Current COVID-19 Mandates, with no end date (updated 14 Oct 2021)
😷 Masks covering mouth & nose are required for everyone, regardess of vaccination status, in public, indoor spaces.
🏨 In order to check-in to any lodging facility (short-term rentals, AirBNB, hotels, resorts, etc), all members of your party are required to show either (a) vaccination card showing that you are "fully vaccinated", (b) negative test results of test administered no more than 72 hours prior to your arrival, or (c) evidence of positive test in last 3 months along with documentation proving your recovery. This applies to all people 2 (two) years old and older. If you are unvaccinated and staying more than a week, you are required to show new negative test results weekly. Effective 16 Aug 2021 per executive order EO-2021-062.
🍔 In order to be admitted to a bunch of different places (restaurants, bars, theaters, tours, excursions, casinos, etc) you are required to show either (a) vaccination card showing that you are "fully vaccinated", (b) negative test results of test administered no more than 72 hours prior to your arrival, or (c) evidence of positive test in last 3 months along with documentation proving your recovery. Other types of businesses may, at their option, require this documention to access their facility.This applies to all people 12 (twelve) years old and older. Effective 23 Aug 2021 per executive order EO-2021-063.
✈️ All domestic travelers arriving in Puerto Rico are are required to show either (a) vaccination card showing that you are "fully vaccinated", (b) negative test results of test administered no more than 72 hours prior to your arrival, or (c) evidence of positive test in last 3 months along with documentation proving your recovery. This applies to all people 2 (two) years old and older.If you are un-vaccinated and do not have negative results when you arrive to PR, you have 48 hours to produce those results. Otherwise you will be fined $300 per person. See the PR Government Travel Safe site for details, and to submit your contact tracing information

Driving in Puerto Rico

If you are interested in driving around the island visiting places of interest and plan using the Toll roads, we strongly suggest renting/activating the AutoExpreso Tag from the car rental agency. Currently RT 52, RT 66, RT 22, RT 5, RT 20 and RT 53 and are "changeless" (no place toll bucket to through change into and go…must go to the Movilcash lane (if there is one)), and the end part of RT 66 and parts of RT 22, Rt 5 and the Moscoso Bridge ONLY accept way to pay cash/Movilcash at all. If your car has an AutoExpreso tag on the window, you will get charged automatically at any toll (except if you find one that takes “C” Cash), even if you use the "Movilcash R+" lanes. If you declined the tag on your contract and you use these toll roads, the car agencies usually penalize you with a hefty fee. Make your vacation easier and activate the tag when you get your rental!

Autopista toll signs

Welcome to Puerto Rico! Now that you are here — it is time to explore. Puerto Rico is a relatively large island — 35 miles wide by 100 mile long — compared to other Caribbean islands. And, there is so much to do and see.

Once you decide to venture away from the San Juan metropolitan area, your best bet (and the cheapest way to get around) is to rent a car. You may have heard horror stories about Puerto Rican drivers, but, in reality, it is not that bad! Here are some tips to make your experience driving in Puerto Rico as painless as possible.

Renting a Car: The Basics

There are plenty of national and local car rental companies available at, or near, the airports. Prices vary, so look on-line and shop around. All of the companies need to pick you up in a shuttle to take you to their lot (even though some are on airport property!). On-airport companies have an airport surcharge, so off-airport companies are usually a bit cheaper. Make sure to bring a copy of your insurance information “declarations page” (company name, phone and policy number and the fact that you are covered for accidents in rental cars in Puerto Rico), and of course your driver’s license (no special driver’s license is needed here for tourists).

Autopista Sign

Rent the smallest car you are comfortable in, a small car is easier to maneuver on small roads and park in tight parking spaces. 4WD vehicles are not needed on the big island — the roads here are fine. Also, to avoid added expenses, make sure you check the parking situation at your hotel or resort. Sometimes there is a fee, or parking is not available at all.

There are number of toll roads in Puerto Rico, with each toll being between $0.75 and $3. We use an electronic toll pass called AutoExpreso, which is much like EZPass in the north-eastern US. The car rental places will rent you an AutoExpreso tag with the car. It lets you zip through the tolls instead of waiting in the cash lane. You really will need to have a tag because some of the toll roads no longer have a cash lane and the Movilcard lanes will read the pass on the car’s window.

You may also want to consider a GPS unit (also available from the car rental companies), but it is not necessary if you have a good driving map.

Getting Around

Now that you have your rental car, you are free to explore! There are a few things you need to do before going too far. First, your best bet is to get a good driving map. Personally, we just use our smart phone and Google Maps and it works great. But if you want a printed map, you can call or write to the Puerto Rico Tourism Company (PRTC) for a free driving map, provided you still have a month or 2 before your visit. You can also buy maps online.

If you want to wait until you get here, you can buy driving maps at gas stations for a couple bucks. You can also stop into one of the Puerto Rico Tourism Company offices to pick up a free map. There’s a PRTC office right at the SJU airport. Your hotel or resort may also have free maps available — check at the front desk.

