Moving to Puerto Rico: What to Bring and How to Bring It

Moving to Puerto Rico can be a big endeavor, as it is for all intents and purposes a transatlantic move.  If you have furniture, art, and a lot of other belongings you prefer to bring with you, this post will assist you in deciding what to bring, and how to get it here.

How to Ship Your Belongings

If you are bringing more than can be carried with you on a flight, you’ll need to ship it. Smaller items can be shipped in USPS boxes at reasonable rates.

If you are considering bringing a lot more, you’ll need to work with a service, and this will typically be by ship.  There are a few mainland companies that help manage this process for you end-to-end, including assistance with packing, transportation to the port (everything ships out of Florida), loading and unloading the ship, managing government import taxes and release forms, and delivering to your new Puerto Rico home.  It is a big job and the process takes approximately four-six weeks. 

Ideally you want to avoid shipping your items during the peak of winter when the seas are highest and roughest.  You also want to be mindful of hurricane season, June-November.  Generally, spring and summer are the safest times to avoid unwanted delays or other risks. 

Here are two companies that can help with shipping belongings and vehicles: Rosa del Monte and Crowley. 

What Belongings To Bring

Of course, you will want to pack all of your shorts and bathing suits! But it is important to consider that some other items do not fare well with a lot of exposure to tropical salty air.  Your residential circumstance may impact what you choose to bring with you. If you plan to leave your windows open a lot to enjoy Puerto Rico’s ocean breeze, over time your belongings will pay a price.  However, if you minimize the ocean air exposure, most likely you can maintain your belongings in fairly good condition. 

Below are some examples of what happens to the various materials that do not fare well with a lot of exposure to the tropical air: 

  • Fabrics: The bright Puerto Rico sun and salty air can result in faster fading of colors than you may be used to. This includes “outdoor” fabrics.
  • Wool:  Wool in the tropics almost immediately absorbs the humidity and begins to smell of mold, even with air conditioning.  In general, Puerto Rico isn’t really the place for wool!
  • Shoes: Soles of shoes can disintegrate over time. If you have shoes you don’t wear frequently, you will want to store these carefully to avoid exposure that could damage them.
  • Paintings and prints: If displayed or stored in an area lacking a consistent temperature and low humidity, mold can form over time on the matting and eventually damage the art. 
  • Wood: This is one material that fares well in the Puerto Rico climate, provided you keep it dry and avoid exposure to termites.  
  • Metals:  All metals, including stainless steel, will become damaged with sea air exposure.  If you live with that beautiful sea breeze blowing through your home, you can expect that light fixtures, appliances, door hinges, and any metal part of your furniture will show corrosion fairly quickly.  There are some good polishes that you can apply and if you are able to put in the time and elbow grease, you can stay ahead of the salt air.  Products such as WD40 and Corosion X can be applied to door hinges and window frames to keep them in order.. 

It is also important to get anti-rust treatments for your car every few years if you are parking it very close to the beach.

We Can Help

Our company helps people like you take advantage of Puerto Rico’s excellent tax incentives!  We can help you determine which tax incentives are right for you, help you plan your residency and relocation strategy, and simplify the entire process for you.

Contact us for a free initial consultation.

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