Happy Wayfarer is reader-supported. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission.
As a territory of the United States, Puerto Rico is under the jurisdiction of the Federal Government of the United States. As long as you don’t land in a foreign country or port before arriving in Puerto Rico, your trip to the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico is counted as travel within the United States. This is the case even if you take a cruise ship.
It is not necessary to have a passport in order to go to Puerto Rico if you are a citizen of the United States or a lawful permanent resident of the United States. Puerto Ricans also do not require a passport in order to travel to the other parts of the United States.
When going to Puerto Rico, the only forms of identification required are those issued by the government or a permanent resident card.
In other words, those traveling from the mainland United States, as well as Puerto Ricans, are all citizens of the United States. For travel to and from Puerto Rico, as well as travel to any of the 50 states or American territories, the only proof of citizenship required is a valid photo identification card, such as a driver’s license.
However, if you are from outside of U.S., say U.K. or Canada, or any other country, travel to Puerto Rico will be considered international travel.
How to travel to Puerto Rico on a budget?
If you wish to travel to Puerto Rico but you are tight on expenses, here is how you can travel on a budget:
Use points and miles
Paying cash for a flight to Puerto Rico can be a good deal depending on when you go. However, using airline miles or credit card points is the best option to fly to San Juan.
If you have 9,000 points from Chase, American Express, or Capital One, you can go to San Juan on American Airlines. Each of these programs offers a 1:1 point transfer to the British Airways Executive Club.
Or, for as little as 7,500 SkyMiles each way, fly Delta nonstop to San Juan. American Express Membership Rewards points can be transferred to Delta SkyMiles at a 1:1 rate.
Fly in lie-flat business class seats
If you wish to travel in comfort, check for trips to San Juan served by wide-body planes operated by American, Delta, or United. The business class seats on these large jets, such as the Boeing 777 or 737, can be reclined into a lie-flat bed. So, if you’re flying to Puerto Rico, you’ll be able to catch some shut-eye
As if that wasn’t enough, booking these seats doesn’t cost you a fortune in points. Flying from Miami to San Juan in the airline’s lie-flat business class costs as little as 20,000 AAdvantage miles. Or you may pay as little as 25,000 Aeroplan points to fly United’s lie-flat business class from Newark or Houston to San Juan
Aeroplan points can be transferred from Chase, American Express, or Capital One credit cards if you require them
Reasons to consider visiting Puerto Rico
Diverse activities for every type of traveler
While Puerto Rico’s beaches are well-known, the island also boasts mountains that rise higher than the highest points in 24 states combined. You may zipline through the forest, visit a coffee estate, or tube through tunnels when vacationing in Costa Rica.
In terms of production capacity, Bacardi’s “Cathedral of Rum” distillery is the world’s largest premium rum facility. Visitors can take a tour of the factory, which is located across the bay from Old San Juan.
No COVID testing requirement to fly home
The requirement for a negative COVID-19 test done no more than one calendar day before to departure will go into effect in December 2021 for all travelers returning to the United States from abroad.
Passengers returning from Puerto Rico do not have to give a negative COVID test as the island is a U.S. territory.
No passport required
To travel to Puerto Rico without a passport, U.S. citizens and permanent residents do not need to connect to Mexico or another foreign airport. Passports may have expired during the pandemic, making Puerto Rico an alternative for those without one.
It now takes between eight and 11 weeks to process a US passport, and even if you pay for expedited processing, it will still take between five and seven weeks. This does not even take into account the time it takes to mail the package. As a result, if you don’t have a current passport or have a significant amount of time until your next vacation, you should limit your travel options to places that don’t require one in the coming months.
There are plenty of ways to get there
One further reason to visit Puerto Rico in 2022 is that the mainland of the United States is so close.
8 US airlines offer nonstop service from 28 US airports to San Juan, according to the aircraft route tracking website FlightConnections. Flying time from Florida to San Juan is less than three hours, while it takes about four hours from other East Coast locations.
Puerto Rico is easier to get there from the East Coast than from the West Coast.
Interesting And Exhilarating Things to do in Puerto Rico
Here are some of the most interesting and exhilarating things you can do while you are in Puerto Rico:
Snorkeling with Turtles Adventure
Explore the vivid coral reefs, which are home to an abundance of sea turtles, and get up close and personal with these majestic creatures. You and your entire family will love this experience. The adventure begins at the Marine Park, where you’ll meet your guide.
As soon as you arrive, your guide will show you how to use the snorkeling equipment and give you a safety briefing. Dive with your guide into the warm Caribbean Sea and learn about the marine life there. With sea turtles and coral reefs surrounding you, you’ll feel as if you’ve stepped into another world. Swimming alongside one of the planet’s oldest surviving animals is an experience you won’t soon forget.
