Can you Drive to Puerto Rico?

Can you Drive to Puerto Rico?

Imagine cruising along the Florida coastline, the ocean breeze in your hair, with Puerto Rico set as your destination on the GPS. The miles tick down as you anticipate exploring Old San Juan’s cobblestone streets before relaxing on a scenic beach. Sounds like a dream road trip, right?

Can you Drive to Puerto Rico?

Unfortunately, the laws of geography have other ideas. With over 1,000 miles separating Puerto Rico from the US mainland, driving there is impossible. But don’t ditch your tropical plans just yet! You’ve still got plenty of convenient transportation options for this Caribbean escape.

Can you Drive to Puerto Rico?

In this guide, we’ll cover everything you need to know about getting to Puerto Rico without a car, plus tips to make the most of your time once you arrive on the island. Let’s hit the highway!

Why You Simply Can’t Drive to Puerto Rico

Situated east of the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico occupies a strategic point between the Caribbean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean. Its shores are lapped by waves from all sides.

Yet precisely, this geographic location that endows Puerto Rico with stunning vistas also cuts it off from the North American road network.

Can you Drive to Puerto Rico?

No roads lead out of Florida toward this island, which has belonged to the US since 1898 yet retains its own culture, cuisine, and customs. No bridges or tunnels traverse the thousand-plus miles to the US mainland.

Unfortunately, there is no “car ferry” ship shuttling automobiles between places like Miami or Fort Lauderdale and Puerto Rico. (The Caribbean islands ahead of Puerto Rico, like the Bahamas, similarly lack direct car ferry access from the US mainland.)

You technically could transport your car as commercial shipping cargo. But trying to coordinate drop-off, ocean transit, customs, and pick-up in San Juan would be a giant hassle.

For most visitors eager to soak up Puerto Rico’s vibrant culture rather than grease their gears at a shipping depot, flying, cruising, or ferrying as a walk-on foot passenger are far more appealing options.

How to Get to Puerto Rico from the Mainland USA

Ready to taste mouthwatering mofongo after swaying to salsa rhythms on the streets of Old San Juan?

Here’s an overview of viable routes to arrive from different points in the continental US:

How Long Does it Take to Get to Puerto Rico By Plane?

How Long Does it Take to Get to Puerto Rico By Plane?

Multiple airlines offer direct flights spanning 2.5-3 hours on average from major US airports to San Juan’s Luis Muñoz Marín International Airport (SJU) and other smaller Puerto Rican airports.

As an overseas US territory, Puerto Rico has no formal customs for US citizens. Just grab your carry-ons and valid photo ID to explore upon landing!

Sample routes and fares:

  • Miami to San Juan – 2.5 hour flight, $100-$150 roundtrip
  • New York City to San Juan – 4-hour flight, $250-$400+ roundtrip
  • Los Angeles to San Juan – Overnight connecting flight via Miami or other hub city

Pro Tip: Monitor budget carriers like Frontier, Spirit, and JetBlue for deals, especially during off-peak periods like late summer/early fall hurricane season.

How Long Does it Take to Get to Puerto Rico By Cruise?

How Long Does it Take to Get to Puerto Rico By Cruise?

Many 7+ night Caribbean cruises on lines like Royal Caribbean, Carnival Cruise Line, and more make port calls in San Juan, plus sometimes other Puerto Rican destinations like the southern city Ponce.

You’ll get a taste of Puerto Rico through a day or overnight stay but be locked into the cruise’s broader itinerary with fewer overland touring options. Cruises run year-round, but expect peak pricing in winter months.

  • Miami to San Juan (Part of 7-night Caribbean Cruise) – From $575 per person
  • Ft. Lauderdale to San Juan (Part of a 10-night Southern Caribbean Cruise) – From $1,200 per person

Pro Tip: Compare pricing across cruise lines, ships, seasonal rates, and port charges closely. Mini suite vs. interior cabin or the inclusion of beverage packages can greatly impact overall cruise fare.

How Long Does it Take to Get to Puerto Rico By Ferry?

How Long Does it Take to Get to Puerto Rico By Ferry?

