General Information on Puerto Rico
Most major airlines fly to Puerto Rico from the continental United States and from majors hubs in Europe. You can fly non-stop to Puerto Rico from Frankfurt, Madrid, Chicago, Atlanta, Miami, Houston, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, New York, Newark, and other cities.
International flights arrive to either Luis Muñoz Marín International Airport (Airport Code: SJU) in San Juan, which is approximatly a 2.5 hour drive (top) from UPRM, and also from Rafael Hernandez airport (airport code: BQN) in Aguadilla, which is approximately a 45 minute drive from UPRM.
You can get a charter flight from Luis Muñoz Marín Airport to the local airport in the city of Mayagüez just a few minutes from the university. You may also find charter flights from Luis Muñoz airport to Aguadilla or the local airport of Merceditas in the town of Ponce which is about one hour and a half from Mayagüez. American Eagle a subsidiary of American Airlines has daily flights to Mayagüez.
Non-U.S. citizens are required to have a valid passport or visa. For more information regarding passports and visas call the Puerto Rico Department of State at Tel 787-722-2121. Check the U.S. State Department for additional information.
Some of the common American air carriers flying to Puerto Rico are American Airlines, JetBlue, Spirit, Delta, Continental, American Trans Air, Northwest Airlines and United Airlines.
Water in Puerto Rico is safe to drink, and does not carry disease. For those with taste preferences, bottled water is widely available.
The currency is the U.S. dollar. All major credit cards are accepted in most establishments. You can use most state-side ATM cards and others major networks like PLUS and Cirrus are accepted by ATM machines and in stores when making purchases. There historically has been no sales tax in Puerto Rico, but recent laws have now enacted a sales tax. It varies depending on location, but can range from 1 to 7%
The area codes are 787 and 939. When dialing a number outside the local area you must dial "1" and the area code for the number. The emergency number is 911 and the information number is 411. The major wireless providers in the island are AT&T, Sprint PCS, TMobile and Claro.
The electric current used throughout the country is 110 volts, 60 cycles. Special fixtures allow the use of 220 volts, 60 cycles.
PR is on Atlantic Standard Time all year around, which is one hour later than Eastern Standard Time from October to April, and the same as Eastern Daylight Saving Time from April to October.
PR has a year-round summer with different regional climates. The temperature along the coast is 80sºF/27ºC to low 90sºF/32ºC during the day, and 75ºF/24ºC or so at night. In the mountains it is 10 to 20 ºF cooler year around. In Mayagüez, it rains often in the afternoon most of the year, so it is a good idea to carry an umbrella for the rain.
Driving in PR is on the right-hand side of the road. A valid foreign driver's license can be used for up to one month
Gasoline is sold by the liter in Puerto Rico. Prices over the last year have varied widely (a pattern affecting the entire USA), and have ranged from $0.55 to $0.75/liter.
Road signs in Puerto Rico indicate distances in units of kilometers (km). Road maps are widely available, and it is highly advised to purchase a basic road map if you plan on exploring during your stay. Rental car companies usually provide a basic map with the rental cost. Detailed maps are available at gas stations and convenience stores.
Please note: emergency vehicles in PR, including police, ambulances, etc., routinely drive around with their flashing lights on, but no siren. This is normal. If a police car is driving behind you with their flashing lights and no siren you do not need to pull over or yield. You only need to yield to emergency vehicles (or pull over, in the case of police) if their sirens are on.
Please note and observe the local speed limits. On highways they range from 50 to 65 miles per hour (mph). Highway 2 in north and west PR is mostly 50 mph. Highway 22 ranges from 55 (near towns) to 65 mph (in rural areas).
The US Department of Agriculture prohibits the movement of certain products to mainland and to the island from other countries. Please contact the US Department of Agriculture for more information, TEL. (787) 253-4510 or the US Customs at TEL. (787) 253-4533.
All US Federal laws and regulations apply in PR.
Tho official languages are Spanish and English. Classes in campus are offered either in english or spanish depending on the professors preferance. Almost all textbooks are in english. Administrative paperwork is available mainly in spanish. Most locals understand and speak english.
Security at the airports:
Due to new security requirements established by the Department of Homeland Security all baggage and travelers will be inspected at the airport. So plan ahead for some delays and pack light. Remember, when you leave Puerto Rico, you will need to pass your bag through the USDA inspection station and receive a sticker before you can check your luggage at the airline counter.