Route 3 East / West

You can use a GPS unit, which will help a lot. But don’t rely solely on it, since sometimes you won’t be able to get a GPS signal and, oftentimes, places in Puerto Rico don’t have addresses that a GPS unit can understand. Although, if you have the GPS coordinates of a location, you should be in good shape.

You could always opt to ask someone for directions. Although helpful, many locals give very landmark-specific directions, without using highway numbers or compass direction. If you don’t feel comfortable with that (though they are usually pretty accurate), call your destination for something more specific!

Another thing to take into consideration is how long it will take to drive from point A to point B. Don’t expect the time estimates given by Google Maps or MapQuest to be accurate. For example, those services don’t realize that it can sometimes take 2 or 3 hours to drive 60 miles here on the island.

Rules of the Road

Puerto Rico’s driving rules are almost the same as any US State. We drive on the right side of the road, just as in the States. Road conditions are usually fine, though there will be some potholes here and there. Road signs use universal traffic signs — the shape and colors are the same as in the States, but the words will be in Spanish (see below for some translations). Seat belts are mandatory and must be used by all people in the car. Child seats are mandatory for kids 4 and under, booster seats required for children until 9 years old. Children until 12 years old must ride in back seat. Note- these car seat rules do not apply to taxis or school buses.

Highway road numbers can give you a clue as to what type of road you’re on. Single-digit roads (like Route 1 and Route 3) are the older "main highways" that often have traffic lights every couple of blocks. Double-digit roads (like Route 18 and Route 66) are either newer major highways or toll roads. Triple-digit roads (like Road 186 and Road 191) are smaller, "country roads". Four-digit roads (like Road 9966 and Road 9989) are little, sometimes single-lane roads that you really shouldn’t be on unless you know specifically where you’re going.

Puerto Rico Stop Sign

There are six toll roads on the island — Route 66, Route 52, Route 22, RT.20, RT 5 and Route 53 — all with 55-65MPH speed limits. However, you need to be aware of how much the toll will be and which lane to get in. Note- RT 5, RT 22, and the end of RT 66 now only accept the Autoexpreso tag (“solo Sello”), so you must have approved payment for the tag when renting the car to use these roads to avoid fines at the rental agency. The AutoExpreso lanes are on the left (ALWAYS!) or in the middle marked with a “T”. You can ONLY USE THESE LANES WITH AN AUTO EXPRESO TAG, or you will be charged a HEFTY fine! Some of the tolls are now (8/11) Changeless- you need to buy a MovilCash card or use an AutoExpreso Tag only, so you will have to rent the tag along with the car. The Tarjeta MóvilCash (a toll card)is available for these highways, but you need to wait on line in the Venta y Recarga Plus (R+) lanes (these are on the extreme right). You pay $5.00 and they start off with a balance of $4.00 to pay the tolls (only using the R+ lanes). You can buy it with dollar bills (no change, credit or ATH) and any change due back will go on the the balance. If you are on a road that allow cash at tolls, you can use the middle lanes marked with a C. If your rental car has an AutoExpreso tag, and you use the R/R+ Movilcash lane, the toll will be charged to your toll tag, even if you payed the toll with money/Movil cash card.!

Finally, and this is important, the San Juan area is very congested — there will be traffic that will slow you down. Guaranteed. Leave plenty of time if you need to be somewhere at a certain time and you will be traveling on roads near San Juan. Rush hour going toward San Juan is from 6am to 9am. Rush hour going away from San Juan is 4pm to 7pm. Try to avoid going toward the city in the morning or coming back through the city in the afternoon at those times. The traffic can easily turn a 45-minute trip into a 3-hour nightmare (we know, we’ve done it)!

Expect the Unexpected

As I’ve already said, 99% of the driving rules are the same as in the States. And most people actually follow those rules. But there are a few crazy drivers and there are some habits that are not legal, but occur all the time.

Highway Exit Sign

Your best bet is to drive defensively and be alert of the other drivers. Obey the rules as you know them and you should be fine. You will notice many cars with "fender-bender" dents and scrapes, but amazingly, there are relatively few serious accidents. Be alert and be safe.

Some examples of the typical bad driving habits you need to watch out for include

  • Most people don’t use blinkers/turn signals when changing lanes. They just do it … quickly!
  • Even if someone’s turn signal is flashing, don’t necessarily believe it.
  • We have a "no passing on the right" rule, but people will pass in any lane (including using the shoulder as a passing lane).
  • We also have "keep right except to pass" and "left lane is the fast lane" rules. But people will drive slowly or very fast in any lane.
  • Motorcyclists make their lane in between lanes by riding on the line. Be very careful changing lanes.
  • People make U-turns when they have a red light all the time.
  • People push the yellow light and end up running the red lights, a lot! Be extra careful at intersections. Don’t jump the green light until you know the other traffic is stopped.
  • Be VERY careful early in the morning. It seems that if no is using the intersection, people don’t bother stopping or waiting at red lights.
  • Be very careful around curves on small mountain roads or on small roads that don’t have a lot of traffic. Local drivers who know the curves take their lane in the middle! Go slowly and toot your horn before going around a narrow curve in the mountains, and keep a driver-side window cracked so you can hear others do the same.
  • The police drive around all the time with their blue lights on, so don’t panic or pull over unless they turn on the siren.
  • Often, people will cut you off and even block a lane if they need to get into traffic. They do not wait for an opening.
  • People will stop suddenly and backup if they missed a turn or exit they wanted.
  • Don’t assume which direction people are going by the lane they are in. If they are in the wrong lane, they will turn from the lane the are in. You’ll see people turn left from the right-most lane, and other people turn right from the left-most lane.

