About Puerto Rico

 ABOUT PUERTO RICO

The "Continent of Puerto Rico" covers 110 miles east to west and 35 miles north to south. It's located mid-Caribbean, about half way between Florida and Venezuela (see Puerto Rico on Caribbean locator map). Temperatures average 73 degrees in winter and 85 degrees in summer. English and Spanish are both spoken. Puerto Rico is a U.S. territory; the U.S. dollar is its currency.

When to Go

Puerto Rico enjoys year round summer temperatures, an average annual temperature of 80°F (26°C). The peak tourist season is between December and April, but this has more to do with the climate in U.S. mainland than anything else. The best time to avoid the crowds is the low season between May and November, which, unfortunately, coincides with hurricane season (officially -- from June 1 to November 30).

Customs and Immigration

There are no passportsor visas necessary for United States citizens, which mean that US citizens can travel freely in and out of the island without going through immigration or customs. US citizens only need to have some form of official government issued picture identification to enter Puerto Rico such as a current driver's license or a photo-identification card issued to non-drivers by a state's motor vehicles department. For additional information, contact your local U.S. embassy. or call the Puerto Rico State Department at (787) 722-2121.

Citizens of other countries have the same requirements as for entering the USA. Potential visitors must first obtain a visa, either a non-immigrant visa for temporary stay or an immigrant visa for permanent residence. The 90-day "visitor" visa is a non-immigrant visa to enter the United States temporarily.Those planning to travel to Puerto Rico for a different purpose, such as study or temporary work, must apply for specialized visas (either an M-1 or F-1 class). A visa is not a guarantee of entry into Puerto Rico. The bearer of a visa is subject to inspection at the port of entry by U.S. Department of Homeland Security officials who have authority to deny admission (Homeland Security Advisor, La Fortaleza, P.O. Box 9020082, San Juan, PR 00902-0082 - 787-977-7730 / 7731).

Puerto Rico’s Key Facts

  • Spanish is the official language, although most Puerto Ricans speak English.
  • Since Puerto Rico is a U.S. territory, the U.S. dollar is the official currency so no need to bring a currency converter when you travel to Puerto Rico.
  • Our first inhabitants date back to 2000 BC and remnants of their culture are still alive in the everyday language and the many indigenous ceremonial parks still in existence.
  • Our unofficial mascot is a tiny tree frog called coquí, which is found only in Puerto Rico and you’ll hear it’s unique “ko-kee” sound just outside your window.
  • More than 70% of the rum sold in the U.S. comes from Puerto Rico and you can sample our own favorite local brands and even take refinery tours.
  • Puerto Rico houses the world's largest radio telescope, spanning almost 20 acres. It is the only radio telescope that can accurately predict when and where an asteroid might collide with Earth and was responsible for the first time in history that an asteroid was imaged. The facilities tour is even more amazing.
  • The second radio station in all of the U.S. and the fifth licensed radio station in the world was Puerto Rico’s own WKAQ-AM. It is still alive and well, broadcasting our breaking news.
  • Hacienda Buena Vista, a meticulously-restored19th-century coffee plantation and estate in Ponce, holds the only remaining, operating example of a Barker hydraulic turbine, which was named a Mechanical Engineering Landmark by the American Society of Mechanical Engineers in 1994. It is powered by water sluiced from high atop the adjacent mountain.
  • El Yunque is the only tropical rainforest in the U.S. National Forest Service, a place so indescribable that it must be seen, heard, and felt. Be sure to make note of it in your Puerto Rico travel guide.
  • Puerto Rico is Spanish for “rich port”, although it wasn’t our original name. From 1493 to 1508, Puerto Rico was called San Juan Bautista, in honor of Saint John the Baptist. Locals call it “Isla del Encanto” which of course means Island of Enchantment.

 

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