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Travel Insurance Puerto Rico


Puerto Rico Country Guide

  1. CountryFacts
  2. Health
  3. Media
  1. Intro
  2. Geography
  3. People
  4. Travel
  5. Embassies & Visas
  6. Finance
  7. Cities/Regions

Quick Facts

Region: North & Central America & the Caribbean
Full Name: Commonwealth of Puerto Rico
Capital City: San Juan
Language Spoken: Spanish, English

Puerto Rico Travel Insurance

Get travel insurance to Puerto Rico from Direct Travel Insurance. We offer low cost and high quality travel insurance to Puerto Rico and most of the world.

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Geographic data

18 15 N, 66 30 W

Elevation Extremes

lowest point: Caribbean Sea 0 m highest point: Cerro de Punta 1,339 m

Land boundaries

0 km

Natural hazards

periodic droughts; hurricanes

Natural resources

some copper and nickel; potential for onshore and offshore oil

Land use

arable land: 3.69% permanent crops: 5.59% other: 90.72% (2005)

Environmental current issues

erosion; occasional drought causing water shortages


Hot tropical climate. The temperature varies little throughout the year. Cooler in the upland areas. Required clothing Lightweight tropical clothes. Light rainwear required.

Time difference

time difference: UTC-4


3,927,188 (July 2006 est.)

Age structure

0-14 years: 21.3% (male 428,610/female 409,484) 15-64 years: 65.8% (male 1,239,255/female 1,345,519) 65 years and over: 12.8% (male 218,045/female 286,275) (2006 est.)

Median age

total: 34.7 years male: 33 years female: 36.4 years (2006 est.)

Population growth rate

0.4% (2006 est.)

Birth rate

12.77 births/1,000 population (2006 est.)

Death rate

7.65 deaths/1,000 population (2006 est.)

Net migration rate

-1.14 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2006 est.)

Sex ratio

at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female under 15 years: 1.05 male(s)/female 15-64 years: 0.92 male(s)/female 65 years and over: 0.76 male(s)/female total population: 0.92 male(s)/female (2006 est.)

Life expectancy at birth

total population: 78.4 years male: 74.46 years female: 82.54 years (2006 est.)

Total fertility rate

1.75 children born/woman (2006 est.)

Business Practices

Lightweight suits are advised for business meetings. Knowledge of Spanish (the official language) is very useful, although English is widely spoken; most people in the tourist industry and the greater metropolitan areas are bilingual. Office hours are 0900-1800 Monday to Friday while government office hours are 0830-1630 Monday to Friday.


Crime in Puerto Rico is relatively low. Visitors should have a heightened level of vigilance when traveling in areas they are not familiar with. Petty crime in Puerto Rico not a major problem, however visitors should be on the lookout for pickpockets and petty thieves in and around tourist attractions. Although the recent general strikes have ended, there are continued tensions. Foreigners should take care to avoid large groups and demonstrations that may turn violent with little or no warning.


San Juan has modern hotels and there is similar lodging in Ponce. Paradores (Government-sponsored inns) are less modern, but of a good standard.


Telephone: IDD service is available. Country code: 1 787. Outgoing international code: 011. Services are modern with fax services, cellular and Internet services available throughout the island.


is 120 volts AC, 60Hz. Electricity 110 volts AC, 60Hz.

Plug Types


Food And Dining

Puerto Rico (and especially San Juan) abounds with good restaurants, catering for all tastes from Spanish to Chinese, French, Greek and Italian. The island cuisine is Spanish-based, with rice and beans as the staple diet. National specialties
? Paella.
? Chicken dishes.
? Black bean soup.
? Sancocho (beef stew).
? Jueyes (land crabs).
? Pan de agua (native bread). National drink
? Barrilito and Don Q (Rum).
Generally 15 to 20 per cent if not included on the bill.
Puerto Rico?s nightlife is abundant and varied. The streets are lively in the evening. Many shops are open late, and the visitor can sit in the squares of old San Juan and indulge in people-watching. A recommended walk is down La Princesa Promenade, lined with antique street lamps. Meeting places include a Bogart-style cigar bar and cocktail bars. Hotels provide some of the entertainment, but there are also different types of clubs, both modern and more mainstream. Many Puerto Ricans favor traditional Latin dance clubs with large dance floors, which often have live bands playing salsa and merengue music. Puerto Ricans are passionate about their nightlife, and often dress up. Casinos are intimate and friendly, generally opening at noon and closing at around 0400 daily. Hotel casinos are open to guests and non-guests alike.

