Food / Puerto Rico / Travel

13 Useful facts about Puerto Rico to help you sound like a local

Bimage(1)een to Puerto Rico? Got confused? Want to go to Puerto Rico? Heard about Puerto Rico? Angered some Puerto Ricans by asking, “So, do you have a green card?”  This will help you sound like you know what you’re talking about and navigate the island like a local.

There are so many more things to explore in Puerto Rico, if you need more ideas just ask! This is just a small selection. You could also visit the Caves or the Bioluminiscent Bay, go surfing, scuba diving or take a horseback ride on the beach!


1. Puerto Rico is part of the United States. You don’t even need a passport to get there! You might have to consistently remind your airline customer service agent though… they don’t seem to get it.

Puerto Ricans get to vote in the primary elections for President, but don’t get to vote in the popular elections. They have a Representative in Congress, but don’t have a vote in the House or in the Senate.  Five other areas have non-voting members in Congress: The District of Columbia, the U.S. Virgin Islands, the Northern Mariana Islands, Guam, American Samoa. region_PRmap 2. Puerto Rico is closer to the Dominican Republic than it is to the United States. It was ALSO “discovered” by Christopher Columbus, when he sailed the ocean blue in 1493.

3. Driving in Puerto Rico is different. Police cars often drive around with their lights on and the roads are very confusing. Names and numbers are ambiguous. You can read the 21 Road Rules in Puerto Rico here.

Las Mananitas

4. Puerto Rican food does not consist of salsa and tacos. That’s Mexican food. We eat Mexican food sometimes too… at Mexican restaurants.  In contrast, Puerto Rican food consists of rice and beans, pork, or pollo asado (chicken) and is actually fairly bland.

image(4)5. You can purchase prescriptions at pharmacy counter, without a prescription. Just be very polite and speak Spanish. Very convenient, but may also be illegal.


6. Puerto Rico is historically known for amazing coffee.  Unfortunately due to overpopulation and economic developments, it’s cheaper to get coffee beans from other countries. But Puerto Ricans still love their Puerto Rican coffee. Others agree, check out Ashley at PolyGlottony. In fact, Yauco Select Coffee is ranked with Jamaica Mountain Blue Coffee.


7. When you order an entree at a restaurant, instead of asking how you’d like your potato (french fries, mashed, baked, etc.), they may ask you how you’d like your plantain. Plantains can also be mashed, fried, sweet or savory. One cup of mashed plantains has 36% of your daily value of Vitamins A and C. It is almost a complete protein, with an Amino Acid score of 83 according to SELF Nutrition Data. Nutrition_Facts_Label.

8. Puerto Ricans save money on energy by using solar powered water heaters! This means you may not have the hottest shower on a cloudy day, just ask the hotel management (or your Abuela) to turn the water heater on.

DSC01031 9. Street food in Puerto Rico, is actually the best. Fried empanadillas filled with fresh crab, white fish, or guava. There are also Alcapurrias, which are mashed plantains filled with meat. Plus the fruit stands! Everyone grows fruit in their backyard, so fresh tropical fruits are always available and affordable! park observatory10. The world’s largest single-aperture radio telescope is located in Puerto Rico. El Observatorio, The National Observatory, is located in Arecibo and has been featured in movies such as Contact and Goldeneye.


11. Puerto Rico actually has a pretty large problem with stray cats and dogs.  You can read more about in the Washington Post, or get involved to help with one of these organizations. Lots of Puerto Ricans may refer to them at ‘Satos’ and think of them as vermin, but they are soo cute…


12. You can buy alcohol in pouches… it’s a Capri Sun (R) for grown ups!


13. Puerto Rico is actually an archipelago for four islands, Puerto Rico (the main island), Mona, Vieques, and Culebra…which means there are over 300 miles of beach to explore!

Villa Pesquera

Villa Pesquera

Playa Crash Boat



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