Is Puerto Rico Safe? Tips for Safe Travel To The Puerto Rico
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Is Puerto Rico Safe? Tips for Safe Travel to this Place

Is Puerto Rico safe? If this question is stuck in your mind you are not alone! Several tourists have the same question before traveling to Puerto Rico. This article will give you insights into how safe Puerto Rico is for tourists and how to ensure your well-being there. 

How to deal with environmental harms and criminal activity medical problems and suggestions for solo travelers.

Before landing in Puerto Rico it’s important to familiarize yourself with the safety measures that ensure your journey is worry-free So, let us help you prepare for a memorable and safe trip to this beautiful destination.

Overview

We’ll see each aspect separately, but for now, here’s a quick overview of the safety scene in Puerto Rico:

  • International travel advisories: Level One, take normal precautions
  • Crime rating: 61.72, Moderate
  • Common crime: Vandalism
  • Public transportation safety: Trains and buses are safe and well-maintained, but may be less frequent during nighttime
  • Road safety: Drive with caution on State Road PR-2, Highway 143 in Barranquitas, mountain areas of Utuado and Jayuya, Ruta Panorámica Luis Muñoz Marin, and interior roads in Toa Alta 
  • Safety walking alone during the day: Moderate
  • Safety walking alone during the night: Low
  • Beach safety: The Caribbean coast to the south has smaller waves while the Atlantic coast in the north has larger waves
  • Common natural disasters: Earthquakes and hurricanes
  • Medical care quality: Skilled healthcare professionals  and High-quality medical facilities 
  • Police presence: Approximately a team of 11,532 members organized into 13 regions across the island.

What To Worry About?

When planning to travel to Puerto Rico, it’s necessary to be aware of such things as earthquakes, crimes, infection, and many more. Let’s see it in detail. 

1. Earthquakes

Puerto Rico is located in a region where the risk of natural calamities is associated. Located near the boundary between the North American and Caribbean tectonic plates, it faces frequent shakings. While many of the earthquakes are minor, significant storms have occurred and are liable for damage. 

In 2024, Puerto Rico had 65 quakes with magnitudes as high as 3.6. One of the most severe seismic events happened measuring a 6.4 magnitude in January 2020. As a result, buildings & infrastructure were damaged. 

It’s important to be updated about weather conditions and for such information, you can use applications like Earthquake Alert which keeps you updated.

2. Hurricanes

Trees collapse after hurricanes. is Puerto Rico safe

Hurricanes are very common in Puerto Rico. These powerful storms and heavy rainfall are hazardous for both tourists and residents.

The island is surrounded by warm ocean water which is responsible for these tropical cyclones.  Hurricane Maria in 2017 and Hurricane Irma had impacts on Puerto Rico. There have been many improvements made to Puerto Rico’s infrastructure to minimize the risk related to hurricanes.

In 2023 the most significant hurricane to strike Puerto Rico was Hurricane Franklin on August 25th. As per the Saffir-Simpson scale, it was classified as a warm storm hurricane. it reached a speed up to 149 mph (241 k/h), hitting category-4 status.

It is recommended that you should always track weather forecasts before traveling during hurricane season and take travel insurance that includes natural calamities.

Useful link: 

Active storm tracking and hurricane watches and warnings – United States National Hurricane Center

3. Crimes Rates in Puerto Rico

Safety ConcernsCrime RateStatus
Overall Crime Level71.26High
Increase in Crime (Past 3 Years)72.38High
Mugging and Robbery63.21High
Theft from Vehicles67.88High
Property Crimes (Vandalism and Theft)68.14High
Violent Crimes (Assault and Armed Robbery)67.36High
Corruption and Bribery73.14High
Drug Use and Dealing74.33High
Home Break-Ins and Thefts59.24Moderate
Car Theft58.56Moderate
Personal Attacks54.84Moderate
Verbal Insults45Moderate
Safety Walking Alone in Daylight59.11Moderate
Racial, Ethnic, Gender, or Religious-Based Attacks21.61Low
Safety Walking Alone at Nighttime31.07Low

Source:  Numbeo, 2023 data, based on 556 contributors.