Entry departure requirements

The passport and visa requirements for entering Puerto Rico are the same as for entering the USA. * Please see passport and visa sectionsRestricted entry The following are not eligible to receive a USA entry visa: (a) People afflicted with certain serious communicable diseases or disorders deemed threatening to the property, safety or welfare of others; (b) Anyone who has been arrested (except for very minor driving offences) or who has a criminal record; (c) Narcotics addicts or abusers and drug traffickers; (d) Anyone who has been deported from or denied admission to the USA. Note: Those who are ineligible may be eligible for a waiver of ineligibility.

Visa immigration information

The passport and visa requirements for entering Puerto Rico are the same as for entering the USA.


Valid passport required by all; validity varies - for most countries it is required for the duration of the stay; check with the Embassy (see Passport/Visa Information).

New Requirements for Travellers: The US Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004 requires that by January 1, 2008, travellers to and from the Caribbean, Bermuda, Panama, Mexico and Canada have a passport or other secure, accepted document to enter or re-enter the United States. In order to facilitate the implementation of this requirement, the Administration is proposing to complete it in phases following a proposed timeline, which will be published in the Federal Register in the near future. This is a change from prior travel requirements and will affect all United States citizens entering the United States from countries within the Western Hemisphere who do not currently possess valid passports. This new requirement will also affect certain foreign nationals who currently are not required to present a passport to travel to the United States. Most Canadian citizens, citizens of the British Overseas Territory of Bermuda, and to a lesser degree, Mexican citizens will be affected by the implementation of this requirement.

For further details about the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative, visit the website of the US Department of State:


(a) For nationals included in the Visa Waiver Program (see below), passports must be valid for at least 90 days from date of entry (except for nationals of Andorra, Brunei and San Marino, who must hold passports valid for at least six months beyond the intended date of departure from the USA).

(b) All travellers entering the USA under the Visa Waiver Program now require individual machine-readable passports. Children included on a parent's passport also now require their own machine-readable passport. Travellers not in possession of machine-readable passports will require a valid USA entry visa.

(c) Passports issued on or after 26 October 26 2005, will need to have a biometric identifier in order for the holder to travel visa free under the Visa Waiver Program (VWP). Machine-readable passports issued between 26 October 2005 and 25 October 2006 requires a digital photograph printed on the data page or an integrated chip with information from the data page. Machine-readable passports issued on or after 26 October 2006 will require an integrated chip with information from the data page (e-passport).


Required by all except the following:

(a) Citizens of countries under the Visa Waiver Program (see 2. below);

(b) 1. Nationals of Bermuda and Canada provided holding valid passports;

(c) Nationals of Mexico provided holding a valid passport and a US Border Crossing Card.

Note: (a) Landed Immigrants of Canada and British residents of Bermuda who are citizens of, and have valid passports from, Commonwealth countries or Ireland are no longer eligible to enter the USA without a visa. (b) The Transit Without Visa (TWOV) and International-to-International (ITI) transit programs have been indefinitely suspended as of 2 August 2003. All passengers using US airports for transit purposes are now required to obtain a transit visa. This does not affect qualified travellers travelling visa free under the Visa Waiver Program (see below).

Visa Waiver Program

(a) 2. The following nationals, upon presentation of a valid passport (see Note above), do not require a visa under the Visa Waiver Program: Andorra, Australia, Brunei, EU countries (except nationals of Cyprus, Czech Republic, Estonia, Greece, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland and Slovak Republic, who do require a visa), Iceland, Japan, Liechtenstein, Monaco, New Zealand, Norway, San Marino, Singapore and Switzerland.

To qualify for visa-free travel under the Visa Waiver Program, nationals must travel on a valid passport (see Note above), for holiday, transit or business purposes only and for a stay not exceeding 90 days.

If entering the USA by air or sea, passengers must hold a return or onward ticket or itinerary (if onward tickets terminate in Bermuda, Canada, Mexico or the Caribbean Islands, travellers must be legal permanent residents of those countries), hold a completed form I-94W and enter aboard an air or sea carrier participating in the Visa Waiver Program (lists of participating air or sea carriers are available from most travel agents or the carriers themselves).

If entering the USA by land from Canada or Mexico, hold a completed form I-94W* issued by Immigration at the port of entry and a US$6 fee (only payable in US Dollars).

