10 Things I Wish I Knew Before I Moved to Puerto Rico
I always advise people to work with a consulting company when moving to Puerto Rico for so many reasons. Most importantly though, working with someone who is already familiar with Puerto Rico and who can walk you through what to expect when you move is so helpful. I always advise that people look at https://relocatepuertorico.com. The company has all the resources you’ll need to relocate and make Puerto Rico your new home. That being said, it’s super important to do your own research and learn as much as you can about Puerto Rico before you decide to fully relocate there. Below are ten things that I always tell people who are considering moving to the island.
1. It’s SO Beautiful
I really can’t emphasize enough how beautiful the island is. It’s surrounded by Palm Trees and oceans and the weather is pretty much the perfect temperate year round. Additionally, what I really love about Puerto Rico is that there’s so much you really need to find by just going out and exploring. There are so many places that are just waiting to be explored - mountains, oceans, parks, etc. Just walking around with a friend or even networking with locals is a great way to get familiar with the island.
2. Puerto Rico Isn’t All Disaster
Unfortunately, what most people hear about Puerto Rico is much different than what actually is going on in Puerto Rico. In 2017, Hurricane Maria took a huge toll on the island. It devastated infrastructure, knocked out power grids for long periods of time, and quite honestly did some irreparable damage. Around 3,000 people died, and countless businesses were unable to operate without electricity. Despite this tragedy, Puerto Rico has managed to get back on its feet and is doing infinitely better than even a couple years following Hurricane Maria. Because the event was so devastating, the media tends to focus on that aspect of the island. However, once you get to the island you realize the absolute beauty of it and how many opportunities are truly here. So, before you make any judgements, really dig in and do your research. Watch YouTube videos, read blogs, and talk to as many people as you know, and you’ll quickly realize that Puerto Rico is an amazing place to be.
I had NO idea how much traffic there would be in Puerto Rico, especially in San Juan. It’s not as bad in more remote or rural areas, but keep that in mind if you plan on commuting long distances. Additionally, the roads tend to have large potholes that take a long time to get fixed so be sure to keep an eye out for them while driving.
This isn’t something I was really prepared for when I moved but I quickly realized that corruption is definitely present, especially in the Puerto Rican government. Therefore, expediters are a thing on the island. Expediters basically know someone who knows someone who can get things done faster for you - only if you pay. And a lot of times it’s worth it to get things moving faster. These people (I assume) work closely with government officials to get things done faster. Even getting a driver’s license can be really complicated and drawn out, so keep this in mind if you’re in a rush to get something done.
5. Learn A Little Spanish
There are tons of English speakers, but if you know a little bit of Spanish, it will go a long way. Locals appreciate when you can speak Spanish and if you’re outside of one of the bigger cities, it will make your life a lot easier.
Not everyone has negative feelings towards foreigners. However, you can see it in some places. Locals tend to either love tourists or dislike them. I think this tends to come from a fear that mainland Americans may take over too much of their land, which makes sense.
7. Nobody Voted to Be a Part of the US
Puerto Rico belongs to the US, but that wasn’t their decision. In a way, Puerto Rico feels like and operates as a foreign country and I think a lot of locals would love to be independent. It makes sense then that people refer to Puerto Rico as “the oldest colony in the world”.
8. Cannabis is Prevalent!
It’s pretty easy to get your medical cannabis card for a variety of symptoms ranging from pain to inflammation to mental health issues.
9. People Are Patriotic
Puerto Ricans are very proud of the fact that they’re from this beautiful island and they definitely don’t hide it. You’ll see the Puerto Rican flag pretty much everywhere: on masks, phone cases, pictures, etc.
10. Beautiful Beaches
There are SO many beautiful beaches. You can discover some on your own, and a lot of the time they’ll be completely empty so you’ll have it to yourself.