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Is Puerto Rico safe to travel? All you need to know

by Pilar Dujan | July 6, 2023
Flag of Puerto Rico covering a street with balconies

¿Is Puerto Rico safe to travel? Puerto Rico is an associated state of the US and one of the top travel destinations worldwide. The island is famous for having amazing beaches, warm people, tasty food and just a lively and fun atmosphere with many Puerto Rico tourist attractions worth the visit. 

As with most countries, you're going to need a visa for Puerto Rico. Remember to check out all Puerto Rico entry requirements before traveling there. Another important piece of information when planning a holiday is safety concerns in your destination of choice, so you may be wondering: is Puerto Rico safe? 

Is Puerto Rico safe?

Yes, Puerto Rico is safe with a lower crime rate than most parts of the US. This doesn’t mean that crime doesn’t exist in the country: the most common risk for travelers are pickpockets and robbers. Try to avoid flashing your cash, jewelry, phones and cameras to be safe.

Puerto Rico also has problems with drug trafficking and gang-related activity, but it’s very uncommon for tourists to run into any of these problems. 

Safe areas in Puerto Rico

Even though it’s generally safe to travel around Puerto Rico, some areas are safer than others, just like it happens in every other country on Earth. 

Here’s our list of the safest areas of Puerto Rico:

  • San Juan, especially the neighborhoods of Old San Juan, Miramar, Condado, Isla Verde, Ocean Park and Hato Rey
  • Rincon
  • Cabo Rojo
  • Rio Grande
  • Ponce
  • Fajardo
  • Culebra
  • Vieques 

This doesn’t mean that every area not designated here is intrinsically unsafe: tourists are encouraged to step out of Old San Juan to explore the island, although it’s still recommended to avoid certain areas.

Areas to avoid

  • Caserios public housing areas
  • La Perla (especially at night)
  • Puerta de Tierra
  • Piñones
  • El Parque de las Palomas
  • Santurce

Puerto Rico safe street

Common tourist scams

Although tourists are generally safe from the most dangerous crimes, which could be related to gangs or drugs, they can fall prey to specific scams designed to trick outsiders. These are the most common tourist scams:

Taxi scams

Some drivers try to inflate the cost of the trip when they recognize you as a tourist. Some of their tricks include not turning on the meter and then asking for more money than it’s necessary, claiming they don’t have any change to give, taking a longer route or even pretending to be taxi drivers when they’re not. If you plan on getting around Puerto Rico by taxi, make sure it’s licensed and part of an established company you could call in case of issues. 

Rental car scams

One of the most common scams is inflating toll fees and keeping the change or charging more for cleaning the car. Always keep one eye open!

Also, if you rent a car, remember to lock your doors and don’t leave any valuables on sight as you may fall prey to carjackings.

False guides

Some Puerto Ricans could pretend to be tourist guides or just helpful locals and then take tourists to specific areas or businesses where they get paid commissions, or even take your bags if you’re not paying attention when they offer to help. 

Gozalandia Waterfall or Cascada Gozalandia, Puerto Rico

Is Puerto Rico safe to travel alone?

Yes, Puerto Rico is just as safe as any other tourism destination for traveling solo. The people of the island are warm and friendly, and they won’t hesitate to help anyone in distress. 

This doesn’t mean that you should throw caution to the wind if you’re by yourself, always remember to follow the basic security guidelines to make sure that your trip goes well.

If you’re visiting Puerto Rico by yourself, try to avoid walking alone at night and exploring unknown areas with low traffic. These situations would leave you vulnerable to pickpockets, possibly the main danger for tourists. 

Is Puerto Rico safe for a solo woman traveler?

Yes, especially if they’re visiting the area of San Juan. However, women may face some catcalling, but it’s not likely that men will try to make a physical approach. It’s important to follow the security advice we provide to have a great experience in the country. 

Women traveling alone should avoid walking in solitary areas, especially at night, and should always keep an eye on their drinks when going out. It’s also recommended to avoid sharing the address of their lodging and not accepting stranger’s invitations for company. 

Is Puerto Rico safe for families?

Yes, it’s a very common travel destination for families! Kids can enjoy a day at the beach and do some snorkeling, which is always a fun experience. If your family likes to explore nature, there are many hiking trails fit for children.

Natural dangers

Puerto Rico is an area with danger of earthquakes and hurricanes, which can sometimes wreak havoc on the infrastructure of the island. The last big storm was Hurricane Fiona in 2022, which was devastating for the island: it caused a major power outage that was felt all across the country. Try to make sure you pick the best time to visit Puerto Rico so you can avoid the hurricane season.