If you’re moving to Puerto Rico or are considering a move to this tropical island then you have come to the right place to get your basics and to get started. I was fortunate enough to move here 4 years ago from Miami so I’ve gone through this transition myself and can offer a tip or two. It’s been 4 years and I’m still here somehow someway and I love it so much I’ve decided to put my traveling experiences into an interactive travel guide.

This website and book is not only for the travelers, but also for those who are taking the leap and coming to live in Puerto Rico for whatever reason it is. There are many logistics and small details to take care of and the culture of Puerto Rico is somewhat different than what you’re used to, but at the end of the day it’s pretty easy to get acclimated and start your new life in the island of Puerto Rico. The book will help you plan your logistics for your fun times on the island, but this section will help you out with where to start and the logistics of moving.


Shipping A Car To Puerto Rico, Puerto Rico’s Driver’s License, Vehicle Registration & Insurance, Churches, Cost of Living, Housing/Apartment market, Titles, Deeds, Land Records, Economic Development in the island, Finding Work, Education & Schools, Utilities, Communications, Internet & Television & Cable Providers, Telephone Companies, Postal Service, Taxes in Puerto Rico, Healthcare & Medical Facilities, Voter’s Registration.

Shipping A Car To Puerto Rico

Shipping a car to the island of Puerto Rico is probably one of the hardest logistical things to do and one of the most costly ones as well. However, it’s really not a big deal and there are a couple of companies that are good. Shipping a car (depending on from where) can easily take up to a week or up to two weeks and would have to be pre-arranged so you can time it with your move at least 3 weeks beforehand. Puerto Rico will charge you an “excise tax” once you’re here in order to take your car out and you will need your paperwork of vehicle information, make, model, year, vin number, doors, color, etc.

If you don’t “own” your car and instead are making monthly payments to your bank, then some banks won’t allow you to ship your car. You would have to have a meeting with your bank and pre-arrange that as sometimes they do make exceptions to this rule. If you own your car, make sure you have all your information as well as copies in case you lose them!

The government of Puerto Rico (Hacienda) has a website where you can estimate your excise tax payment at this link: Vehicles Excise Taxes Website

The Office of Excise Taxes can also be reached at (787) 721-6237 or (787) 721-0338.

License plates are not transferable and you would have to go to one of several DTOP locations (link below) to obtain a new plate for your car. The stickers are renewed every year (they go on your windshield on the passenger side) and you pay a fee of $35 to renew for no fault insurance or $65 for annual registration. Your best bet if you’re in the San Juan area is to go to the DTOP location in Carolina which is the closest. Check this link out for where the offices are located: DTOP Service Centers

In terms of shipping companies, we used Sea Star and they were great and we didn’t have any problems. Shop around for quotes and logistics and take a day for this because some companies are indeed cheaper than others. Contact the companies for more detailed information, logistics, and rates.

Shipping Companies To Consider:

 SeaStar Line Car Shipping

 Puerto Rico Car Transport

 Arpin International Shipping Company

Obtaining a Puerto Rico Driver’s License & Driving Records

The process of obtaining a Puerto Rico driver’s license is pretty easy, even though you can technically get away with still using your driver’s license from whichever state you’re coming from. You’re going to need your social security card, an ID with your full name, residential and postal address, date of birth and driver’s license number (if applicable). The steps to apply if you don’t have an out of state license: You would have to visit your local DTOP office to complete.

  1. Application for Puerto Rico Driver’s License
  2. Social Security Card & Number
  3. Provide proof of residence and birth date (passport or birth certificate)
  4. Three 2×2 headshot photographs.
  5. Internal Revenue Seal of $10.00.
  6. Pass a written exam.

Driver’s License for New Residents

New residents must obtain a valid Puerto Rico driver’s license within 30 days of establishing residency and may register to vote after 30 days. If you are a U.S. Citizen and you have a valid out-of-state license you must provide the following:

1. Take an eye exam
2. Pass the written exam
3. Internal Revenue Seal of $10.00

How to obtain a driver’s record?

