Life in a Tropical Paradise: A Comprehensive Guide to the Cost of Living in Puerto Rico

Puerto Rico, a breathtaking island in the Caribbean, offers a rich blend of history, culture, and stunning natural beauty. With a favorable climate and easy access to the US, it has become a magnet for those looking for both short-term getaways and long-term residencies. However, cost of living is a concern for many considering a move to this tropical paradise. In this article, we explore the cost of living in Puerto Rico, covering aspects such as housing, food, transportation, and more.

It’s essential to understand how the cost of living in Puerto Rico compares to that of the United States as a whole since the island is a US territory. According to Numbeo, the cost of living in Puerto Rico is, on average, 10.6% lower than in the United States. However, it’s important to note that rent rates are, on average, 47.8% lower than in the United States. This difference in housing costs significantly impacts the overall cost of living on the island.

Additional factors, such as utilities, groceries, and healthcare, contribute to the overall cost of living in Puerto Rico. It’s crucial to consider these aspects when making a decision about relocating or spending an extended period on the island. We will delve deeper into the specific costs and other factors that impact daily life in Puerto Rico.

Cost of Living Overview

The cost of living in Puerto Rico can vary significantly depending on the location and individual lifestyle choices. Generally speaking, Puerto Rico offers a lower cost of living compared to the United States, with rent prices being 47.8% lower on average. However, it’s important to consider other factors, such as utilities and transportation costs, when assessing the overall affordability of living in Puerto Rico.

One of the major components of the cost of living in Puerto Rico is accommodation. Rent prices depend on the location, with areas closer to city centers or beachfronts being more expensive. With the influx of digital nomads and expats, rent prices have been increasing in recent years.

Here’s a general overview of the estimated monthly costs for different household types:

  • Family of four: $4,609
  • Single person: $2,601

*These estimates are based on a limited amount of data and may vary depending on individual circumstances.

Utilities and transportation can also impact the cost of living. As mentioned on this source, utilities can be quite expensive in Puerto Rico. However, with an average salary of around $1,800, many residents can afford these costs while maintaining a comfortable lifestyle.

To provide a better understanding of living costs in Puerto Rico, here’s a breakdown of some common expenses:

  • Housing: Rent prices for a single bedroom apartment range from $500 to $1,500, depending on location and type of property.

  • Utilities: Electricity, water, and gas can cost around $200 to $300 per month for a typical household.

  • Transportation: Monthly public transportation passes cost around $30, while gas prices are relatively similar to those in the US.

  • Groceries: Prices for groceries in Puerto Rico can be slightly higher than in the US due to import costs, but shopping at local markets can help reduce expenses.

In conclusion, the cost of living in Puerto Rico is generally more affordable than in the United States, particularly when it comes to housing. However, other factors such as utilities and transportation costs should be considered for a comprehensive understanding of the overall living expenses on the island.

Housing and Accommodation

Rent in Puerto Rico

In recent years, Puerto Rico has seen an influx of digital nomads and expats, causing a surge in rental prices. However, the cost of rent is still approximately 30% lower than the average UK or US prices. For example, a shared apartment in Old San Juan can be as affordable as $400 a month.

When it comes to apartment rentals, there is a noticeable difference between city centers and suburban areas. Renters can expect to pay less in quieter towns and neighborhoods compared to bustling cities like San Juan. On average, Puerto Rican renters pay less than half the amount of mainland US renters. In 2022, a three-bedroom apartment in San Juan cost less than 40% of a similar apartment in New York City.

  • Cities: Higher rent, more amenities and job opportunities
  • Suburban towns: Lower rent, more affordable for families

Apart from Old San Juan, some popular locations for expats and digital nomads include:

  • Condado: Upscale beachfront neighborhood
  • Ocean Park: Family-friendly with easy beach access
  • Isla Verde: Known for tourist attractions and resorts

Average Mortgage Interest Rate

Mortgage interest rates in Puerto Rico can vary depending on factors such as the type of property, the duration of the loan, and the borrower’s credit history. Though accurate and up-to-date information is scarce, it’s important to do your research and consult with local banks and financial institutions to get an idea of the current mortgage rates.

