Expats might struggle to arrange matters of transport and driving in Puerto Rico. Those living in San Juan will be in a better position than most, thanks to the city's compact size and the availability of the only metro in the country.
Public transport in Puerto Rico, outside the main cities, is lacking. During rush hour, larger cities in Puerto Rico experience heavy traffic.
Public transport in Puerto Rico
Only San Juan has a metro, known as the Tren Urbano. It is the first of its kind in the Caribbean. Currently, it consists of one line with 16 stations, but there are plans to expand it in the future.
The bus is cheap, with San Juan being serviced by Autoridad Metropolitana de Autobuses. Operating hours and frequency of service vary by route and the day of the week, but generally buses run from around 5am to 8pm or 9pm.
Públicos are public minibuses. This is the cheapest form of public transport, but offers little in the way of comfort. Públicos tend to leave only when full, so there is no set schedule.
Passenger ferries operate with limited capacity from the main island to the smaller surrounding islands. Tickets should be booked in advance.
Taxis in Puerto Rico
Taxis are available in larger cities. White tourist taxis with turístico logos congregate around tourist areas of San Juan and charge by zone rather than by meter. Non-tourist taxi drivers have meters but don't always use them, so it is best to establish a rate before the journey begins.
In larger cities such as San Juan and Ponce, ride-hailing applications like Uber are operational.
Driving in Puerto Rico
Expats moving to San Juan will find that a car is not a necessity. Driving can be dangerous, as local drivers are reputed to ignore traffic laws. However, if expats are interested in exploring the island and taking weekend trips, a car can certainly be useful. In Puerto Rico, cars drive on the right-hand side, and road signs are often in Spanish.
Expats in Puerto Rico will only be able to drive on their foreign licence for 120 days. After this, expats will need to obtain a local licence. The complexity of this will depend on where the initial licence was issued. In some cases, licences can simply be swapped, while in others written and practical tests may be necessary.
►Curious about climate? See Weather in Puerto Rico
►Healthcare in Puerto Rico is a must-read for expats
"Public transport is available, but I’ve never used it. You can get around by bus, but most people that have the means do not."
Find out about life on the island in our interview with American expat Lynn.
Are you an expat living in Puerto Rico?
Expat Arrivals is looking for locals to contribute to this guide, and answer forum questions from others planning their move to Puerto Rico. Please contact us if you'd like to contribute.
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