21 Essential Things To Pack For Puerto Rico (And What To Wear)

It is important that you bring the correct items for your trip to Puerto Rico.

I’ve lived in Puerto Rico for more than 14 years, and I know exactly what you need to bring for your vacation to this enchanted island.

In this article, I will cover 21 essential things to pack for Puerto Rico and what to wear:


1. Portable charger

If you plan on being out and about most of the day, bringing a portable charger is crucial.

You’ll want to bring a slim and lightweight portable charger that fits in your bag so you can easily carry it around.

We know you’ll probably be taking pictures, updating your socials and texting your friends, so ensure you have a backup battery that will last you up until late at night.

image of a portable powerbank
Image of a portable power bank.


2. Water shoes and sandals

I sometimes fall victim to forgetting to bring sandals when going to the beach, and I’ve been living here for more than 14 years!

Don’t forget to pack a pair of sandals; not only for the beach, but for casual walking around town.

Some beaches in Puerto Rico are filled with rocks as you enter the waters, it’s best to bring a pair of water shoes to protect yourself from the sharp enemies of the sea. 

image of a swimming shoes
Image of a person wearing swimming shoes.


3. Sunscreen

You’ll be surprised at how many people forget to bring sunscreen.

A tan is nice, but a sunburn is not. 

SPF 50 will protect you against the sun whilst you are at the beach, hiking or snorkeling.

If you want to shop local, Motherflower is a natural skincare brand based in Santurce, Puerto Rico that makes reef-safe sunscreen.

image of a lady with sun cream on her back
Image of a lady with sun cream on her back.


4. After-sun gel

After-sun gel is perfect to wear after a day at the beach.

Went hiking instead? You’ll probably feel very hot when coming back to your room. 

This will help you sleep at ease, keep you cool and recharge for tomorrow’s adventure.

image of aloe vera
Image of aloe vera.


5. Snorkeling gear

If you’re a pro at snorkeling, then you won’t want to miss out on bringing your own gear.

Bringing your own snorkeling gear allows you to roam freely without needing to book a tour or guide.

image of snorkeling gear
Image of snorkeling gear.


6. Water bottles

Save your money and the environment by bringing your own reusable water bottles!

If you plan to hike or spend the entire day exploring, then bringing a water bottle with you is crucial for keeping yourself hydrated.

image of a water flask
Image of a water flask.


7. Swimsuits

Swimsuits are a must when coming to Puerto Rico.

If you don’t plan on swimming at the beach, you’ll most likely get tempted to swim at the pool. 

Plan for the unexpected, bring at least one bathing suit and see where the magic takes you!

image of a lady wearing bikini
Image of a woman at the beach.


8. Sunglasses

It’s pretty bright here in Puerto Rico!

You would not want to forget bringing a pair of sunglasses on your trip.

Plus, it keeps you looking stylish and cool.

image of a sunglasses
Image of sunglasses.


9. Wallet with ID

Bring a small and slim wallet that carries your cards, cash and ID.
Your ID is important as some places require an ID check before entering an establishment. 

And don’t forget your vaccine card, you will need your ID for verification purposes.

image of a wallet with ID holder
Image of a wallet with an ID holder.


10. Deodorant

Puerto Rico has hot and tropical weather, meaning that you’ll be sweating a lot.

For best practice, bring two pairs of deodorant with you. One to leave in your room and another one for when you’re on the road.

image of a man applying deodorant
Image of a man applying deodorant.


11. Mosquito repellent

Bring mosquito repellent if you’re known for getting bitten by mosquitoes or bugs.

As a tropical island, Puerto Rico has a lot of mosquitos.

image of a mother spraying mosquito repellent
Image of a mother spraying mosquito repellent.


12. Umbrella

If you’re traveling to Puerto Rico from June to November, the island’s rainy season, then an umbrella is going to be your best friend.

During those times, the heaviest rain time is usually from 12pm-4pm. 

Bringing an umbrella will prevent you from getting unexpectedly soaked from our short afternoon showers.

image of a wet umbrella
Umbrella in the rain.


13. Medication

Don’t forget to bring your prescribed medicine with you!

If you don’t take any medicine, then anything like Tylenol and Dramamine is perfect to carry with you in case of emergencies.

Tylenol can help with headaches after a long day of being out under the sun, if you’re planning on taking a hike or walking up the mountains.

If you’re known for getting motion sickness and planning to go to Culebra or Vieques on the ferry, you’ll want to bring some Dramamine with you. 

It helps prevent you from getting sick on the ferry and possibly ruining your trip.

image of dramamine medicine
Image of Dramamine medicine.