Traffic Sign Translations

No Entry

Though we use universal traffic signs, the writing on traffic signs is usually just in Spanish, so it is useful to know some translations.

  • pare — stop
  • ceda — yield
  • cuidado — caution
  • salida — exit, both as in a parking lot exit and an exit ramp from a highway
  • solo — only, as in the word solo with a left-pointing arrow would mean left turn only
  • transito (on a sign with an arrow) — usually means one-way, and sometimes indicates bi-directional traffic flow
  • peaje — toll
  • autopista — highway or expressway
  • norte — north
  • sur — south
  • este — east
  • oeste — west
  • No Parking

  • hacia — toward, as in Hacia 66 would mean Toward Route 66
  • interseción — junction, often abbreviated INT, so INT 3 would mean junction with Route 3
  • estacióne — parking
  • no estacióne — no parking, also a big E with a slash through it means no parking
  • calle — street
  • carratera — road
  • carril izquierda — left lane
  • carril derecho — right lane

Other Things to Keep in Mind

  • Speed limits are in miles per hour (MPH), but distances on signs are in kilometers (KM).
  • Gas is sold (and priced) by the liter. For your own satisfaction, multiply the price posted by 3.8 (or just by 4, it’s easier) to get the (approximate) price per gallon. You must pay inside before pumping your gas.
  • If you want to go to Old San Juan, plan to park in a parking deck on the perimeter of the city. Try to avoid driving in the center of Old San Juan — it’s a nightmare of narrow, one-way streets. You will drive yourself crazy lookig for on-street parking in Old San Juan. And some on-street parking there requires a permit.

Final Word

Just be aware of the other drivers around you, take your time driving and try to relax. You are on vacation, afterall. Now grab your keys — get out and explore! assumes no responsibility regarding your safety when participating in the activities described in this article. Please use common sense! If your mother or that little voice in your head tells you that you are about to do something stupid … then don't do it! Read more about Safety →

Comments & Discussion Leave a Comment »

There are 53 comments on this article. Add to the Discussion »

Unfortunately, after Hurricane Maria devastated the island in 2017, there are areas that it doesn't have more road signs in all the highways and freeways 3 years later. The Department of Transportation and Public Works must put more signs (and supplement ones) for all the roads, including to put one on every signal intersection and tourist sites. That's gonna be very difficult because there are gonna be streets and areas like the park, stadiums and other places that is needed for destination signs. The department isn't attempting to put more signs that have been wiped by the hurricane in 2017. We need more signs, including bilingual ones soon. ¿So what's the department is waiting for?

Comment by Kevin González on 03 Apr 2020

great article but the one we've been most confused by was Paseo. Finally figured out it meant the shoulder, as in, the lane that pedestrians would be walking in!

Comment by tori purnell on 02 Oct 2019

Just came across this a puertorican living in the states for 6 yrs Im a truck driver here and have traveled all the states, dont panic about how people drive in Puerto Rico just be safe and follow the normal rules we all know..its the same than here people will do crazy stuff suddenly and so if you have drove in ATL,NYC,LA,DC or the crazy north east, south you’ll be fine just be aware is an island and speeds limits will be like 55 -65 on most highways, and most people don’t use signal lights at all so keep a *safe distance of the car in front of you* sometimes a curve can be coming up and you won’t see sings telling you so my best advice is to drive safely and use your signal lights etc. Have a nice trip! :)

Comment by Usa trucker on 16 Apr 2019

Hi Jason. What I do is take a video with my phone of the entire car. Include the tires, plate, and windows. That way, they can't come back and state that it was my fault. Right after the hurricane they tried that and as soon as I pulled out my phone for the photos, they stopped. Have a fun vacation.

Comment by N Williamson on 21 Jun 2018

Honestly, for rentals, I am not 100% sure. I assume you would exchange would have to call car rental company to find out. Depending on the size of the bender, Locals exchange info, get a polcie report and then later work it out with insurance. I assume the rental company has their own insurance on the car and then any insurane you decided to get or not.

Comment by Gwenn on 27 Mar 2018

Hi, My wife and I will be going to PR in June, and plan to rent a car. You mentioned that a lot of cars have minor fender bender marks. Say we get into a fender bender. How does that work? Is it like in the States where we exchange information, or is it more of a "sorry, my bad" and everyone is one their way? Certainly, I'm hoping there are no traffic incidences, but if there are, I'd like to be prepared. Thanks, Jason

Comment by Jason Ricci on 27 Mar 2018

Yes, you can, but you need to really watch the one ways. I try not to do it as it is tricky, but if you have a GPS or something that will help keep you in the right diretion (or map it out ahead of time using Goggle maps), it might be best. I hear the trolley tour started again, so that might be a good option.