4-Hour Afternoon Snorkeling Tour
Explore marine life before the sun sets by joining a guided snorkeling excursion tailored to your own skill level. Enjoy the afternoon in the water or on a boat, swimming, floating, and relaxing. Drinks will be supplied with the option of adding local rum to them, and light snacks will be provided. Before the sun sets, you’ll be welcomed back to the marina by live music and new friends you’ve met along the way.
El Yunque Rainforest & Waterfalls Half-Day Tour
Embark on a journey through Puerto Rico’s El Yunque Tropical Rainforest with a knowledgeable guide from Luquillo. Nature walks, river wading, and swimming in natural pools and waterfalls are all great ways to learn about the area’s diverse wildlife and plant life. Meet your tour guide at “Frutera Flores,” a local fruit market in Luquillo, to begin your day.
Your tour guide will pick out a selection of fresh local fruit here, and you may buy some local fritters or a fresh fruit smoothie to go along with your tour experience. Follow your guide in your rental car to the magnificent El Yunque Rainforest, Puerto Rico’s most impressive natural wonder after this.
It is the only tropical rainforest, the most biologically varied, and the most extensively studied forest in the United States National Forest System. ‘ Arrive at a hidden treasure in the middle of the rainforest after an instructive journey via natural trails packed with gorgeous plants and animals and some river wading.
You can’t help but fall in love with the 29,000-acre forest when you see this magnificent section. This is a great place to cool off in the natural pools, take a refreshing dip in the waterfalls, ride an exhilarating waterslide, and jump from a variety of rock formations. Along with all of this exhilaration, you’ll have plenty of opportunities to unwind and take in the breathtaking scenery and sounds of cascading water.
A helicopter tour of Puerto Rico will allow you to see the island from a whole new perspective. There are three different kinds of tours you can take: Take a tour of San Juan’s Old City. Get an up-close look at some of the island’s historical landmarks.
The Capitol House, La Fortaleza-The Governor’s Mansion, Fort San Cristobal, and Fort San Felipe del Morro, as well as an aerial stop at Fort San Felipe del Morro for pictures, are all on the itinerary.
Itinerary for the Enchanted Shore Cruise As you soar above Old San Juan, you’ll get a bird’s eye view of the city’s stunning coastline, beaches, and the popular tourist destination of Isla Verde. Enjoy the greatest views of Condado, the luxury resorts, and the old Old San Juan architecture. Eco-Friendly Exit Explore San Juan Fort, mountains, bridges, and rivers from a new perspective.
Views of mountains, the seaside, and the city may be seen from this location. Catao Bacardi Rum Distillery at Catao, the city of Bayamón with its Science Park, and the massive cable-stayed bridge in Naranjito are all visible from the air.
The Beast Zipline at Toro Verde Adventure Park
While zipping through the trees, you’ll be surrounded by stunning vistas of the surrounding mountains. In terms of length, The Beast’s 1.57-mile cable equates to 28 football fields. Before you head to the launch pad, get a crash course in the flight equipment.
Do Some Hiking at Guánica State Park
Guánica State Park is one of the best places for hiking in Puerto Rico. This park offers many different types of hikes. For example, you can hike along the beach or up into the mountains. There are over 100 miles of trail in the park so you can do as much or little hiking as you’d like. Many people who come here love hiking up Mount Isabel. From the top of the mountain, you can enjoy an incredible view of the surrounding area. Make sure to bring plenty of drinking water with you since the weather can be hot and humid.
Explore Old San Juan
Old San Juan was founded back in 1521 when the Spanish first arrived. Today, it’s considered one of the oldest cities in the United States. If you walk its cobblestone streets, you’ll notice old-world charm. These days, Old San Juan is known for being the birthplace of salsa dancing, but the history of the city goes way deeper than that.
Take A Scenic Drive To Rincón
Rincón de Chavón is a town situated in the center region of Puerto Rico. This scenic drive takes around two hours to reach. Along the way, you pass by fields of sugar cane, coconut trees, coffee plantations, and mountains. It’s not only pretty to look at, but it feels good too! When you arrive in Rincón, make sure to spend time walking around the main plaza. You’ll find shops selling local crafts and produce, such as fresh bread and pastries.
See the Waterfalls At Culebra Island
Culebra Island is a small island off the coast of Puerto Rico. It’s famous for having three waterfalls: Agua Azul, Boca del Infierno, and Del Rayo. Each of these waterfalls offers a unique experience. They are separated by about five miles of mountainous terrain. You’ll need to take a taxi or boat to get out to the islands, but the return trip is well worth it. Bring your swimming gear just in case you decide to jump in the water.
Go Surfing In Rincon Beach
Rincon Beach is a gorgeous white sand beach in Puerto Rico. It”s surrounded by turquoise waters and jagged cliffs. Surfers travel from all over the world to get their fix of waves right here. If you’re looking to catch some waves, be careful of rip currents. They can be strong and fast-moving, especially near the shore break. Don’t let this stop you from surfing, though. Just use common sense and know what you’re doing before heading out.