Home to the only tropical rainforest in the United States and some of the few bioluminescent bays in the world, Puerto Rico is a semi-expensive island that can be visited with a budget of $80 to $200 a day.
My four-day trip to Puerto Rico cost a total of $1,077. In this post, I share:
- 💰 Expected trip cost
- 💡 Budgeting tips
- 💵 How much cash to bring
- ✈️ My trip’s expenses by category
- 📍 My trip’s expenses by destination
- Is Puerto Rico Expensive?
- How Much Is a Trip?
- About My Trip
- Total Trip Cost: $1,077
- Cost Breakdown by Location
- Do You Need Cash?
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Is Puerto Rico Expensive to Travel To?
Puerto Rico is a semi-expensive Caribbean island to visit compared to the United States and nearby islands. It’s more affordable than Hawaii, the Cayman Islands and the Bahamas, but it’s more expensive, on average, than the Dominican Republic, Cuba and Jamaica.
For comparison, here are my travel daily budgets for destinations that I visited in the same year as Puerto Rico:
How Much Is a Trip to Puerto Rico?
Below is how much you can expect to spend in Puerto Rico per day and during a one-week trip, depending on your travel style.
🎒 Trip Cost for a Budget Traveler
Budget travelers can expect to spend approximately $80 per day or $560 for one week of travel in Puerto, excluding flights.
To travel on a budget in Puerto Rico, here are some things you can do:
- Accommodation: For the cheapest accommodation options, aim to stay outside of Puerto Rico’s capital city, San Juan. A dorm-style room is considered affordable in Puerto Rico if it’s less than $50 a night.
- Food: Eat street food at local markets and food trucks, and buy fresh produce when you can, as that will be cheaper than eating out or even shopping at grocery stores. If you do a road trip in Puerto Rico, you’ll pass by several fruit and juice stands.
Similar to other places in the United States, tap water is safe to drink in Puerto Rico per the CDC, so bring a reusable water bottle to avoid having to pay for bottled water.
- Transportation: Aside from the bus system in the metropolitan area of San Juan, Puerto Rico doesn’t have public transportation. You will have to get around by tour vehicle, taxi, Uber or rental car, with the latter being the cheapest option on average.
- Attractions: Many of Puerto Rico’s tourist attractions will require a tour or entrance fee, so instead, take advantage of the beautiful beaches or go to one of the smaller islands like Vieques, which is generally more affordable.
All beaches in Puerto Rico are open to the public, so they don’t have an entrance fee. You won’t be able to use any hotel equipment for free, so bring your own towel, snorkeling gear, etc.
- Season: For the best deals on accommodations, travel to Puerto Rico during the low season, which runs from April to December. Puerto Rico has a tropical climate and average temperatures rarely drop below 60 °F, so you can take advantage of the sunny weather almost year-round.
Hurricane season is from June to November in Puerto Rico, so those are the only months during the rainy season that you may want to avoid due to potential risks.
💰 Trip Cost for a Mid-Range Budget Traveler
A mid-range budget traveler, such as myself, can expect to spend approximately $200 per day or $1,400 for one week of travel in Puerto Rico, excluding flights.
I break down my Puerto Rico travel expenses by category below.
About My Puerto Rico Trip
To give context to the expenses below, here’s what you need to know about my trip to Puerto Rico:
🗓️ 4 days. I spent four days in Puerto Rico visiting three areas: San Juan, El Yunque and Vieques Island. I break down my travel expenses by location below.
☀️ High season. I visited Puerto Rico in February, which is considered part of the high season. Puerto Rico’s peak season is from December to April and July to August.
👭 Group travel. I traveled with three other people, so I was able to split accommodation, food and transportation costs.
💰 Mid-range budget. I don’t aim to travel on a budget, but I’m thoughtful about how and where I spend. I consider myself a mid-range budget traveler and these expenses reflect that.
💵 US dollars. All costs listed in this post are per person and in US dollars.
Since Puerto Rico is part of the United States, the island’s local currency is the USD.
Puerto Rico Trip’s Total Cost: $1,077
My four-day trip to Puerto Rico cost a total of $1,077, including flights.
💰 Cost Breakdown for Puerto Rico
Here’s a quick overview of my Puerto Rico travel expenses by category:
|Cost||% of Total Cost||Cost per Day|
💵 Daily Budget in Puerto Rico: $182
My Puerto Rico trip cost $182 per day, excluding flights.
|Excluding my flight tickets||$182|
|Including my flight tickets||$269|
A mid-range budget traveler can expect to spend $200 per day in Puerto Rico. This generally means staying at accommodations that cost a little less than $100 per person per night, eating a mix of street and restaurant food, and renting a standard car to get around.
✈️ Flight Cost to Puerto Rico: $350
My round-trip flight from the United States East Coast to Puerto Rico’s San Juan International Airport cost $350.
The cheapest time to fly to Puerto Rico is during the low season and around hurricane season (April to May, and September to October), according to Skyscanner.
🏠 Accommodation Cost in Puerto Rico: $318
My average cost of accommodation in Puerto Rico was $80 per day.
I stayed at three Airbnbs in San Juan and Vieques Island and was able to split the costs with three other travel companions.
- My San Juan Airbnbs were modern, but small.
- My Vieques Island Airbnb was an entire house with a private backyard, so it was more expensive than average.
|Accommodation||Per Person||Per Day|
|San Juan Airbnb 1||$63||$63|
|San Juan Airbnb 2||$67||$67|
Accommodation costs in Puerto Rico are likely going to be your biggest expenses. Private rooms at a mid-range Puerto Rico hotel will average about $90 to $150 per night depending on the season. A luxury resort will go for about $1,000 per night.