Comment by Gwenn on 29 Jun 2017

Business trip to PR in July. Have been there before years ago but wanted to drive around in rental car in OSJ before heading down to Ponce on a Monday afternoon. I can't walk very far so wondering if I can drive through all the old streets. Not concerned with parking just want to drive and take pictures from the car.

Comment by christine kitchens on 28 Jun 2017

You can do the highlights of OSJ in one day. It is hot and a lot of walking...the kids will probably poop out and want the pool or beach. You would have to do the math. RT taxi fares to OSJ vs to rent the car that morning (parking in OSJ is cheap vs a taxi which is about ) and then drive to Fajardo that evening vs shuttle bus. Parking at the resort is not cheap, but neither is breakfast at the resort. Price out the shuttle verses car rental and parking.

Comment by Gwenn on 13 Feb 2017

We will be arriving (2 kids <11) at SJU in the middle of the night and plan to stay at the airport hotel. We want to do OSJ the first day before heading to other parts of the island. Can OSJ be done within the daytime so we can leave for Fajardo that evening? The other option is we spend the day and evening at OSJ and come back to the SJU hotel for the night and then leave the next morning. Thoughts? Also, for our time in OSJ/SJ, do we need a rental car or it will be more hassle than convenience? We have a shuttle from the airport to the Fajardo hotel and will get a rental there.

Comment by AS on 09 Feb 2017

I know that RT 22 and RT 5 are run by a different company (Metropistas) than the other roads. However, I believe all the R+ lanes everywhere are supposed to take the Movilcash card. I suggest you contact the Metropista company and ask them to explain. This is the newest info I have about the Metorpistas

Comment by Gwenn on 05 Jun 2016

Last Thursday I drove in the R+ lane westbound at the Dorado toll expecting to pay the $1.20 toll listed on the large sign on the right of the booth. The lady agent there would not accept any payment, nor would she accept the toll card I had to add credit to it. She claimed the card I have can only be used on the southbound toll route toward Ponce. She insisted my only recourse was to pay the $20 fee for the autoexpreso card. Question: are there more than one independent toll routes in PR? Why can't the card for one section be used on any other section since the money all goes to the same pocket?

Comment by Carlos S on 04 Jun 2016

Hato Rey is not a very touristy area. It is not as close to Condado or Isla Verde as you may think. You will need to use the buses and taxis for beaches and OSJ, along with the train. Check out the new bus routes: To get to El Yunque, yes- you need to rent a car. I don't know Hato Rey really well, but I would not walk around there much at night, I think it is pretty desolate...not that there is much there to do. I highly suggest you rethink your location. Buses stop working early. Taxi's can get pricey.

Comment by Gwenn on 07 Mar 2016

Hi I'll be flying out to San Juan from mainland US in about 2 days. Our itinerary is not too complicated- we want to see Old San Juan for on day with lunch and dinner, do a beach for two days with lunch & dinner and visit El Yunque (thinking of doing a tour). We are staying in the Hato Rey area of San Juan. We will be by a train station but not sure if it will sufficient to get down to the beach or OSJ. Considering we are not too much exploration, do you recommend we rent a car? I have driven in crazy NYC and I have to admit I am very intimated by what I read regarding driving. Also, we would like to go out one night (to a club/bar). Is Hato Rey an area we should avoid moving around in at night ? What if we just wanted to go down to the hotel area by Condando or Isla Grande? Thanks a lot for your help! The website has been beneficial

Comment by Ama on 07 Mar 2016

The majority of people stop at signs and lights. Some do not. It is most probably not because they think they will be carjacked, more likely they don't want to wait. Yes, you should make sure you have decent car insurance coverage. PR drivers are required to pay for/have car insurance. The minimum insurance covers only basic stuff.

Comment by Gwenn on 17 Feb 2016

As mentioned; biggest difference is they do not stop at stop signs or obey red lights. (Because you may be hihacked.) Also, "right of way" is every-other-car at intersections. Be mindful of drivers appearing suddenly from cross-streets on your right. Take your time. Let them beep. Be Safe! Oh, and research auto insurance. Completely different there. I heard it was free there. Then heard optional. Then heard their basic minimum (liabilty) is dirt cheap. PR drivers just purchase minimum to have car “legal” ….like $90 for the year. It is a spanish term beginning with the letter M. Forgot the word they use to call it.

Comment by Nan on 17 Feb 2016

I have no idea. Contact a lawyer.

Comment by Gwenn on 05 Feb 2016

I'd like to know what are the legal implications of having ones vehicle hit in the rear by another vehicle. Which party is at fault? Additional information: Reason for ones vehicle come to a stop, is due to an obstruction on the road. Please provide links as I am not from Puerto Rico. Thank you.

Comment by Kyle on 05 Feb 2016

There is parking in OSJ (there are a number of decks/lots), but you really won't need a car if you plan on staying in OSJ for that time. You can walk all over. So yes, get a taxi from airport to hotel and then back and rent car for the rest of vacation. However, if you plan to explore outside of OSJ on those first 2 days, it may work out cheaper to rent the car at the airport day 1 and just park it overnight. Some people have no issues driving here, some people are terrified. Knock on wood, neither my husband or myself has ever had any type of trouble driving here in the last 12 years. And we drive a lot! Just be alert to the cars around you and expect the unexpected. Defensive driving.