You may request a driver’s record by mail by providing the following information:

1. Full name as it appears on your driver’s license
2. Social Security number
3. License number
4. Reason for the request
5. Address to which the record should be mailed
6. Daytime telephone number
7. Photocopy of a valid photo identification,
8. Money order in the amount of $1.50 made out to: Secretario de Hacienda.
Mail to:
Secretario de Hacienda
DivisiApartado 41243
San Juan, PR 00940-1240

For more information please visit: DTOP

Vehicle Registration & Insurance Information

To register your car you must present vehicle’s current registration certificate, title, and your out-of-state license plates at the local DTOP offices.

Puerto Rico law does not require drivers to carry vehicle insurance, although you should definitely have it to protect all parties involved.

For more information please visit: DTOP


Churches/Religion/Spirituality in Puerto Rico

Puerto Rico history is filled with religion and is a very important part of the cultural identity of the island. The Roman Catholic tradition is the most prevalent one today that was brought by the Spanish over 500 years ago, yet it is the Taino’s spirituality and connection with the nature of Puerto Rico that are it’s religious roots. Today, roman catholics make up about 85% of the population, while Protestants and other groups such as Muslims and Jews represent the other 15%. There are also places of worship of Baptist, Buddhist, Episcopal, Lutheran, Methodist, and Presbyterian churches on the island. Usually, you can see a church in most of the towns in Puerto Rico’s main square area or do a quick internet search for your area of worship to see where in the island they can be reached.

Or you can just as easily take in the majestic nature of Puerto Rico’s mountains, caves, rivers, beaches, sunshine and nature and enjoy a day in an island cathedral. Here are a few quotes from around the world and from Puerto Rico that ends this section and begins the next:

“Our Father” in Taíno:

Guakia baba (Our Father)
turey toca (is in sky)
guami-ke-ni (Lord of land and water)
guami-caraya-guey (Lord of moon and sun)
guariko (come to)
guakia (us)
tayno-ti (good,tall)
bo-matun; (big,generous)
busica (give to )
guakia (us)
aje-cazabi; (tubercles,bread)
juracan-na (bad spirit,no)
maboya-ua (ghost,no)
jukiyu-jan; (good spirit,yes)
Diosa (of God)
nabori daca ( servant am I)
Jan-jan catu (So be it)

– Taino Native Puerto Rico Indians – From Prehistoria de Puerto Rico, Dr. Cayetano Coll y Toste]


Cost of Living in Puerto Rico

From my experience living in Puerto Rico the past four years, the cost of living in Puerto Rico is less than in many parts of the United States. Obviously the Metro Area and the “tourist spots” are more expensive, but all in all if you consider the true cost of living in Puerto Rico you’d find that it’s pleasantly below most of the countries that are more “industrialized.” However, many Puerto Ricans will tell you that the “cost of living” here is outrageous and very expensive (and to many extents that’s true especially with electric utilities), but overall it’s in line with many of the states in the United States.

According to Numbeo – Cost of Living Puerto Rico VS United States, you can use the rule of thumb that Puerto Rico is roughly about 7-20% less expensive than the United States, with rent prices being as lower as 75% (especially if you opt to live outside the Metro Area of Puerto Rico).

You can find beachside apartments (1-2 bedrooms) for rent around the price range of $900-1200 and even cheaper if you get past the Metro Area. Electricity is the one utility and aspect which is easily over 30% more expensive (see section below), but other than that it’s pretty even in comparision with the United States when you factor in food costs, gas, utilities, and other costs of life. A beer in a trendy touristy restaurant in Miami (where I’m from) will cost you $9-12. A beer in a trendy touristy restaurant in San Juan will cost you $4, and sometimes even lower. I like my beers at $4 or less thank you very much. The cost of living in Puerto Rico index averaged 79.11, which is way below the national average of 100 (ACCRA Cost of Living Index, 2014).

Housing Market & Home Prices & Apartments in Puerto Rico

The housing prices and market in Puerto Rico is comparable to the Miami market as well, although the same rule of thumb applies of it being roughly about 7-20% less expensive. What makes the housing market and home prices in Puerto Rico attractive is the fact the property taxes are considerably lower to pay.

Although the housing market has “crashed” the past 5-8 years and prices have lowered, that means that it is now a buyer’s market. Median list prices of Puerto Rico homes in the $190,000 range compare to similar homes in Florida, California, and New York that go for upwards of $250,000-$350,000. There are many real estate agents in Puerto Rico that can help you get started finding property with a quick internet search.

