Puerto Rico: Getting there and Around

Getting There – Puerto Rico is the most accessible island in the Caribbean. San Juan is a major hub for American Airlines, so there’s easy access to its US domestic network. A number of other North American carriers fly between Puerto Rico and a score of mainland cities; Miami has the most frequent flights. Air Canada has direct service from Toronto and Montreal. British Airways has services from London, Iberia from Madrid and Condor from Frankfurt.

San Juan’s Luis Munoz Marin International Airport is on the eastern fringe of the city. There are car rental agencies at the airport and plenty of taxis and buses for the short jaunt into San Juan. There’s a baggage check in Terminal C, which is handy if you’re island hopping and want to travel light.

There are excellent air connections to many Caribbean islands, including BWIA flights to Antigua, Barbados, Jamaica and Trinidad, and Air France connections to Guadeloupe and Martinique. American Airlines and American Eagle have short-hop flights to the popular day-trip destination of St Thomas and St Croix in the US Virgin Islands, and Tortola in the British Virgin Islands. There are also flights to South and Central American destinations. There’s a US$14.10 airport departure tax when leaving San Juan, usually included in your airline ticket price. There are weekend ferries from Fajardo to St Thomas in the US Virgin Islands.

Getting Around – Renting a car is the best way to see the island. International car rental agencies are well represented and there are plenty of local operators. Your home driving license is valid. Note that local driving habits are erratic (to be kind) though relatively aggression-free (to be fair). Also watch out for the speed limit signs, which are in miles per hour, even though distances are in kilometres. Driving is on the right-hand side of the road.

If driving doesn’t appeal, you can stock up on patience and take public transport. Minivans known as publics link all decent-sized towns on the island. They have no set schedule and usually operate in short hops, so be prepared for several changes if you’re travelling a long distance and it’s not between two major cities. Publicos are cheap, sociable and recognizable by the ‘P’ or ‘PD’ on their license plate. You can flag one down anywhere. Metered taxis are plentiful in San Juan and other major tourist centres.

Cheap government-operated ferries do the run from Fajardo to the islands of Culebra and Vieques. At least four ferries a day ply either route and the journey to either island is around one hour. It’s possible to take a car, including rental cars, on the ferry to Culebra but it’s necessary to book well in advance.


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