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Explore the Caribbean on Your Schedule: Learn the Best Times to Visit Puerto Rico
A journey to Puerto Rico can impact your world perception in so many ways. From vibrant island wildlife and buzzy urban districts to cultural anomalies and lush rainforests, this Caribbean destination is well worth the trek. The time of year you choose to travel is important too, so use this guide to determine the best time to travel to Puerto Rico.
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Best Time to Travel to Puerto Rico
Ready to start planning a Puerto Rico Vacation? Before jetting off, you’ll want to make sure you have planned some activities and sights you want to see. Another consideration is when to travel to Puerto Rico. This typically depends on your personal trip expectations and preferences (and how much you are willing to spend!).
Do you thrive on hot summer beach days or prefer cooler winter evenings and less crowded attractions? Have you dreamed of night snorkeling in bioluminescent waters off Puerto Rico beaches or salsa dancing in the streets of Old San Juan? From nightlife to nature, history and eco-wonders, a Puerto Rico vacation ticks all the boxes.
But choosing the best time to travel to Puerto Rico for a solo adventure, family vacation, friends’ trip, or couple’s honeymoon often comes down to weather, affordability, available excursions, travel restrictions, and special events and festivals. Let's not forget hurricane season either! Though major storms are relatively rare, they do occur and are important to consider when planning a visit.
When Is the Best Time to Go to Puerto Rico?
Busy travel periods can seem like the worst time to travel Puerto Rico, but that's not always the case. Here’s what you need to know to decide when to visit Puerto Rico.
What to Expect: March Through June
If possible, avoid school spring break periods (typically in March) when partying is rampant, bars overflow, and jam-packed beaches diminish the beauty of those famous clear Caribbean waters. Prices during these weeks also skyrocket in popular tourist enclaves, including at Puerto Rico resorts.
Those curious about the best time to visit Puerto Vallarta should consider holding out until April, May, and June when rain is scarce and rates become more affordable. In fact, sojourners typically cite April and May as the best time to go to Puerto Rico. The winter and holiday crowds have dwindled, rains have yet to arrive, prices are trending lower, and breezy afternoons tease the coming summer heat.
What to Expect: June Through November
Because of the Atlantic hurricane season, heavy rains and high humidity, the months of June through November are considered low season in Puerto Rico. As expected, it's also the cheapest time to go to Puerto Rico. You'll find bargains on Puerto Rico hotels, flights, and some attractions, but you'll also relish less crowded restaurants, shops, and public transportation.
Coffee aficionados find this the perfect time to visit coffee haciendas in the cooler mountain elevations spreading from Orocovis to Rincon. The mountain town of Jayuya, the highest peak in Puerto Rico, harbors some of the best coffee plantations as well as indigenous Taino culture.
Beach lovers and boaters often claim summer as the best time to go to Puerto Rico due to warmer waters, cool sea breezes, and plenty of water space for surfing and jet skiing.
What to Expect: November Through January
Holidays can be busy, but many seasoned travelers consider them the best time to visit Puerto Rico. The reason quickly becomes evident: some of the best parades and festivals take place in the extraordinarily long Puerto Rican holiday season. Known as La Navidad, this season runs for about 45 days from the end of November through mid-January.
Some of the most cherished modern cultural symbols of Puerto Rico include prominent rum distilleries that are open to the public year round. A scenic ferry ride from Old San Juan takes you to the sleek Bacardi Hacienda that offers mixology classes, rum tasting, and historical tours.
Outdoor music festivals at Bacardi are popular in the cooler winter months, while summer travelers head up to Jayuya to cool off while discovering the much stronger PitoRico, a legal version of the former moonshine cured with fruits underground.
Puerto Rican Holidays
When traveling to Puerto Rico, check festival and event schedules if you want to participate in world-renowned cultural and holiday celebrations. Here are some of the annual Puerto Rican festivals to look out for:
- Fiestas de la Calle San Sebastian in Old San Juan (January)
- Festival de la Novilla in San Sebastián (January)
- Fiesta de los Reyes Magos in Juana Díaz, Isabela, and other locations (January)
- Festival del Frío in Adjuntas (February)
- Carnaval Ponceño in Ponce (February)
- Festival de Teatro Puertorriqueño e Internacional in Saturce (May – June)
- Festival de la Piña Paradisíaca in La Parguera (May)
- Noche de San Juan in San Juan (June)
- Festival de Santiago Apóstol in Loísa (July)
- La Campechada (November)
- Festival Nacional Indígena in Jayuya (November)
- Nochebueno (December)
- Festival de las Máscaras de Hatillo in Hatillo (December)
- New Year’s Eve (December)
Puerto Rico Weather
It's no secret that Puerto Rico has one of the most consistent tropical climate patterns for travelers. Puerto Rico weather temperatures range from 76 to 88 degrees Fahrenheit in coastal regions and 72 to 77 degrees Fahrenheit in the mountains. This results in an average annual temperature of about 80°F.
Even summer, with its sometimes torrential rains, flash flooding, tropical storms, and hurricanes, is ironically predictable.
Though devastating when storms become hurricanes, it's accepted as a possibility every year between the months of June and November. This is one of the reasons that winter and spring are chock-full of travelers seeking warm weather and rich cultural experiences.
In a simplified nutshell, Puerto Rico weather can be divided into three seasons, with some overlapping months:
- Rainy Season – April through November
- Dry Season – December through March
- Hurricane Season – June to November
May routinely gets the highest precipitation during the rainy season with almost 6 inches, compared to only 4 inches in the hottest month of June. Temperatures stay in the high 80s through July, August, September, and into October, which is also when you risk encountering stormy days, including hurricanes.