In terms of apartments, you can easily find a suitable apartment by region to rent and an affordable rate. Your best bets to begin your search are Clasificados Online and Craigslist Puerto Rico or Compra O Alquila (Buy or Rent) Puerto Rico.

Typically when you’re renting an apartment in Puerto Rico you are doing so directly by a landlord or individual owner. The owners from our experience usually rent out to those people they get a good feeling from and that you have the means to pay your rent and be on time. I’ve found that they usually ask for 1st months rent plus a security deposit. Some landlords will pay the utilities for you as part of the package, and yet others don’t and you have to set that up by yourself. You can usually negotiate $50 or even $100 times lower, and ask for less time on the lease if you explain your plans and situation. Most landlords though rent by season or at the very least for one year.

Titles, Deeds, and Land Records

Land records are available with Property Registry. There are about 29 offices that serve various municipalities and neighborhoods. To get the information, you would need the name of the purchaser, date of purchase, and city in which the land is located. To obtain certified copies call or write:

Registro de la Propiedad
Oficina de la Directora Administrativa
Departamento de Justicia, Piso 3
Calle Olimpo, Esq. Axtmayer
Pda. 11
Miramar, San Juan, PR 00907
 P.O. Box 9020192
San Juan, Puerto Rico 00902-0192
(787) 723-8960
Fax (787)725-8925

Economic Development in Puerto Rico

Although many in the media will have you believe that the economy of Puerto Rico is heading towards “disaster” as evidenced by the high unemployment rate currently in the country (16%), the fact is that there are many brand new initiatives that are indeed stirring economic activity in the island and these seeds won’t bear fruit probably until closer to the 2020’s. Tax incentives for the wealthy such as Ley 20 y Ley 22 are attracting many wealthy investors as a tax haven to the island and bringing much needed money and infrastructure to the island. The country is also heavily investing in tourism and are improving many industries via various stimulus acts. Still, it is slow going and there is still much work to be done, but Puerto Rico is an attractive haven for potential businesses and employees to live a rich/cultural life in an exotic island.

Puerto Rico Industrial Development Company 888-577-4326

Department of Economic Development & Commerce of Puerto Rico

Finding Work In Puerto Rico

As mentioned earlier, the unemployment rate of Puerto Rico can be improved as it currently sits at about 16% unemployed. However, finding a job is not easy in Puerto Rico, but by all means it is not impossible. It’s a great bonus if you can speak english and spanish fluently, but even if you don’t speak spanish there are some companies (especially in the tourism/hotel industry) that would hire you provided you have the matching skill sets they are looking for.

More often than not it’s by networking and word of mouth referrals from friends or family that will land you a job in Puerto Rico. Ask around if you know anyone and have your resume as up to date as possible and have a cover letter stating your story. It’s important that the HR person on the other end knows whether or not you known spanish, as more often than not they themselves only speak spanish.

The federal government is also a good source to look for as they always need people who speak english. Most of the jobs are posted on: Clasificados Online. However, keep in mind most of these postings are in spanish and set by region. Craigslist Puerto Rico is another good site to search for jobs. Se Busca PR Empleos En Puerto Rico is another site. Professional career opportunities on the island can also be found via websites such as Monster and LinkedIn and networking is usually your best bet to land a job.

Education and Schools in Puerto Rico

Puerto Rico’s education and schools in Puerto Rico is good and depending by region. Most families who can afford it send their children to private schools as usually the quality of studies and environment is better suited for kids to thrive. The primary language that is used is spanish, however english is indeed used especially in the private schools. Puerto Rico has a literacy rate of over 90% and school terms typically start in August and end in May.

There are also many colleges and universities available throughout the Puerto Rico, including the University of Puerto Rico, and Interamerican University of Puerto Rico. Directory of Schools By Region in Puerto Rico

Utilities in Puerto Rico: What You Need To Know

After you get your apartment or housing situation squared, your next steps are to set up your utilities. Keep in mind that most of these government agencies only speak spanish and setting these up typically could take a whole day on your part. It’s not as easy as calling and having it set up so know this beforehand.