When considering housing options, it’s vital to weigh the pros and cons of renting or buying. While renting gives you the flexibility to explore various neighborhoods and adapt to the local lifestyle, buying property can be seen as an investment, especially if you plan on living in Puerto Rico long-term.

In summary, the cost of living in Puerto Rico, particularly for housing and accommodation, is generally more affordable than in the UK or the US. With a diverse range of options, from city centers to suburban towns and beachfront properties, there’s a housing solution to meet most budgets and preferences.

Utilities and Services

In Puerto Rico, utilities and services play an essential role in the cost of living. As an unincorporated territory of the United States, Puerto Rico shares many similarities with its mainland counterparts when it comes to utility costs and service providers. However, there are some unique aspects to consider when examining the cost of utilities on the island.

Water and Sewage

The Puerto Rico Aqueduct and Sewer Authority is the primary provider of water and sewage services. Charges for water and sewage are typically included in the rent for apartments and are part of the monthly condominium or homeowner association fees for private residences. In some cases, residents may have the option to pay for their water usage separately, depending on their contract with the property owner.

Electricity and Gas

The electricity sector in Puerto Rico is primarily operated by the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority. The cost of electricity can be high, averaging at $0.20 per kWh. Given the tropical climate of the island, air conditioning is prevalent in most homes and businesses, which can contribute to higher electricity costs. Natural gas usage is relatively low in Puerto Rico as it is not widely available. Most households rely on propane gas for cooking and heating purposes, which can be purchased separately in cylinders or through a contract with a local gas supplier.

Internet and Telecommunications

The internet and telecommunications sector in Puerto Rico offers various providers and plans for residents to choose from. Some popular choices include Claro, Liberty, and AT&T. Internet service costs vary depending on the connection speed and type (DSL, cable, or fiber optic), with monthly fees ranging from approximately $40 to $70. Additionally, most telecom providers also offer bundled packages for internet, telephone, and television services.

Cooling and Heating

As mentioned earlier, air conditioning is an essential part of daily life in Puerto Rico due to the tropical climate. Energy-efficient options, such as split unit air conditioners and inverter technology, can help reduce power consumption and lower electricity costs. Ceiling fans and natural ventilation are also used as alternatives to save energy. Due to the predominantly warm weather all year round, traditional heating systems are not commonly used in homes.

Garbage Collection

Residential garbage collection services are handled by the Puerto Rico Solid Waste Authority. The cost of garbage collection services is typically included in rent for apartments and is part of the monthly condominium or homeowner association fees for private residences. In some cases, municipalities may charge a separate fee for these services.

By understanding the utility and service costs in Puerto Rico, residents can better budget their expenses and adapt to the island’s living standards accordingly.


In Puerto Rico, the AMA bus system is a convenient way to travel around the metro areas. A ride on this system costs $0.75, making it an affordable option for daily commutes. Additionally, the Publico System provides transportation in cities, making travel within urban areas easy and accessible.

Public transportation in Puerto Rico is not limited to buses, as the Tren Urbano, or urban train, serves the San Juan metropolitan area. The monthly pass for both buses and the subway is available for $50, creating a cost-effective method of transport for regular users.

Apart from public transportation, taxis play an essential role in helping people get around. Although more expensive than buses or trains, taxis offer a quicker and more flexible transport option. The taxi fare rates in Puerto Rico may vary, but generally, taxi start prices are around $3.00 and an additional $1.65 per mile. When considering taxi 1 hour waiting time, the rate is typically around $17.50.

For those who prefer to drive, they will find gasoline prices in Puerto Rico moderately affordable. The current average price of gasoline is $0.85 per liter, which is around $3.21 per gallon. It’s essential to keep in mind that gasoline prices may fluctuate depending on market forces, location, and global factors.

