How safe is Puerto Rico for solo travelers? And is San Juan safe for solo female tourists?
Puerto Rico is one of the hundreds of beautiful tropical paradise islands in the Caribbean region, a coveted destination for travelers hungry for sun, beautiful beaches, and warm weather. But is Puerto Rico safe to travel alone?
I just traveled around Puerto Rico on my own as a solo female traveler for over a month (yeah, I know🥰) in the last half of 2023.
As more and more people find the bliss of traveling solo in the Caribbean, including lots of intrepid solo female travelers, the question about safety is often an important part of travel planning.
So, I feel competent now in helping you navigate Puerto Rico and safety as a solo female traveler; here is my advice!
Puerto Rico Is a US Territory
Situated only 88 miles east of the Dominican Republic across from Punta Cana, nestled between the DR and the British and US Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico has its northern coast to the North Atlantic and the southern coastline facing the Caribbean Sea.
As Puerto Rico is considered a U.S. territory, it is a super popular and convenient destination for American travelers, as traveling to Puerto Rico and San Juan is considered domestic travel.
So there is no need for a passport or any paperwork if you are an American citizen!
With that out of the way, let us look into the statistics and testimonials for taking a solo trip in Puerto Rico, especially for solo female travelers!
So: Is Puerto Rico Safe To Travel Alone?
Puerto Rico is considered a super-safe destination for solo travelers in the Caribbean region.
Actually, Puerto Rico crime stats say that the island has a lower crime rate than most metropolitan cities in the US mainland. So there!
In the capital, San Juan, you can generally walk around the old historic city, as well as the modern Condado and Santurce, taking just normal precautions.
These are the most popular tourist areas as well, with a myriad of coffee shops, restaurants, bars, as well as art venues and shops.
Outside of San Juan, I visited Isabela, Ponce, and Rincon (the most popular destination for surfers with pristine beaches) on my road trip around Puerto Rico. Although San Juan is the capital and major city, it is not exactly a Metropole.
And the other cities around Puerto Rico are towns at best, some even villages, like Isabela in the northwest.
As a solo traveler visiting a new area, there are generally some guidelines that are always smart to follow.
The obvious ones are things like don’t get ridiculously drunk, don’t take a ride with anyone you don’t know, and use registered taxis or Uber (there is Uber in San Juan, but outside of the capital of Puerto Rico, there is no Uber or other ride-sharing app, FYI).
Is San Juan Safe For Solo Travelers?
Yes, San Juan, the capital of Puerto Rico, is considered very safe for travelers, including solo and solo female travelers.
This includes most of the city neighborhoods, like Old San Juan, Condado, Santurce, and Miramar.
These are generally considered safe neighborhoods both in the daytime and evening, and walking is a great way to explore San Juan.
Some people say that you might want to be cautious visiting the city districts Santurce, Pinones, and Parque de las Palomas late at night.
Although I personally did not have any issues or bad experiences, now you have that information, too.
So, when you are in San Juan, you can ask some of the local Puerto Ricans to create your own balanced opinion!
What Is The Biggest Threat To Tourists In Puerto Rico?
The most common offense you might be subject to in Puerto Rico as a tourist is petty theft like pickpocketing.
So, to counter that risk, lock your bags, close your pockets, bring more than one credit card and keep them separate, leave your valuables at home or at your hotel, be generally aware, and don’t flash anything!
Even though you might have seen headlines about violent crimes in Puerto Rico, these incidents normally are between gangs and criminals in Puerto Rico, settling whatever problem they have among themselves.
Tourists are generally not part of this entanglement, so unless you (very unlikely) accidentally find yourself in the wrong place at the wrong time, you will be absolutely fine and safe traveling Puerto Rico!
Is Puerto Rico Safe To Travel Alone For Females?
According to the Solo Female Travel Safety Index, Puerto Rico has a score of 1 on a scale from 1 to 4, where 1 is the best score, indicating very safe.
This is also in accordance with my subjective perception of traveling to Puerto Rico.
I never felt unsafe anywhere in Puerto Rico, neither anywhere in the capital city, San Juan, or any of the other destinations.
Apart from the occasional comments and a (very) few occasions of unwanted attention on the streets in San Juan (although A LOT less than most other destinations I have visited in the region), I really had no gender-related issues or different cultural incidents in Puerto Rico.
How about public transport? Can you feel safe on public transportation in Puerto Rico?
Is Public Transportation in Puerto Rico Safe?
Well, the problem is that there is very little public transportation in general in Puerto Rico!
In the capital, San Juan, you can take Ubers and normal taxis, and there is also a commuter metro in San Juan called the Tren Urbano.
But outside of San Juan, you find no public buses, trains, trams, or any kind of public transportation option. So unless you want to take private taxis or transfers across the island, your best option is probably a rental car!