Comment by Gwenn on 04 Feb 2016

My husband and I are leaving for a first time trip to Puerto rico next week. We are renting a car at the airport, going to Old San Juan for 2 days then on to Las Croabas area for a week. Is there any overnight parking in Old San Juan? would we be better to take a taxi to Od San Juan and then take a taxi back to the airport to pick up a car? After reading these comments I am feeling very nervous about the driving down there.

Comment by jan perdeau on 04 Feb 2016

I came across this website as I was preparing for a business trip to PR. After reading all these posts, I was nervous about driving over there, especially since I was staying in San Juan. I travel a lot and have never felt the need to opt for the additional rental car insurance but felt it might be something worth getting on this trip. Unfortunately, my company said they would not reimburse me for it so I declined it. Well, the second day I was there, I was headed out to do some business and the traffic around San Juan was as described. Once I got out of San Juan headed south on 52 I was thinking traffic sucks but not that bad. A few minutes later, a car I was passing going in the same direction, came across the white line and hit me. All though I was charged $500 for my deductible, hopefully I will recoupe it once they file a claim against the other driver's insurance. My advice: get the insurance so you don't have to deal with it. If you stay in San Juan and want to go to Old San Juan, I suggest taking the bus (T5 or T53). It takes about 45 minutes to get there but only costs 75 cents. And it will be the ride of your life! Driving is crazy over there but it kind of makes sense if you think of the mentality as this: Courtesy is demanded and expected. Don't get upset if someone cuts you off, they just assumed you were going to be courteous. Always expect the worst case scenario. People going slow in the fast lane will not move over so just go around them. Truck drivers drive the trucks like they were cars. They may be slow but they will change lanes in front of you no matter how fast you're going (they assume you were going to slow down and let them over anyway). So if you drive like they do and accept the courtesy demand, it's not that bad. No need for road rage, you've been warned.

Comment by Mike on 01 Feb 2016

I think it is possible. But it may be close/nerve wracking. Will you have checked bags? That adds a little time. Are you getting a car at the airport or need to get a shuttle and go off site for the rental? Make sure to get the toll tag to zip through tolls on RT 66. Parking at the ferry may be tight, so you may have to park in one of the further away lots. Lots of things could add time. But if you don't get on the 1pm, you can get your tickets for the next one and have time to go to lunch and the beach and then get on the 4:45pm.

Comment by Gwenn on 26 Jan 2016

Great website. Really good to know what to expect from first hand experiences. I'll be in PR this coming weekend arriving on Saturday at around 10:30 AM local time. We are going from SJU straight to the Fajardo Ferry Terminal to take the ferry to Vieques. I was wondering what your thoughts are on the chances of us making the 1:00 pm ferry. My estimations are as follows: 1 Hour to leave SJU with a rental car, so we will be on the road at 11:30. GMaps claims ~1 hour from SJU to the ferry terminal, 12:30. That will allow us ~30 min bumper window. Feasible? Too optimistic? I would hate to have to waste 3 hours and wait for the 4:00 PM ferry. Thanks!

Comment by Mario on 26 Jan 2016

My opinion- with all the financial difficulties PR is having, it will be a very bumpy ride for residents over the next few years here. But I guess you will probably be able to get a place for a bargain. I have no experience with getting a mortgage here...but I would deal with a larger bank, with holdings outside PR (like Banco Popular or Oriental).

Comment by Gwenn on 16 Jan 2016

Thanks for the great article.. You had mentioned in your comments that you have a rental.. I love PR and am contemplating buying a second home there to use as vacation rental and move into within the next couple years.. Any helpful insights for the mortgage process etc? Thanks for the help..

Comment by Dakota on 16 Jan 2016

Without a car outside the San Juan area, you will be pretty much stuck, missing out on a lot. Luquillo is a big town, things are spread out and it is not tourist oriented. There is no bus. Of course there are taxis available if you call them, but not all the drivers will speak English. You probably would be best to contact a company like and discuss it with them. They will give you an idea of what they can do for you and price. It really would save you money to have a car at least just to go to some of the sites when you are not planning on drinking.

Comment by Gwenn on 17 Aug 2015

Hiring a car and driving in PR sounds a bit nervwrecking...especially when you are used to countryroads in Norway;) We are staying a week in Luquillo in a rented condo..and then on to Vieques. I really don't want to drive, I was hoping there was taxies or realiable buses around... What do people do when they go out for dinner and drinks if there is no taxis? Do everyone drink AND drive?? That is a BIG..VERYBIG NO NO for me...You don't only put yourself in a position of danger...but everyone around you as well...