Electricity in Puerto Rico

The electric company in Puerto Rico is administered by AEE Electric Company in Puerto Rico. The Autoridad De Energia Electrica uses petroleum to generate electricity for the island and the rate is currently between $0.24-$0.29KWh and very expensive as we mentioned earlier as you are billed monthly. Puerto Rico uses the United standard of 110 and 120 volts AC and the outlets are the same two prongs you see in the United States. You will be required to have proof of a residence as well as pay a deposit to have services set up. Figure your monthly costs for a 1 bedroom or 2 bedroom to easily be about $200 per month and even more during the summer months! The good news is that once you’re set up you can easily pay online.

The electricity is pretty reliable though, and usually only goes out if there are very severe thunderstorms or tropical storm winds and obviously hurricanes. Some homes/apartments use natural gas propane stoves instead of electric ones. In case yours is a natural gas, propane cylanders can be obtained by many local propane gas suppliers.

If you’re looking for other alternatives there are not too many as AEE is basically a monopoly, but green alternatives are popping up here and there. Check out: Green Solar Puerto Rico.

Water & Sewer in Puerto Rico

The water and sewer in Puerto Rico is administered by Autoridad De Acueductos y Alcantarillados (Water Company of PR) and they run an extensive system of over 10,000 miles of water mains and aqueducts and over 2,000 miles of sewage lines. The water of Puerto Rico is safe to drink and follows the same regulated EPA standards that apply in the United States. Even though the water is safe to drink it doesn’t hurt to have a purifier or simple filter. Setting up yoru water service is easy enough although the website is in spanish you can usually get an agent that speaks english. Some notes about the water service is that water pressure is not always the best so make sure you check that before renting/buying your apartment/home and that the water does get a bit colder than normal. Some people like that and others don’t. Still, the water company and service is very reliable and it rarely has any problems or anything of the sort where you’d be without service for days. Don’t be afraid to drink the water, even if you are asked at a restaurant for “bottled water” or tap water. The water tastes fine and comes from fresh sources near the mountains.

Nearly half of the public water supply is provided by the reservoirs of Puerto Rico. There are currently eight major water supply reservoirs in Puerto Rico: Lago Guajataca (Isabela), Lago Loíza (Trujillo Alto), Lago La Plata (Toa Alta), Lago de Cidra (Cidra), Lago Toa Vaca (Villalba), Lago Cerrillos (Ponce), Lago Caonillas (Utuado), and Lago Dos Bocas (Utuado).

Communications (TV, Radio, ETC)

Communications channels and forms of media, news, and entertainment can be easily found in the island, however the majority of them are in spanish. There are of course english media alternatives as well as other ways to get your communications needs on the island of Puerto Rico. It is our opinion though that the media and communication channels are always proclaiming “sky is falling” headlines, irrelevant news of models on the front page, or sensationalistic yellow journalism highlighting violence, with over 60% of the content being advertisements. Don’t take my opinion, see for yourself: If we had to say which daily newspaper has the most reliable and well thought out pieces of journalism we’d have to go with Caribbean Business publication. In terms of television, the news stations can be found with local cable companies and regular TV and are in spanish.

Daily Newspapers:

El Nuevo Dia

Primera Hora

El Vocero

San Juan Star

Caribbean Business of Puerto Rico

TV Stations:


Telemundo Puerto Rico

Internet, Television & Cable Providers

There aren’t too many options of internet and cable providers in Puerto Rico, but the ones that do are pretty good even though we have to say from our own experience that the customer service is severely lacking with these companies. It’s as if they know they are the only game in town and can get away with extremely inferior service.

When connecting your internet and cable, expect long delays (sometimes up to a week) for somebody to come out to you to connect these services. Paitence is the key in this department. Depending on where you live is what company corresponds to you if they service the area.

By far the biggest company on the island is Liberty and they offer various internet and cable packages depending on your needs. You can expect to have speeds between 10-20 Mbps, with certain options to go a bit higher in speed and combined with a cable package you’re probably looking in the ballpark of $70-120 monthly. Liberty has the best plans and speeds from your options in Puerto Rico and the easiest website for monthly payments, however as we mentioned they are pretty much deplorable with customer service. You have been warned, but reluctantly we always use them because they offer the fastest internet connections with the best cable packages if you can’t install your DirecTV or Dish in your home or apartment.

For the most part, Liberty’s service is barely interrupted but there are times when the internet speeds fluctuate wildly from very slow to super fast for no reason whatsover. It’s something to keep an eye on, but nothing major enough to cancel service.