In summary, various transportation options are available in Puerto Rico, including public transportation systems, such as buses and urban trains, as well as taxis and personal cars. The cost for using these services can vary but generally are affordable for both locals and visitors alike.

Food and Groceries

In Puerto Rico, the cost of food and groceries is quite manageable for residents and expats alike. The prices are comparable to those of mainland United States, with some items even slightly less expensive. In this section, we will discuss some essential food items and their respective prices in Puerto Rico.

  • Milk: A liter of milk in Puerto Rico typically costs around $1.5.

  • Rice: Rice is commonly consumed in many Puerto Rican dishes. A kilogram of rice is priced at approximately $1.961.

  • Eggs: A carton of a dozen eggs is around $2.5 in most grocery stores.

  • Bread: A loaf of fresh white bread in Puerto Rico is usually priced around $2.272.

  • Local Cheese: Various types of local cheese can be found at reasonable prices.

  • Fruits and Vegetables: Prices vary, depending on the season and availability. For instance, bananas can be as low as $0.8 per kilogram, while tomatoes, potatoes, onions, lettuce, and other vegetables are also fairly priced.

Fruit/Vegetable Price per Kilogram
Apples $3.5
Oranges $3.0
Potatoes $1.5
Tomatoes $2.0
  • Meat: Chicken fillets and beef round are widely available at affordable prices. Chicken fillets typically cost around $7 per kilogram, and beef round is priced at approximately $10 per kilogram1.

Overall, the cost of food and groceries in Puerto Rico is quite affordable for families and single individuals alike. With a diverse range of products available in most grocery stores, you can maintain a comfortable and healthy lifestyle without breaking the bank.

Restaurants and Dining

In Puerto Rico, there is a wide variety of dining options that cater to different budgets and tastes. From local “kioskos” (kiosks) selling delicious fritters and soda for just $2 to mid-range and high-end restaurants, there’s something for everyone.

For those looking for an inexpensive restaurant, dining options can be found at local establishments where a meal might cost around $8 to $12. At these eateries, you may find traditional Puerto Rican dishes like mofongo, stuffed plantains, and rice with beans.

In mid-range restaurants, a three-course meal for two people may cost around $40 to $60. These establishments may offer a mix of local and international cuisines, such as Italian or Mexican dishes, alongside Puerto Rican favorites. It’s also common to find seafood dishes, as the island is known for its fresh fish and seafood.

Popular fast-food chains such as McDonald’s are also present in Puerto Rico, with a combo meal priced around $7.

When it comes to beverages, a regular-sized cappuccino costs around $2.80 while a domestic beer, like Medalla or Magna, is priced around $2.50. Imported beer costs slightly more, coming in at around $3.50 to $4.00. Non-alcoholic options like Coke or Pepsi can be found for about $1.60 per bottle.

Here is a summary of average beverage costs in Puerto Rico:

  • Cappuccino: $2.80
  • Domestic beer: $2.50
  • Imported beer: $3.50 – $4.00
  • Coke/Pepsi: $1.60

It’s essential to keep in mind that prices vary depending on the location and the type of establishment. Touristic areas and more upscale venues may have higher prices, while local eateries might offer more affordable options. Regardless of your budget, Puerto Rico’s dining scene offers a diverse array of choices for everyone to enjoy.

Sports and Leisure

Puerto Rico offers a variety of sports and leisure activities for residents and expats alike. With its beautiful landscapes and tropical climate, the island provides plenty of opportunities for outdoor activities, such as hiking, surfing, and golfing, as well as indoor sports and recreation opportunities.

Tennis Court Rent

Renting a tennis court in Puerto Rico can be quite affordable, depending on the location and amenities offered by the facility. Public courts are generally less expensive or even free, while private clubs may charge higher fees for court use. It is essential to research and inquire about court availability and pricing in your preferred area.


Going to the cinema in Puerto Rico can be a fun and relatively inexpensive way to enjoy a movie night. Ticket prices may vary depending on the theater, but they are generally well below the average costs in the United States. Some cinemas also offer discounts for students, seniors, and families, as well as promotions on certain days or events.

