Relocating to Paradise: A Comprehensive Guide to Moving and Living in Puerto Rico

Moving to Puerto Rico has become an increasingly popular choice for individuals and families seeking a tropical lifestyle, as the U.S. territory offers a myriad of benefits. Known for its rich culture, vibrant cuisine, and breathtaking landscapes, Puerto Rico provides a unique living experience while still being a part of the United States. With a lower cost of living compared to mainland U.S., year-round warm weather, and relatively easy relocation process, it’s worth considering making the move to this beautiful Caribbean island.

Before embarking on the journey to Puerto Rico, it’s essential to understand the logistics involved in the relocation process. As a U.S. territory, American citizens can move to the island with ease since no passport or work permit is required. However, proper documentation and familiarizing oneself with customs regulations are crucial factors to smoothen the transition. To ensure a successful and stress-free move, it’s highly recommended to enlist the help of a reliable international moving company experienced in relocating to Puerto Rico.

Overall, settling in Puerto Rico offers numerous perks, including a laid-back tropical lifestyle, deep historical roots, and a community that welcomes diversity. Whether you’re a digital nomad, relocating for work, or simply seeking a change of pace, the island is a vibrant destination with opportunities to pursue personal and professional goals. By understanding the key aspects of moving to Puerto Rico and planning accordingly, you’ll be well-prepared for a smooth transition to your new Caribbean home.

Reasons to Move to Puerto Rico

Natural Beauty

Puerto Rico is an enchanting island with a diverse array of landscapes to explore. Its natural beauty is one of the main attractions for people moving to the island. Puerto Rico offers miles of pristine beaches, lush green mountains, and stunning waterfalls.

Here are some of the most captivating natural attractions in Puerto Rico:

  • Beaches: Some of the best Caribbean beaches are located in Puerto Rico, offering crystal clear waters and breathtaking sunsets.
  • Mountains: The island’s central region features the Cordillera Central, a mountain range that provides stunning vistas and opportunities for hiking and exploring.
  • Waterfalls: The El Yunque National Forest is home to numerous waterfalls, where visitors can enjoy swimming or just admiring their beauty.


The Caribbean lifestyle found in Puerto Rico attracts many individuals seeking a slower, more relaxed way of life. With warm weather all year round, the island provides the perfect environment for outdoor activities and enjoying a variety of cultural events. The local culture is friendly and lively, with a rich history to discover. Furthermore, as a U.S. territory, the transition for U.S. citizens moving to Puerto Rico is relatively easy, as they do not require a passport to enter and can benefit from familiar institutions, such as the U.S. Postal Service and Social Security.

Tax Savings

One significant reason people consider moving to Puerto Rico is the potential for tax savings. The island’s official corporate tax rate is 37.5%, but it can be as low as 0% for some types of businesses. In comparison, a business-to-business service company that sells its services to the U.S. can expect to pay a 4% corporate tax rate, as opposed to the 21% they would pay in the States.

To claim these tax benefits, individuals and businesses need to meet certain requirements to establish tax residency in Puerto Rico. Some of the tests to determine tax residency include:

  • Tax Home Test: This test considers whether the individual’s regular place of business or employment is in Puerto Rico.

  • Presence Test: This test evaluates whether the individual was physically present in Puerto Rico for at least 183 days during the tax year.

  • Closer Connection Test: This test determines if the individual has a closer connection to Puerto Rico than to any other country, based on factors such as the location of personal and financial ties, primary residence, and family connections.

Preparing for the Move

Timeline and Planning

When preparing for a move to Puerto Rico, it’s essential to plan your timeline carefully. This will help you avoid last-minute stress and make the entire process smoother. It’s a good idea to start the planning process at least 2-3 months before your desired moving date. Some essential tasks to consider include:

  • Researching and contacting moving companies
  • Budgeting for relocation costs
  • Booking flights
  • Gathering required documentation


Since Puerto Rico is a US territory, you won’t need a passport or work permit to move there. However, it’s essential to gather other vital documents, including:

  • Birth certificate
  • Social Security card
  • Driver’s license or state ID
  • Medical and immunization records
  • Vehicle registration and insurance
  • Financial and tax documents


Finding a suitable residence is an essential step in the relocation process. The real estate market in Puerto Rico offers various options, from rental apartments to buying properties. San Juan, the island’s capital, is a popular destination. Before making a decision, research the housing market and consider factors like:

  • Desired location
  • Budget and housing affordability
  • Proximity to work, schools, and amenities
  • Future growth potential


When moving your belongings to Puerto Rico, you’ll need to decide whether to use a shipping container or another mode of transportation. Coordinate with your chosen moving company to determine the best shipping option for your needs. Some aspects to consider include:

  • Getting a quote for shipping costs
  • Preparing an inventory of your belongings
  • Proper packing and labeling of your items
  • Obtaining a Bill of Lading from the moving company

In addition, it’s important to consider utilities in your planning. Research utility providers and schedule connection/disconnection dates for your current and new homes, such as electricity, water, internet, and phone services. Planning ahead will ensure a smoother transition and help you get settled in your new home in Puerto Rico.

Adjusting to Life in Puerto Rico

Language and Culture

Puerto Rico is a diverse island where the majority of the population speaks Spanish as their first language. However, English is also widely spoken, especially in tourist areas and among younger generations. The rich Puerto Rican culture is a blend of indigenous, African, and Spanish influences, which is reflected in the island’s music, dances, and gastronomy.