There’s drug trafficking, gun crime, and illegal acts by gangs, and the homicide rate is relatively high. Small crimes such as purse snatching, mobile snatching, and pickpocketing are very often; but sometimes you will see violent crimes as well. Make sure that your passport and other important documents are always safe.

Women’s safety: If you are traveling alone you might face verbal abuse and some kind of harassment; so as a precaution, it’s better to not travel alone, especially in the dark.

Here are some health & safety tips for visitors in Puerto Rico

4. Bug Bites

African Tick-Bite fever, Zika virus, and Dengue fever spread very fast in tropical climates. All the diseases are caused by mosquitoes that fly in these environments. If you don’t want to be bitten by mosquitoes always carry your weapon i.e. bottle of insect repellent which keeps mosquitoes away from you.

5. Infections

There is a risk that some infections like influenza and rabies can be shared between humans and animals. You may come in contact with animals in certain activities like hiking, camping, visiting markets, and remote villages and may catch infections so avoid contact with animals.

It is advised to avoid interaction with livestock animals, monkeys, and some birds to keep yourself infection-free.

Some of the best hospitals in Puerto Rico:

Healthy and Safety Measures to Take in Puerto Rico

1. Health & Medical 

Nobody likes to get injured or sick on vacation but being prepared for these is always better. It’s crucial to have health insurance that includes medical care in Puerto Rico. It’s important to do some research before selecting your insurance plan and must include medical evacuation and hospital stays.

2. Adventure

A woman exploring an adventure spot. is Peurto Rico safe

While planning an adventure activity you must be in good physical condition to face the challenges if any occur and you must be informed about weather and other conditions before the activity. Avoid risky routes as Puerto Rico’s weather is unpredictable.

Hire a well-experienced guide from a well-known company. Buy travel insurance that includes helicopter rescue and medical evacuation. 

3. Food Safety

A woman enjoying food at a dining table, full of Peurto Rico's cuisines.

Puerto Rico is a good place to eat. There are food trucks that serve tasty street food, you will find fancy food in restaurants.

In heavily touristed spots, avoid the most advertised places with bilingual menus. Avoid fancy hotel restaurants and ask some locals for a good experience.

Avoid places that aren’t crowded because the food they offer isn’t that fresh. Check the water before drinking. In the cities, you will find most water is drinkable; but can’t rely in the outlying areas. It’s better to carry your water bottle that you fill from a hotel.

Emergency Numbers

If things get messed up, be sure you have the right number to ask for help

  • Emergency Services: 911
  • Ambulance: 787-343-2222
  • Police: 787-343-2020
  • Fire Department: 787-343-2330

Local Transportations in Puerto Rico

Buses heading towards San Juan and Conado in Puerto Rico safe

1. Public Transport

Public transport such as buses, trolleys, and trams are safe but the routes they follow aren’t always tourist-friendly.

2. Taxi

Taxis are easily available. Generally, fares are metered, except for major tourist spots. You can easily spot tourist taxis as they have a “Taxi Turístico” label on the door.

3. Ferries

Ferries are available in selective areas such as the islands of Culebra, Vieques, and the Dominican Republic.

4. Rental Cars

Driving in Puerto Rico is safe but some locals can be a bit daring so it’s advisable to take 

Extra caution on the following roads:

  • Utuado’s and Jayuya’s Mountain Areas: Damaged drainage can lead to water flow on roads after heavy rains.
  • State Road PR-2: Be cautious of speeding drivers.
  • Toa Alta’s Interior roads: Large sections of missing tarmac and some entirely collapsed sections.
  • Ruta Panorámica Luis Muñoz Marin: Open but has potential hazards like potholes.

