The Ultimate Guide to Working Remotely in Puerto Rico
Summary: This is a guide to everything you need to know about working remotely in Puerto Rico. I include recommended places to stay, coworking spaces, restaurants, tours, and more!
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Let’s Explore Puerto Rico
I have been to Puerto Rico a few times on cruises growing up and once with friends in college. The first couple visits were so short that I barely remember anything that happened. Although, I do remember my mom trusting me enough when I was in high school to be on my own a bit, and then promptly leaving the spot my mom told me to stay to go get food in a restaurant, and then calling her to come and pay for my meal when I was done.
Well, times have changed and I unfortunately pay for my own meals now.
BUT, the cool part about that is I can travel while making money to pay for those meals!
I spent a few days working remotely from Puerto Rico and spent even more time researching the best restaurants, cafes, hotels, and coworking spaces to try them out and report back to you! Keep reading more all the information you’ll need to know before working remotely in Puerto Rico.
Where to Stay When Working Remotely in Puerto Rico
When I’m working remotely, I typically like to stay within walking distance of restaurants, cafes, and other things I’ll want to do because I don’t have all day to drive around or take public transporation. For this reason, I chose to stay in Old San Juan and I’d highly recommend this area because in my opinion, it’s the most beautiful part of San Juan. I promise, one of your favorite things about this area will be just getting lost in the streets of Old San Juan!
I stayed at La Villa Harencia which I also highly recommend if you’re looking for a great hotel in Old San Juan. The furnishings were all vintage style and it had an open-air courtyard that all of the rooms came off of. Upstairs, there was also a community terrace that I used to work on or just to enjoy the sunshine. The wifi and airconditioning were also great here (two huge requirements for me!).
Hotel El Convento was another great option close to La Villa Harencia in Old San Juan. This hotel is a little more luxurious with it’s own pool, restaurant, and more space in general.
For a more budget-friendly option, a few people I met in Puerto Rico were staying at the Juliette Hostel. It’s a little further away from Old San Juan, but if you don’t mind walking (or scootering!) to get to restaurants and sites to see, this would be a great spot to work remotely from. They are a women-only hostel and have a co-working space to use.
When to Plan a Workation in Puerto Rico
I will always caveat my opinion on this question by saying I can’t stand hot weather. I know people LOVE summer, but whenever I’m stuck in heat and humidity, I become incurably cranky until it cools down (this is why air conditioning is important to me).
When I visited in May, it was already very hot and humid in Puerto Rico. I did spend quite a bit of time outside, but I was thankful when I had to go back inside my room to work for the day. I think Puerto Rico would be an awesome place to visit in Winter, to escape the cold and snow, if you have to deal with that where you live. Temperatures are still in the 70s and 80s Farinheight in Winter, so this would be my recommendation of when to visit.
–> Thinking about a workation abroad? Here’s what you’ll want to know about working remotely in another country. <–
My Experience Working Remotely in Puerto Rico
Typically, my favorite places to travel and work remotely are in Europe. This is because the time zone difference is perfect for me. I can relax and site see until around 2-3pm, and then I’ll work in the afternoon and evening when my US-based coworkers are all working as well. Puerto Rico was a little different because the time difference isn’t that drastically different. Most days, I woke up around 8am, went to a cafe for breakfast, and then walked around and explored until 11am, when I started work. This meant I didn’t have as much time as I would have liked to explore, but it was also nice to be able to work somewhat normal hours.
You’ll find that a lot of people in Old San Juan are exploring for the day from cruise ships. I even talked with a couple at dinner who just assumed I was on a cruise like they were because so many people are in this area. So, early mornings and late nights are not nearly as busy as mid-day.
Overall, I liked working remotely from Puerto Rico. As a US citizen, it’s incredibly easy to travel to. You don’t need a passport, most people speak English, and they use the US Dollar as currency. The culture gives you a tropical island vibe, but they also have a lot of conveniences we’re used to like Wifi and air conditioning!
For these reasons, Puerto Rico is a great location to try working remotely if you haven’t before.
Puerto Rican Food to Try
One of my very favorite parts about travel is trying all the local food! From what I can tell, Puerto Rican food seemed very similar to Spanish food. This is probably because Puerto Rico spent a lot of time being ruled by Spain, but you can still tell a few differences when directly comparing the two.
Here are a few foods you’ll have to try while in Puerto Rico:
- Mofongo – Mashed plantains in a mound with some kind of sauce or meat on top (I had steak and seafood mofongo and both were amazing)
- Pina Colada – It was invented here! However, there is some controversy about the exact location it was invented.
- Pasteles – Similar to Mexican tamales and equally as delicious.
- Quesitos – Puff pastries with a cheese filling. Get these at Puerto Rican bakeries.
- Tasting Table has an even more comprehensive list of foods to try. I couldn’t get to them all in one trip!
Best Restaurants in Old San Juan
While trying all the foods above (and more), I made it to several restaurants and cafes around Old San Juan. Here are the ones I’d recommend visiting on your trip:
Barrachina is one of the places in Puerto Rico that claims to have invented the pina colada. Whether it was here or elsewhere, you’ve got to stop in to try one here. They have a very cute patio area with a bar. Since I was alone, I sat at the bar and had a pina colada with seafood mofongo and both were delicious!
