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By No owner — last modified Jun 25, 2018 09:07 AM

 Puerto Rico - Profile

Facts

  • Northernmost, within the eastern Caribbean, and several times larger than its southerly island neighbours, Puerto Rico’s sophistication as a US Commonwealth makes it stand out in terms of value.
  • Puerto Rico is a natural stepping off point to/from North America and Europe, thus known as the Passage Islands.
  • The ports of San Juan, Ponce, Humacao and Fajardo offer full service marinas and haul outs, diesel repair, boatswains, sail makers, and other services. Puerto Real in Cabo Rojo, Boquerón, Salinas, La Parguera, and Bahia de Jobos offer marinas and inland adventure.
  • The Spanish Virgin Islands (which are part of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico), include the islands of Vieques and Culebra, which are less than 15 nautical miles from the USVI. Other beautiful uninhabited islands dot Puerto Rico’s west, south and east coasts.
  • Avoid eating any fish caught off Vieques as local opinion is that most fish have Ciguatera.
  • Mona Island off the West coast of Puerto Rico (the "Galapagos of the Caribbean), whilst a fascinating place to visit, has no safe anchorages and yachts require a permit.
  • The currency is the US dollar. Credit cards are accepted virtually everywhere. Puerto Rico is bi-lingual in Spanish and English.
  • Hurricane Maria struck the island as a Cat 4 on 20 September 2017 shortly after Hurricane Irma passed by less than two weeks prior. The damage from Hurricane Maria was catastrophic. The entire island lost power, hydroelectric dams failed, and some areas were cut off. The central mountain range suffered the most damage; coastal towns and marinas sustained little destruction and quickly reinstated operations.
  • Security

    Puerto Rico has few reported incidents and the overall safety of the area is high in comparison to many other Caribbean destinations.

    That said, (based on reports to CSSN and Noonsite from cruisers), petty theft from yachts is on the rise in the Caribbean in general and cruisers reported in 2015 on various cruiser facebook groups, being boarded and robbed in Vieques.

    There have been six reports so far in 2017 of outboard and dinghy theft from Vieques. Thieves operating here are well prepared and seem beyond the interest or reach of authorities. If you choose to visit Vieques, best practices are called for, LIFT and LOCK (securely) dinghies and outboards when not in use.

    Cruisers should take basic safety precautions and use common sense when leaving the boat or going ashore at night.

    The Caribbean Safety and Security Net ([email protected]) provides information by anchorage or by island, so sailors can plan their cruising in the Caribbean with an eye to appropriate behaviour and precautions wherever they decide to go. Should you have suffered a boarding, robbery or attack on your yacht or have information about a yachting-related security incident, go to the CSSN homepage and click on the "Report an Incident" icon. The associated form is quick and simple to complete and ensures that all the necessary details are reported. The CSSN is the most comprehensive source of Caribbean security incidents against sailors. Remember, it is every cruiser's responsibility to ensure that incidents are reported. Also cruisers can subscribe to e-mail alerts, follow on facebook and twitter and listen to the SSB Voice Service.

    Also be sure to check the Noonsite Piracy & Safety Pages

    Last updated April 2017.

    Weather

    Puerto Rico has a pleasant year round climate. Rain is heavier on the northern mainland coastal plain. To the south, the climate is more arid. The hurricane season is June to November.

    US Coast Guard offers weather reports and forecasting on VHF WX Channels 5 or 6.

    National Weather Service
    NOAA agency that covers weather forecasts and severe weather warnings for the USA, Puerto Rico, US Virgin Islands, Guam and American Samoa.

    For links to free global weather information, forecast services and extreme weather information see the Noonsite Weather Page.

