Puerto Rico

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Puerto Rico Today

Are you dreaming about the good life in Puerto Rico? While Puerto Rico certainly gives expats a taste of the Caribbean, it is not all about long sandy beaches. Find out all you need to know about being an expat in Puerto Rico, the people, the culture, and all that comes with it.

When it comes to the technicalities of living in Puerto Rico, you’ll find that things like visas and work permits, as well as taxes and social security, are either partly or completely regulated by US law. Our article on Working in Puerto Rico has more information on how taxation is handled on the island. For an in-depth look at the other aspects mentioned above, please read our Expat Guide to the USA.

A Modern Puerto Rico

Today, Puerto Ricans are proud of their culture and traditions, shaped by family values, hospitality, and religion. While 85% of them are of Roman Catholic faith, Puerto Rico is also home to a large Jewish community, and espiritismo, a belief in spirits of the dead and occult forces, is still common today.

Puerto Rico is an island of sharp contrasts, a place where the new and the old merge to form a very special mix of cultures. One area where old and new influences converge in a notable manner is architecture: you’ll find Spanish colonial buildings next to huge, US-style malls, which in turn coexist with tiny corner shops and ultra-modern construction projects.

The influence of the United States is also reflected in the many English words which have made their way into Puerto Ricans’ everyday Spanish and of course in the overall use of English as the second official language. However, many inhabitants of Puerto Rico do not speak English at an advanced level as Spanish is still the most commonly used language.

Healthcare in Puerto Rico

The Puerto Rican healthcare system is closely tied to US social security, which Puerto Ricans contribute to. However, they do not enjoy the same benefits as people on the mainland. Puerto Rico is often left out of or only partially benefits from US healthcare reforms and does not receive an equal share of healthcare funding. Although about half of the population relies on the public health insurance Medicaid, spending on healthcare is capped in Puerto Rico. The territory also has to cover a larger share of the Medicaid cost than any of the US states.

If the healthcare system was lacking before the hurricane in September 2017, it was nothing compared to the situation in the hurricane aftermath. While large parts of the island were still without electricity and running water in December 2017, and with other resources running low, hospitals and medical staff struggle to provide the necessary care to all their patients.

Expats in Puerto Rico definitely need to take out private health insurance, which will also give them access to the island’s various private hospitals and clinics. You can consult the US hospital finder to locate your nearest healthcare provider in Puerto Rico.

Even though there are usually no common health risks associated with traveling to Puerto Rico, you should make sure that all your standard vaccinations have been refreshed. If in doubt, consult your doctor or a travel health clinic. There have been increased outbreaks of Dengue fever as well as the Zika virus in the Caribbean, so do take precautions against mosquito bites while in Puerto Rico.

Education in Puerto Rico

Education is a high-priority matter in Puerto Rico and receives a third of budget spending. The island is proud of its overall literacy rate of 93%. Puerto Rico has over 1,380 public schools, around 700 private schools, and 27 colleges and universities.

In Puerto Rico, compulsory education lasts for 13 years. Children usually attend primary school for the first six years of their education, and secondary education is divided into two cycles. In public schools, education takes place in Spanish, while English is taught as a second language. There are some private and international schools which use English as their main language of teaching, such as the Caribbean School in Ponce, the Robinson School in Bayamón, and the Baldwin School in San Juan..


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Saad Dessouki

"Leaving Europe behind was not easy for my family -- but with InternNations, we found other expat families in Puerto Rico immediately."

Sophie Poirier

"Thanks to InterNations, I found other international people in Puerto Rico, who truly enrich my life. "

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