Of course the first thing you have to do on what to bring for Puerto Rico is book your flight first. Research your best deals and fly into San Juan, Puerto Rico (SJU). Check out this post for more information before arriving on the island.
This travel book is geared towards those who want to get in a car and drive and explore the island, so first step is to rent your car! Remember you will spend a good amount of time in car. Make sure it’s comfortable, has good trunk space and gets good gas mileage. Most importantly (in our humble opinion) the most important aspect to ask is if the car has an auxiliary outlet. Why? Well so you can plug in your iPhone/iPad/iPod for the music of course! If you’re deciding whether to rent a car or use a taxi, check out this post.
Book your hotel! This is a comprehensive list of most of the best hotels by region with Trip Advisor links to help you make your choice.
Essentials To Pack – What To Bring For Puerto Rico
There are essentials that you are going to need to pack with your suitcase for this trip. Somethings you will have to buy once you land on the island and find a store, however these are the items you should bring with you for this adventure.
iPad LifeProof Case The book is designed for an iPad or new generation iPhone. So if you’re going to be traveling with your iPad (especially under the sun/rain and weather conditions) it makes sense to definitely protect your iPad with a LifeProof Case. You’re going to need this book “Puerto Rico Revealed” on your journey as we will give you links and recommendations so you can make “on the go” decisions. It will be a shame if you’ve bought this book, but don’t take it with you on your Puerto Rico journey because you’re afraid to damage your iPad. Plus, remember it will help you with navigation!
This piece of equipment is essential for your travels in Puerto Rico – especially if you want to have this book or smartphone handy as mentioned.
Hiking Bookbag: Stuff a regular hiking bookbag into your suitcase or bring one with you as your “carry on” the plane. Some of the adventures on this 5 Day Trip this will come in handy so you can carry with you your bottles of water, phones, snacks, books, cameras, etc
Day Cooler: Buy or bring a “collapsible” cooler to have in your car for the trip. Make sure they are the types of coolers with straps so you can take with you on your hikes if possible. It’s better than buying the “foam” coolers in the supermarket and better for the environment if you bring your small day cooler with you.
Headlight/Flashlight: Always a great idea to have a headlight or flashlight in your bookbag just in case! You never know on your sunset hike you may have to hike back in darkness and will be happy you have a light to guide you back.
Auxiliary Cables: We don’t know about you, but this is an essential! Make sure to bring these to plug iPad/iPhone/IPod to listen to your tunes for your drive! Don’t forget your chargers also!
What To Buy Once You’re On The Island (Don’t Pack)
Okay, so you’ve finally landed in the island, rented your car, and checked into your hotel for the night. Sometime before your adventure begins, you must go to a store and buy these essential items to keep in your car for the entire week of your journey. Besides the food/drinks you will need on a daily basis, the following items are absolute essentials to have in your car to be prepared for every situation!
Small Umbrella: Let’s face it. It rains alot in Puerto Rico. One minute the sun is shining, the next it’s raining. That’s life on a tropical island. Not only is this handy to protect you when it rains, but also to provide shade for some of the hikes described in the following pages when the sun could be scorching hot. Ponchos work too.
Water Jugs: Buy 4-5 Water Jugs to leave in the trunk of your car. You’re going to be happy you did so after some of your treks on this 5 Day Adventure. Why do you need these? See #3.
Sneakers That Will Get Dirty/Muddy:
Water Jugs will be used when you get back in your car to wash your feet/sneakers and be clean for the car ride.
Pack / or Buy Sneakers that you don’t mind that get dirty, yet have good traction for climbing rocky and sometimes slippery trails.
Garbage Bags / Plastic Bags from Supermarket:
Very important that you have these in your car. When you get back into your car after a hike, you’re going to want to get out of your wet/dirty/sandy clothes and take off your muddy shoes. You’re going to place all these items in your garbage bags and take to your hotel at night to wash and/or dry overnight.
*Also note on the plastic bags you get after you shop at the supermarket. KEEP THESE! You will use these as Garbage to take with you in your bookbag when you go on your hikes, etc. Even though Puerto Rico can sometimes not be the cleanest of places, let’s not make it worse. Pick up after yourself. The plastic portable garbage bags are important to bring for your hikes.
Ziploc Storage Bags: Put a handful of these in your bookbag. So when you go hiking or go to the beach, the storage bags will protect your car keys, phone, wallet, camera, SD disc, or anything that you don’t want getting wet! Of course a dry bag would do the trick, but this is an inexpensive alternative.
Sunblock: Unless you want to get baked under the sun and be hurting afterwards, strong suggestion is to put on sunblock each day here. The sun is deceptively scorching and you won’t feel burnt till the next day.
