Driving in Puerto Rico: Rental Cars & Getting Around

Driving around Puerto Rico can prove to be a challenge, especially if you haven't brushed up on your Spanish! Here's what you need to know about the road conditions, the local drivers and other way to get around.

Driving in Puerto Rico

Getting Around in Puerto Rico: The Language Barrier

Puerto Rican road maps are hard to come by throughout the country and foreign navigation systems may not operate well. In other words, you could end up completely lost. Hope you know Spanish! But if "hola" is as far as you can go, then it's a good idea to take a Spanish phrasebook or dictionary with you in case you need to ask for directions. You could also try printing out directions from an online map source before heading out on the road.

A lot of road signs are identifiable by symbols used in other countries, but there can be differences. For instance, distance is in kilometers, but speed limits are measured in miles.

Local Drivers in Puerto Rico

It's often reported that drivers largely ignore road markings and traffic signals, including red lights. Naturally, this can make for some dangerous conditions, and even the most seasoned drivers should keep their guard up. Even when you have a green light, slow down to make sure drivers in the other lane are not running their red light, particularly late at night or in the early morning. Think of green lights as yellow caution signals.

Travelers also say parking is near impossible in Old San Juan and that traffic in most urban areas slows to a crawl during rush hour.

Road Conditions in Puerto Rico

In many rural areas, road signs are nonexistent, and roadways can be narrow and winding. So narrow in fact, that a two-lane road actually becomes a one-lane road. Drivers must honk to let others know they are trying to get by, especially at night and on blind turns and curves.

Recent travelers recommend using caution when driving in Isla de Vieques, as animals like horses simply roam out into the middle of the road. Whoa, Neddy.

Other Ways to Get Around in Puerto Rico

So you've given up on driving? Though travelers say most public transportation is safe, look for taxis and buses with stickers approved by the government. This way, you can feel secure that drivers have good records and (most likely) don't intend to scam you.

Publico is a recommended shared taxi service that transports tourists cheaply to and from areas like Ponce and San Juan. You can prearrange these services or wait at a terminal.

There is also an urban train line that stops at 16 stations and 30 different bus routes. And ferry travel from San Juan and Fajardo to popular areas is also possible.

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4 Comments

  • Migdalia Dejesus said

    Your'll Are the ones.. That been the Drug to Puerto Rico & to New York For the American Money-dollar- & your'll live in puerto Rico We even lose count how Many Ass-hole From Dominican Republic Live in P.R Our Island in Puerto Rico; Your'll ARE THE DRUG- PUSHER SO Stop lying.. Putting people down so you could feel good about your'll self show how less of a person you ready are; Real Good People don't do that; So your'er dominican nanny could kill my kids. babysitters,

  • Migdalia Dejesus said

    I MEAN REALLY GOOD PEOLE DON'T ACT THAT WAY; GO TOO SCHOOL.. & REPECT PEOPLE ISLAND YOU JUST ENVY, INVIDIA, RESENTFUL, AROUSED BY SOMEONE ELSE'S POSSESSIONS, QUALITIES, OR LUCK: PUERTO RICO NATIONAL HEALTH SERVICE IS THE ENVY OF MANY DOMINICAN IN PUERTO RICO & IN THERE COUNTRY; DESIRING TO HAVE THE SAME & MANY US LOOK BAD THAT TELL YOU THERE THE COVER-UP

  • LIz Rodz said

    I have to say in the last 10 years federal and local government spent millions of dollars improving the road conditions all over the island. Nowadays is possible to drive pretty much around the whole island using expressways or divided highways. Regarding the rural roads, also there has been improvements, most roads are properly marked and some have street lights..just in very remote areas you might find very narrow roads and when you find those off course you have to be cautious and honk the horn to let others know you coming in the opposite way.

  • Scott said

    I would not recommend driving in Puerto Rico. Yet, its the only real way to get around. Hence, i will not be coming back.
    The police and government are so corrupt that, for me, its simply not worth the risk of being here. The drivers are terrible and break every rule in the book but they single out tourists to try to make up for their massive debt.
    A ticket for “running a red light” which was actually not red at all is $500 amd 6 points.
    So much for visiting and spending money to help the island recover.
    Not only will I mot pay a fine for something I didnt do, but if thats how they prey on tourists then there is no reason for me to come back.
    Good luck with those corrupt scams. No wonder people are turning their back on this place.

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