Retire To Puerto Rico: The Real Pros And Cons

What does it feel like to live in a tropical paradise? That might be a question you’ve been thinking about as you’ve struggled through yet another long and cold winter. If you’ve ever dreamed of living in a lovely, sunny location, you should seriously consider retiring to Puerto Rico.

Here are the Pros and Cons of retiring to Puerto Rico:


  • Friendly and Helpful People
  • Vibrant Lifestyle
  • Beautiful Beaches
  • Great Weather
  • Excellent Food
  • Close to the US
  • Familiar Markets
  • Very Affordable


  • Poor Public Transportation
  • Common Natural Disasters
  • Expensive Imported Goods

So now that you know why you should and shouldn’t retire in Puerto Rico, Let me dig a little deeper into these for you so you understand why

Introduction To Puerto Rico

Population: 3.2 million

Average: Temperature: 22 to 32°C/ 72°F to 90°F

Language: Spanish

Puerto Rico is a Caribbean island and US territory featuring a mountainous environment, waterfalls, and the tropical rainforest of El Yunque. The Isla Verde district of San Juan which is the capital as well as the largest city is noted for its hotel strip, beach bars, and casinos. Its Old San Juan area is home to gorgeous Spanish colonial structures as well as the towering, centuries-old fortifications El Morro and La Fortaleza.

Puerto Rico is often thought of as a terrific vacation spot, but it is much more. Long-term residence there can be appealing for the inexpensive living costs and excellent food. 

What are the Pros of retiring to Puerto Rico

Friendly and Helpful People

The folks here are really pleasant. When you go through the grocery store aisles, walk down the street or go for a walk on the beach you will frequently be greeted with a pleasant morning or afternoon. 

In shopping lines or bank lines, people in Puerto Rico talk, smile, welcome you, and answer if you have a question. Even if they don’t know you, residents will welcome you with a buenos dias (good morning) as you walk along the cobblestone streets of San Juan. In a restaurant while you eat a mallorca (a favorite local pastry) and a coffee the staff will always be very polite.

Vibrant Lifestyle

In addition to its pleasant weather and sunny beaches, Puerto Rico is recognized for its rich culture. Puerto Rico is known for its festivals, local customs, art and music. Traditions are kept alive by Puerto Ricans year after year, from Three Kings’ Day celebrations in January to clapping when an aircraft lands on the island. With numerous festivals, events, and holiday festivities all over the island you will always have something to keep you busy that you enjoy.

Fiesta de la Calle San Sebastián in the ancient city of Old San Juan offers a “party in the street” feel, while Three Kings’ Day dates back to the island’s Spanish past. Culture can be found in every part of this Caribbean paradise no matter what time of year it is.

During the holidays, sipping the local coquito is a popular tradition. It resembles eggnog but is considerably sweeter and contains coconut. While you’re there make sure to taste some! Puerto Ricans have their unique customs and are eager to share them with foreigners.

Here are a few places you can visit on your day off in Puerto Rico:

Beautiful Beaches

There are plenty of breathtaking beaches on the Island of Enchantment. Puerto Rico has a coastline of nearly 270 miles. That’s over 300 different beaches to pick from! Regardless of what you do during your vacation, sandy pathways lead to magnificent beaches with glittering waves that will leave you speechless.

The unique terrain of the island attracts a wide range of water sports enthusiasts including surfers, bodysurfers, paddleboarders, scuba divers, swimmers, and others. Some resorts also have a private cove environment that is ideal for those who wish to get away from the masses.

Puerto Rico and its neighboring islands have kilometers of golden and beautiful shorelines surrounded by striped emerald, teal, and deep blue colours, making them some of the most amazing beaches in the caribbean.

Even San Juan the capital city has some lovely stretches of beaches, and also beach resorts to suit all budgets and vacation preferences. San Juan’s trendy Condado District is comparable to Miami’s South Beach, with a beautiful beach backed by a vibrant area full with restaurants.

Outside of the downtown there are many of the most magnificent beaches to be found on the neighboring Isla Verde shoreline. If surfing is on your bucket list for retirement then travel to the region near Rincon. Here you’ll find the beautiful Playa Crash Boat and to the southern coast are sites like Boqueron Seafront in Cabo Rojo can be found.

Here are a few beaches you can visit in Puerto Rico:

NOTE: If you want to search for beaches in Puerto Rico using google maps, use the keywords “Playa” for more results.

Great Weather

Puerto Rico’s climate is tropical, with an average temperature as low as 26°F (26°C). January is the coldest month, with an average low of 72°F(22°C) and in the summer it gets as high as 90°F(32°C).  The rainy season is from August to November with an average of around 150 mm of rain in each month.  The humidity is in the high 70’s throughout the year on average.

