๐Ÿ’ฐ My 2024 Puerto Rico Trip Cost: A Budget Breakdown

A woman sitting by a ledge near the ocean.

Puerto Rico, an island known for having one of the few bioluminescent bays in the world, can be visited with a budget of $85 to $200 a day.

My four-day trip to Puerto Rico cost a total of $1,077. In this post, I share:

  • ๐Ÿ’ฐ Expected travel costs
  • ๐Ÿ’ก Budgeting tips
  • ๐Ÿ’ต How much cash to bring
  • โœˆ๏ธ My trip’s costs by category
  • ๐Ÿ“ My trip’s costs by destination

Planning a trip? Here’s what to know about Puerto Rico.

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Is Puerto Rico Expensive to Travel To?

Puerto Rico is a semi-expensive destination in the Caribbean. The island relies on imported goods, has expensive tourist hot spots and accommodations due to high demand, and requires a rental car to get around.

Puerto Rico is more affordable than the Cayman Islands and the Bahamas, but it’s generally more pricey than the Dominican Republic, Cuba, and Jamaica.

๐Ÿ๏ธ Is Puerto Rico Cheaper Than Hawaii for Vacation?

If you’re looking for an island escape within the US territory, Puerto Rico is cheaper than Hawaii for a vacation. It isn’t easy to visit Hawaii for less than $200 per day, but that’s doable in Puerto Rico.

Hawaii ranks as one of the most expensive states to visit and has one of the highest costs of living. On average, Puerto Rico is about $50 per day cheaper than even O’ahu, Hawaii’s most budget-friendly island.

I took a trip to Puerto Rico and Hawaii within a few months of each other. I visited the former during its high season and the latter during its low season. Puerto Rico was still cheaper than Hawaii per day. Here’s how my daily budget compared between the two:

DestinationDaily Budget
๐Ÿ‡ต๐Ÿ‡ท Puerto Rico$182
๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ Hawaii$209
Hawaii vs. Puerto Rico Trip Daily Budget

See all my daily budget for each destination I’ve visited.

How Much Is a Trip to Puerto Rico?

This section covers estimated trip costs depending on your travel style. I share my actual travel expenses further below.

๐ŸŽ’ Budget Traveler โ€“ Puerto Rico Trip Cost

Budget travelers can expect to spend approximately $85 per day or $340 for four days of travel in Puerto, excluding flights.

Here’s what a budget traveler’s cost breakdown can look like:

CategoryCost per Day
๐Ÿ  Accommodation$30
๐Ÿ› Food$25
๐Ÿš™ Transportation$20
๐Ÿ๏ธ Entertainment$10
Puerto Rico Daily Budget for a Budget Traveler

Traveling Puerto Rico on a Budget

To travel to Puerto Rico on a budget, here are some things youโ€™ll need to do:

  • ๐Ÿ  Accommodation โ€“ For the cheapest housing options, stay in a budget hotel outside Puerto Rico’s capital city, San Juan. You can stay in a dorm-style hostel in San Juan for about $35 a night.
  • ๐Ÿš™ Transportation โ€“ Puerto Rico doesn’t have public transportation, except for the bus system in the San Juan metropolitan area. You’ll have to get around by tour vehicle, taxi, Uber, or rental car, with the latter being the cheapest option on average.
  • ๐Ÿ› Food โ€“ 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 take a Puerto Rico road trip, you’ll pass by several fruit and juice stands.
A woman holding two coconuts with straws sticking out.
Coconut juice stand at the side of the road.

Like 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 paying for bottled water.

  • ๐Ÿ๏ธ Entertainment โ€“ Many of Puerto Rico’s tourist attractions require a tour or have entrance fees, but the island also has free or low-cost activities. Enjoy the beautiful beaches or visit smaller islands, like Vieques, which are 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.

A crescent-shaped white sand beach.
Playa Caracas in Puerto Rico.
  • โ˜€๏ธ Travel Season โ€“ The best time to travel to Puerto Rico for the best deals on accommodations is during the low season, which runs from April to December. Puerto Rico has a tropical climate, and average temperatures rarely drop below 60 ยฐF, so you can enjoy 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.

๐Ÿ’ฐ Mid-Range Budget Traveler โ€“ Puerto Rico Trip Cost

A mid-range budget traveler like myself can expect to spend approximately $200 per day or $800 for four days of travel in Puerto Rico, excluding flights. I break down my trip expenses by travel category below.

About My Puerto Rico Trip

To give context to the expenses below, here’s what you need to know about my trip:

  • ๐Ÿ—“๏ธย 4 days โ€“ย I spent four days in Puerto Rico, visiting three places:
    • San Juan: 1.5 day
    • El Yunque: 1 day
    • Vieques: 1.5 days
  • โ˜€๏ธ High season โ€“ 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.

