How To Get Around Puerto Rico (2023) – All You Need To Know

Are you visiting Puerto Rico soon and trying to figure out how to get around?

You may be looking for the best ways to explore the island while visiting. Whatever your goal is, the best way to get around depends on where you’re staying, where you want to visit, and your budget.

I’ve lived in Puerto Rico for 14 years and I know how to get around the island, so I’m here to help you!

In this article, I will explain how to get around Puerto Rico as a tourist:

What is the best way to get around Puerto Rico?
Can you get around without a car in Puerto Rico?
What is the cheapest way to get around Puerto Rico?
What is the best form of transportation in Puerto Rico?
What is the least effective way to get around Puerto Rico?
What is the average cost to get around Puerto Rico?
What are all the transportation methods Puerto Rico has?

 

What is the best way to get around Puerto Rico?

There are many ways to get around Puerto Rico, but the best way to get around is by car.

Driving is the most popular transportation in Puerto Rico; it’s an efficient and convenient way to get around the island. 

image of an highway in San Juan
San Juan highways are easy to navigate by rental car.

You’re better off going to San Juan or the beach in a car than public transportation, as it’s virtually nonexistent. I would recommend relying on something other than the bus as a means of transportation.

The public bus only operates on set routes. You can find bus trips from San Juan to Ponce for less than $20, but once you arrive, you’ll notice you’re extremely limited without wheels.

The bus is not recommended if you’re looking to travel to the island. 

If you’re just navigating the capital of San Juan, you can quickly get around by bus, metro, taxi, and even on foot! 

Below is a video of a Puerto Rico travel guide on how to get around:

Learn more in our article How Long Does It Take To Drive Around Puerto Rico?

 

Can you get around without a car in Puerto Rico?

Getting around in Puerto Rico without a car is extremely difficult.

Unless you’re staying in the trendy tourist areas of Puerto Rico, such as Old San Juan, Condado, Isla Verde, or Santurce, you’re better off getting around by car.

image of Old San Juan street
If you are only staying in Old San Juan or another tourist area of San Juan, you may not need a car to get around.

Either rental (most recommended) or ride-sharing apps, you’ll find it very efficient.

Even if you’re staying in the areas I mentioned above, you’re limited to the beaches and restaurants. At the same time, Puerto Rico has many different beaches, restaurants, and activities to explore.

Small aircraft can take you from San Juan to the neighboring islands of Vieques or Culebra. There are also routes from San Juan to Ponce, Aguadilla, or Mayaguez. 

However, once you land, your options are limited if you don’t have a car. 

Below is a video on how you can stay in the main district of San Juan without renting a car:

 

What is the cheapest way to get around Puerto Rico?

The cheapest way to get around Puerto Rico is by the Metropolitan Bus Authority system called  “AMA” (Autoridad Metropolitana de Autobuses).

image of the Metropolitan Bus
You can see San Juan’s city buses around town during your visit.

Although the bus is limited to specific routes in the metropolitan area, it’s a great local experience to try out. 

Please note that if you plan on taking the bus, make sure you can understand and speak Spanish so you know when to get off.

You can also take the bus to other parts of Puerto Rico, such as Ponce or Mayagüez. 

The downside of this public transportation system is that there needs to be steady information or schedules when the bus arrives. You’ll have to go to the bus terminal and ask around. 

image of a subway train in PR
The Tren Urbano is a great way to get around metropolitan areas of San Juan.

Another cheap way to get around Puerto Rico is using the subway.

You can expect to spend less than $4 on the bus or the subway.

My best tip, if you’re not close to Old San Juan but you’re staying near a subway stop, take the subway to Sagrado Corazon, then take the one-way bus that will take you to Old San Juan. 

Just look at the signs on top of the buses that will let you know what route the bus is going.

Below is a video of a tourist using the subway to get around Puerto Rico:

 

What is the best form of transportation in Puerto Rico?

The best form of transportation in Puerto Rico is to rent a car.

With the flexibility and ease, you’ll have, renting a car will allow you to explore and do whatever you want, whenever you want. 

image of car
Renting a car is a good option for travelers who want to explore outside the metropolitan areas of San Juan.

With public transportation, you’re just limited to transportation from Monday to Friday from 5 AM to 9 PM. Saturday & holidays from 6 AM- 8 PM, and no operations on Sundays.

 

What is the least effective way to get around Puerto Rico?

The least effective way to get around Puerto Rico is using public transportation.

image of cars passing through the street of San Juan
It is highly recommended to rent a car the first time you visit Puerto Rico.

