Puerto Rico  >  Puerto Rico Facts

Location: Puerto Rico is an archipelago part of the Greater Antilles in the Caribbean Region.  Puerto Rico is east of the Dominican Republic and west of the Virgin Islands.  The north shores face the Atlantic Ocean and the Southern Shores face the Caribbean Sea. The main island of Puerto Rico is the smallest and most eastern of all the islands on the greater Antilles.

Puerto Rico Map

Names Used:

  • Estado Libre Asociado de Puerto Rico is the formal name. (Free Commonwealth of Puerto Rico)
  • Borikén – original name of the island given by the Taino natives. Today the name Borinquen is widely used.  Puerto Ricans proudly call themselves boricuas which carries pride and love for their island.
  • San Juan Bautista –  When Christopher Columbus landed in Puerto Rico in 1493, he named the island San Juan Bautista in honor of John the Baptist.
  • Puerto Rico – Under the govern of the Spanish, the island was named Puerto Rico and they settled on the inlet that today is the capital of San Juan.  The name of Puerto Rico (rich port) derived from all the gold that the Spanish found on the island.

Size of Puerto Rico: Puerto Rico’s mainland is roughly 35 miles from north to south and 100 miles wide from west to east, making its area about 3,500 square miles. Puerto Rico is comparable to the state of Connecticut and bigger than the states of Delaware and Rhode Island put together.  The main island is blessed with an estimated 300 miles of coastline.

Puerto Rico FlagThe current flag of Puerto Rico was officially adopted in 1922.  The red stripes are symbolic of the “blood” that nourishes the three branches of its government; Legislative, Executive, and Judiciary.

Municipalities: Puerto Rico has 78 municipalities which function like counties in the US, each one has an elected mayor and a municipal legislature for a term of 4 years.  The offshore islands of Vieques & Culebra are municipalities.

See larger image and interactive map of municipalities and cities in Puerto Rico. 

Puerto Rico Map - Cities, Municipalities, Island Municipalities of Vieques, Culebra, Mona & Desecheo

Zip/Postal & Area Codes

Currency: U.S.A. Dollar

Capital: San Juan

Citizenship: Puerto Rico is a Commonwealth of the United States (U.S. territory). Puerto Ricans are US Citizens and US travelers do not need a passport to visit.

Anthem: La Borinqueña (The Borinquenian)  is the national anthem of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico.  Not an official anthem but much beloved song by Puerto Ricans is  La Isla Preciosa by Rafael Hernandez.

Money: The official currency is the US dollar.  When you’re here you’ll hear most locals calling dollars “pesos“.

Sales Tax (VAT) Rate:  11.5%  (10.5% for the state level, and 1% for the municipalities)

Heritage / Race: Puerto Ricans are proudly a mix of three beautiful races and cultures: Spanish, Native Taino and African.  Puerto Rico feels very much like a different culture because it has retained it’s traditions.  Puerto Ricans consider themselves Americans but if you ask them they will say they’re “Puerto Ricans or Boricuas.  Boricua is a term used to describe a strong sense of pride for being a Puerto Rican.  That beautiful mix is evident in Puerto Rican’s music, traditions, food, dance and the arts.

Electric: Current is 110 volts AC, same as the United States

WeatherIn Puerto Rico we enjoy a glorious average of 82°F all year round, making Puerto Rico a great place to visit all year round.

Drinking “Tap” Water: Puerto Rico Tap Water is mainly “city water” and safe to drink, tastes good, and meets the same requirements set by the EPA for the United States.  The Puerto Rico Water Company, Autoridad de Acueductos y Alcantarillados (AAA), uses the latest technology to filter and purify drinking water for residents and tourists throughout Puerto Rico.  For water quality information, visit their website at acueductospr.comAs in the U.S., if a business or home uses well water (rural areas only), they are responsible for monitoring its quality and safety.

T.V., Internet: Television and Internet access are available via satellite or cable companies as in the United States.

Language of Puerto Rico: Spanish & English are the official languages in Puerto Rico.  Spanish is preferred but most locals speak English especially in tourist areas.

Government of Puerto Rico: The head of the government is the governor, currently Alejandro García Padilla the tenth elected governor on November 6, 2012. Puerto Rico is a self-governing commonwealth associated with the United States of America. Puerto Rico is a colony, although not many like to call the island that way, the conflict over the relationship of Puerto Rico got much more attention after Hurricane Maria.  Puerto Ricans have voted to become a state, but it is up to Congress, and for decades Congress has not given the status the attention it deserves.  Video that best explains the current statusOfficial  Government Website

Population: 3,725,789 (Federal Census 2010)

Temperature:  It’s always summer in Puerto Rico with a comfortable average temperature of 27 °C (80.6 °F) throughout the year.  Weather does not vary much but there is a dry and a hurricane season. More about Puerto Rico weather

Time: AST (Atlantic Standard Time)

Geography: Puerto Rico was blessed with 3 different distinct regions.    Cordillera Central is the mountainous region, home to the lush tropical rainforest of El Yunque.  Loved by locals and visitors are the coastal regions with hundreds of beautiful beaches to enjoy.  Puerto Rico possesses offshore islands and cays, including Culebra & Vieques

Puerto Rican’s favorite mascot:  Ask any Puerto Rican and they’ll tell “El Coqui”.  Coqui is a tiny tree frog that can only be found and melody heard in Puerto Rico.  When you visit you’ll heart their melody sound, they love rain and hide in the lush flora of the island.

Major Cities: San Juan, Ponce, Mayagüez, Bayamón, Caguas and Guaynabo

Puerto Rico FlagThe current flag of Puerto Rico was officially adopted in 1922.  The red stripes are symbolic of the “blood” that nourishes the three branches of its government; Legislative, Executive, and Judiciary.

Emergency Services in Puerto Rico

If you have an emergency please dial 911 to be connected with the services you require.

Practical Information

Banks – You’ll find local banks throughout the island with ATM’s that function on U.S networks.

Drugstores – You will find many pharmacies in all the towns of Puerto Rico, there are many US chains such as CVS and Walgreen’s as well as smaller local pharmacies.   If you need a refill in Puerto Rico you will need to have a hand signed prescription.

Travel to San Juan, Puerto Rico

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