The hub of the Caribbean, the San Juan Luis Muñoz Marín International Airport (SJU) handles more than 2,200 flights from more than 20 airlines. Puerto Rico is less than five hours from Chicago, under four from New York City, and less than three from Panama City. It also accessible by cruise ship and ferries, depending on where you are coming from. Puerto Rico is approximately 100 by 35 miles (160 by 56 km), which is roughly the size of Connecticut. The Island‘s population is 3.6 million.
CUSTOMS & CURRENCY
Passports are NOT needed for U.S. citizens who travel between Puerto Rico, a US Commonwealth, and the US mainland. Foreign nationals should have valid passports and visas as required. Puerto Rico uses the US Dollar, so no need to exchange currency if you are a citizen of the United States. ATMs are generally easy to find and most businesses accept major credit cards, as well as traveler’s checks.
Getting around is convenient! Taxis are everywhere and your favorite and local rental car companies operate at the airport and at key locations in the tourist districts. The Puerto Rico Tourism Company oversees the quality of clean, safe and reliable taxi cab services throughout the Metropolitan Area. Fixed rates in and around San Juan provide passengers with peace of mind in getting from place to place. Our hotel is also just a 10 minute drive from Luis Munoz Marin International Airport with taxi fare is a flat fee of $18. You can also take the D53 bus from the airport to many of the area hotels, including ours. The current cost is a wonderfully low $0.75 per ride and the buses are air-conditioned, modern and accessible. If you do need to drive anywhere, just keep in mind that gas is sold by the liter and distance is measured in kilometers. Speed, however, is measured in miles per hour.
LANGUAGE & TIME ZONE
If you don’t speak Spanish, no problem! Puerto Rico has two official languages, Spanish and English, and residents of San Juan tend to be multilingual. Puerto Rico is on Atlantic Standard Time (AST), which is one hour later than U.S. Eastern Standard Time (EST) from October through March, and the same as Eastern Daylight Saving Time from April through October.
TAXES & TIPPING
Puerto Rico has a 7% sales and use tax. There is an 11% tax on room charges in hotels with casinos, 9% tax on hotels without casinos and 7% on small inns. As in the US mainland, a 15% to 20% tip is customary. Some hotels and restaurants add a 10% to 17% service charge to the total bill.
CLIMATE & CITY EXPLORATION
It can be really boring for a meteorologist here. The average year-round temperature is a balmy 82º F (28º C), with mild easterly trade winds. Most days are sunny and stunning, although there tends to be a bit more rain between August and October. If you’re planning to sight-see during your free time, this is an excellent time to enjoy all that Old San Juan and the Condado District has to offer. With the redevelopment and redesign of all the pathways, sidewalks and traffic stops just outside Old San Juan and the Condado District, you can now easily walk, if you choose and/or are able to, from any one of the major hotels in the Condado or Miramar district within a one-mile radius of the Convention.
LIQUOR & GAMBLING
The legal drinking and gambling age is 18. Alcohol consumption in the streets and while driving is forbidden by law. Oh, and yes, you can gamble, with a good thing about gambling in Puerto Rico being that you will find one in almost every hotel lobby around the Island
COMMUNICATION & BUSINESS HOURS
The phone system is the same as in the US and most major US wireless carriers have good service here. The Island‘s area codes are 787 and 939. You need to dial the area code before placing a call anywhere within Puerto Rico and the US. For international calls, international codes apply. Calling cards used in the US can be used in Puerto Rico as well. The US Postal Service provides the same service as in the US and so do all major couriers such as FedEx, DHL, Eagle, and UPS, among others. Most banks and government offices are open Monday through Friday, and several are open on Saturday and Sunday. Shopping malls are open seven days a week from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., with Sunday hours from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Some retail stores outside malls are closed on Sundays, but those in tourist areas are open every day.
Cable and satellite TV service are available island-wide, with local television stations and all major English-language stations from the US.
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