No matter your budget, I recommend renting a car for the time you’re staying in Puerto Rico.

There’s no set schedule for buses; they will only take you so far. 

When taking the subway, you’re limited to the metropolitan area, and when you get to your stop, you’ll need to rely on the bus to get to your destination or use a ride-sharing app like Uber. 

If you plan to stay in the area, you’re better off Ubering around San Juan. Try to avoid Uber in the peak hours of 7 AM-9 AM and 4 PM-6 PM as rates surge.

 

What is the average cost to get around Puerto Rico?

On average, you’re looking to spend $65-$95 a day on transportation.

You can expect to spend less than $6 a day using the public transportation system.

For taxis like Uber, you’re looking to spend around $15-$30 a day (if you’re not booking during peak hours, which could go up to $20-$40)

Local taxis can get more expensive, with rates starting at $20.

With a rental car, you’ll spend $50-$75 a day, depending on the vehicle you’re getting. Still, you have the flexibility, efficiency, and freedom to visit any beach, visit any town, and check out any restaurant, anytime. 

Below is a video on how to budget your trip with a cost breakdown to Puerto Rico:

 

What are all the transportation methods Puerto Rico has?

There are more than ten ways to get around in Puerto Rico, with different transportation methods.

image of a public bus in PR
The city trolley is for visitors to San Juan.

Starting with the public transportation methods, Puerto Rico has the city trolley (found in Old San Juan, Bayamón, Carolina, and Guaynabo), the public bus, ferries, subways, and AMA buses.

image of a ferry in San Juan
The ferry in San Juan goes to Cataño.

There are currently three ferry routes. From Ceiba to Culebra and Vieques and San Juan to Cataño. 

image of Rafael Hernandez Airport
You can fly on a small aircraft to many destinations in Puerto Rico.

Airplanes are another way of transportation around Puerto Rico; you can move around the island quicker and visit Ponce, Aguadilla, Mayaguez, Culebra, and Vieques faster than driving or arriving by ferry.

image of a private shuttle
Private shuttles can be good for groups or people wanting to do tours outside the metro area that didn’t rent a car.

Private Shuttles are a great alternative to taxis, but they can be more expensive. Many local companies offer tourists transportation from airports to different parts of the island and are with you the whole day!

Exploring Puerto Rico through booked tours is another alternative for getting around. 

You can hire a tour operator to take you to the best attractions in San Juan or take you out of the metropolitan area, like El Yunque or Fajardo, for an all-day trip.

image of Fajardo monumental letters
Fajardo has great snorkeling and small islands off it’s coast that are popular for day trips.

Taking a taxi or riding an Uber is excellent if you plan to stay predominately in the San Juan area. The service is available even during late-night hours, and most drivers speak English.

image of a rental bike in Condado
Renting a bike is the perfect way to get around San Juan if you love the outdoors.

You can also scooter and bike for transportation, but the roads were not designed for people to bike. You can ride along the shoreline of Old San Juan through Condado, pass Isla Verde, and end up at the beaches and kiosks of Piñones.

Below is a Google Maps that shows the bike route from Old San Juan to Piñones:

Renting a car is the last transportation method to get around in Puerto Rico and is your best option if you’re an adventurer who wants to explore outside the metropolitan area.

Below is a video of the 10 most common tourist mistakes to avoid when traveling to Puerto Rico:

 

 

FAQ section

What is the best way to get around San Juan?

The best way to get around San Juan is by renting a car or Uber.

What is the best way to get from the airport in San Juan to your hotel?

The best way to get from the airport in San Juan to your hotel is by taking a shuttle, taxi, or Uber.

 

Final thoughts

Renting a car in Puerto Rico is the easiest and most efficient way to get around and to explore the island.

If you’re staying for more than a week and you want to explore outside the San Juan area, then renting a car is a must. 

If you plan on staying in the San Juan area only, you will be fine using a taxi or Uber to get around. 

Looking to immerse yourself in the local experience? Public transportation can be an adventure for you. Just make sure that you know enough Spanish in case you get lost!

Check out our article on all you need to know about Renting A Car In Puerto Rico.

If you need help deciding where to stay in Puerto Rico, then check out our article Where To Stay In Puerto Rico – 13 Places & Areas

Article by

Miguel Concepcion

Writer at PuertoRico.com. I’ve lived in Puerto Rico for 14 years and have experienced every inch of this stunning island. Growing up in Puerto Rico has helped me truly learn about the rich culture and extensive history this island has to offer. I share my local knowledge in all of the articles that I write. 

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