With its lush beaches, historic cities and party vibe, Puerto Rico is emerging as one of the top island escapes in the Caribbean.
However, compared to neighboring islands, such as the Dominican Republic, Jamaica and Cuba, traveling here can be expensive. With the lack of reliable public transport, rising living costs, an 11.5% tax rate on all goods and services, a general lack of hotels offering all-inclusive packages, and the island’s political relationship with the US, a visit to Puerto Rico can be a high-priced affair.
But don’t despair. There are plenty of pocket-friendly ways to experience the best of what the island has to offer. From feasting on great flavors to relaxing on sandy beaches with crystal clear waters and strolling through historic city streets, here’s how to visit Puerto Rico on a budget.
1. Visit during the off-season to keep costs down
Traveling during the off-season is a must for a budget trip to any Caribbean destination, and this is especially true in Puerto Rico. Puerto Rico is the land of eternal summer, with daytime temperatures ranging from 70ºF to 80ºF (21ºC to 27ºC) year-round on the coast, so there’s never really a bad time to visit.
The peak tourist season is between December and April, coinciding with the cold winter months in the northern hemisphere. Tourist numbers drop at other times – to avoid crowds, overbooked tours and spikes in hotel prices, come between May and July or from September to early December.
Keep in mind that visiting Puerto Rico in the off-season means coming in hurricane season, which runs from June 1 to November 30. Direct strikes are infrequent but it pays to take out good travel insurance and keep an eye on the weather forecast.
2. There are cheaper accommodations if you know where (and when) to look
Accommodations are likely to be your biggest expense in Puerto Rico. Room rates at three- and four-star hotels can soar up to the high hundreds of dollars per night during the peak holiday months, but the same room can go for as little as US$120–280 per night during the off-season.
Hotels outside the San Juan municipality go for around US$180, so staying away from the capital can also be a way to save. Another good way to shrink…
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