Ahh, Puerto Rico — the island of enchantment that has enthralled travelers for centuries. But as you prepare to go to the tropical paradise, you might be wondering did I pack everything I need? In this article, I will show you our complete Puerto Rico packing list to ensure you have a fantastic time on the island.
Let’s dive in, shall we?
Travel Documents for Puerto Rico
Even when you leave the house to go shopping, you take your documents with you, but especially when going on vacation, you should be well prepared. If you visiting from the US, you are in luck, you will not need much when it comes to travel documents, it’s just a regular local flight. But there are a few things we should consider:
- Are you planning on taking a cruise out of Puerto Rico?
- Do you want to visit any other neighboring Caribbean islands?
- Are you transiting through any other country on the way?
If you are traveling to Puerto Rico from the US mainland, you will not need to bring your passport. But if you answered yes to any of the questions above, you should definitely bring it. If you are an international visitor, entering Puerto Rico is just like entering any other part of the US, and you may need a visa. Check with your embassy’s website, as some countries get 90-day free entry.
When traveling to Puerto Rico, it is important to bring your driver’s license, especially if you didn’t bring your passport. You will need some form of identification to fly, rent a car and drive on the island.
You probably already have health insurance from your local provider, and that will work fine in Puerto Rico. But it is important to also consider travel insurance in case of any unexpected costs, such as medical emergencies or cancellations. Travel insurance can help if you are out of network, and it can cover flight delays, lost luggage, and cancelations.
All major credit cards are accepted in Puerto Rico, but some are better than others. Since you are traveling, consider getting a card with travel rewards and book your flights and hotel with it. You might be able to use the bonus points you receive for a weekend getaway later.
Also, you may want to rent a car, and rental companies require you to provide a credit card to keep on file. The same goes for hotels and guesthouses.
If you are an international traveler, get a credit card that has no international transaction fees.
Items for the Beach in Puerto Rico
I’m sure you already know this, but there are plenty of beaches in Puerto Rico, and they’re some of the best in the world. If you want to enjoy some time on the sand or in the water, be sure to pack your swimsuit!
A sun hat is fashionable and very useful in Puerto Rico. It is a great way to avoid skin damage from the sun. Sun hats and caps are a must-have for people visiting the islands!
Hair Tools Travel Bag
Quick Dry Beach Towel
Some hotels will provide some kind of towel if it’s located on the beach, but not all. I like to bring my own quick dry beach towel. It is essential for the beach in Puerto Rico because it doesn’t take up much space, and it dries quickly. This type of towel is ideal for enjoying the island without having to worry about carrying a heavy, wet towel around.
Waterproof Phone Case
Most phones nowadays are water resistant, so you may think a waterproof case is not needed anymore. That is not necessarily true, phones don’t like salt water or sand. For your expensive devices, a waterproof phone case is still necessary when going to the beach or on adventures.
Puerto Rico is hot and tropical, and the sun doesn’t mess around any time of the year. If you don’t wear sunscreen, you risk ruining your vacation with a bad sunburn. Sunburns can cause skin damage, and they increase your risk of developing skin cancer, so make sure to use a high SPF sun protection cream when out and about.
To ensure your vacation is perfect, also read the Best time to visit Puerto Rico.
I don’t need to reiterate why sunglasses are important when visiting a warm and sunny place like Puerto Rico. Yes, they look cool, but in the Caribbean, they are essential to protect your eyes. Besides my nice shades, I also bring a cheaper pair for outdoor activities. I can lose those while fishing or exploring around and not be too sad about it.
Electronics for Puerto Rico
Puerto Rico uses US outlets and 110V electricity, so US travelers will not need any adapters or converters. But if you are traveling from Europe or Asia, be sure to bring a travel adapter with you and ensure your electronics work with 110V (most phone chargers and laptops will, but check your other electronics).
Did you know Puerto Rico is actually an entire archipelago, not just an island? That means a lot of water activities of course, and a waterproof action camera is necessary if you want to capture yourself swimming, snorkeling, or ziplining in Puerto Rico. The best ones on the market now are GoPro Hero and DJI Action. Don’t bother buying $30-50 super cheap action cameras on Amazon or eBay, they are terrible. Get a good one, or just stick to your phone, just don’t take in the water, they are just splash-resistant and not made for diving.
A power bank is a great device to charge your electronics when traveling. After hurricane Maria power outages are still common in Puerto Rico unfortunately, so it’s a good idea to bring your power bank. Since you will be moving around a lot, I would choose a smaller size one, those things can get quite heavy.
For Activities in Puerto Rico
You can rent snorkeling gear, but it can get expensive, and nobody wants to share a snorkel, let’s be honest. If you are planning on snorkeling, and you should, consider bringing your own gear. You will find some available for sale at shops near the beach, but they are usually overpriced and very bad quality.