Note*: (a) Passengers must have the full address and ZIP code of where they are staying in the USA to be able to fully complete the I-94W form. (b) Members of Visa Waiver Program countries who want to work, study or remain more than 90 days in the USA must apply for a visa before travelling, as should those who have been previously refused a visa, have a criminal record, or are in any way ineligible for an unrestricted visa. (c) 3. Holders of UK passports with the endorsement British Subject, British Dependent Territories Citizen, British Protected Person, British Overseas Citizen or British National (Overseas) Citizen do not qualify for the Visa Waiver Program. Persons unsure about visa requirements (including those defined in 'Restricted Entry' above) should contact the US Consulate General or the Visa Department of the US Embassy (see Passport/Visa Information).

Types of visa and cost

Tourist, Business, Transit and Student. Other types of visa are also available, contact the US Embassy (website: for further details. The visa application fee is $100 (currently equivalent to US$108), regardless of whether the visa is issued or denied and regardless of the duration of the visa or entries required. The Embassy will provide a paying-in slip, which is attached to the application form DS-156. The fee must be paid in cash at a bank prior to submitting a visa application to the US Embassy, and the bank will issue a receipt of payment, which must be attached to the application form. The fee receipt, once paid, is valid for one year. Some nationals may also have to pay a reciprocal visa issuance fee - details are available from the State Department (website:


Visas may be used for travel to the USA until the date it expires, or if marked 'valid indefinitely' for up to 10 years. Some visas are valid for multiple entries. The length of stay in the USA is determined by US immigration officials at the time of entry but is generally six months; there is, however, no set time.


(a) The Embassy no longer issues visas valid indefinitely. Any new B-1/B-2 visa issued will be valid for a maximum of 10 years. (b) A visa does not expire with the expiry of the holder's passport. An unexpired, endorsed visa in an expired passport may be presented for entry into the USA, as long as the visa itself has not been cancelled, is undamaged, is less than 10 years old and is presented with a valid non-expired passport, provided that both passports are for the same nationality.

Application to

Visa branches at Consulates General. Those residing in England, Scotland or Wales should apply to the Embassy in London (see Passport/Visa Information).

Application requirements

(a) Completed visa application form DS-156 and form DS-157, if required. (b) Valid passport (validity dependant upon nationality) and with at least one blank page. (c) One recent passport-size photo. (d) Embassy copy of the fee receipt endorsed by the bank. (e) Evidence of sufficient funds to cover all expenses while in the USA. (f) Documentation of intent to return to country of residence. (g) Supporting documents (such as purpose of visit) and/or issuance fees, where relevant. (h) Stamped self-addressed, special delivery envelope, for return by post. Business: (a)-(h) and, (i) Evidence of intended business activities in the USA, such as a letter from their employer.

Important Note: All applicants aged 14 to 79 are required to schedule an appointment for an interview (tel: (09055) 444 546; Mon-Fri 0900-1600). Applicants under the age of 14 and those 80 and over may be eligible to apply for a visa by mail. Also note Restricted Entry.


Additional processing requirements and information are required for: (a) males aged 16-45; (b) nationals of Cuba, Iran, Korea (Dem Rep), Libya, Sudan and the Syrian Arab Republic. (c) nationals of China (PR), Northern Cyprus, the Russian Federation, Somalia and Vietnam. Please note that requirements are subject to change at short notice and any applicant should check with the US Embassy (website:

Working days required

Varies with each embassy; interview appointment waiting time is usually 25 to 30 days (27 days for London Embassy), and visa processing time is usually five to seven working days (three days for London Embassy). It is important to allow sufficient time for processing the visa, and final travel plans should not be made until a visa has been issued. Applications lodged during the peak travel season may take longer.

Temporary residence

The law in the USA is complex for those wishing to take up residence. More information may be obtained from the Embassy (see Passport/Visa Information).

Passport/Visa Information

Embassy of the United States of America in the UK

24 Grosvenor Square, London W1A 1AE, UK

Tel: (020) 7499 9000.


Opening hours: Mon-Fri 0830-1730.

Consulates in: Belfast and Edinburgh.

American Embassy in the UK - Visa Services

Tel: (09068) 200 290 (24-hour visa information line; calls cost 60p per minute, UK only; identical information is available on the embassy website at no cost) or (09055) 444 546 (operator-assisted visa information)

Most visits to Puerto Rico are trouble-free but you should be aware of the global risk of indiscriminate international terrorist attacks, which could be against civilian targets, including places frequented by foreigners.

This advice is based on information provided by the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office in the UK. It is correct at time of publishing. As the situation can change rapidly, visitors are advised to contact the following organizations for the latest travel advice:

British Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office

Tel: (0845) 850 2829.


US Department of State


HIV entry requirements

No Test Required

Departure tax




US Dollar (USD; symbol US$) = 100 cents. For exchange rates and currency restrictions, see the USA section.

