North American Countries

Puerto Rico Travel Guide

DUTY-FREE SHOPPING

Overview

USA.

ECONOMY

Business etiquette

Knowledge of Spanish is an advantage, but business people often speak English. Business hours: Mo-Fr 8.30 a.m.-4.30 p.m.

Economy

Chamber of Commerce of Puerto Rico (Chamber of Commerce)
PO Box 9024033, San Juan, PR 00902-4033
Tel: 721 60 60
Internet: http://camarapr.org

Business contacts

Chamber of Commerce of Puerto Rico (Chamber of Commerce)
PO Box 9024033, San Juan, PR 00902-4033
Tel: 721 60 60
Internet: http://camarapr.org

SHOP

Overview

The most popular souvenirs include cigars, coffee, rum, hammocks, straw items, sculptures, Santos (carved figures of saints), devil masks made from coconuts and string instruments. It should be noted that cigars that are declared as Cuban cigars do not actually come from Cuba; Since Puerto Rico is on the outskirts of the USA, the country is subject to the US embargo, which prohibits the import and sale of Cuban goods. According to mysteryaround, Puerto Rico is a country in Central America.

Lace is also a popular souvenir. In the small town of Moca, mundillo (literally translated as “small world”) is produced. This traditional form of lace is typical of Puerto Rico, the origin of which can be traced back to Spain. It is still a popular form of handicraft today and is honored with an annual festival.

Be careful with the cheap souvenirs in junk shops in Old San Juan; many items are not authentic and have been imported. If you want to be on the safe side, go to Puerto Rican Arts and Crafts (Internet: www.puertoricanart-crafts.com), where a certificate is issued that proves that all the products on offer were made by local artists. On the weekends there are often street parties on the Paseo de la Princesa in Old San Juan, where many local artists offer their goods directly.

The Plaza las Americas (Internet: www.plazalasamericas.com), which is the largest shopping center in the Caribbean, is located in the upscale district of Hato Rey in San Juan. Here you will find the same shops as in the shopping malls on the American mainland as well as extensive dining options and a cinema.

Opening hours

Mon-Wed and Sat 9 a.m.-7 p.m., Thu-Fri 9 a.m.-9 p.m., some shopping centers also open Sun 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Many shops in Old San Juan have different opening times, which are based on the current cruise ship timetables.

NIGHTLIFE

Introduction

Puerto Rican nightlife is lively and varied. In the capital you can sit in the squares of Old San Juan and quietly watch the people. We recommend a stroll along La Princesa, a promenade along the Bay of San Juan that leads to the only remaining city gates of the old city wall. On the weekends, artists often sell their wares here and groups of elderly Puerto Ricans gather here to play nostalgic and folk tunes. Another popular evening activity in San Juan is to join the locals at Plaza del Mercado in the Santurce neighborhood, where both scheduled and impromptu live concerts take place on the weekends. The market, which is closed in the evening, is surrounded by numerous bars and restaurants.

Night owls have the choice between discos, music bars and classical concerts; the large hotels also offer a varied entertainment program. Many Puerto Ricans love to dance their hips in traditional Latin dance clubs, where live bands often play salsa and merengue. One of the most popular clubs is the Nuyorican in Old San Juan, a small pub with live music where you can learn about the local culture.

Outside the capital, things are a little quieter. Most of the time, the family-oriented nightlife takes place in the area around the main square of each town.

CULINARY

Regional specialities

  • Mofongo (dumpling made from ground plantains filled with meat, poultry or seafood, served in a broth).
  • Tostones(thick, deep-fried sticks made from plantains).
  • Maduros(sweet plantains that are served baked or deep-fried).
  • Lechon asado(fried pork; lechon can be found on most menus).
  • Arroz y habichuelas(rice and beans; typically kidney beans are used, which are served with a lot of liquid as a kind of soup in a bowl).
  • Quesitos(sweet pastries filled with cream cheese).
  • Pastel(known as tamal in other countries; patties made from plantain that is steamed in a banana leaf; pastels are eaten all year round, but are actually a typical dish at Christmas time).
  • Bacalao(cod) is prepared in a variety of ways, with the most famous dishes being isserenata de bacalao or bacalao serenade, a kind of stew with potatoes, onions and tomatoes.
  • Piraguas(paper bags with crushed ice, which is offered in different flavors such as parcha (passion fruit), mango or pineapple; a cool and refreshing delicacy that is found mainly in the old town of San Juan, on beaches and in central squares).

Tip

Often the service fee is already included in the invoice; if not, 15-20% of the invoice amount is appropriate.

Regional drinks

  • Piña colada- supposedly Puerto Rico is the country of origin of the popular cocktail.
  • Barrilito, a local rum, is well worth a try.
  • Medallais the Puerto Rican beer.
  • Coquitois mainly drunk at Christmas time and is reminiscent of eggnog.

Minimum age for consuming alcoholic beverages

In Puerto Rico you can drink alcohol from the age of 18.

ACCOMMODATION

Hotels

The hotels in San Juan and Ponce correspond to American standards. The state-run Paradores are Spanish-style hostels with regional cuisine. Further information from the Puerto Rico Hotel and Tourism Association, Suite 301, 165 Ponce de León, San Juan, PR 00917-1233. Tel: 758 80 01. (Internet: www.prhta.org)

Puerto Rico Travel Guide