico Warnings and Dangers

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