Comment by Gro on 15 Aug 2015

Great info, as always, PR Day Trips! Rental car is your ticket to explore the vast wonders of this island nation. As a 1st time driver in PR without a co-pilot, I'd recommend: * Use voice-over navigation cell app or GPS. There are several free apps for cell on for which you download PR map offline (saving precious cell data). I used HERE+ Maps for Windows phone. But there are others. * Avoid leaving airport with rental car at rush hour (if possible). If not, just keep your cool and give yourself time. * Have written directions as a back up to your GPS app/device. In mountains they seemed to get wonky. If you also lose cell signal, you cannot contact your destination for help. * Be prepared to be aggressive when merging etc. Using signal is always good but it seemed to be "cue" for other driver to speed up. * Build in extra time for hill/mountain driving. Take it slowly. If approach car isn't moving, you should just stop. NOTE: Many straight lines on map were actually precarious winding roads * If you aren't used to parallel parking, practice. Some towns had limited street parking and you have to get creative. * Pick Pull Off spots with care when you need regroup. Pick a spot from which you can safely pull out (i.e., no blind curves before or after pull out). It's not impossible to drive in PR, just different and warrants keeping cool. Safe travels :-)

Comment by Camille on 06 Jul 2015

Some people find driving in PR stressful and some people don't find it problematic at all....I guess it depends on what type of driving conditions you are used to. Fender benders happen, but it is not any more usual than other places I would bet. You just have to be alert to drivers around you. When you add in unfamiliar surroundings and navigation, it sometimes is more stressful for some people than just driving at home. If you are avid hiker and want to do some peaks or a couple trails, you will probably want to rent a car. If you are more of a walker and just want to see El Yunque, do a trail to a waterfall, a tour will probably suffice. As for insurance...that depends on what your credit card covers and your willingness to cover what they don't.

Comment by Gwenn on 03 Jul 2015

We are two couples (ages late 60s/mid 70s) coming to PR is Oct. Would you recommend us renting a car or taking taxis? We are staying on Ashford St. in San Juan. Is it advised to take a tour to the Rain Forest or drive ourselves? If we do rent a car, do you advise taking the insurance coverage instead of relying on one's credit card coverage or auto insurance coverage? The descriptions of PR drivers seems like a fender bender may occur quite often.

Comment by Kay Miller on 02 Jul 2015

Comment by Gwenn on 26 May 2015

I am buy a car in P R and I have a auto pass how do I put money on it for the tolls? Please help I need to drive to San Juan and I know there is no money on it!

Comment by Jean on 25 May 2015

I just came back from a week in Puerto Rico with another woman friend. I was raised in the suburbs of NYC and learned to drive in the city, which is pretty crazy. That helped with my driving in PR, but truth is PR is far and away more crazy. I had to be at high alert every minute, anticipating the possible worst, while concentrating on making it turn out the best. The thing that really got to me and my friend, however, were the signs. Not because they were in Spanish, as I understand a fair amount of Spanish. But because they are so often non-existent, or not visible. A route sign or a destination sign (for instance Ruta Panoramica, the Panoramic Route) will start out fine, and then be no where to be found when you get to an intersection, or there will be no indication of whether you are on the right road or not, or the turn off is marked poorly at the point where it is too late to actually do the turning. Some signs are actually wrong (on Ruta Panoramica an arrow pointed in the exact opposite direction of the route). And what is said about mountain driving is true---you need to stay at the far right of your lane when going around curves (without going into a deep gully) to avoid the occasional oblivious driver coming in the opposite direction. Also, roads seem to be repaved many thicknesses higher than the sewers and manholes in the road, and there are a lot of potholes, so there is a bit of an obstacle course to contend with at times. There seemed to be police cars everywhere on the highways, and we got stopped by one, apparently because we did not maintain the 20 mph speed limit on the highway exit, tho we were certainly not driving fast, and no faster than anyone else. He checked my friend's license but did not give us a ticket. When I was trying to get to the airport near the end of rush hour on a very rainy night, I had to stop and ask for direction 6 times in the last 5 miles because I couldn't see the signs or the roads in some cases. When I finally got there, the turn-off to the general "car rental" site at the airport was marked with a dark banner to the left that was virtually invisible at night. I finally asked an airport security guard at the departure area to help me, and she got into my car and directed me personally to make sure I got there. And I'm not a person with a poor sense of direction or poor night vision! I finally felt victorious in getting the car back unscathed. Puerto Rico is a beautiful island, and the people are extremely nice, but my impression was that there might be some ambivalence about having tourists roaming around the island.

Comment by mtesla on 15 Apr 2015

Would love to see more on pintrest.

Comment by mariaisabel on 22 Jan 2015

As a Puerto Rican driver I feel the need to make the following statement: Puerto Rico has a traffic law, but it is regarded as a very nice suggestion. You will be fine as long as you assume that the people around you are irrational drivers.

Comment by Luis on 20 Aug 2014

Good point- changed autopista to highway!