Fitness Clubs and Gym Memberships

Fitness clubs and gyms are widely available in Puerto Rico, catering to different needs and preferences. Membership costs will vary depending on the type of gym, facilities on offer, and location. On average, gym memberships can range between $20 to $60 per month with some higher-end clubs charging more for additional services and features.

When considering a gym membership, it is essential to:

  • Take into account the proximity of the gym to your home or workplace for convenience
  • Check for available facilities and equipment
  • Look for clubs offering classes or activities that interest you
  • Research membership plans, including monthly fees, contract lengths, and cancellation policies

In Summary

Sports and leisure activities in Puerto Rico cater to various interests and budget ranges. From affordable tennis court rentals and cinema experiences to fitness clubs and gym memberships, residents and expats will find an array of options for maintaining an active and healthy lifestyle on the island.

Clothing and Shoes

When considering the cost of living in Puerto Rico, clothing and shoes are an important factor to take into account. Overall, the prices in Puerto Rico for these items vary, with some items costing more than in other countries and some being more affordable.

In Puerto Rico, a pair of quality jeans, such as Levis 501, can be purchased for around $45. Comparatively, a beautiful summer dress is generally available at a similar price range. These prices are quite similar to those in many mainland US cities, making it convenient for residents and tourists alike.

As for shoes, the cost to buy a pair of Nike running sneakers is around $80. This is a reasonable price for high-quality, branded athletic shoes. On the other hand, men’s leather business shoes are typically priced higher, with premium options costing over $100.

While shopping for clothing and shoes in Puerto Rico, it’s important to remember that prices can vary depending on the brand, quality, and location of the store. Here’s an approximate price breakdown for the items mentioned:

Item Price Range
Jeans (Levis 501) $45
Summer Dress $40 – $70
Nike Running Shoes $80
Men’s Leather Business Shoes $100+

With these prices in mind, it’s clear that the cost of clothing and shoes in Puerto Rico is relatively affordable, especially for well-known and quality brands. So whether you’re living on the island or just visiting, you can budget accordingly for your wardrobe needs.

Keep in mind that your shopping experience in Puerto Rico offers a diverse assortment of local and international clothing brands, so you’ll have a great variety to choose from.


In Puerto Rico, individual income taxes are based on a progressive tax rate system. This means that the tax rate increases as the individual’s income increases. Taxpayers need to be aware of the tax brackets and rates that apply to their specific income levels. An individual’s tax liability is calculated by taking into account their gross income, deductions, and exemptions.

For tax years after December 31, 2019, an individual’s total tax liability is 95% of their total tax determined (regular tax plus gradual adjustment) if gross income exceeds USD 100,000. If an individual’s gross income is USD 100,000 or less, their total tax liability will be 92% of their total tax determined.

The minimum wage in Puerto Rico is around USD 1,100. Most people can afford basic expenses with their income, which implies that the taxes in Puerto Rico are manageable and do not significantly impact an individual’s ability to cover basic living costs. The average salary in Puerto Rico is USD 1,721.56 according to the same source.

In addition to income tax, residents in Puerto Rico also need to be aware of other taxes that may apply to their specific situation. These may include property taxes, sales taxes, and other taxes imposed by the Puerto Rican government. However, it is important to note that the overall taxes in Puerto Rico are generally relatively low compared to other parts of the United States.

In conclusion, the tax situation in Puerto Rico is manageable for most individuals living on the island. The progressive tax rates and relatively low overall tax burden mean that individuals can generally afford their basic living expenses. However, it is still essential for taxpayers to be aware of the specific tax rates and regulations that apply to their specific income levels and situations.



Childcare options in Puerto Rico include preschools and kindergartens. It’s common for families to enroll their children in preschools around the age of 3 or 4. The cost of childcare services in Puerto Rico can vary depending on location and the type of institution.


