The Best Time to Visit Puerto Rico

Puerto Rico

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The best time to visit Puerto Rico is late spring to early summer (mid-April to June), while the weather still remains balmy and after travel rates drop, once the last of the spring break visitors board their return flight home. Fall is also a more economical time to visit, though travelers should be aware that this is also during the island’s unpredictable hurricane season.

Weather in Puerto Rico

The weather in Puerto Rico is balmy year-round, with average high temperatures in the mid- to high 80s Fahrenheit. The average precipitation decreases in the wintertime; January, February, and March are the driest months of the year, which is partially why the season is so popular for visitors. The annual threat of the polar vortex up north also brings plenty of travelers seeking warmer climates. The threat of foul weather is highest in the fall, which coincides with the hurricane season. Though it officially runs from June through November, chances of a hurricane are highest from July through September. The destruction caused by Hurricane Maria in 2017 drastically affected the island, though now much has returned to normal. As always, if you’re a cautious traveler, be sure to purchase travel insurance in advance of your trip.

Peak Tourist Season in Puerto Rico

During the months of December through April, the influx of visitors to Puerto Rico causes means the island is crowded (especially in the walled city of Old San Juan) and prices are high. Travelers looking to maximize their vacation budget should consider visiting in the off-season (spring and fall). For visitors staying in Puerto Rico during the busiest months of the year, consider staying in a hotel outside of Old San Juan and driving or taking the ferry from Cataño into the area. That way you can still experience the walled city without being forced to contend with crushing crowds. At 50 cents each way, the ferry is a dollar very well spent. Additionally, parking along the coastline on Isla Verde is exceedingly difficult in the busy months, so guests staying in Old San Juan should consider calling an Uber to the nearby Embassy Suites.

Key Holidays & Festivals in Puerto Rico

Puerto Rico is home to one of the oldest celebrations in the Western hemisphere, the Ponce Carnival, which occurs during week before Ash Wednesday. The largest festival in Puerto Rico is the San Sebastian Street Festival, which takes place in January. Both Ponce Carnival and the San Sebastian Street Festival have parades of Vejigantes, a folkloric character sporting bright colors, a mask, and wings. But you don't need to visit Puerto Rico in the winter months to enjoy some live music and classic Puerto Rican ambiance. There is a sunset concert on the last Sunday of each month at the Plaza Darsenas. Lasting from 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., the festivities are free to attend and feature an energizing blend of traditional and modern music. Enjoy a bite from the food trucks lining the street before dancing with the locals.

January

The balmy weather in the wintertime coincides with the influx of travelers to Puerto Rico, resulting in higher rates for hotel rooms and airfare, as well as more traffic and congestion in the Old City of San Juan. Methodical travelers should search for flight deals and hotel bookings as early as possible before their departure.

Events to check out:

  • New Year’s Day (Día de Año Nuevo) is celebrated widely throughout Puerto Rico and is a great time to visit.
  • Three Kings Day occurs on January 6th to commemorate the Wise Men.
  • The Birthday of Eugenio María de Hostos (Natalicio de Eugenio María de Hostos) is a public holiday that occurs a few days later, on January 8th, in honor of the prominent writer who fought for Puerto Rican Independence.
  • The Festival de la Novilla is held the third week of January, celebrating a novilla (a heifer in English) with festivities in the rural town of San Sebastian
  • The largest festival in Puerto Rico, San Sebastian Street Festival will occur from Jan. 15 to 21 in Old San Juan.

February

This month is the continuation of the peak tourist season, so expect prices to be higher and prepare to book in advance. There is also a coffee harvest festival and, for the more athletically inclined, a half-marathon.

Events to check out:

March

As the last full month of the busy winter season, March remains expensive to visit for tourists, though it boasts one of Puerto Rico's most iconic celebrations, the Ponce Carnival.

Events to check out:

  • The Ponce Carnival (also known as The Carnaval Ponceño) occurs in the city of Ponce during the week before Ash Wednesday.
  • Emancipation Day occurs on March 22 and celebrates the abolition of slavery in 1873.

April

Mid-April signifies the official end to the busy tourist season in the wintertime, as the last of the spring break revelers have returned home. April kicks off the rainy season which lasts until November, though rains vary by location on the island.

Events to check out:

  • Jose de Diego Day honors the "Father of Puerto Rico," the first president of the Puerto Rico House of Representatives under the U.S. Celebrations in honor of his birthday occur on April 17.
  • Good Friday and Easter Sunday celebrations occur islandwide.

May

May is also a wonderful time to visit Puerto Rico, with an average high of 87 degrees Fahrenheit (30 degrees Celsius) and an average low of 74 degrees Fahrenheit (23 degrees Celsius). The costs for travel are lowered for the entire month of May, which also features one of the best jazz festivals in the Caribbean.

Events to check out:

  • One of the best jazz events in the Caribbean, the Heineken Ventana al Jazz Festival occurs every spring in Puerto Rico.
  • La Campechada is a celebration of Puerto Rican art and culture, with each year dedicated to a prominent artist. The city changes year to year, so plan in advance.

June

The temperature rises slightly in June, to an average high of 89 degrees Fahrenheit (31 degrees Celsius) and an average low of 76 degrees Fahrenheit (24 degrees Celsius), but the rains have not yet begun in earnest in Puerto Rico. Since cost of travel is lower, it is a wise time for cost-conscious travelers to visit.

Events to check out:

July

By July, the rainy season of the summertime is officially underway, but local celebrations are underway as well. Consider attending the Loiza Carnival, or, for the more actively inclined: the El Gigante Marathon.

Events to check out:

  • The Aibonito Flower Festival occurs in the mountain town of Aibonito and is held on the last week of June through to early July.
  • Luis Munoz Rivera's Birthday is a public holiday celebrated on July 20. The poet and writer fought for Puerto Rico's independence from the U.S.

August

August is the wettest month of the year at 7 inches (18 cm) of rainfall, with an average high of 89 degrees Fahrenheit (31 degrees Celsius), and an average low of 76 degrees Fahrenheit (24 degrees Celsius).

Events to check out:

September

If you book your travel in the fall, you can find drastically reduced prices for hotel rooms, though you are leaving yourself exposed to the hurricane season that sweeps across the Atlantic.

Events to check out:

  • Enjoy a sunset concert on the last Sunday of the month at the  Plaza Darsenas. Bring your dancing shoes and your appetite, for there will be an array of food trucks as well.

October

October has an average high of 88 degrees Fahrenheit (31 degrees Celsius) and an average low of 75 degrees Fahrenheit (24 degrees Celsius), and, though it's in the hurricane season, wise travelers could score major deals on hotel bookings and airfare.

Events to check out:

  • Enjoy traditional Puerto Rican music and dance at Le Lo Lai Festival, every Tuesday at 6 p.m. at Fort San Cristobal.

November

During November, while still in hurricane season, temperatures begins to cool very slightly. Another benefit is the beginning to the baseball season in Puerto Rico, which runs through January,

Events to check out:

December

December kicks off the driest season of the year, which lasts until March, and has the most ideal weather in Puerto Rico. Another benefit of visiting in December is the plethora of festivities. The one downside is increased costs, though savvy travelers can plan in advance for their next holiday trip.

Events to check out:

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