Comment by Gwenn on 29 Jul 2014

¡Hola! Very informative page, in regrads to car tags and road tolls had no clue! Am a PR decendant and haven't been on the island since I was a kid in the late 60s but will be goin Aug. 9th- 23rd, 2014; stayin family and catchin up after 40 years off the island! Nonetheless am well versed in the spanish language and took notice of some minor errors regarding your friendly dictionary, here are a couple of literal translations you might consider adding or changing: autopista ---- highway, freeway, expresway . . . autopista de peaje/ carretera de peaje ---- toll road

Comment by Noblevictor on 27 Jul 2014

As a Puerto Rican that has lived most of her life on the island, I can attest to the veracity of this article. I think it's very useful for tourists coming here. I myself am guilty of a lot of these "offenses", but, I swear I don't do it as a blatant disregard for the rules but it's just the way we drive here and the way we were taught even. Having lived abroad during my college years, my outlook changed, and I am trying to better my driving skills every day but it takes time. Some reasons why we do "crazy stuff"on the road: 1- We don't stop at red lights (or stop signs) when it's too late or very early in the morning because we live in a culture of fear and our parents are always warning us about the risks of car jackings, even though they are not that common. A couple of years back there was a case and the victim was a wealthy kid from Dorado (Stefano, I think?) and that shook the whole island. Parents got really scared. 2- We don't put the blinkers on because if you do, some people are just mean, and they accelerate just to not let you pass. 3- We stop in highways if we missed an exit (and we even go back in reverse) because directions here are confusing, even for us. It's so easy to get lost when you're not in your "area" of the island. Plus there's a lot of little roads or one-way streets, so, we rather do that than take a wrong turn and get even more lost. If it's not because of that, then, it is because we're always in a hurry and doing that saves time (even though we're aware it can be dangerous). Finally, if there is ONE thing you should take from this article, and I actually say it all the time (especially to tourists), it's DRIVE DEFENSIVELY. Assume people are stupid and that they will do crazy stuff. If you see someone zig-zag on the road (they're probably either texting or drunk), AVOID them. Change lanes, drive past them quickly, but DON'T think that just because YOU'RE driving safely and in your lane, that the OTHER PERSON will not invade your lane abruptly. Most of the time we're not 100% concentrated on the road. Sometimes people use car rides to eat, do homework, put on make-up, talk on the cellphone. It's not safe, we're not proud of it but ,at least some of us, are trying to be more careful! Good luck and safe travels!

Comment by Eps on 15 May 2014

Doug- If a toll road takes actual cash and is not an R/R+ Movilcash, than you are correct- they will not read the AutoExpreso Tag. But most toll roads are now using Movilcash and have R/R+ lanes instead of just C lanes. According to DTOP question/Answer page "Se puede utilizar el Sello Electrónico en otras facilidades de peaje? Utilice los carriles AutoExpreso en las plazas de peaje indicados con, , T o R, R+ y conduzca al límite de velocidad indicado." meaning- they will charge the AutoExpreso tag in the MovilCash lane. I clarified my statement.

Comment by Gwenn on 23 Jan 2014

Some toll roads will take payment with a purple card, and some will not. I did not know they charge one dollar for the card when I got it. I found out here on this site. I know PR 52 will accept the card but PR 22 will not. On PR 22 there are some lanes (usual only one) with a blue letter C on top. I guess that means cash or change (cambio in Spanish for change). It is an LED type (lighted). They will give you change, you do not have to have the exact toll. You can barely see it and must look for it very carefully or you can miss it. This can be dangerous since you may take your attention off of traffic. You will See very visible R on 22. That is for Recharging Your auto express card. You con not use your purple autoexpreso card on the R lane. You will get a fine of $100.00, I do not know if they changed that. You can pay the toll by contacting them and explains the situation. 1-888-688-1010 This will not be easy, they only accept payment by Money order. They will send you a form you mail in. They also have an office hear Son Juan were you can pay. You can lose a whole day paying a dollar or so toll. I think this is wrong. I hate this autoexpreso. You used to be able to go anywhere with cash. Never had a problem. 2014-Jan-20

Comment by Defender on 20 Jan 2014

Everyone talks about how bad the driving is, we'll if lived down south miami,fl u will see is not different at all.people stop in the middle of the main road to drop someone off the car, there is an accident in the other side of highway and drivers from the other side slowdown from 70 mhp to 30 mhp just to look at what's going on!! So there's no differences on driving in the island and driving in the,just moved to northern virginia and the driving is as bad as south miami!!!!

Comment by Momo on 05 Jan 2014

Your comment, that you will be "fined" for driving through the "Cash" lane if your rental car has an AutoExpreso Tag false. Please research this again.