On Puerto Rico's beaches, vacationers have much to embrace in these summer and autumn months, enjoying warm sea temperatures averaging 84 degrees Fahrenheit. This compares with water temps in the high 70s from roughly January through April.
When Is Hurricane Season in Puerto Rico?
As with any Caribbean destination, travelers often wonder: When is hurricane season in Puerto Rico? It's important to consider, as hurricanes can greatly impact your long-planned getaway. The Puerto Rico hurricane season 2023 lines up with those of most Caribbean islands and falls within the official Atlantic hurricane season of June 1st – November 30th. Peak months for Puerto Rico's tropical storms and hurricanes in the 21st century have been August, September, and October, so extra awareness should be part of your travel planning for those months.
Also known as typhoons and tropical cyclones, hurricanes in Puerto Rico can pack a powerful punch with strong winds, inland flooding, and storm surges, as well as tornadoes and dangerous currents for swimmers and boaters. Expect both minor inconveniences and prepare for major ones, including power interruptions, damaged structures, discontinued transportation services, and shuttered businesses.
Be mindful of the weather, pay attention to hurricane predictions, and be familiar with evacuation procedures when visiting Puerto Rico.
Since flights and cruises may be delayed or canceled, make basic preparationsfor weathering a storm. Keep a bag filled with essentials such as medications, first-aid supplies, a flashlight, local currency and a battery-operated clock and radio. Cell phone coverage and electricity may be interrupted, so carry a small portable power bank. Keep printed contact numbers and directions in your wallet.
Traveling to Puerto Rico
Puerto Rico hosts several airports, though most major airlines use Luis Munoz Marin International Airport, also known as San Juan International Airport. It’s the closest airport if you’re staying in the capital city of San Juan. It offers year-round competitive fares and frequent nonstop flights from major U.S. cities, such as Miami, New York, Dallas, and Atlanta as well as other major cities around the world.
Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, millions of travelers visited Puerto Rico by cruise each year, often as a port of call on their way to other international destinations. These cruises are slowly returning with the introduction of wide-spread vaccination. However, whether it’s the best time to go to Puerto Rico by cruise ship can come down to current Puerto Rico travel restrictions and the level of risk you’re comfortable taking.
Puerto Rico Travel Restrictions
Last-minute Puerto Rico vacations used to be fairly common, especially with Florida flights to San Juan taking less than 3 hours. COVID-related Puerto Rico travel restrictions have complicated things a bit. Hopping on a same-day flight is still possible for fully vaccinated domestic travelers, but it takes more preparation. This includes uploading official vaccination records (or a negative COVID-19 antigen test result taken within 2 days before arrival) and a Travel Declaration Form to the Puerto Rico Health Department web portal.
And the process of planning a trip to Puerto Rico from another country or as an unvaccinated domestic traveler might serve to be a bit more challenging. However, we’ll walk you through Puerto Rico’s travel restrictions and requirements.
Here are the current Puerto Rico travel restrictions as of the date this page was published on 03/25/2022:
- Fully vaccinated domestic travelers (which include those on flights arriving from mainland U.S. cities) → Do NOT require a negative COVID test to enter Puerto Rico.
- Unvaccinated domestic travelers → Are subject to providing a valid negative COVID-19 PCR molecular or antigen test result from an authorized health provider within 48 hours prior to arrival. Travelers also have the option to take a COVID-19 test less than 48 hours after arrival and must quarantine while awaiting negative test results. Failure to do so could result in fines and longer quarantine periods.
- Fully vaccinated international travelers → Must provide an original printed or electronic negative COVID-19 test result taken within 1 day of travel.
- Unvaccinated international travelers → Are largely NOT allowed to enter Puerto Rico except for some exemptions. If you do qualify for an exemption, you must provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test result taken with 1 day of travel and must quarantine for 7 days.
All travelers, regardless of vaccination status and departing country, must provide additional documentation when traveling to Puerto Rico. Travelers must complete the travel declaration form prior to visiting.
Travel restrictions could impact when the best time to travel is for you. Make sure you stay up to date on current travel restrictions.
What to Do in Puerto Rico
Puerto Rico is well known for its diverse ecosystems as well as vibrant cultural traditions. Planning what you want to do in Puerto Rico can help you determine the best time to visit.
Nature lovers may enjoy tromping through El Yunque National Rainforest, bathing in waterfall pools and seeking out the famous coquí frog. Mysterious bioluminescent bays, including Mosquito Bay in Viesques, are a major attraction. Take a kayak or glass-bottom boat out to glide over mesmerizing glow-in-the-dark organisms.
If these awe-inspiring bays top your list of the best places to visit in Puerto Rico, then make sure you're not visiting Puerto Rico during a full moon, which diminishes bioluminescent visibility. Rest assured, daytime nature shines in full force most of the year on the island's endless ring of golden and white-sand beaches.
Save time for some city fun too, including visiting the legendary nightclubs, rooftop lounges, and cabaret clubs. Don't miss the party in Las Placita de Santurce, which is transformed from an earthy farmer's market by day to a swinging outdoor club when the sun goes down. Live music with salsa and bomba y plena street dancing steal the night, punctuated by lively bars and eateries serving favorite Puerto Rican dishes such as arroz con gandules and mofongo.
The art scene in Puerto Rico pops with brilliant color, from street murals to contemporary art displays in dozens of galleries and museums. The city of Santurce throws art back to at least the 17th century with timeless collections in the Museo de Arte de Puerto Rico.
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