Choice Cable offers internet service to the south, west, and northwestern portion of the island in Puerto Rico. They offer speeds between 12 Mbps-50Mbps for about $30-$50 a month. We haven’t used them but hear they offer decent service, but also suffer from the same customer service complaints which seems to plague this specific industry in the island for some reason.

Claro is the other company in Puerto Rico that offers DSL cable and internet on the island. Claro pretty much covers the entire island and offer speeds that are comparable to Liberty’s, albeit a bit slower. Their plans in pricing are similar as well, but yeap, again, their customer service and your ability to get through to somebody is almost impossible. Claro also offers a version of DishTV for cable entertainment.

DirecTV Puerto Rico is also offered in the island, however it really depends on where you’re living and what your house or apartment’s logistics are.

Telephone Service (Cell Phone Companies)

Cell phone coverage is usually pretty great on the island, especially around the Metro Area of San Juan, Isla Verde, and Condado. The most popular cell phone companies in Puerto Rico are the national ones you’ll find in the United States such as AT&T, T-Mobile, Sprint, with Claro being one of the local companies. Some companies use CDMA signal while most are now using the updated GSM signal.

There are various and numerous cell towers throughout the island and I’ve been living here for the past 4 years using AT&T and I’ve rarely had a dropped call or lost signal.   Puerto Rico is often grouped in with the national plans of the United States so check with your company before moving here as you may be able to keep your exact plan and phone number. I’ve been living here 4 years and have kept my same phone number and plan from the one I had when I lived in the United States. If you have a national plan then calls to and from the United States and Puerto Rico are not considered a long distance call.

The only times you seem to lose cell signals are when you’re high up in the mountains or deep inside the rainforests of the island. It come and goes, but usually not for long. I’ve been pleasantly surprised with the amount of cell signal coverage the island has. If this is one of your worries, you’ll be pleased to know you’re signals should 99% work. Some companies have good and bad things from what we hear from friends who have these companies as their provider. The main difference in the company is where the cell towers are located and where you live, and the best infrastructure are those from the national companies but you pay more for that.

Here are the best cell phone companies in Puerto Rico:

AT&T Wireless is by far our favorite company and we have had absolutely zero problems with reception or coverage while traveling all around this island for the past 4 years. The signal strength both indoors and outdoors is unparallelled, and the data plan speeds and 4G and LTE works phenomenal anywhere you go. Because they are the best and many people who use AT&T in the island love their service, they are also one of the most expensive options. However, they really can’t be beat and if you’re moving to the island you can easily keep your number and existing plan without many hassles. Also, there are many AT&T stores around the island which makes it convenient if you have to change phones, etc.

Sprint is the leading candidate to take over AT&T’s top spot in the island as they have vastly improved their data speeds and coverage and infrastructure the past few years. Sprint offers more pricing flexibility, although they still aren’t as strong or reliable as AT&T from what we see. 4G and LTE are recently available which helps things, as well as their unlimited data plans. The only cons we see with Sprint are when you’re traveling in the more remote parts of the island where the signal strength is not as reliable as AT&T’s. However, they are a national company and you can also ask about keeping your plan from the United States when moving to Puerto Rico.

T-Mobile Puerto Rico is a national company as well, however T-Mobile has a “Puerto Rico” division and thus price and have different coverage than the national company. Their signal strength is decent as well as their data speed, and their pricing is cheaper than the “big two” but they do not offer unlimited data plans. You’d have to check with them if you can carry over your plan if you’re with T-Mobile in the United States because the Puerto Rico version of T-Mobile is different.

Claro is the local company that offers decent cell phone service in the island of Puerto Rico. Claro bought Verizon Wireless in 2007 and have good local coverage of the entire island. Claro’s infrastructure though relies on using signals from the two types and “piggy backing” via CDMA and GSM and your signal strength may depend on what phone you have. Claro is seemingly everywhere in Puerto Rico’s malls and stores with kiosks, and their lure is they don’t offer “contracts.” The pricing and coverage is adequate, but far from the best on the island. Their calls to the United States though are considered “long distance” and we hear stories about them not being the best at customer service either.