Off Insect/Mosquito Repellent: When hiking or going into some of these treks, it’s best to have this ready to go. While most times you won’t have any problems with this 5 Day Adventure, you may sometimes get bothered by some of these critters. Usually happens as the sun is going down – though not always. Sometimes they come out and you need Off badly, other times you can go weeks here in Puerto Rico and not need Off.
Hand Sanitizer: This is absolutely clutch to have in your car once you finish some of the hikes described here. Will hold you over till you get to the hotel and take a nice shower to get clean.
Beach Towels: Buy about 6-7 beach towels that you can rotate during your trip. These beach towels can be used on the car seats as well for the ride back to your next destination. You can usually pick up inexpensive beach towels for as little as $2-$3 apiece at any Walgreens you’re sure to run into along your way.
Flip Flops / Sunglasses: Perfect to throw in your bookbag and have ready. Once your shoes are muddied, throw some flip flops on for the drive back to your next destination.
Change of Clothes: It can’t be stated enough that planning ahead is the key to enjoy your 5 day adventure. That and staying warm and dry and comfortable for your drives around the island. Always keep a change of clothes ready to go at all times – whether dry protected in your bookbag – or in the trunk of your car.
Physical Map of the Island As soon as you get your rental car, make sure you grab one of the physical maps they typically have in the counter. We have found these to be very informative in our travels around the island – as well as directing you WHEN you lose signal for your iPad/Cell Phones to navigate the island. The map above are the ones you can obtain once you get here, however if you want to download a map beforehand check out their website above: The person who created this did an amazing job with the details of this map!
Google Maps App Since you bought this book, your main source of navigation will be Google Maps since we will provide the direct links to work with your ap right from this book to the destinations described in the following pages. Familiarize yourself with this app and learn the basics before you get to the island.
AutoExpresso To make your drives a much smoother and faster ride, make sure to activate your Auto Expresso tag from your car rental agency. The tag allows you to go through the toll lanes without having to stop. More importantly, most major highways in Puerto Rico have “changeless” tolls – meaning you have to have the Auto Expresso sticker.
Even if you opt out of Auto Expresso when you rent the car, if it has a sticker and you pass through a “cash” lane you will be charged. You could be charged with extra fees from rental agency for no reason. Just save yourself the hassle and make sure to get Auto Expresso for the trip
Gas: Make sure to fill up your gas tank before each of your days on this journey. The island has many gas station options along this 5 Day Adventure Journey. One note about gas is that in Puerto Rico it’s sold/priced/measured in liters.
Good rule of thumb is to multiply the price you see by 4 to get an estimated price per gallon. So when you see the signs that say: 0.98 don’t get too happy! That translates to 0.98 X 4 = $3.92 price per gallon. Keep this rule of thumb in mind to get an idea of your gas costs and where to put gas.
What To Know About Puerto Rico Roads:
There are lots of POTHOLES! It’s the worst thing we can say about Puerto Rico, and that is there are tons of little annoying potholes on the roads. Don’t worry, the highways usually have nicely paved roads – but we advise you to keep your eyes on the road to avoid these pesky potholes. The potholes just add to your sense of adventure in our opinion.
Also, the next page will detail the road signs and other road “tidbits” as driving in Puerto Rico has its own charm. First and foremost amongst them is that all the signs are in the same “shape” as in the United States, but they are mostly all in spanish.
“It is a rough road that leads to the height of greatness.” Unknown
A note on traffic in Puerto Rico. Most of the congestion on the island is typically heading towards San Juan Monday-Friday from 6AM-9AM. The traffic after work coming out of San Juan is typically from 4PM-7PM. Those are the times to avoid to not hit any major traffic. Be on the defensive when you’re driving in the island, as Puerto Ricans are known to cut people off in lanes and not use turn signals and do crazy U-Turns. Just use common sense on the roads. Most locals do not know by name the numbers of the roads – they typically orientate themselves around landmarks so keep this in mind if you ask locals for directions. “It’s next to the yellow building right where the Columbus statue is – go up 5 blocks and turn at the restaurant. Then its pretty close from there.”
What Type Of Budget Can I Expect To Spend Per Day?
This is a rough estimate of what you can expect to budget for a 5 Day Adventure. Clearly this budget is based on the most expensive scenario in that you don’t live in the island and you have to fly to get here. It also doesn’t consider that you may know people on the island and don’t have to book 6 different hotels, etc. This budget estimate is based on the worst possible economic impact that this adventure may cost in 2016 dollars. Here’s how some of the financial logistics may break down on a cost per person (obviously things are different depending on what type of traveler and experiences you want to have). Let us know if you’d like for us to detail a cost analysis for you.
Airline Flight: $400 x 2 = $800
Hotels: $625 ($125 a night)
Car Rental: $250 ($50 a day)
Food: $500 ($100 a day)
Gas: $200 ($40 a day)
Estimate Total: $3,505 – $3,800 Total 5 days
Per Person (2): $1,753 – $1,900 Total