Is there any Power or Network disruption in Puerto Rico?

Power outages are very common in Puerto Rico. Puerto Rico, you will experience frequent disruptions to power and telecommunications services. After Hurricane Maria in 2017, Puerto Rico had lots of disruptions to power and telecommunications services.

Precautions to take on beaches in Puerto Rico

Clean and clear water and small tree on beach in puerto rico

The beaches in Puerto Rico are piled with lifeguards, but the situation is not the same everywhere, so sometimes you have to make a judgment of the water conditions.

First, check the color of the flag planted on the beach:

  • Red Flag: Danger life-threatening currents, high surf, or both.
  • Yellow Flag: Rough swimming conditions, exercise caution. Potential high surf or risky currents.
  • Green Flag: No danger. It’s safe to swim.
  • Purple Flag: Spotted dangerous ocean animals (sharks,   sea urchins, jellyfish).
  • Blue Flag: Eco-label for water quality, environmental care, and safety.

3 Safest Destinations to Visit in Puerto Rico

The safest destinations to visit in Puerto Rico are as follows

1. Dorado

Tall trees near the beach in puerto rico

Dorado is also known as “The Exemplary” City, located on the north coast of Puerto Rico. If you like to explore museums, historic homes, and unspoiled beaches you should not miss this place. 

Do you like history? If yes! Then you should check out Museo de Arte e Historia de Dorado -it’s a fascinating archeological museum. For some relaxation, hit some beaches like Ojo del Buey beach to enjoy calm water or Balneario Manual Morales where you will find diamond dust sand and aquamarine waters. And if you enjoy surfing then Kikita Surf Beach is the perfect spot for you.

2. San Juan

Colourful buildings on streets in puerto rico

Puerto Rico’s capital San Juan located on the northeast coast of the island. Here you will find historical sites, mesmerizing waterfronts, and incredible nightlife. 

While exploring Spanish colonial history, and strolling on the streets you will find colorful buildings. Do not forget to visit forests like El Yunque National Forest full of greenery.

Engage yourself in the city’s diverse culture, visiting beautiful galleries theatres, and museums.

3. Culebra

Culebra is a tropical jewel situated in the Caribbean and part of Puerto Rico. If you are a beach person so you will find one of the best beaches in Culebra with crystal-clear & calm water. 

While enjoying the beach beauty you can enjoy some water activities like diving, snorkeling, and kayaking. 

Playa Flamenco is one of the famous beaches, as it is a perfect attraction for sunshine lovers and water sports enthusiasts. You can also check out Culebra National Wildlife Refuge to see the island’s diverse wildlife.

Is Puerto Rico safe or not?

The answer is yes! There is no place in the world that is completely safe every place place has its drawbacks, so it’s wise to take some precautions. 

Robbers and Pickpockets will be found after a small distance. So be careful, especially in crowded places.

With these insights in mind, you are ready for an amazing experience in  Puerto Rico with its stunning scenery, vibrant culture, and beautiful adventure with a relaxed mind. Have a blast!

FAQs

How safe is Puerto Rico for tourists?

Puerto Rico is generally safe for tourists, with a crime rate lower than many mainland U.S. cities. But like any popular destination, there are certain precautions one should take.

Is Puerto Rico or Mexico safer?

It can be dangerous driving in Mexico (for foreigners) due to kidnapping issues, corrupt police officers (who often demand bribes), and crime directed against tourists who venture out of the resorts. Puerto Rico has never had an issue with crime directed specifically against tourists.

Is Puerto Rico safe for female travelers?

However, like any other destination, it’s recommended to take standard safety precautions. Be aware of your surroundings, avoid isolated areas, especially at night, and always keep your belongings secure.

What is the safest part of Puerto Rico?

Bucana Barrio is the safest on the island. (It’s also the smallest barrio.) Rio Mar is the 2nd-most walkable city in PR. San Juan, the biggest city in Puerto Rico, is also the most walkable.

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