Frequently Asked Questions About Puerto Rico

Frequently Asked Questions About Puerto Rico

Below are some of the most common questions we hear from people considering Puerto Rico as a relocation destination. Contact us for more details, and for a free consultation about your unique situation.


Doesn’t Puerto Rico Have a High Crime Rate?

Puerto Rico’s issue has more to do with public relations than actual crime! This image is partly formed by cultural stereotypes and political history.

Like everywhere else, Puerto Rico’s crime rate varies depending upon what area you happen to be in. Its metropolitan areas tend to be higher, especially in less wealthy parts of town. However, it can be argued that the crime in the cities is comparable to US cities. For example, Puerto Rico’s murder rate is half that of Washington DC and Detroit. If Puerto Rico were ranked for safety as if it were a State, it would be 19th in the list.

For those who are relocating and want an extra degree of protection, there are a number of gated community options that are extremely safe.


What is the Food Like in Puerto Rico?

The local cuisine is Spanish with Caribbean accents. It is heavy in meat, particularly pork, and moderately spicy, though typically less spicy than what you might find in other parts of Latin America. As in many “island” cuisines, sweet and coconut flavors can be found in many dishes. Plantains are a major staple.

Dining out, we have found that while many fine options exist in Puerto Rico, good restaurants featuring Asian cuisines, in particular, are rare.

Grocery stores are plentiful, and the locally grown food is inexpensive. For organic food, and other items that are not produced on-island, you may have to go to specialty stores, where the prices are higher.


Is it Safe to Drink the Water?

The tap water is considered safe to drink in Puerto Rico, as the sanitation standards are the same here as in the States.


Is it Necessary to Learn Spanish to Live in Puerto Rico?

The great news is that it is not necessary to learn Spanish to relocate to Puerto Rico!

Both Spanish and English are official languages in Puerto Rico. Most government forms and official sites, as well as most menus and other things you might need to read, are available in English. Also, most service providers and customer service representatives are either fluent in both English and Spanish, or at least know enough English to get by.

However, you will almost definitely encounter some people who speak little to no English. For these encounters, it can be helpful to learn at least a little conversational Spanish, though we have never yet encountered a situation when it was absolutely necessary. Puerto Ricans are generally very friendly and accommodating of a limited Spanish vocabulary; rather than being judgmental or impatient, as some cultures can be in this type of situation, the folks in Puerto Rico usually appear to us to graciously appreciate whatever genuine effort you can make.


What is the Cost of Living in Puerto Rico?

The cost of living varies depending upon the area in which you live. Gated communities tend to be more expensive for real estate, and the dining and entertainment in those areas are also pricier. However, people who move to more expensive areas in Puerto Rico may well have lived incomparably expensive areas prior. There are many areas to live which are still desirable and safe, but affordable.

Gas tends to be just slightly more expensive in Puerto Rico than in the States. (Also note that it is sold in liters rather than gallons, which can be confusing at first.) Electricity is currently about twice the price; however, there is never a need to heat your living space here, and while you may choose to run your air conditioner more, fuel efficient inverter air conditioners are common in most modern homes.

Food can be more expensive, particularly if you prefer to buy organic products, as there is currently very little organic farming happening in Puerto Rico. Other items that must be imported may cost more as well.

Here is a cost of living comparison tool which may give you a good idea of what you might expect, based on an average price for living in Puerto Rico, compared to wherever you may be moving from.


What would happen if Puerto Rico Became a State?

If Puerto Rico became a US State, its residents would become subject to US federal tax. This almost completely eliminates the benefits of the tax incentive Acts, as the low Puerto Rico tax would then become a state tax, owed in addition to what must be paid to the IRS.

It should be noted, however, that the people of Puerto Rico have declined Statehood, by public referendum, on more than one occasion in the past. Many Puerto Ricans are proud of their independence; Puerto Rico competes as its own country in the Olympic Games. Also, with so many of the population living in poverty, few are eager to accept the additional tax burden for many that would come with Statehood. Finally, it appears to us that many Puerto Ricans are savvy about the prospects for economic recovery, growth, and prosperity made possible by the Commonwealth’s unique legal status. Though Statehood may be inevitable at some point in the farther future, we judge it to be unlikely in the near term.

