Getting Around Puerto Rico
The best way to get around Puerto Rico largely depends on where you're staying. In San Juan, you can try the combination of walking and taking the bus; on other parts of the island, a car will be your best bet. Unfortunately, driving is a courageous pursuit carried out on snaking roads, and you'll need to carry spare change for the occasional toll. To rent a vehicle, first check the rates at Luis Muñoz Marín International Airport (SJU). You also have the option of a taxi, but keep in mind that only the white "turístico" taxis will definitely charge fixed rates.
Puerto Rico has smaller airports: Mercedita Airport (PSE) on the southern coast and Rafael Hernández Airport (BQN) on the western coast. Check the flight schedule for airlines like JetBlue and Delta to fly into either of those hubs.
White tourist taxis with "turístico" logos congregate around the cruise ports of San Juan and have fixed rates between $10 and $20 for one-way trips to that area's sites. The other cabs around town are technically metered, but you might have a struggle getting the driver to agree to turn it on. You can flag these taxis off the street or arrange to have your hotel call one for you.
|On Foot||In Old San Juan, there's no better way to explore the forts and streets than on your own two feet. Walking will be more of a problem if you want to get to and from the resort areas; depending on the time of day, you can use the city bus.|
San Juan is serviced by Autoridad Metropolitana de Autobuses, which runs extensive routes throughout town and to the beaches. Rates are set and the schedules are consistent. Fares are 75 cents one-way, and you'll need exact change. AMA buses usually run from about 6 a.m. until 9 p.m (depending on the route). Lines M1, ME, T5, 21, C53 and T53 all orginate in Old San Juan and travel to various parts of the island. Routes C53, T53 and 21 makes stops in Condado, while T5 and C53 makes stops in Isla Verde.
|Minibus||The island's minibuses, known as públicos, are a hassle-free alternative to driving. They serve Puerto Rican towns like Ponce, Fajardo and San Juan, and they'll stop at must-see sights like El Yunque National Rainforest or the Parque de las Cavernas del Río Camuy. Just look out for yellow license plates sporting a "P" or "PD" before the numbers. The downside is that riding the público with its frequent stops can be slow, and fares aren't consistent as the driver can be flagged down at non-appointed stops.|
If you're staying in compact San Juan then you won't need a car. And those seeking a quiet vacation along the beaches of Rincón, Vieques or Culebra might find one more of a nuisance than a necessity. You will need a car, however, if you want to branch out and explore. Before you book the rental, consider these three points. One: The drivers here are known for their devil-may-care maneuvering, which is probably a byproduct of the twisty, narrow roads. Two: You'll find parking is a creative process; or in other words, it's practically non-existent and so drivers tend to "make" parking spots out of any random space along a roadside. Three: There are tolls along many highways. Still interested? If so, you can rent a car at the airports or at several agencies splattered across the island.
San Juan's Tren Urbano (Urban Train) is the first of its kind in the Caribbean. You can use it to get from the city center to outlying towns like Sagrado Corazon, Santurce or Bayamón. What you can't do, however, is use it for access to top sites like El Morro, Calle del Cristo or Fort San Cristobal. The metro operates from 5:30 a.m. to 11:30 p.m. every day and costs $0.75 USD one-way. Riders can also purchase a pass for unlimited rides in single day for $5; an unlimited one-week pass costs $15.
Currently, passenger ferries are operating with limited capacity from the main island to Vieques or Culebra. While the service may pick up again at some point in the near future, consider alternative transportation for reliability.
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