Currency restrictions

Banking hours

Mon-Fri 0900-1530. Hours may vary.

Currency exchange

Foreign currency can be exchanged at banks and bureaux de change. All major ATM services are also available.

Credit cards

All international credit cards, and many leading debit cards are accepted.

Travellers cheques

Cheques in various currencies are accepted, but US Dollar cheques are preferred.

City/RegionCity/Area codeFollowed by
Puerto Rico(1+)939+ 7 digit subscriber nr
  1. Health Information
  2. Recent Disease Outbreak
  3. Hospital Database

Dental care

A high standard of dental care is available in the capital - San Juan

Medication Availability

International medication is available via pharmacies throughout Puerto Rico

Blood supplies

Blood supplies are considered safe and screened to international standards in the large city hospitals

Medical facilities

Medical facilities are available, but may be limited outside urban areas.

General caution

Recent medical and dental exams should ensure that the traveler is in good health. Carry appropriate health and accident insurance documents and copies of any important medical records. Bring an adequate supply of all prescription and other medications as well as any necessary personal hygiene items, including a spare pair of eyeglasses or contact lenses if necessary. Take personal protective measures against insects. Swim only in well-maintained, chlorinated pools or ocean water known to be free from pollution; avoid freshwater lakes, streams and rivers. Drink only bottled beverages (including water) or beverages made with boiled water. Do not use ice cubes or eat raw seafood or rare meat. Eat well-cooked foods while they are still hot and fruits that can be peeled without contamination. Avoid roadside stands and street vendors. Only pasteurized dairy products should be consumed.

Specific concerns

Coral and jellyfish may present problems.


Hepatitis A: Consider active immunization with hepatitis A vaccine or passive immunization with immune globulin (IG) for all susceptible travelers. Especially consider choosing active immunization for persons planning to reside for a long period or for persons who take frequent short-term trips to risk areas. The importance of protection against hepatitis A increases as length of stay increases. It is particularly important for persons who will be living in or visiting rural areas, eating or drinking in settings of poor or uncertain sanitation, or who will have close contact with local persons (especially young children) in settings with poor sanitary conditions. Typhoid: Vaccination should be considered for persons staying longer than 3 weeks, adventurous eaters, and those who will venture off the usual tourist routes into small cities, villages and rural areas. Importance of vaccination increases as access to reasonable medical care becomes limited. Contraindications depend on vaccine type. Note: All routine vaccines (such as DTP or Td, Hib, MMR, polio, varicella, influenza and pneumococcal) should be kept up-to-date as a matter of good health practice unrelated to travel.

Disease risk summary

Insect-borne illness: Dengue fever - occurs (According to CDC researchers, more than 25,200 cases were reported from June 1994 through February 1995, compared with an average of 8,800 cases per year from 1991 to 1993.) Dengue hemorrhagic fever - occurs (Approximately 26% of hospitalized patients report at least one hemorrhagic manifestation.) Filariasis - occurs Food-borne and water-borne illness: these diseases, including bacillary and amoebic dysenteries, are common. Hepatitis - occurs Schistosomiasis - common Other hazards: Diseases such as measles and diphtheria are commonly reported. Influenza risk extends throughout the year. Animal rabies is reported in some areas.

Entry requirements


Recent disease outbreaks

No recent disease outbreaks

Ashford Presbyterian Community Hospital1451 Ashford Avenue San Juan 907
Caribbean Paediatric & Surgery HospitalCalle Diego 371 Rio Piedras
Hospital Metropolitano San GermanCalle Javilla al Costado Parque de Bos An German PR 683
Pavia Hospital1462 Prof. Augusto Rodr?guez Santurce
San Pablo de Este HospitalP.O. Box 1028 General Valero Avenue 404 Fajardo PR 00738
San Pablo HospitalP.O. Box 236 Urb. Santa Cruz Santa Cruz Street 70 Bayamon PR 00959


Broadcasting is regulated by the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC).
Press:The English-language newspaper published in Puerto Rico is The San Juan Star; others include El Nuevo D?a, El Vocero de Puerto Rico and Primera Hora.
TV: Home-grown comedies, talk shows and Spanish-language soaps are staple fare on local TV stations. The multichannel offerings of cable TV are also widely available. Examples of commercial stations include Telemundo, Televicentro and Univision; TUTV (Channel 6) is a public station.
Radio: WIAC Radio Puerto Rico is a commercial station (news and talk), as is WPRM Cadena Salsoul (salsa and tropical music). WIPR Radio 940 is a public radio station.