14. Waterproof phone cases

A waterproof phone case is perfect to take with you on the beach. 

You’ll save your phone from any potential damage and hundreds of dollars in repair. 

This is perfect if you’re visiting the bioluminescent bays as well. You would not want to miss out on all the photos and videos opportunities. 

image of a waterproof phone case
Image of a waterproof phone case.


15. Sun hat and long sleeve shirt

The sun in Puerto Rico is strong, meaning that you will get sun burn if you don’t protect yourself.

I recommend that you bring a large circular hat that provides shade to your face and neck. 

I also recommend that you bring a long sleeve shirt that protects your arms and upper-body. If you go hiking or to the beach, then you should not expose yourself to the sun for multiple hours, even if you are using sunscreen. 

image of a woman wearing a large hat
Image of a woman wearing a large hat.


16. Passport

If you’re not coming from the USA, then bringing a passport is very important.

If you forget to bring your ID with you, you can also use your passport as identification verification. 

image of a passport
Image of a passport.


17. Hand sanitizer 

Bringing a hand sanitizer is very important to carry with you.

Most establishments in Puerto Rico have a hand sanitizer stand in the entrance, but it’s good practice to carry a small and portable one for when you’re out adventuring. 

image of a hand sanitizer
Image of a hand sanitizer.


18. Lightweight backpack

A lightweight backpack is perfect to carry your essentials when going out. 

Whether you’re going to the beach, El Yunque, or even walking the streets of Old San Juan, you’ll want to take a light backpack instead of lugging around your handbag or fitting everything in your pockets. 

image of a small bag
Image of a small bag.


19. Cash

If you’re from the US, good news! Puerto Rico’s main currency is the US dollar. Carrying cash with you is perfect for budgeting, going out to eat and best for tipping as well.

image of woman counting dollars
Image of a woman counting dollars.


20. Headphones

It can get pretty noisy in Puerto Rico. 

If you’re staying in the city area like San Juan, bringing headphones with you will help filter out those unwanted noises outside. 

Even if you plan on traveling alone and adventuring the island yourself, headphones are great to relax and enjoy your trip to the fullest extent. 

image of black headphone
Image of a black headphone.


21. Comfortable clothing

Puerto Rico has tropical and warm weather all year round. Including during the winter!

Comfortable and light clothing is what you’ll want to pack with you. You might want to pack one or two fancy outfits for those nights going to T-Mobile district, Condado or even eating at a restaurant. 

image of a happy woman wearing beach outfit
Image of a happy woman wearing a beach outfit.


What to wear in Puerto Rico

Mainly, you’ll want to pack very light and comfortable clothing. T-shirts, tank tops, shorts, and flip-flops should be of top priority.

Next, you’ll want to bring 2 or 3 bathing suits.

A pair of jeans is more than enough to bring, you don’t want to overfill your luggage. 

Finally, you’ll also want to bring a couple of casual dresses and blouses.


How to not look like a tourist in Puerto Rico

If you don’t want to be spotted as a tourist, then dressing semi-formal is the way to go. 

Because Puerto Ricans don’t dress like they are in the Caribbean, you want to avoid the “Caribbean vacation” look as it’s easy to spot that you’re a tourist.

Click here to learn more on how to avoid looking like a tourist in Puerto Rico.


What should you pack for Puerto Rico?

You should pack light and comfortable clothing when packing for Puerto Rico. Other than that, you should also pack the following: Portable chargers, water bottles, sunscreen, snorkeling gear, swimsuits, wallet, deodorant & an umbrella.

How much money should you bring to Puerto Rico for a week?

You’ll want to bring anywhere between $300-$500 with you for a week in Puerto Rico which will cover food, transportation, emergency expenses and tips.

Should you bring cash to Puerto Rico?

Yes! You should bring cash with you to Puerto Rico. You can still use your credit card in most places you visit.

What should you pack for a week in Puerto Rico?

For a week in Puerto Rico, you should pack : seven pairs of underwear, one pair of sandals, one pair of sneakers, sunglasses, one pair of jeans, five shirts or blouses, three pairs of shorts, two bathing suits, a casual dress & seven pairs of socks.


Final thoughts

Those are the 21 most important things to pack for Puerto Rico.

I personally think that bringing a large sun hat and long-sleeve shirt are the most important items if you want to avoid sun-burn. 

Do not stress if you forget to bring one of the items, or leave an important item back home. We have Walgreens and CVS nearby where you can easily find what you’re looking for.

If you are looking for fun things to do on your trip, then check out our article where we talk about the 45 best things to do in Puerto Rico.

Article by

Miguel Concepcion

Writer & Editor 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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