Working as a concierge at one of the major hotels in San Juan, Puerto Rico you quickly learn how fast the transportation costs add up for travelers visiting the island.  The fact of the matter is the traveler has 3 options for transportation and getting around Puerto Rico – all with their major pros and cons.  You can be daring and adventurous and enjoy the public transportation options of the Puerto Rico Metro area section.  Or you can just use a taxi or personal car services for everywhere you want to go, or be free and rent a car to get around.

Getting Around Puerto Rico – The True Costs

Taxis in Puerto Rico:  Controlled Market & Costs Add Up Fast

If you opt to use taxis in Puerto Rico there are definite pros and cons depending on your point of view.  Because the taxis in Puerto Rico basically control the tourism Metro area market, you will find that the rates to get around are pretty absurd.  There is no competition yet like those springing up in the United States like Uber or Lyft, so you will find that a 5 minute cab ride from Isla Verde to Condado 5 minutes away will cost you at least $30 if you factor in the round trip costs.

Sometimes Taxis refuse to take travelers to certain parts of the Metro Area like Old San Juan or Condado when there are major events.  The reason?  Traffic and blocked lanes to get in and thus the taxis sometimes refuse to go during these crazy traffic situations and events that do happen from time to time.  The pros of using taxis of course is not worrying about driving, or thinking, or knowing how to get to a place.

If you take 3 different taxi trips a day around Isla Verde, Condado, or Old San Juan and are staying for about 3-4 days in Puerto Rico you can see how easily these costs will affect your traveling budget.

Let’s do some math using a 3 day stay as an example and you are staying in the middle of the Metro Area (Condado).  Old San Juan is on the far end on the western side, Condado/Santurce is in the middle of the Metro Area, and Isla Verde is near the airport on the eastern side so you have a frame of reference.  Typically, I’d say over 90% of tourists to Puerto Rico stay in this basic area when visiting Puerto Rico – except when going to visit tourist areas such as El Yunque Rainforest and the Bio-luminescent bay in Fajardo.

The Math of Taxis in Puerto Rico – A Basic 4 Day Stay

Day 1

  • Airport To Hotel in Metro Area:  $20
  • Taxi to go have dinner and back to hotel:  $42 ($21 each way)
  • Total for Day:  $62

Day 2

  • Taxi to Old San Juan to visit forts:  $42
  • Taxi to go have dinner: $42
  • Miscellaneous Taxi Trip -(Visit other hotel lobbies, or go to another bar, etc.) $42
  • Total for Day:  $126

Day 3

  • Day Trip To El Yunque Rainforest (either via a Tour Company or Taxi):  $50
  • Taxi to go have dinner and back to hotel:  $42
  • Miscellaneous Taxi Trip – $42
  • Total for Day:  $134

Day 4

  • Day Trip To Fajardo to kayak Bio-Luminescent Bay (Most popular tour):  $50
  • Taxi to go have dinner:  $42
  • Miscellaneous Taxi Trip – $42
  • Next Day: Trip back to Airport:  $20
  • Total for Day:  $164

Bottom Line:  $476 not including tips. ($119 per day or $60 per person per day)

Car Rentals in Puerto Rico:  Limited Inventory During Tourism High Season, Less Expensive

If you opt to rent a car in Puerto Rico we definitely recommend booking far in advance to your stay in Puerto Rico.  We know that many travelers wait till the last minute to rent a car only to find that there are no cars left.  There is limited car rental cars available especially during busy/high tourism season.  However, as you see below the pros of renting a car is that it’s about 5% less expensive than taking taxis, and gives you more time freedom to drive and see more of the country – not just the Metro tourist area.

The Math of Car Rentals in Puerto Rico – A Basic 4 Day Stay

Day 1

  • Car Rental Fee (more if you opt to add insurance):  $45
  • Gas for Day:  $10
  • Parking Fees (Hotels/Restaurants in Metro Area):  $25
  • Total for Day:  $80

Day 2

  • Car Rental Fee For Day:  $45
  • Gas/Parking to Old San Juan to visit forts:  $20
  • Hotel Parking Fees: $25
  • Miscellaneous Trip (Gas/Parking):  $20
  • Total for Day:  $110

Day 3

  • Car Rental Fee For Day:  $45
  • Day Trip To El Yunque Rainforest (Gas / Park Entrance Free):  $30
  • Parking Fees (Hotels/Restaurants in Metro Area):  $25
  • Miscellaneous Trip (Gas/Parking) – $20
  • Total for Day:  $120

Day 4

  • Car Rental Fee For Day:  $45
  • Day Trip To Fajardo to kayak Bio-Luminescent Bay (Most popular tour/gas to get there):  $35
  • Parking Fees (Hotels/Restaurants in Metro Area):  $25
  • Miscellaneous Trip (Gas/Parking) – $20
  • Next Day: Trip back to Airport and Fill Up Gas Tank before turning in car rental:  $20
  • Total for Day:  $145

Bottom Line:  $455, no need to tip. ($113 per day or $56 per person per day)

 

The Winner Is?

Depends on what type of traveler you are.  Some love not thinking nor driving when on vacation.  Others love getting on the road and discovering a country and getting lost in the process and finding their own way.  The numbers say that renting a car is about 5-10% less expensive, but that also depends on if the traveler just stays at the hotel and walks around to their dinner destinations.

Of course you can always take the bus for $0.75 exact change each day!  You just gotta bring your paitence with ya!  For more general information see or Begin Here section regarding Getting Around Puerto Rico.

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