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This is a question we get asked often by prospective travelers and meeting planners, and even by travelers visiting the Company Store as they work on planning their itinerary. Understandably- experiencing crime is a fast way to take the fun out of your vacation. As we start gearing up for the holiday season and everyone starts thinking about a winter Caribbean vacation, we felt this would be a good time to address this issue. Much of the violent crime in Puerto Rico is associated with drugs, as a pit-stop between South America and the US. This is not something that the traveler will be exposed to. The long and short of the answer is…. Yes. Puerto Rico is very safe for the traveler. Like any other place in the world, use common sense. Don’t go into the ghetto at 3am.
Here are a few tips that will better prepare you to stay safe and enjoy a worry-free fantastic Puerto Rican vacation. Our thanks to About .com for some of these great tips, which we agree with. The most common problem that the traveler experiences is theft, so here are a few tips on how to avoid theft:
- Leave your valuables at home: You won’t need your best jewelry at the beach. Puerto Rico is very casual. Better to leave it at home and not have to worry about it.
- Use the hotel safe: Most self-respecting hotels have in-room safes, and these are excellent places to keep your passport and extra cash. Credit cards are widely accepted on the island, and there are many ATM’s, so don’t travel around with too much money in your wallet unless you really need it.
- Never leave valuables in the car: This applies especially to Vieques and Culebra, where thieves will not think twice about smashing the window of your rental car to get at your wallet while you’re enjoying the beach. But the rule applies all over the island; take your valuables with you, or better yet, leaven them at the hotel.
How safe is Puerto Rico to go out at night?
Most of the clubs, bars and lounges in San Juan lie along the tourist route and are quite safe. You can walk along Fortaleza Street in Old San Juan at 3 am and be just fine. In addition, you will find bars and restaurant in Rincon on the West Coast and The bars in Luquillo on the East Coast to also be very safe. Culebra and Vieques are considered safe, especially Culebra, which is small enough that crime is a real rarity. As for the rest of Puerto Rico, let your common sense be your guide. This is a safe place to be, but there is no need to court danger.
Is it safe for single travelers?
I’ve run across plenty of single travelers during my trips to Puerto Rico, and I have wandered all over the island on my own without anything more alarming than a broken shoelace. Puerto Rico is a popular destination for gay travelers, and the Ocean Park neighborhood in particular has bed and breakfasts which cater to gay travelers. Single women obviously need to take into account basic precautions, but Puerto Rico is no less safe than other Caribbean islands for female tourists.
What kind of health risks should I be worried about?
Fortunately this is not a major concern for travelers to Puerto Rico. You don’t need to get any vaccinations or other kinds of shots to come to the island. The food is mild (no spices) and clean, so stomach illness isn’t something to worry about.
How safe is public transportation?
More good news! Taxis, buses, ferries, the Tren Urbano, or “Urban Train,” and públicos are all safe, clean and reliable in Puerto Rico.