🍛 Food Cost in Puerto Rico: $239
My average cost of food in Puerto Rico was $60 per day.
My most affordable meals in Puerto Rico were:
- $17 for appetizers and a mofongo, a traditional Puerto Rican dish, at La Parilla in Luquillo town
- $22 for a delicious chimichurri skirt steak, a local cuisine, at Deaverdura in San Juan
- $24 for several traditional Puerto Rican dishes, including arroz con gandules, at Casa Nativo on Vieques Island
You can find much cheaper, delicious food in Puerto Rico at outdoor markets and less well-known areas for about $12 per meal.
My most expensive meals in Puerto Rico were:
- $63 for a seafood dinner at Jose Enrique Puerto Rican Restaurant in San Juan
- $43 for a lobster seafood lunch at Bili on Vieques Island
Your most expensive meals in Puerto Rico can be as high as $200 per person at high-end restaurants serving seafood. Popular restaurants in tourist areas, like Old San Juan, will also be much more expensive.
🚙 Transportation Cost in Puerto Rico: $96
My average cost of transportation in Puerto Rico was $24 per day.
I rented a car while traveling on the mainland and split the rental, gas and parking costs with three other travelers. We also took a ferry from the mainland to Vieques Island and walked and took a taxi while on the island.
|Transportation||Total Cost||Per Person|
Like much of the United States, you need a vehicle to get around Puerto Rico. Car rentals will be your most affordable option, as relying on taxis and tour vehicles will be more expensive. You can expect to pay about $45 per day for a small rental car.
✨ Attraction Costs in Puerto Rico: $74
My average cost for attractions and activities in Puerto Rico was $19 per day. This total includes a 10% to 15% tip.
I did two of the best things to do in Puerto Rico:
- I hiked around at El Yunque National Forest, the only tropical rainforest in the United States. You need to reserve tickets in advance at the official website and pay a small permit fee.
- Puerto Rico is known to have one of the world’s few bioluminescent bays. Kayaking over glowing water at night was a magical, unbelievable experience. I did an excellent tour from Vieques Island to the best bioluminescent bay, Mosquito Bay. You can also book transportation and a tour from San Juan if you’re not visiting the island.
|Activity||Total Cost||Per Person|
|Bioluminescent Bay kayaking tour||$296||$74|
|El Yunque National Forest fee||$2||$0.50|
One way to save on activities in Puerto Rico is to visit its many sandy beaches, which are all open to the public, even if there’s a hotel or resort next to it. You’ll need to pay for parking and beach equipment if you don’t bring your own gear. The west coast of Puerto Rico is particularly known for stunning beaches and excellent surfing waves.
Cost Breakdown by Location in Puerto Rico
Below are my trip expense breakdowns for two distinct areas I visited in Puerto Rico: San Juan and Vieques Island.
✨ San Juan Cost Breakdown
I spent a total of $269 for two days in San Juan, so my average cost was $135 per day.
🚙 Exceptions: This total cost does not include car rental since I mostly rented one to drive to El Yunque and the Vieques Island ferry terminal.
💰Overview: I stayed at two Airbnbs where I was able to split the accommodation cost with three others and ate at some popular, nicer restaurants. We had to pay for parking several times, especially in the touristy streets of Old San Juan.
👍 Free Attractions: I visited the San Juan National Historic Site, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and the Castillo San Felipe del Morro. The former doesn’t have an entrance fee and I didn’t go inside the castle, so both activities were free.
Old San Juan, the vibrant and historic area of San Juan, is Puerto Rico’s most popular tourist destination, so you can expect the average prices for accommodation and food to be higher, and the lines to be longer.
|Per Person||Per Day|
🛶 Vieques Island Cost Breakdown
I spent a total of $369 for two days in Vieques Island, so my average cost was $184 per day.
💰Overview: I stayed at a large Airbnb house with three others on the island. I did an excellent tour of the best bioluminescent bay, which was the highlight of my trip. To get to the island, I had to pay for a ferry and parking to leave the rental car on the mainland.
👍 Free Attractions: I also visited several of Vieques beaches, including Playa Negra and Playa Caracas, for free (all beaches are open to the public).
Vieques Island, along with the nearby Culebra Island, is one of the more affordable places to visit in Puerto Rico in terms of food and accommodation. My costs are higher on this island than in Old San Juan because of the type of activities and accommodations I booked.
|Per Person||Per Day|
|🛥️ Ferry, Parking & Taxi||$31||$15|
Do You Need Cash in Puerto Rico?
Puerto Rico has a good credit card infrastructure, so you’ll mostly be using your credit card. You’ll rarely need cash.
Below are some tips on bringing and using cash in Puerto Rico.
💵 Tip #1: Carry about $30 worth of cash in Puerto Rico.
You’ll need approximately $30 worth of cash per day in Puerto Rico. A typical way to spend your cash in a day can look like this:
- $10 for street food and juice stands
- $10 to tip tour guides
- $5 for street parking and beach bathrooms
- $5 for miscellaneous things
💳 Tip #2: Few places in Puerto Rico are cash-only.
The only times I needed cash during my Puerto Rico trip was to tip tour guides or buy fruit, juice or snacks at a vendor on the side of the road.
Other places where you might need cash in Puerto Rico include:
- Small, local restaurants
- Beach parking
- Beach bathrooms
💰 Tip #3: Tipping is customary in Puerto Rico.
Like the rest of the United States, a 10% to 20% tip is customary and expected in Puerto Rico.
- Tour guides will gladly accept 10% to 20% tips.
- Expect to leave a typical 18% to 20% tip at restaurants.
If you have any questions or thoughts, feel free to leave them in the comments below.
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