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.

Puerto Rico’s Economy: Land of Opportunity

Puerto Rico’s Economy: Land of Opportunity

Puerto Ricos Economy

Most of what has been covered in the news lately is Puerto Rico’s debt, and there is no doubt that this is a serious issue. Currently, the new PROMESA board is at work to determine the plan to restructure Puerto Rico’s debt, and plan what changes may go with it to ensure ongoing accountability.

What is not included in these news reports is the stunning opportunities for new business growth that the island and all its many advantages make possible. In addition to incredible, world-class tax incentives, Puerto Rico is also attractive in other ways. These opportunities are very likely to continue since they are part of the means for improving the economy long-term. (There have been no signs that the recent passage of the PROMESA bill by the US Congress will negatively impact the ability or intention of the Puerto Rican government to continue to incentivize economic growth and recovery through the excellent legal tax advantages that it currently makes available to its legal residents.)

Beneficial for Businesses

Puerto Rico is a great place to do business for many industries. A number of fortune 100 companies have established operations here, including 10 of the world’s top 20 pharma and biotech companies; 2 Fortune 1000 companies are even headquartered in Puerto Rico. And out of 174 active Foreign Trade Zones, Puerto Rico ranks 13th in imports and 11th in exports (report reference from 2012).


  • Puerto Rico’s tax incentives are world class!
  • All needed infrastructure is in place.
  • The tax incentives are creating an entrepreneurial environment, where it is easy to meet potential business partners.
  • For many people, Puerto Rico’s weather, beaches, and beautiful places to live make it a very desirable place to relocate, so some employees and business partners may be easy to convince.
  • PR has a bilingual population.
  • One of the best engineering schools in the country is located in Mayaguez, and US companies heavily recruit all types of Puerto Rico STEM graduates.
  • Puerto Rico is very accessible by air travel, with many non-stop flights daily from New York and other major US cities.


Puerto Rico Has the Most Developed Economy in Latin America

Puerto Rico’s annual gross domestic product is about $100 billion. The economy is already strong in the following sectors:

  • Manufacturing
  • Pharmaceuticals
  • Electronics
  • Processed foods
  • Clothing
  • Textiles
  • Service
  • Tourism

Technology is a growing industry, and some predict it may be the next big wave.

Future Plans for Economic Development

Puerto Rico is currently still losing some of its most highly educated residents to higher paying jobs in other locations. Many of the plans to improve the economy involve creating additional and more substantial jobs locally, to retain top talent on the island. Attracting more business to Puerto Rico naturally also impacts the economy indirectly by creating more services jobs to support these businesses and new residents relocating to Puerto Rico.

The PR government’s plans include encouraging growth in Manufacturing, Services, and Tourism businesses. Act 73 (the Economic Development Incentives Act) and Act 20 (the Export Services Act), have been put in place to attract new businesses of these types to the island, to create new jobs for Puerto Rican residents, and to boost the local economy. The Tourism Development Act has been put in place to offer tax credits and exemptions for businesses constructing and operating tourism endeavors.

Puerto Rico is fortunate to be located in an advantageous geographic position along the Mona Passage, between the Atlantic Ocean and the Panama Canal. Puerto Rico’s Port of the Americas is designed as a modern, containerized import/export and transshipment cargo facility. Located in Ponce, Puerto Rico’s second largest city, on the southern coast, it is also very near to Mercedita International Airport (PSE).

With Act 214, Puerto Rico embraces innovation via the Science, Technology, and Research Trust. The Trust provides access to grants for projects involving technology commercialization, research, and the creation of science and technology jobs.

Plans are also underway to transform the former Roosevelt Roads Navy base into a diverse community including tourist attractions, residential properties, schools, and hospitals.

Read more about these and several other plans in progress to stimulate Puerto Rico’s economy in the official government report. Feel free to contact us with any questions.


Puerto Rico government report on current economic indicators

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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