While no direct US-Puerto Rico car ferries exist, it IS possible to travel by standard walk-on ferry between the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico as an alternative to flying.

The main route connects Rio Haina, near the Dominican capital, Santo Domingo, to Old San Juan, running twice weekly in each direction. Total travel time is around 13 hours overnight. You still have to factor in getting to the DR without a car first.

  • Santo Domingo, DR to San Juan fare – Approx. $130 one-way

Pro Tip: This ferry option works best for travelers already visiting the Dominican Republic looking for a change of scenery in Puerto Rico for a few nights. The novelty of the all-night crossing wears off quickly!

Getting Around Puerto Rico Once You Arrive

Things You Need to Know About Driving in Puerto Rico

Okay, you made it to Puerto Rico without your beloved car by flying into San Juan or arriving on a cruise ship. Now what?

Can you Drive to Puerto Rico?

Public transportation like buses, trains, Uber/Lyft, and taxis can shuttle you around San Juan affordably. But venturing beyond the capital or seeing multiple sites in a day is easier with a rental car, especially if you have limited time.

Economy car rentals start around $30 per day. Just remember to request an automatic transmission and watch for aggressive local drivers!

If you’ll be sticking mostly to the San Juan area, save rental car costs by booking organized day trips to top attractions like El Yunque National Forest, Rio Camuy Cave Park, or the Arecibo Observatory radio telescope via knowledgeable local guides.

Booking a resort or hotel stay outside San Juan that offers shuttle service or on-demand rides is another car-free way to freely explore the island’s natural attractions and charming towns at your leisure without the big upfront rental car cost.

Pro Tip: Your US driver’s license is valid in Puerto Rico because it’s an overseas US territory. Be keen on the traffic signs and speed limits.

Top Things to Do in Puerto Rico

Top Things to Do in Puerto Rico

However you get around, don’t miss these must-see highlights:

  • Old San Juan – Meander pastel-hued Spanish colonial buildings along cobblestone streets full of fortresses, churches, and trendy shops.
  • A Bioluminescent Bay – Kayak, snorkel, or boat through one of three bays full of microscopic bioluminescent organisms that glow an alien neon blue when disturbed.
  • El Yunque National Forest – This 30,000-acre rainforest is Puerto Rico’s only national park, perfect for hiking trails past tropical fauna or taking an enchanting Baño Grande Waterfall swim.
  • Flamenco Beach – Possibly Puerto Rico’s most postcard-perfect white sand beach framed by palm trees and turquoise waters, shortlisted as one of the world’s best beaches.
  • Culebra Island & Flamenco Beach – Accessible via ferry just off Puerto Rico’s eastern coast, tiny Culebra Island has some of the world’s most jaw-dropping beaches.

When’s the Best Time to Visit Puerto Rico? 

With temperatures in the 80s year-round, Puerto Rico delivers beach conditions no matter when you visit. But timing your travels right means balancing weather risks with prices and crowds.

Peak winter months (mid-December-mid-April) draw droves of American travelers seeking refuge from frigid temperatures up north. Costs jump, and hotels fill up quickly. But you’ll enjoy warm rather than sweltering temps and the lowest chance of rain.

When's the Best Time to Visit Puerto Rico? 

Late spring brings the start of Puerto Rico’s rainy season, which intensifies through summer into early fall. Showers often pass quickly in the afternoon but also serve up rainbows. Lower hotel rates provide budget travelers flexibility.

Just be prepared if visiting between June and November, the official Atlantic hurricane season. Storm risks may deter some visitors, but airfares and hotels drop for those unbothered by the small likelihood of interruption.

Wherever you are in planning a perfect Puerto Rico trip, visiting during the shoulder seasons of late April-May or September-mid December balances great weather and lower prices before crowds and storms hit.


Can you drive to Puerto Rico? No, you can’t, but with convenient air connections from across the US, getting to Puerto Rico really is a breeze. And once your toes hit the sand, you’ll hardly be worrying about the fact you couldn’t drive as you lose yourself in island bliss. !Buen viaje!

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