San Juan, Puerto Rico 🇵🇷 Gringo's Guide
The "Gateway" to Latin America...
San Juan, Puerto Rico is definitely a hybrid city. Some people consider it a part of "gringolandia" — while others a part of Latin America.
It really has a lot of both cultures.
You could consider San Juan a "Latin America for dummies" kind of place. It's definitely more forgiving than the rest of the region for anglos trying to dip their toes in Latin culture.
On the other hand, life in San Juan does come with a lot of the downsides of living in the US you may be trying to get away from.
Overall, San Juan has some definitive pluses — but most gringos don’t like to spend to much time here. Read on to find out why…
San Juan, Puerto Rico 🇵🇷
Officially, the city of San Juan has just under 450,000 people living within its city limits at the time of this writing.
However, the city limits are small. When you count the whole metropolitan area, there are almost 2.5 million people in San Juan — making it one of the largest cities in the Caribbean.
In general, and as you can see, the climate in San Juan really doesn't change that much throughout the year:
With those temperatures, the humidity becomes really important.
And the good news is that it usually stays under the super-important 80-percent marker. That's a huge deal for your comfort.
It also does rain a fair bit in San Juan, but not enough to make you miserable. Percent possible sunshine is another very clutch statistic. As shown, it ranges from 60-76% throughout the year.
The sun in the middle of the day can certainly feel like it goes through you, though! Because of the low latitude at which the city is located, the UV rays are definitely an issue. Use the usual sombrero/sunscreen/etc.
Why Visit San Juan?
The above-mentioned balmy weather is one of the best reasons to go to San Juan, as the city has great beach weather.
You'll be using USD as a currency
You will be experiencing Latin culture in the middle of US-style amenities
The day trips around the island are spectacular
95% of the time, you can get by with just English
Overall, most people visit or stay in San Juan, Puerto Rico for one of two reasons:
For a vacation, San Juan is an actual “beach city” with great beaches in the city itself.
For long-term living, you generally only live here long-term for the tax benefits as a US citizen.
You'll almost certainly be coming into Luis Marín Muñoz International Airport. This is one of the easier airports to get to in the world:
Just to summarize, there are tons of destinations to and from San Juan. However, the majority of them are from the USA and the rest of the Caribbean:
All major US cities, basically anything with a population of over 4 million or so, are directly accessible from San Juan.
You can hit the following Caribbean airports directly from SJU:
Saint Martin (Dutch)
Saint Barthelemy (Guadeloupe)
Beef Island (BVI)
You can also go back and forth directly from Toronto and Montreal. In Mexico, there are direct flights to Cancún. You can also reach Panamá City and Bogotá directly.
The only direct European destination is Madrid.
Flights are frequent and tend to be on the cheap side, unless you are trying to go during peak season.