The majority of the year in Puerto Rico is warm, sunny, and humid. With the constant temperatures all year there is no real change of season other than winter being a little cooler and less humid. This makes Puerto Rico the perfect destination if you want to spend your retirement relaxing on the beach in the sun all year. Throughout the year, the winds blow from east to west over the island. The south is often a few degrees warmer than the north, but the central core highlands are consistently cooler than the rest of the island due to the height above sea level.

Excellent Food

Some of the most amazing flavors can be found on this incredible island. Puerto Rico offers those traditional Caribbean meals as well as a lot of cuisines from all over the world.This means you shouldn’t get bored by the choice you have available. The cost of eating out in a lot of nice local restaurants is 20% cheaper than what you usually have to pay in the United States.

There are plenty of local dishes you MUST try if you decide to retire in Puerto Rico. Mofongo is a cuisine cooked by frying and mashing green plantains spiced with onion and olive oil. Then they top the mashed plantains with your preferred meat and spices. Try the empanadillas or tostones if you’re looking for something a little more crunchy. Both recipes are made with plantains but the frying adds the caramelized flavour.

People from the island frequently eat pernil, a roasted pig dish during large celebrations. You’ll probably find that you can’t get enough of it once you’ve tried it.  You can finish your dinner with delicious delights like custard or pastelillos de guayaba. The latter is a tiny pastry filled with guava paste that is sweet and sour in equal measure.

Here are some recommended restaurants in the capital city San Juan:

NOTE: Some of these websites are in Spanish. Enable the auto translation in your Google Chrome to have the website in English.

Close to the US

Have you ever thought of retiring from the US but think that you might want to go back home every once in a while to visit some family members or meet old friends? Puerto Rico is a great place to retire since it’s so near the United States. A direct flight from San Juan International Airport to Houston is available and it will only take around 4 hours. The tickets are pretty cheap too. From San Juan to Houston, the cost of the ticket can be less than 200 USD.

Familiar Markets

Being a part of the US brings a lot of perks to the people wishing to retire to Puerto Rico. In Puerto Rico, It is very easy to find chain supermarkets you usually go to in the United States. These supermarkets can make your shopping chores easier if you just moved there and are still adapting. 

Here are a few US supermarket chains in Puerto Rico:

Very Affordable

Puerto Rico is 20 percent cheaper on average than the United States, with rent prices almost 50 percent lower. In comparison to the United States, food is quite inexpensive in Puerto Rico.

Here’s a list of some common bills you might encounter:

BillMonthly Cost
Utilities (Electricity & Gas)$204 USD
Petrol (1 Gallon / 3.8 L)$3 USD
Internet 60 Mbps $60 USD
Rent – 3 bed / 2 bath / 2 car$820 USD
Rent – studio apartment$432 USD
Meal for 2 in an inexpensive restaurant$96 USD
Hourly rate for cleaning help$15 USD

NOTE: These are a monthly expense in the city of San Juan. Your expenses might be a lot lower if you decide to live outside on San Juan

What are the Cons of retiring in Puerto Rico?

Poor Public Transportation

Although there is no island-wide shuttle bus, public transit is available around the island. San Juan, Carolina, Catao, Guaynabo, Trujillo Alto, and Bayamón are served by the Autoridad Metropolitana de Autobuses (AMA), or municipal bus authority. Outside the San Juan metropolitan region, transportation is connected to a number of buses, vans, limos, and car services. 

The AMA bus services provides a regular service that runs on time and is a cost-effective alternative to driving through San Juan’s streets. Visitors in the more rural areas may find service to be less reliable.  You could be waiting at a bus station for hours before a bus arrives.  

The Tren Urbano (subway) in San Juan does not take you to any tourist destinations and is mainly used for getting people to and from work and the housing estates.  So all up while San Juan has decent transportation the rest of the island isn’t as good and you may need a car if you live outside of the major centers.

Common Natural Disaster

You’ve likely heard about how recent hurricanes have wreaked havoc on the island. This has happened on several occasions in the past. Regrettably, there really is no assurance that it will not happen again. As a Puerto Rican, all you can do is ensure that you are sufficiently prepared.

You should invest in proper hurricane protection whether you live in a house or an apartment. Consult local contractors for advice on how to appropriately safeguard your house from hurricanes. Their knowledge of hurricanes that have already affected Puerto Rico should be extremely beneficial to you.

If you have the financial means, purchasing a generator is also a good choice. Hurricane-related blackouts in Puerto Rico can last for days or even weeks. Also have an emergency kit with all the appropriate items like water, canned food and medical supplies.  This is the same for any place in the world that is susceptible to natural disasters.

If you have never been in a hurricane area here is the CDC preparedness link:

LINK: Hurricane preparation from the CDC

Recent Posts