Caribbean Puerto Rico Puerto Rico Guide Things To Do Essentials Restaurants Nightlife Where to Stay Neighborhoods Itineraries Events Getaways All Puerto Rico Is It Safe in Puerto Rico? Written by Zain Deane Linkedin Zain Deane is the author of "Explorer's Guide San Juan, Vieques & Culebra: A Great Destination" and several other guidebooks for Puerto Rico. Tripsavvy's Editorial Guidelines Zain Deane Updated 12/29/20 Fact-Checked by Reviewed on 12/29/20 Jillian Dara Linkedin Jillian Dara is a freelance travel writer and fact checker. Her work has appeared in Travel + Leisure, USA Today 10Best, Michelin Guide, Hemispheres, DuJour, and Jetsetter. About TripSavvy Fact-Checking Jillian Dara Share Pin Email Maremagnum / Getty Images That 25 million tourists flock to the Caribbean each year for umbrella-topped drinks and cabana lounging gives the impression that the group of islands off Miami's coast is something of a vacationer's paradise, immune to crime and corruption. In reality, parts of the Caribbean are laden with drug- and gang-related activity, such as Puerto Rico, a common pit stop for smugglers en route to the U.S. from South America. Safety is a concern for many people visiting the beachy haven, but not to worry: Tourists are not the common target for crime here. Rather, much of the island caters specifically to travelers, meaning you can walk along Fortaleza Street in Old San Juan at 3 a.m. without a worry. Given you avoid certain parts of town—notably the La Perla neighborhood (adjacent to El Castillo San Felipe del Morro) and much of Puerta de Tierra (beyond the hotels)—at night and don't encounter a hurricane during your visit, your trip to Puerto Rico will most likely be incident-free. Travel Advisories Due to the ongoing COVID-19 travel restrictions, it's recommended you monitor the current cases via the CDC before traveling. Prior to COVID-19, the U.S. Department of State had tacked Level 2 travel advisories onto a number of Caribbean Islands (Haiti is even under a Level 4), but Puerto Rico remained under a Level 1. The government advises exercising "normal precautions" in Puerto Rico, suggesting travelers take the necessary precautions to avoid petty crimes like theft and muggings. Is Puerto Rico Dangerous? In general, Puerto Rico is not a dangerous place. In fact, it's one of the safest islands the Caribbean and has a lower crime rate than most U.S. cities. However, the island is often troubled by the local drug trade. Puerto Rico’s borders are open to many small, private charter planes, as well as ships carrying illegal cargo north. Naturally, drugs find their way onto the island, and even though both the FBI and the DEA have offices in Puerto Rico, drugs remain a large problem. Additionally, Puerto Rico (like any island) occasionally falls victim to hurricanes, and with natural disasters comes an uptick in crime. After September 2017's Hurricane Maria, for instance, Puerto Rico experienced an increased homicide rate. Again, tourists are not the main target of these crimes. Storms can be avoided by traveling outside of the hurricane season, which runs from June to November. Is Puerto Rico Safe for Solo Travelers? Puerto Rico is no less safe for solo travelers than any other place, so long as lone visitors take precautions like not walking alone at night, avoiding crime-popular areas, and keeping track of possessions at all times. Like all travelers, solo tourists should keep to safe neighborhoods like San Juan Viejo, Culebra, and Vieques and avoid taking moonlit strolls along the beach at night. Puerto Rico's taxis, public buses, ferries, the Tren Urbano ("Urban Train"), and públicos are all considered to be perfectly safe. Safety Tips for LGBTQ+ Travelers With Puerto Rico being one of the most gay-popular slivers of the Caribbean, LGBTQ+ travelers need not shy away from this island and the rainbow flag-flying area of Condado Beach, especially. Tourists are protected by the United States' federal hate crime laws in Puerto Rico, which means that crimes committed on the basis of sex, gender, ethnicity, and religion are punishable by law. Hate crimes should be reported to local law enforcement (911 is still in effect for emergencies) and to the FBI, when necessary . Otherwise, LGBTQ+ revelers can find their birds of a feather at Circo Bar, a gay nightclub, or SX, both in San Juan. Safety Tips for BIPOC Travelers The population of Puerto Rico is primarily Hispanic . There aren't many reports of BIPOC travelers being treated unfavorably because of race, but such incidents are not entirely unheard of. The New York Times reported in 2020 that Puerto Rico is still plagued by its long history of racism; however, it isn't necessarily the kind of racism that translates into tourist-targeted hate crimes. Again, should you fall victim to verbal or physical harassment on the basis of discrimination, you should report the incident to local authorities. Safety Tips for Travelers Overall, tourists shouldn't expect to run into trouble during a trip to Puerto Rico. Stay safe by maintaining awareness of your surroundings and taking necessary precautions to reduce risks. Avoid wearing expensive jewelry or other clothes that signify wealth, which can attract pickpockets and muggers. Many hotels have in-room safes, which are excellent places to keep a passport and some extra cash. Credit cards are widely accepted on the island, so don't travel around with too much money in your wallet and when handling it, do so in a private place. Many police officers in the most touristy areas (like Old San Juan) are bilingual, but once you get out of the popular areas, you should expect them to only speak Spanish. Have some essential phrases memorized or download a translator app on your phone for emergencies. If you plan to rent a vehicle, don't leave your valuables in it. Carjackings aren't uncommon in Puerto Rico, even in safe areas like Vieques and Culebra, where thieves rarely think twice before smashing through a window. Tourist police can be reached in Condado at 787-726-7020 and in Isla Verde at 787-728-4770. Otherwise, you can call the national police line at 787-343-2020 or 911 in an emergency. Article Sources TripSavvy uses only high-quality, trusted sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial policy to learn more about how we keep our content accurate, reliable and trustworthy. U.S. Department of State. "Travel Advisories Level Map." Miami Herald. "On the streets of San Juan, police struggle to rein in crime after Hurricane Maria." October 20, 2017. VA.gov. "LGBT Equality in the US Territories." Retrieved December 29, 2020. U.S. Department of Justice. "Puerto Rico." U.S. Census Bureau. "Puerto Rico." 2010. The New York Times. "Why Some Black Puerto Ricans Choose ‘White’ on the Census." February 9, 2020. Was this page helpful? Thanks for letting us know! Share Pin Email Tell us why! Submit How to Stay Safe When Vacationing in Belize Is it Safe to Travel to Kashmir? Denmark Is One of the Safest Countries in the World Is It Safe to Travel to Nairobi? Is It Safe to Travel to Baltimore? Is It Safe to Travel to Mexico? Is It Safe to Travel to Ireland? Safety Tips for Travelers in Sweden Is It Safe to Travel to Bermuda? Is It Safe to Travel to Barbados? Is It Safe to Travel to Vancouver? Is It Safe to Travel to Finland? Is It Safe to Travel to Mexico City? Is It Safe to Travel to India? Is Rio de Janeiro Safe? 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