Moving to Puerto Rico

Puerto Rico, also known as 'La Isla del Encanto' (The Island of Enchantment) is a small and beautiful island, located next to the Dominican Republic and The Virgin Islands, forming part of an island chain in the Caribbean. Expats moving to Puerto Rico will find themselves in an unincorporated territory of the United States, a widely contested issue for the local population of just under four million. As a commonwealth of the United States, Puerto Ricans are considered US citizens and have their own governor, but are unable to vote in the national US elections if residing in Puerto Rico. 

The cost of living in Puerto Rico has increased significantly over the years, as the country has battled with an economic recession. In turn the unemployment and poverty rate have also increased.

However, its close proximity to the US has made it an attractive destination for American retirees. Other expats living in Puerto Rico have moved there to work in the territory’s main economic sector of manufacturing. Tourism is also a large source of employment for locals and foreigners.

Public and private healthcare facilities in Puerto Rico are of a high standard. The education system is based on that of the US, although Spanish is the primary language of instruction at public and most private schools. There are also a number of international schools, most of which are in the capital, San Juan.

The official languages in Puerto Rico are Spanish and English, and although expats should get by without learning Spanish, it may make integration to life on the island easier and quicker.

Expats moving to Puerto Rico will find themselves living on an island that offers beautiful mountainous scenery, tropical beaches and a relaxed lifestyle. 

Fast facts

Population: Almost 4 million

Capital city: San Juan

Neighbouring countries: Dominican Republic, Virgin Islands


Political system: Unincorporated colony of the United States

Major religions: Catholicism 

Main languages: Spanish, English

Money: United States Dollars (USD)

Tipping: 15 to 20 percent is standard, unless included in the bill.

Time: GMT-4

Electricity: 120V, 60 Hz. 

Internet domain: .pr

International dialling code: +1

Emergency contacts: 911

Driving and transport: Driving is on the right-hand side of the road.