Postal Service + Mail Delivery + Online Shipping To Puerto Rico

The mail service in Puerto Rico runs just like the United States with the United States Postal Service (USPS). Pricing and delivery and stamps work exactly as if you were mailing a letter to another state, and there are plenty of USPS offices in Puerto Rico to handle your postal service needs. USPS Location Finder

Because Puerto Rico is an island sometimes it does take a day or two longer for you to receive mail or for your recipients to recieve what you’ve sent but we’ve never had a problem and everything arrives.

One of the things though you have to be on the lookout when having mail from the United States sent to you via online shipping sights such as Amazon or miscellaneous magazine subscriptions or any other thing is that they may try to charge you for “international shipping.” It’s an odd fact, but yes, many people in the mainland don’t understand that Puerto Rico is essentially a part of the United States and thus this need not apply. For instance, UPS (United Parcel Services) considers Puerto Rico to be international so it’s best if you avoid them here on the island as it’s more expensive. Fed Ex is your option if you want to ship and there are various location on the island to help you with these services.

Taxes in Puerto Rico

Puerto Rico has a 5.5% sales tax and certain municipalities may impose an additional 1.5%. In addition, in the event that the governor determines an insufficiency in collections for the general fund an additional 1% to the central government will be imposed. Medical services & prescription medicine are exempt – so this tax applies to must goods and services on the island.

*UPDATE JULY 1, 2015

Sales and Use Tax

The SUT will continue to apply until March 31, 2016; the new VAT will apply after that date.

As from 1 July 2015, the SUT rate will increase from 7% to 10.5% (the municipal SUT will remain unchanged at 1%, for a total SUT of 11.5%).

The following services will be subject to the 10.5% SUT:

  • Bank charges levied on business clients by financial institutions for the management of deposit accounts;
  • Collection services
  • Security services, including armored services and private investigation services
  • Cleaning and laundry services
  • Repair and maintenance services
  • Telecommunications services
  • Waste disposal services
  • Daily rentals of motor vehicles.Sales of taxable items covered by contracts or bids executed before 1 July 2015 are subject to the 7% SUT with respect to taxable items acquired within 12 months or before the expiration of the contract, whichever comes first. If the contract involves taxable services, the payment must be made before 1 July 2015 for the 7% SUT rate to apply.Services rendered by a merchant to another merchant or to a person engaged in a trade or business (B2B services) and designated professional services will be subject to a new 4% SUT that will apply during the period from 1 October 2015 to 31 March 2016. Designated professional services are services provided by architects, engineers, agronomists, certified public accountants and services rendered by persons duly registered as “specialists” with the Puerto Rico Treasury Department, among others. The municipal SUT will not be imposed on services subject to the 4% SUT.

The following services are exempt from the SUT:

  • Services rendered by the government (including sewage services)
  • Education services (including tuition)
  • Interest and other charges for the use of money, and service charges established by financial institutions
  • Insurance services and commissions
  • Health and hospital medical services
  • Services rendered by a person whose annual volume of business does not exceed USD 50,000
  • Services rendered by members of a controlled group of corporations or related entities, provided the entities are engaged in a trade or business in Puerto Rico.

    Where services are provided by a nonresident to a person in Puerto Rico, the recipient of the services is responsible for paying the SUT.

    Value Added Tax

    A VAT regime will apply as from 1 April 2016. VAT will be payable at a standard rate of 10.5% on the supply of taxable goods or services by a trader, the provision of services by a nonresident person to a person in Puerto Rico and combined transactions, and on imports.

    The following supplies will be zero-rated:

  • Sales of goods for export
  • Services for export
  • Sales of raw materials and equipment to be used by a manufacturing plant that holds a manufacturer’s exemption certificate.
  • This replaces the SUT.
  • The following supplies of goods and services will be exempt from VAT:

