Setting Up Your Life in Puerto Rico
Updated: Mar 30
Moving to Puerto Rico is a fairly easy transition for U.S. citizens. That’s because Puerto Rico is, in fact, a U.S. territory. And it has been since 1898, when the U.S. acquired it at the end of the Spanish-American war. This means that if you are an American citizen, moving to the island is relatively uncomplicated since you won’t need to acquire work permits or visas before you move. If you’ve taken a leap of faith and decided to officially relocate to Puerto Rico, congratulations! You’ve made it! Now, it’s time to get familiar with your surroundings, and take advantage of the amazing island you’re now a resident of. When I first moved to Puerto Rico, I knew it was important to establish a routine and set up basic things such as your phone and utilities. I’ve mentioned this in past posts, but I really do advise working with a consulting company such as Relocate Puerto Rico because they can walk you through all of these steps. However, if you still have questions or aren’t working with a consultant, that’s okay. Below are five of the most important things to do when getting settled in Puerto Rico.
1. Take Care of Your Finances:
The good news is that because Puerto Rico is a U.S. territory, the U.S. dollar is used there. This makes banking and finances simple and pretty straightforward. There are a number of international and local banks scattered throughout Puerto Rico, so if you do use a fairly popular or larger bank, you will most likely be able to just keep using it once you’ve arrived on the island. Requirements to open a bank account are the same as they are here, so you’ll need identification, proof of address, and possibly a minimum deposit.
2. Connect Your Cell Phone
If you’re already registered with AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile or Sprint, your cell phone will work the same exact way it does in the Continental U.S. And, there are no roaming charges. Therefore, for most people, you won’t have to worry about getting a new phone or signing up with a new carrier. Additionally, the island generally has great reception, especially in the larger, more populated areas.
3. Set Up Your Utilities
Similar to cell phones, utilities are also pretty straightforward and simple in Puerto Rico. To get started and set up electricity in your new home or apartment, you’ll need to visit the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority (PREPA) office in person. You’ll have to provide them with all the necessary information, just as you do in the States, such as your name, social security number, driver’s license, address, etc. It’s important to note that you may need to wait anywhere from 5-7 days for it to be fully up and running. Depending on if you’re leasing or you’ve bought a property, this process may differ so again, working with a consultant can be really helpful and save you a lot of time and energy.
4. Create A Routine And Set Up Your Life
When I first moved to Puerto Rico, I didn’t know what to expect. I knew very little about the island and only had about two friends who were living there. Therefore, my first two weeks in Puerto Rico were a bit rocky, but only because I was adjusting to my new life there. And this happens no matter where you’re moving to. Once those initial two weeks passed, I began to get familiar with my surroundings and officially establish a concrete routine. If you usually go to a gym, sign up for a gym or workout class. There are tons of them - even during Covid. Additionally, take the time to explore your new environment. Visit local shops and restaurants. Walk on the beach. Talk to new people. The more familiar you get with the island’s amazing offerings, the more comfortable you’ll feel.
As I just mentioned, it’s so important to get out and explore your new home. Puerto Rico is quite literally a tropical paradise with amazing weather and beautiful beaches. By walking around and checking out all that the island has to offer, you’ll begin to get a lot more comfortable. From the first day I moved to Puerto Rico, I used the app “Yelp”, just like I do in the U.S. I found everything from the best grocery stores, to a barber, to a gym to bars. I also always encourage new residents to go out and enjoy the local nightlife. I’ve met so many new people by doing this and still continue to even after having lived in Puerto Rico for over a year. Additionally, Puerto Rico offers the same exact comforts that other states in the U.S. offer. Fast food such as McDonald’s, Burger King, Wendy’s and Subway are on the island, as are Costco and Sam’s Club. Even more, Puerto Rico has many large, modern malls with tons of stores.
I often tell people that living in Puerto Rico is really interesting in the sense that it is a U.S. territory, yet it feels like a different country. In other words, you’re getting the best of both worlds - the stability of living in the United States, along with the culturally diverse experience of being in a different country. This is why I am so happy with my decision to move and why I’m passionate about helping others make the move to Puerto Rico as well. If you have any questions about making the transition to Puerto Rico or how to get settled once you’re there, send me a message or email and I’ll provide you with even more specifics.