San Juan welcomes most tourists during the winter and early spring. Booking trips to San Juan during this time might be expensive, but if you plan ahead and book San Juan flights and accommodation in advance you’re likely to get a good deal.
The pre-Lenten Carnival attracts many visitors, with its parades, music, beauty pageants, and parties all over the island. Easter week is another busy time, as is the entire period when colleges have spring breaks.
In addition to the Carnival festivities, there are patron saints’ festivals throughout the year, with week-long celebrations.
Mid-December to mid-April is the busiest — and most expensive — time of the year. Throughout the island, but especially in San Juan, prices are considerably higher during this period.
Summer and autumn are quieter and less expensive times to take cheap flights to San Juan. And there are two annual events for music lovers. The Pablo Casals Festival takes place in early June. The Festival of Puerto Rican Music is held in November, with venues in both San Juan and elsewhere on the island.
Puerto Rico has a tropical climate with sunny days almost year-round and average temperatures of 26 degrees Celsius. It’s humid too, with levels hovering between 74 and 81 per cent. Temperatures along the coast are moderated by the cooling sea breezes; inland, temperatures are in the 22 to 26-degree range. May to October are the rainiest months. The north coast gets double the amount of rain as the south coast, about 61 inches compared to 36 inches. January to April are the driest months. Hurricane season runs from June to November and the island is at greatest risk between August and October.
Travellers to San Juan can get taxis and buses at the airport into town, and some hotels run courtesy vans. Puerto Rico is 160km long by 59km wide with some of the best scenery in the Caribbean. Although best seen by car, be aware that the locals drive erratically and that speeds are posted in miles and distances in kilometres. To see the island’s interior, and get a few thrills, take La Ruta Panoramica along the mountains. The panorama is dazzling but be prepared for passages with precipitous drops on both sides of the road and sections without dividers.
In a major city or resort you may not need a car. Sightseeing on foot is often fun and you can take a publico. Publicos are minivans that service most towns on the island. They don’t have set schedules, but you can flag one down. Publicos are identified by “P” or “PD” on the license plate.
Taxis are available in San Juan and major tourist areas. Tour buses and ferries are another option for getting around, as is chartering a boat or plane. There are also several airlines that fly to small airports in Puerto Rico and other Caribbean islands.