I did a road trip around Puerto Rico with a rental car, which was great and is not just a good idea but probably your best option, too.
The roads around Puerto Rico are generally easy, traffic is not very challenging, and although some signs are in Spanish, it probably is nothing you can’t handle.
I do recommend you book a rental car online, with pickup and dropoff in San Juan, for the best prices.
I found that out the hard way, having to rent at a small car rental company in a small village and discovering that there were no Uber OR buses around.
Even though it was a nice small company, super service and all, the price in rural areas is more than double the daily rental price at Discover Cars Rental when you pick the car up in San Juan.
So now that you know that buses and Uber are scarce to non-existent, do your car rental research before you start your trip!
How To Book Accommodation in Puerto Rico!
There are a variety of accommodation options in Puerto Rico. Airbnb is big, and you can get a really nice holiday home in San Juan and the bigger cities via Airbnb.
Most accommodation and booking apps are active in Puerto Rico, so you can really just book as you go if you prefer to stay flexible and go on a road trip.
You do need to be aware, however, that Puerto is NOT a cheap destination when it comes to accommodation.
Although there are some hostels you can find via Hostelworld, most hotels and holiday homes are quite pricey.
As a solo (female) traveler, this is one of the downsides in comparison to traveling in a group or with a partner; you sleep away a few more dollars traveling solo!
Things To Do & Tours In Puerto Rico
You can easily explore Old San Juan and a lot of the city sights on your own, but if you are a history buff or like to learn a little as you go, I recommend you get going on a guided tour of the city!
Seeing the historic city with a guide will give you so much more value for your time and energy. San Juan is a capital that has an incredibly rich history, and with a historical guide and tour guide, you will enrich your experience multifold!
In addition to exploring Old San Juan and the must-see destination on the tip of the island, the fortress Castillo San Felipe del Morro, there are a lot of organized tours from San Juan available as well.
Some of the most popular and spectacular things to do in Puerto Rico are to visit El Yunque Rainforest, go kayaking in the Bioluminescent Bay outside San Juan, and a lot more.
Top Rated Tours In San Juan PR
Travel Safety Item Tips For Solo Travelers
For any traveler, more so solo travelers, and particularly for solo female travelers, extra travel safety items and security measures will take your mind off possible safety worries.
She’s Birdie is a small keychain personal safety alarm made for women by women designed to startle and possibly deter attacks from perpetrators.
This device has a very loud alarm and flashing strobe light designed to deter an attack and attract attention. To deter an attack, you can easily activate the LOUD siren and flashing strobe light.
The colorful She’s Birdie alarm comes with a solid brass keychain to keep with you day to night when needed, around town, on the trails, and on your journeys.
FAQs Puerto Rico
What Is The Best Time To Visit Puerto Rico?
Summer is definitely high season for Puerto Rico, but this is also the absolutely hottest time in the Caribbean, and Puerto Rico is no exception.
I recommend you travel here in the shoulder seasons, which will be either in March through May or the end of August through November.
Visit Puerto Rico in March, April, or May, if you can, with pleasant temperatures and before the wet season starts in the Caribbean!
From late May through November is also the wet season, with August and September as peak hurricane season in the Caribbean hurricane belt.
In this period, you need to be prepared for at least afternoon showers and the occasional tropical storms.
What To Pack For Puerto Rico?
You will be able to get a hold of most commodities in Puerto Rico, as is the US, so packing smart is not as critical as other destinations, like, for instance, packing for Cuba.
However, here are some packing list tips:
- Mosquito repellent
- Any prescription drugs you normally or regularly use
- Loose summer clothing
- Good and comfortable walking shoes
- Waterproof small bag for swimming with phone
- Sun hat
- Ladies fan (you know, the old-fashioned one)
What is the legal drinking age in Puerto Rico?
Alcohol in Puerto Rico:
The legal drinking age in Puerto Rico is 18 years old. In Puerto Rico, it’s also illegal to drink alcohol in public (unless you are sitting still on the beach with a Pina Colada, then no one will mind 🙂 ).
Wrap-Up: Is Puerto Rico Safe To Travel Alone?
I hope I have provided you with enough statistics, as well as my own experiences traveling in Puerto Rico alone as a solo traveling female, to assure you that Puerto Rico is a safe solo traveler destination!
So, when you are looking for a paradisiacal destination where you can travel on your own without worrying about your safety (more than any other place on the planet), Puerto Rico, including its capital, San Juan, is one of the safest Caribbean islands, and a great option!
As Puerto Rico is a territory of the United States, many things are similar to those in the US, and most people speak both Spanish and English in the PR.
And even outside of San Juan, smaller places like Ponce and Rincon are safe options; just use your common sense, like anywhere else in the world, and you will be fine.
So get yourself a rental car, bring your surfboard, and get going on a road trip around Puerto Rico!