The nearby island of Culebra has some of the most amazing reefs in the Caribbean, which naturally attract many people. When snorkeling, it’s important to protect yourself from the sun but also protect the environment by using a reef-safe sunscreen. Reef-safe sunscreens do not contain harmful chemicals that can damage the delicate ecosystem.
Motion Sickness Medicine
About half of the population is affected by motion sickness. If you are part of the lucky half, I envy you, but most of us have to consider bringing some kind of remedy when doing any water activities. Dramamine and other medication remedies will make you very drowsy, so I highly recommend ginger. Ever since we discovered ginger pills, boat rides went from nauseating to amazing. You can find ginger pills pretty much everywhere, and they are all-natural.
When traveling to Puerto Rico, it is essential to bring a waterproof bag in order to keep your belongings safe, especially during activities. This is important if you are planning on kayaking in the bioluminescent lagoons. If you drop your waterproof bag in the water, it will simply float, and all your stuff will be safe. I can’t say the same for a regular beach bag. Don’t ask me why I know.
A travel backpack is necessary for hiking or any other activities that require you to bring a lot of gear with you. Most travel backpacks are water resistant, which is especially important during the rainy season.
A raincoat is a must-bring item for any trip to Puerto Rico since it does rain quite a bit here. You can get one of those plastic ones they sell on the street, but they look ridiculous, and you get very hot in them. They are also single-use, so they are not eco-friendly.
What to wear in Puerto Rico
You should bring light and comfortable clothes to Puerto Rico. At least 2-3 pairs of shorts, 3-4 t-shirts, 1-2 tank tops, 1-3 bathing suits, one beach cover-up, one pair of jeans, 1-2 casual dresses and blouses, and 7-9 pairs of underwear and socks. Plan to have some nice clothes with you, they really like to dress up on the island.
Beach Cover Up
A beach cover-up is a great way to stay comfortable and stylish when leaving the beach for lunch or to get a drink. Most restaurants have a “no shirt, no service” rule, so make sure you bring shorts, a shirt, or a T-shirt.
For the beach and pool, your flip-flops are the best choice, but athletic shoes are needed when exploring around and visiting waterfalls. Water shoes are great for protecting your feet from sharp rocks while visiting the neighboring islands. If you plan on going out to nice restaurants or clubs, bring some nice shoes as well.
Since it’s hot all the time, you might think a hoodie is not necessary when traveling to Puerto Rico, but it comes in handy in places where the AC is on high such as airports, airplanes, and even busses.
You will also enjoy my Top Caribbean Travel Destinations.
We love staying organized when traveling. Packing cubes really help us sort everything so we can easily find everything in our suitcases. Remember to bring bags or cubes for your shoes and dirty laundry as well.
Other things to consider packing for Puerto Rico
Reusable Water Bottle
There are tons of plastic in the oceans already, so when packing for a trip to Puerto Rico, it is important to consider bringing a reusable water bottle. The tap water quality in Puerto Rico is good, up to US EPA standards, but even if you don’t want to drink it directly from the tap, hotels always have filtered water fountains in the lobby. Fill up your bottle before heading out, save money, and go green.
We all need our toiletries when we travel, we bring our toothbrush, toothpaste, dental floss, deodorant, shampoo, conditioner, hair brush, and styling tools to Puerto Rico. If you still have space in your luggage, bring a facial cleanser, lotion, and an aftersun aloe cream. To avoid any spills in your luggage, place them in leak-proof bags. Sealing freezer bags work great.
Flying to a tropical island for vacation is always exciting, but the flight itself can be tiring, especially when it’s over 3 hours. We make our flights more comfortable by bringing the following: neck pillow, face mask, headphones (noise canceling if possible), kindle or book, iPad with offline movies downloaded, snacks, disinfecting towels, and our travel bidet. It’s also important that you keep your medication with you, documents, and a change of closets, just in case they lose your luggage. Any sensitive electronics like laptops and tablets should also be in your carry-on; otherwise, they can get damaged in the cargo hold.
Hair Tools Travel Bag
No matter where you go in the world, the annoying mosquitoes will be there, and Puerto Rico is no exception, so bring some repellant. Mosquitoes are super annoying and can also carry diseases. There are many mosquito-repelling options available, including mosquito wristbands and DEET sprays.
A travel umbrella is a great way to protect yourself from the rain and sun in Puerto Rico. You can find really good ones that are small and light on Amazon. You should especially get one during the summer rainy season.
Puerto Rico is a pretty safe place, but with such a high amount of tourism, pickpocketing is inevitable. A money belt can help protect your cash, cards and ID while traveling through crowded areas.
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The Complete Puerto Rico Packing list
And that is it for my Puerto Rico Packing list. I hope you found this article informative and that it will help you on your next trip to the islands.
You should also check out these other Amazing Destinations.
Now it’s your turn!
- Do you bring anything on vacation that I didn’t include on the list?
- What is your favorite thing to bring to an island vacation?
- Let me know in the comments below!