    Main Ports

    Isla de Mona: Isla de Mona

    Main Island: Boqueron , Fajardo * , Guanica , Mayaguez * , Palmas del Mar , Ponce * , Puerto Real , Salinas , San Juan *

    Spanish Virgin Islands: Culebra * , Vieques *

    * indicates port of entry

    Elvira Llabres
    Elvira Llabres says:
    Jun 21, 2018 12:34 AM

    To clear in mayagüez, anchor in the middle of the bay just south of Boca morena. The commercial port is not where you can clear customs. There is a small fishing dock, but we couldn't leave the dinghy there. We landed on the beach in front on supermarket selectos. Good provisioning there. We anchored in 4 or 5 meters of water. Just 2 blocks from the supermarket, you find the customs and immigration. Aduana. Calle González clemente corner with calle aduana. Be sure you have a visa or your ESTA has been activated in an airport or commercial port (ferry...) When it is activated that way, you can transit us islands for the next 90 days. We payed 28.24 dollars for a US flag boat, and its valid until the end of the year. Only cash and no change given. For a foreign vessel was a similar amount and I cannot remember how long it was valid for. You have to report by phone before walking in. If you don't have a visa or an ESTA activated, you will have to pay a 500 dollars fine per person.

    rich50
    rich50 says:
    Feb 03, 2018 05:43 PM

    Westbound from USVI.
    As a non-US boat, we'd needed to jump the hoops to get into the USVI. Well documented - do the ferry hop to get your non-US passport stamped in St Thomas. Having done that, we not only had an easy entry to the USVI, but this set us up for check-in to Puerto Rico as well.
    After check-out of USVI, we checked-in at Culebra Island airport. You are supposed to phone ahead, but we got no signal, and they were fine (but do phone if you get a signal). US stamps acquired in USVI - good for them also. Fees - $74 total. For the dog, they just checked the health certificate we'd got the day before on St Thomas. Friendly service, and welcoming.
    Culebra is pretty good (ref. hurricanes). Lots of room in the harbor; super holding (quite shallow); restaurants open near the canal (opposite side of the bay from the airport). It's definitely worth entering Puerto Rico this way, and it also makes it an easy two-step hop from the USVI to the mainland.

    Sailress
    Sailress says:
    Apr 04, 2017 10:43 PM

    So strange that La Parguera is not listed as a good anchorage in Puerto Rico! It was our favourite! It is super protected and a lot of fun. Especially Cayo Caracoles, a mangrove island where people anchor with their power boats and party in the water! It's loud and crowded but lots of fun! We highly recommend it!
    Another great anchorage is outside Giligans Island in Guanica. We don't understand why it's not packed with sailing boats.

    fred_rousseaux
    fred_rousseaux says:
    Jun 20, 2015 02:05 AM

    General information about Mona Island as of June 1st 2015.
    - 5 Free NOAA Buoys available inside the lagoon
    - Entrance (narrow, 6 feet deep) to the lagoon marked by 2 aligned orange / brown signs on shore
    - National park guard and rangers are very nice and have lots of stories to tell about the island.
    - Excellent snorkeling on both sides of the reef
    - To walk the trails on the island you need a permit you can get in Puerto Rico (main island)
    - You might get water (bring your jerry cans) from the rangers if needed
    -
    It's definitly a great stop to rest during your crossing between Rep Dominicana and Puerto Rico. Cliffs and bird watching are amazing.

    fred_rousseaux
    fred_rousseaux says:
    Jun 20, 2015 01:52 AM

    Same thing. We entered from the USVI to Culebra Island (East of Puerto Rico), got our cruzing permit for 37 U$S and ready to sail the US territories for 1 year.

    Sue Richards
    Sue Richards says:
    Dec 17, 2014 01:45 PM

    Posted on behalf of Scott Fratcher:
    Air Conditioning/Refrigeration
    We tried a couple different guys, and settled on May Day Marine 787-637-0756. They came when they said they would, found the leak, cleaned up after themselves, and did a really good job on the soldering. We would use them again.

    Sue Richards
    Sue Richards says:
    May 14, 2014 09:47 PM

    Posted on behalf of Ann Lange
    This is for Canadian cruisers wanting to enter the U.S. from the Caribbean. We sailed up from Brazil - Trinidad - north through the Caribbean to BVI's. We had no problems what so ever getting into the USVI's, just the normal paper work. We asked if we could purchase a U.S. cruising permit in the USVI's, the answer was no but we could obtain it in Puerto Rico. We sailed into San Juan without phoning or anything and once we found the Customs and Border Protection office on the south side of the main harbour they issued us a one year cruising permit. It cost us $37.00 USD in April of 2014, this allows us to cruise anywhere in the U.S. including any protectorates. We found this process very simple and easy compared with all the rumours we had heard.

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