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What currency does Puerto Rico use? All about the US dollar

by Catherine Carey | December 14, 2023
Puerto Rico currency

Puerto Rico is an ideal destination for nature and history lovers. There are so many tourist attractions in Puerto Rico like visiting Old San Juan, discovering nature in El Yunque National Forest and enjoying the best beaches in Puerto Rico

Many ask themselves is Puerto Rico part of the US? The answer is yes. It is officially known as an unincorporated territory, meaning that while it is subject to US sovereignty, certain provisions of the US Constitution are not fully extended to Puerto Rico. 

What is the currency in Puerto Rico? Puerto Rico to the US is a US territory, but with some independence in its internal affairs and no power over its external relations. One of the things they share is the US dollar (USD $) as currency. In other words, the currency in Puerto Rico is the US dollar.

What currency does Puerto Rico use?

The currency in Puerto Rico is the US dollar. The dollar has been the currency of Puerto Rico since 1987. The US dollar is often referred to as the peso

The dollar is divided into 100 cents, and you can find coins of 1 (called by the locals as centavo or chavito), 5 (vellón), 10 (fichas), 25 (peseta), 50 cents and 1$ coins. 

Circulating banknotes include denominations of 1, 2, 5, 10, 20, 50 and 100 dollars. The banknotes bear the portrait of different presidents of the United States, such as George Washington (one dollar) or Benjamin Franklin (one hundred dollars).

Puerto Rico currency to USD

The currency of Puerto Rico is the same as that of the United States, so there is no exchange rate. 1$ in Puerto Rico is equivalent to 1$ in USD.

Where to exchange U.S. dollars in Puerto Rico?

It is possible to get U.S. dollars in Puerto Rico at airports, currency exchange offices, and banks. You can also withdraw money from any ATM. ATMs are referred to as ATHs ("a todas horas", meaning "at all times") and can be found throughout the island. 

If you don’t want to use ATMs in Puerto Rico. You can exchange US dollars at some of the main banks like Banco Popular or Santander. Other currency exchange offices include Caribbean Foreign Exchange and Thomas Cook foreign exchange. 

We recommend that you avoid unofficial places whenever possible, as they may be fraudulent. 

currency of Puerto Rico

How to pay in Puerto Rico?

In Puerto Rico you can use credit or debit cards without much issues. Many businesses like shopping malls and those in tourist areas accept payments by credit or debit cards. Some businesses might require a purchase minimum to run the transaction.

Keep in mind that your credit card or bank may impose a fee for international card usage. You should always ask your bank about these fees before traveling internationally. 

In more traditional establishments, it is common to pay with cash. Always bring some physical currency in Puerto Rico.

Is Puerto Rico expensive?

Puerto Rico is somewhat more expensive than other parts of Latin America. You can expect to spend between $100 and $150 per day. To give you an idea, some prices range from 4-8 dollars for breakfast, 5-9 USD for lunch, and 8-15 USD for dinner. Staying in a three-star hotel costs between 96.00 and 217.00 USD, while a bed in a hostel ranges from 15 to 29 USD.

Certain tourist attractions, such as San Cristóbal Castle and San Felipe del Morro Castle, have an entrance fee. For example, these two places each cost 5 USD.

Is tipping mandatory in Puerto Rico?

One of the tips for traveling to Puerto Rico is to be ready to tip for different services. Tipping in Puerto Rico is not mandatory, but it is greatly expected and goes by the same rule of the US. It is expected to tip a 15%-20% of the total bill.

Before tipping, you should also read all the bills carefully. For example, Restaurants in tourist areas can add the tip as a "gratuity" or "service charge" at the bottom of your bill. Nevertheless, if the amount is over 20% you must ask about it to a manager. Hotels may also add a 5%-15% service charge.

Some common tipping quantities are $2 or more per day for the housekeeping staff, $1 per drink for bartenders, and 15% of the check for restaurant servers.