Puerto Rico

Puerto Rico

Caribbean Sea
Travel article
LAST UPDATED 31/08/2008
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Level of surfing

Evolved

Quality of surf

Very Good

Call code

1787

Net code

pr

Area

9104

Coastline

0 km

Climate

Tropical Maritime

Hazards

Cyclones

Best Months

October - January

Population

3994259

Currency

United States Dollar (USD)

Time Zone

AST (UTC-4)

Special Requirements

Private Beaches

introduction

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Vardion: A large blank world map with oceans marked in blue, 26 December 2006

Puerto Rico is an archipelago that includes the main island of Puerto Rico and a number of smaller islands and keys, the largest of which are Vieques, Culebra, and Mona (Amoná). The main island of Puerto Rico is the smallest by land area and second smallest by population among the four.

The archipelago is located in the northeastern Caribbean, east of the Dominican Republic and west of the Virgin Islands. The island is also commonly known as "La Isla del Encanto" by locals, which means "The Island of Enchantment."

surfing

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Richy: The Puerto Rican Trench; 2006

The surfing world came to Puerto Rico in the form of the 1968 world championships. Abundant northerly swells bombard the island throughout the Atlantic Winter (Oct-Apr) but the prevailing north easters will restrict you to morning sessions in general. Many of the quality waves on the island are living reef so ease into it unless you want to have your own colony of fire coral setting up a reef inside your pulmonary system.

The south side of the island is generally offshore but restricted mainly to infrequent hurricane swell and so it is the west side of the island that offers the best combination of regular swell and offshore/sideshore conditions. As one would expect, this corner of the coast is by far the most crowded but with a little local knowledge you should be able to find something that meets your own crowd acceptance barometer.

where to stay

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Jmoliver: Photo of a garita in el Morro Castle in Puerto Rico, 3 February 2004

All major international hotel chains have properties in Puerto Rico. San Juan is very popular to visitors and suffers a shortage of hotel rooms especially in peak season, so if you want to book that city, you must plan ahead of everyone else.

International chains that are available in Puerto Rico include: Sheraton, Westin, Marriott, Hilton, Ritz-Carlton, Holiday Inn as well as some luxurious independent resorts offer very reliable accommodations. Most large cities have at least one international chain hotel.

If you do not want to stay at a hotel, there are many other options such as renting an apartment by day, week or month. These are usually inexpensive, clean and gives you more of a home-feeling. They are mostly located in residential areas, which are within walking distance to almost everything.

what to pack

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Jonathan McIntosh: Young boy, in Jakarta Indonesia, holding tattered football (soccer) ball; May 2004

Pack light when travelling to Puerto Rico. There's no need to bring your expensive belongings as the country on the whole, is very laid back and casual. Going to a sunny country, which is near Ecvator, make sure you take a good sunscreen (SPF 30+); a good insect repellent will be very useful. Bring on the medicines you are used to take. Comfortable walking shoes, sandals, hat and natural fabrics (such as cotton or linen) clothes will be great. Also take something warm just in case. Don't forget a backpack, sandals and comfortable walking shoes that might be usefull if your planning to travel around.

You won't regret swimming and snorkelling gear!  

It is a good idea to bring some presents for locals: coloring books and crayons, little toys and nick-nacks (like hairclips, bouncy balls, etc.) for children you might meet. Because of the poverty in Puerto Rico, many people are very thankful for this kind of gesture. The maids make hardly any cash, so don't forget to tip the hardworking souls. 

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