Comment by Doug on 31 Dec 2013

I have been living in Puerto Rico for a little over three years and I can definitely agree that this is not an exaggeration. Puerto Rican drivers are insane! I am almost hit on a what can almost be said a daily basis when I'm walking because drivers go too close to the sidewalks. Considering the fact that most drivers park on the sidewalk that doesn't give the pedestrian much room TO walk on, so they are given no choice BUT to walk on the road. They have no consideration for pedestrians at all and will keep driving. Rarely, you will get a driver that stops and lets you go, but don't expect the other driver if you are crossing a two lane street to stop as well. Most of the time they will keep on going so be cautious. Drivers backing out of a parking space, especially if they are parked on the sidewalk, will most of the time not look to see if anyone is walking by their car. This can almost be said because they are focused on their cellphone. Even as you are crossing and have enough time to make it, drivers will speed up and if you don't move fast enough will honk at you. I had this happen a couple days ago and two cops that were parked on the sidewalk across the street did nothing. The second a light turns green, most of the time, you will hear cars from behind you honking their horns. When on the road, drivers are always in a hurry. This is coming from living in the metro area (Bayamon and San Juan). Drivers on motorcycles or mopeds, as mentioned above, use the middle part of the lane as their own lane, even cops! Stop lights and signs are apparently optional for even cops will drive through them when there is no emergency. Not only that, they too with make that illegal left turn at a red light if they feel like it. You will see drivers drive on the sidewalks if they do not want to wait to make that right turn. You will also see them drive on the opposite lane to get ahead of the drivers at a stop light. Cars parked in "No Parking" zones do not get ticketed, perhaps once in a while, but it's a rare thing. In heavy traffic cars will block intersections, so do no expect anyone to let your through, you have to force your way in. Turning signals are a joke, if a driver sees this they will intentionally speed up so you cannot pass. So if you do plan to visit Puerto Rico, just be extra cautious and defensive.

Comment by Paula on 09 Nov 2013

I had a friend who seems to love PR more than me. I was born there but raised in the states. She wanted to take her kids and her kids all freaked out about the driving. I had her pulled over and we switch seats and I drove and the kids where fine and it seem like I fit in with them. But I don't drive crazy. I am careful and I guess she was just nervous. It did not stop her from going back. She has been back every year since. In fact we leave this saturday for a week. Can't wait!!!!

Comment by Aidigita on 06 Aug 2013

Its true Puerto Rican drivers do not follow any rules when it comes to driving. They do not use signal lights and they will stop in the middle of the road to have a conversation. They do not honor yield signs for pedestrians and they ignore the traffic laws. They lack respect for others and the police do not write citations for any of this. The driving here is completely insane and many tourist refuse to come back due to a lack of attentions to simple rules that are not followed by the locals. It is very sad but the people here do not want change. Negative behavior should never be praised. Law enforcement needs to be enforced for everything that is not legal when it comes to driving and they will help build a better society with respect and financially Puerto Rico will be more successful. People here need to be ticketed also for not picking up dog poop and for throwing trash on the ground. Puerto Rico does not look like paradise anymore and many tourist complain that it is filthy! It is simple math and change needs to be now!

Comment by Derrick on 24 Jul 2013

I disagree with one of the first statements. I've been living in San Juan for about 3 months and I came from Michigan. The driving IS that bad. Especially in metro areas. Stop signs are complete anarchy- it's basically who ever has the courage to go first, if a person misses their exit on the highway they will literally stop in the next lane over, block traffic and wait to get in. Nobody uses turn signals, nobody will let you in and if you want to get let in do not put your turn signal on because they will intentionally speed up to not let you in. This is the truth , you'll get use to it but please be careful. That being said, I love Puerto Rico!

Comment by Jacobmd1 on 08 Mar 2013

No, that is a total exaggeration of safety issues here. There is the occasional car jacking (usually closer to the city), but it rarely involves tourists. In fact, most crime in PR does not involve tourists. We have tourists staying with us at our rental every day for the last 4 years. They all have to drive, day and night. The worst thing that has ever happened was one couple had their hubcaps stolen while at Plaza Las Americas Mall.

Comment by Gwenn on 03 Oct 2012

HI, my husband and I will be travelling to Puerto Rico for the first time. I want to rent a car, so we can have the flexibility to travel anywhere we want. Recently I was told to be careful, because locals will steal your car once they know your a tourist f you stop for red lights and they also told me not to be out driving past 8pm. Is any of this true?

Comment by Heidy on 23 Aug 2012

From what I remember from my learners permit test is that from 12AM to 5AM if there is a red light you can stop and continue if no incoming traffic. It's still good to keep an eye out. Also on the highway if there are 3 lanes, it's best to use the middle lane as it'll give you some wiggle room in the event of some crazy drivers or when someone passes you very close (corte de pastelillo - literally pie cut). When going north towards San Juan on 52 it's wise to test your brakes before going down the 7km hill as rentals are usually driven quite hard. On narrow curvy roads it also helps to drive like a granny and pace yourself. Some locals ignore honks at times (as I found out this week going from Lares to Mayagüez) and you can at least stop before a head on collision occurs. As recommended, it's best to get the compact to economy cars as most parking spaces, lanes, and general roads seem to be built with this size in mind (almost everyone here drives that). Lastly if you get bored while on your drive, a good game is to see how many late 70s to early 80s Toyota Corollas you can spot, including the most common AE86 models.

Comment by Ricky on 03 May 2012

@Carmen- No- it will not work. We use a different system.

Comment by Gwenn on 17 Apr 2012

If we bring our I-Pass from Illinois to PUERTO RICO will it work? Thanks, Carmen

Comment by Caren on 15 Apr 2012

@Maribel- Thanks!

Comment by Gwenn on 04 Apr 2012

Please make correction for estacion, which actually means station (or season if used in different context). It should read 'estacione' for park, 'no estacione' for no parking, and 'estacionamiento' for parking lot, the latter just labeled 'parking' in most lots.

Comment by Maribel on 02 Apr 2012

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