  • โœŒ๏ธ Group travel โ€“ I traveled with three other friends, so we were able to split some costs, such as housing.
  • ๐Ÿ’ฐ Mid-range budget โ€“ I consider myself a mid-range budget traveler, and these expenses reflect that. I donโ€™t aim to travel on a budget, but Iโ€™m thoughtful about how and where I spend.
  • ๐Ÿ€ Self-funded โ€“ My trips areย self-funded,ย so I paid for everything listed below. None of my excursions or experiences are sponsored.
  • ๐Ÿ’ต US dollars โ€“ 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.

Two women taking a selfie at a beach during a sunny day.
Sunny day in Puerto Rico.

Puerto Rico Trip’s Total Cost: $1,077

My four-day trip to Puerto Rico cost a total of $1,077, including flights.

See the highlights of my trip in this Puerto Rico itinerary.

๐Ÿ’ฐ Cost Breakdown for Puerto Rico

Here’s a quick overview of my expenses by travel category:

CategoryCost% of TotalDaily Budget
โœˆ๏ธ Flights$35032%
๐Ÿ  Accommodation$31830%$80
๐Ÿฅ˜ Food$23922%$60
๐Ÿš™ Transportation$969%$24
โญ Entertainment$747%$19
Puerto Rico Trip’s Cost Breakdown

๐Ÿ—“๏ธ Daily Budget in Puerto Rico: $182

My Puerto Rico trip cost $182 per day, excluding my round-trip flights from and to the United States.

Daily Budget
Excluding flights$182
Including flights$269
Puerto Rico Trip’s Cost Per Day

A mid-range budget traveler can expect to spend $200 per day in Puerto Rico. This generally means staying at accommodations that cost less than $100 per night, eating a mix of street and restaurant food, and renting a standard car.

A crescent-shaped beach at night with lit-up buildings in the background.
Beach at night in San Juan. (Photo by my friend, Christina Chang.)

โœˆ๏ธ Flight Cost to Puerto Rico: $350

My round-trip flight from the East Coast of the United States to San Juan International Airport in Puerto Rico was $350.

A round-trip flight between the continental US and Puerto Rico that costs under $150 is considered cheap; those flights typically cost over $200.

๐Ÿ  Accommodation Cost in Puerto Rico: $318

My average accommodation cost in Puerto Rico was $80 per day. I was able to split accommodations with one other person at all times.

Here are the accommodations I stayed at and how much I paid for each:

AccommodationTotal CostCost per Night
Airbnb in Condoda, San Juan$63$63
Airbnb in Miramar, San Juan$67$67
Airbnb in Vieques$188$94
Puerto Rico Trip’s Accommodation Costs

Accommodation costs in Puerto Rico will likely be your most significant 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.

A small but clean and modern living room.
A small Airbnb in San Juan.

๐Ÿ› Food Cost in Puerto Rico: $239

My average cost of food in Puerto Rico was $60 per day. Like in the United States, food prices in Puerto Rico are not cheap when dining out.

A mid-range budget traveler can expect to spend $50 per day on food in Puerto Rico.

Cheapest Meals in Puerto Rico

Here are the most affordable meals I ate during my trip:

Mofongo (traditional dish) and appetizersLa Parilla (Luquillo)$17
Chimichurri skirt steak Deaverdura (San Juan)$22
Arroz con gandules (traditional dish)Casa Nativo (Vieques)$24
Cheapest Meals in Puerto Rico
Four plates of food with steakes, rice and plaintains.
Chimichurri skirt steak at Deaverdura in Old San Juan.

Traditional Puerto Rican dishes are available at mid-range restaurants, but you can get $12 meals at outdoor markets and less well-known areas.

Most Expensive Meals in Puerto Rico

Here are the most expensive meals I ate during my trip:

Seafood main dish and appetizersRestaurant closed down (San Juan)$63
Lobster lunchBili (Vieques)$43
Multi-course tofu setEl Axolote (San Juan)$25
Most Expensive Meals in Puerto Rico
Four people having a seafood dinner at a restaurant.
Dinner in San Juan.

The most expensive meals in Puerto Rico are as high as $200 per person for fine dining. If you have $100 or more to spend on a meal, a great way to enjoy the local cuisine is by going on a highly-rated food tour that samples a wide variety of food and drinks.

๐Ÿš™ 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 others.

Here are the transportation methods I took and how much I paid for each:

TransportationTotal CostPer Person
Car rental$215$54
Ferry (Vieques)$16$4
Puerto Rico Trip’s Transportation Costs
A sunset hovering above the ocean.
Sunset at the ferry terminal in Vieques.