    • Financial services, except those on which bank charges apply, and insurance services;
    • Sales of prescription medicines
    • Sales of articles and equipment to assist with physical or physiological deficiencies
    • Sales or services that are paid or reimbursed by Medicare, Medicaid or Puerto Rico government health insurance
    • Sales of gas, aviation fuel, gas oil, diesel oil, crude oil, end products and derivatives from oil and other hydrocarbon mixtures to which excise tax applies
    • Sales of food and food ingredients
    • Sales of machinery, medical and surgical instruments, items, equipment and technology to a hospital unit for health services, provided the hospital unit holds a certificate for exempt purchases
    • Agriculture items imported or sold to bona fide farmers certified by the Department of Agriculture
    • Sales of goods to a merchant in the tourist business for use in the tourism sector
  • Sales of textbooks
  • Sales of vehicles, boats and heavy equipment subject to excise tax;
  • Leases of property subject to the room occupancy tax set by the Tourism Company of Puerto Rico
  • Commercial leases and leases of real property that constitutes the principal residence of the lessor
  • Sales of real property
  • Intangibles
  • Goods introduced into a foreign trade zone
  • Money, stocks, bonds, notes and other securities and obligations
  • Educational and child care services
  • Health and hospital services
  • Services rendered by the government
  • Shipping services
  • Services rendered by members of a controlled group of corporations or related entities, provided the entities are engaged in a trade or business in Puerto Rico.

In terms of employee/employer taxes Puerto Rico has its own tax system and peculiarities and is somewhat modeled after the United States tax system, but with it’s own twists and turns. The labor tax laws here favor the employee as there are bonuses such as a $700 for “Bono De Navidad” which is Christmas Bonus. Not bad if you’re an employee, but an additional cost if you’re a business owner. Payroll taxes are pretty much the same (paying into Social Security/Medicare etc.) but do not pay the federal income tax. Instead, you pay the government of Puerto Rico which is called Hacienda. At the end of the year depending on how much you’ve earned, you either get money back from Hacienda (and they take their time!), or you have to pay them back. If you’re an employer you definitely need to get specifics on the taxes in Puerto Rico as they are different than most states in America.  I was a former Human Resources Director and I still don’t understand the labor laws here!  Which is why I was completely in the wrong line of work & thank God for that! That’s a joke for some who may read this.

For more information go to go to Hacienda Puerto Rico or call 787-721-2020. It’s a best bet when doing your personal taxes between January and April 15th every year to use a local CPA agency as they know the ins and outs better than anyone. If you need a personal recommendation for a CPA email me at: shawnmichaeldiaz@me.com

Healthcare & Medical Facilities in Puerto Rico

First and foremost, Puerto Rico does not have to abide by the Affordable Care Act (also known as Obamacare) and acts independently on this act. Having said that, Puerto Rico’s healthcare system is very similar to that of the United States and is in fact many times less expensive than the United States. Most employers on the island don’t offer health insurance to their employees so many times the individual is forced to shop for his or her own insurance. The good news is though as we mentioned it is not as crazy expensive shopping for health insurance as you’d find in the United States.

Triple S Salud of Puerto Rico (Blue Cross Blue Shield) is your best local bet to obtain health insurance on the island with adequate coverage plans for whatever needs you may have. It is the largest and and most popular health insurance company on the island and also offers dental coverage. Make sure you look at your co-pays and details of plan coverage as sometimes a lower monthly bill does not equate with a great plan for when the need arises.

Hospitals and medical facilities in Puerto Rico are absolutely on par with those in the United States and other great ones in the world. There are top notch physicians and medical facilities and hospitals around the island and its health care system resembles that of the United States. There is no national health service per say and if you don’t have your own insurance it’s a “pay as you go.” In general fees are much lower than the United States. Most hospitals have a 24 hour emergency rooms. Listed below are some of the larger hospitals with emergency rooms and some pharmacies (pretty much any Walgreens you see). For more information contact the Department of Health at (787) 766-1616.

Physicians: 1 Doctor per 523 people.
Hospital Beds: 1 per 381 people.
Infant mortality rate: total: 9.14 deaths/1,000 live births


Ashford Presbyterian Community Hospital
Condado (Metro Area)
Hospital Pavia
Santurce (Metro Area)
San Jorge Children’s Hospital
Santurce (Metro Area)

Voter’s Registration in Puerto Rico

To register to vote you must be 18 years old and a U.S. citizen. In order to vote in Puerto Rico you must have lived in the island at least 30 days and in your precint at least 10 days prior to the election. A properly completed voter registration form though must be completed 120 days before an election.

For more information contact State Commision of Elections Puerto Rico or call 1-787-777-8720.


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“Someone told me there’s a girl out there
With love in her eyes and flowers in her hair.
Took my chances on a big jet plane, never let them tell you that they’re all the same.”
Led Zeppelin – “Going To California”