While living in Puerto Rico, you will want to take the time to explore the historic streets of Old San Juan with its colorful colonial architecture and vibrant nightlife. You will also enjoy the island’s delicious food, which includes traditional dishes such as mofongo, arroz con gandules, and pasteles.

Cost of Living

The cost of living in Puerto Rico is generally lower than in mainland United States. According to Numbeo, the average rental price of a one-bedroom apartment in a Puerto Rico city is $582 per month, while the average rental price of a one-bedroom apartment in a United States city is $1,373 per month.

However, not everything is cheaper in Puerto Rico. The Jones Act of 1920 makes some imported products more expensive, as it requires everything coming to the island to first be shipped to the States and then to Puerto Rico. As a result, groceries can be about 23% more expensive than in mainland US grocery stores.

Jobs and Work Environment

The island’s economy provides employment opportunities in various sectors, including tourism, pharmaceuticals, and manufacturing. In recent years, Puerto Rico has been attracting businesses in areas like export services, agriculture, and research & development. In addition, there is a considerable expat community, mainly from the United States, which can provide valuable networking opportunities.

When moving to Puerto Rico, it is essential to understand the job market and the professional environment. Spanish may be required for some jobs, and understanding the local work culture is crucial for navigating any potential challenges.

Education and Schools

Puerto Rico has a mix of public and private schools, offering education in both Spanish and English. There are also a few international schools catering to the expat community. It is essential to research the available options and choose a school that best fits your children’s needs and preferences.

The island also has several universities, including the University of Puerto Rico, which offers a wide range of degrees across various disciplines.

Transportation and Accessibility

Public Transportation

In Puerto Rico, the metropolitan area of San Juan offers a network of buses and a metro system, known as the Tren Urbano, providing public transportation for residents and visitors. Smaller cities and rural areas may have limited public transportation options. It’s important to plan accordingly and assess the reliability and frequency of these services.

Vehicle Registration and Licensing

If you’re considering bringing a car to Puerto Rico or purchasing one after your move, you’ll need to follow local registration and licensing procedures. To import a car, you will have to pay an excise tax based on the vehicle’s value. However, you will notice that car shipping services are not offered by all moving companies. One recommended option for vehicle transport is Mr. Car Shipper.

When it comes to licensing, if you’re a U.S. citizen moving to Puerto Rico, your U.S. driver’s license remains valid on the island. Nonetheless, it’s advisable to transfer your license to a local one and comply with Puerto Rico’s driving laws and regulations.

Air and Sea Travel

  • Airports: When arriving in Puerto Rico, the primary international airport, Luis Muñoz Marín International Airport, is located in Carolina, near San Juan. Other airports include Mercedita Airport in Ponce and Rafael Hernández Airport in Aguadilla.
  • Seaports: Puerto Rico has several seaports that support passenger and cargo transportation. The island is serviced by popular cruise lines, providing an opportunity to explore nearby destinations during vacation seasons or hurricane season.
  • Hurricane Season: Traveling to and from Puerto Rico may be affected by hurricane season, which typically extends from June 1st to November 30th. Extra precautions and flexibility in travel plans may be necessary during this period.

Transportation and accessibility in various cities, such as Carolina, Guaynabo, and Cayey, may differ in terms of public transit and road conditions. Ensure that you have a clear understanding of the available transportation options and infrastructure when choosing the area in which you’ll be living in Puerto Rico.

Leisure and Entertainment

Natural Attractions

Puerto Rico boasts of unparalleled natural beauty which attracts visitors and residents alike. One of the top attractions is the pristine beaches, that offer the perfect setting for a day by the sea. For nature lovers, exploring Vieques, an island municipality with spectacular bioluminescent bays, is a must.

Another island worth visiting is Culebra, home to under 2000 residents with a variety of wildlife, including deer, sea turtles, coral, and snakes. The El Yunque National Forest, the only tropical rainforest in the US, is a unique ecological destination filled with hiking trails and stunning waterfalls.

Sports and Recreation

Puerto Rico offers numerous sports and recreational activities to keep one engaged and active. Popular sports include:

  • Golfing
  • Running
  • Cycling
  • Tennis
  • Volleyball

These can be enjoyed across the island and cater to various skill levels.

Art, Culture, and Tourism

The art scene in Puerto Rico is rich in history and tradition. Visitors can explore Old San Juan, a UNESCO World Heritage site, which features colorful colonial architecture, cobblestone streets, and historical landmarks such as the San Felipe del Morro fortress.

Puerto Rican culture is a blend of indigenous, African, and Spanish influences, which is evident in its music, dance, and culinary art. Traditional dancing and music can be found at festivals throughout the year, showcasing the sociedad bombe, a quintessential Puerto Rican style of drumming and dance.

Housing Prices Near Attractions

For those interested in living close to Puerto Rico’s leisure and entertainment offerings, below are approximate housing prices:

Location Price Range (monthly rental)
Old San Juan $350 – $1,800
Rincon $700
Luquillo (villa) $1,800

Renting a private room in Old San Juan costs around $350 per month while a private apartment in Rincon and a villa in Luquillo can be rented for around $700 and $1,800, respectively. Keep in mind that these prices may vary depending on location, size, and other factors.

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