Anita La Mamma del Gelato
After Barrachina, I was in search of dessert. I walked about. a block away and found Anita. I figured the line that was nearly out the door indicated that it was a good spot, so I stopped in for a scoop of gelato and was not disappointed.
El Champi is right across the street from the hotel I stayed at, La Villa Harencia. It looked cute inside and it served Spanish food, so I decided to check it out. I had croquettes, a ham and cheese plate, and seafood paella. It was absolutely delicious! You have to try the sangria here as well.
I stopped in Caficultura on my way to visit El Morro. It is on the corner of Plaza Colon (Christopher Columbus Plaza). The atmosphere, coffee, and breakfast were all great.
Cafe Cuatro Sombras
Another great cafe in Old San Juan is Cafe Cuatro Sombras. Just like Caficultura, it has a great atmosphere with a cute interior and excellent coffee and breakfast to fuel you up before a day of exploring.
What to See and Do in San Juan
I’ve been to San Juan, Puerto Rico a few times and each trip was a little different. This most recent trip was about exploring around my work schedule. I also went with friends in college which included a lot of fun and drinking. When I’ve gone with family, we mainly explored areas near the cruise ship terminals because we didn’t have much time off the ship we were sailing on. Needless to say, I’ve done a lot of different activities in San Juan! Here’s what I’d recommend:
Tour Castillo San Felipe del Morro and Castillo San Cristobal
When Puerto Rico was under Spanish rule, they knew other countries were going to try and attack the island to take it for themselves because of all the resources that were found on the island. To protect Puerto Rico, there were a number of forts and castles build around the perimeter. The most popular one in San Juan is El Morro. It is currently retired and used as a museum for tourists.
El Morro is at the very northwest corner of San Juan. A little further east, you’ll find Castillo San Cristobal. This was the largest of the Spanish forts built here. Both of these can be entered and toured for a small fee.
Explore the Streets of Old San Juan
I’d make sure to leave some time in your itinerary to simply stroll the streets of Old San Juan. The first thing you’ll notice about this area is how colorful the buildings are. There’s always something to look at which makes walking around so fun! Plus, you’ll find countless shops, restaurants, bars, and more to explore along the way.
Relax at the Beach
If you’re visiting in the warmer months of the year, you’ll be craving any way to cool off outside. The perfect way to do this is by spending some time at the beach! If you want to stay on the island of San Juan, I’d recommend Balneario del Escambron. This is on the east side of San Juan, so it also gives you an excuse to take an Uber over (usually only $7-10) and explore another area of the city.
There are a few others across the bridge that takes you onto the mainland including Ocean Park and Condado Beach.
Visit a Museum to Learn About Puerto Rico’s History
This is the perfect activity to do if the weather is bad, or if you just want to learn more about Puerto Rico’s History. You can visit the oldest residence on the island which is also the former house to the family of Ponce de Leon. This is called Casa Blanca and you can explore the house and surrounding gardens.
Across the bridge, on the mainland, you’ll find Puerto Rico’s Museum of Contemporary Art. This building has stunning architecture, itself, along with Puerto Rican art from the past and present. One more option to experience Puerto Rico’s culture and art is the Museum of the Americas.
Take a Tour Outside of San Juan
Obviously, this option is not actually in San Juan, but if you’re visiting Puerto Rico long enough, you should absolutely take a tour outside of San Juan. This is the most popular place to visit, but there is so much more to this island than just the one city. Immerse yourself in a rain forest, eat some of the freshest fruit you’ll ever try, or kayak through water that seems to glow in the dark! More on these options below.
Best Tours Around Puerto Rico
When you’re working remotely in Puerto Rico, I’d suggest spending the weekend taking tours outside of San Juan. I always like to search Get Your Guide before I travel anywhere! This is my favorite app/website to book tours through. So far, it has been very reliable and the tours have been great. I love a good food tour or walking tour to get to know a new city!
I was lucky enough on a few of my trips to Puerto Rico to have time to spend exploring other parts of the island outside of just San Juan. When I visited with friends years ago, we did a tour of El Yunque National Forest, the only tropical rain forest in the United States! We toured caves and even got to see a few water falls.
On my most recent trip to Puerto Rico, I got to travel to the southern end of the island and visit a town called Ponce. It is almost like a smaller version of Old San Juan with beautiful, colorful buildings everywhere. We did a walking tour here. This area is known for it’s heat, so make sure you’re protected!
Close to Ponce, is Santa Isabel. There are quite a few farms in this region and we got to tour a fruit farm called Finca Don Manuel to learn how fruit is grown, understand the issues that Puerto Rican agriculture has had recently, and of course, try fresh fruit. I’m not kidding when I say this was the best fruit I’ve ever had!
The last tour I did this trip was a day trip on a Catamaran. This was an incredible way to spend the day relaxing on a boat and cooling off in the water. Drinks were flowing, we got to snorkel, and the whole day was a blast!
A few people I traveled with had done the bioluminescent bay tour as well. I was sorry I missed this one, but that’s just a reason to go back in my eyes. This tour takes place after the sun goes down because you’ll kayak through a bioluminescent bay and see all of the glowing microorganisms in the water.