In Puerto Rico, both public and private schools are available for families to choose from. Public schools provide free education at the compulsory elementary and secondary levels. However, the teaching language in public schools is Spanish, which might be a challenge for non-Spanish-speaking families.

On the other hand, private schools often offer bilingual education with English and Spanish instruction. The cost of attending private schools can range significantly. Tuition fees at prestigious institutions like Saint John’s School and Robinson School in San Juan can range from approximately $7,000 to $17,000 per year, depending on the grade level.

Here is an example of education fees for different types of schools:

Type of School Annual Tuition Fee Range
Public School Free
Private School $7,000 to $17,000

International primary schools are also available, offering a more diverse curriculum and catering to expatriate families. These schools typically have higher tuition fees compared to local private schools.

In summary, the cost of education in Puerto Rico depends on the choice between public or private institutions, the type of schooling, and the specific school chosen. Language considerations may also play a role in the decision-making process for families.

Quality of Life

When considering the cost of living in Puerto Rico, it’s essential to assess the quality of life in the island territory. Several factors contribute to this, such as the crime rate, weather, hurricanes, and infrastructure.

The crime rate in Puerto Rico is an important consideration for those looking to move or visit. While it’s true that certain areas experience higher crime levels, being vigilant and choosing the right neighborhood can significantly reduce the risk. According to Numbeo, the crime rate is higher than the U.S average, so potential residents should research and consult with local experts before choosing a location to live.

The weather in Puerto Rico is mostly tropical and warm throughout the year. With temperatures ranging between 70-90°F (21-32°C), the island experiences comfortable weather suitable for a variety of outdoor activities. However, it’s important to note that Puerto Rico sits in the Atlantic hurricane belt and often faces storms and hurricanes from June through November. Residents need to be prepared for these natural occurrences and have plans for emergency situations.

In terms of infrastructure, Puerto Rico has seen improvements in recent years. While there are still areas that need development, the island offers reliable access to essential services, including healthcare, education, and utilities. But it’s worth mentioning that power outages can occur, especially during the hurricane season. Internet connectivity is widely accessible, with many areas offering high-speed connections, making it suitable for those working remotely or looking to stay connected.

Overall, the quality of life in Puerto Rico is influenced by a variety of factors. By considering aspects such as crime rate, weather, hurricanes, and infrastructure, potential residents can make a more informed decision about whether moving to the island is the right choice for them.

Digital Nomads and the Cost of Living

As Puerto Rico attracts more digital nomads, its cost of living remains competitive compared to other popular destinations. The average cost of living in Puerto Rico is lower than in many US or UK cities, allowing digital nomads to enjoy an affordable yet comfortable lifestyle.

For instance, a shared apartment in the popular Old San Juan area can cost as little as $400 per month. However, living costs vary depending on the location. In Fajardo, the average cost of living is around $2,400 per month, while in Rincon, it’s about $2,100 monthly. It’s important to note that these figures are lower than the estimated living costs of $4,118 per month in San Juan.

The cost of living is influenced by several factors including housing, food, transportation, and utilities. Some key expenses that digital nomads should consider are:

  • Rent: Shared apartments or coliving spaces can help lower housing costs.
  • Internet: Fast internet is crucial for productivity. Luckily, Puerto Rico has been investing in fiber-optic internet.
  • Food: Eating out can be affordable, but cooking at home will save money.
  • Transportation: The availability of public transportation and ride-sharing services makes getting around easy and affordable.

As for salaries, the average monthly net salary in Puerto Rico may not be as high compared to major cities in the US or UK. Yet, digital nomads who work remotely and earn in USD or other strong currencies can take advantage of the lower living expenses. Additionally, Puerto Rico has introduced significant tax incentives for entrepreneurs, which has led to a growing digital nomad community with a strong entrepreneurial spirit.

In conclusion, digital nomads can find several affordable options for living and working in Puerto Rico. As the cost of living remains far less than many major cities in the US and UK, remote workers can experience the island’s beauty and culture without breaking the bank.


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