Like much of the United States, Puerto Rico requires a vehicle for transportation. Car rentals are the most affordable option, as taxis and tour vehicles are more expensive. Expect to pay about $45 per day for a small rental car.

โœจ Entertainment Costs in Puerto Rico: $74

My average cost for entertainment in Puerto Rico was $19 per day. This total includes a 10% to 15% tip at certain places.

Here are all the activities and attractions I paid for and how much each cost:

ActivityTotal CostPer Person
Bioluminescent Bay kayaking tour (Vieques)$296$74
El Yunque National Forest fee$2$0.50
Puerto Rico’s Entertainment Costs

You need to reserve tickets to visit El Yunque, the only tropical rainforest in the United States. The permit fee is small and you can get tickets on the official website.

Two women standing at the top of a lush green moutain.
Hiking up El Yunque National Forest.

Free Things To Do in Puerto Rico

Puerto Rico has many free outdoor activities and attractions. Here are the things I did that were free:

  • Old San Juan โ€“ I spent over two hours walking and exploring the colorful streets of Old San Juan.
A cobblestone street surrounded by colorful buildings and trees.
Street in Old San Juan. (Photo by my friend, Aida Luu.)
  • San Juan’s historic site โ€“ Attractions, like Castillo San Felipe del Morro, are surrounded by a beautiful giant park that you can enjoy for free.
  • Sunsets โ€“ Paseo de la Princesa is located near the riverfront and it’s a great place to catch the sunset.

A great way to save on activities in Puerto Rico is to visit its many sandy beaches, which are 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.

A palm tree in a sandy beach next to a blue, calm ocean.
Vieques beach. (Photo by my friend, Aida Luu.)

Cost Breakdown by Destination in Puerto Rico

Below are my trip expense breakdowns for San Juan and Vieques. These two places are often featured in first-timers’ travel itineraries.

โœจ San Juan Trip’s Total Cost: $269

During my two-day trip to San Juan, I averaged $135 in daily travel expenses.

I have no entertainment expenses because 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 El Morro fort, so both activities were free.

CategoryTotal CostDaily Budget
๐Ÿ  Accommodation$130$65
๐Ÿ› Food$135$69
๐Ÿš™ Parking$4$2
San Juan Trip’s Costs by Category
A big grass area with an old castle in the distance.
San Juan National Historic Site.

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.

๐Ÿ›ถ Vieques Trip’s Total Cost: $369

During my two-day trip to Vieques, I averagedย $184 in daily travel expenses.

Vieques is known to have one of the world’s few bioluminescent bays. Kayaking over glowing water at night was a magical, unbelievable experience. I booked an amazing tour from Vieques to Mosquito Bay, the best bioluminescent bay. You can also book transportation and a tour from San Juan if you’re not visiting the island.

To get to the island, I had to pay for a ferry and parking to leave the rental car on the mainland. I also visited several free beaches, like Playa Negra and Playa Caracas.

CategoryPer PersonDaily Budget
๐Ÿ  Accommodation$188$94
๐ŸŒ™ Entertainment$74$37
๐Ÿ› Food$76$38
๐Ÿ›ฅ๏ธ Ferry, Parking & Taxi$31$15
Vieques Trip’s Costs by Category
A woman standing in the ocean while looking out some cliffs.
Playa Negra in Puerto Rico.

Do You Need Cash in Puerto Rico?

Puerto Rico has an excellent credit card infrastructure in major cities, so youโ€™ll only need to carry a bit of cash.

Below are tips on bringing and using cash in Puerto Rico.

๐Ÿ’ต 1. Carry about $25 worth of cash per day in Puerto Rico.

On a typical day, a mid-range budget traveler in Puerto Rico will need about $25 in cash to cover food, transportation, and attractions. A daily cash expense breakdown can look like this:

  • $10 for street food and juice stands
  • $10 to tip tour guides
  • $5 for street parking and beach bathrooms

I keep my cash in my crossbody bag, but if you want extra protection against pickpocketing, carry it in a hidden money belt instead.

๐Ÿ’ณ 2. Very few places in Puerto Rico are cash-only.

While credit cards are commonly used in Puerto Rico, I still had to use cash a few times during my four-day trip. Here are some of the places that were cash-only in Puerto Rico:

  • Small, local restaurants
  • Roadside fruit or juice stalls
  • Beach parking
  • Beach bathrooms

๐Ÿ’ฐ 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.

  • Tours โ€“ Tour guides will gladly accept 10% to 20% tips.
  • Dining out โ€“ It’s customary to leave an 18% to 20% tip at restaurants.

See other essential travel tips for Puerto Rico before visiting.

Thoughts? Questions? Leave a comment below.

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