Understanding how Puerto Rico’s tax incentives benefit your business is part one. Part two of the equation is actually relocating to your new home, maintaining your business operations, and solving for any family concerns. We think you’ll like what you find. Doing and conducting business comes with some administrative hurdles, but nothing out of the ordinary. And in terms of lifestyle and day-to-day living, many people have come before you, a few manageable challenges await. If you’re the type of person considering Act 20 or Act 22, you’ll be just fine.
Living in Puerto Rico
Cost of Living
The cost of living in Puerto Rico is comparable to living in the U.S. cities of Orlando or Austin. It is about 15%-30% cheaper than Miami or Seattle, and up to 40% cheaper than major cities such as Washington, D.C. or New York City, according to the Council of Community and Economic Research. You can expect items like vehicles, electricity, and imported gods to be more expensive than the U.S., and items like local foods, property taxes, transportation, and healthcare to be cheaper.
There is a wide range of housing options available on the island for different budgets and tastes. You can find anything from beachfront luxury in Condado to gated family communities in Dorado to a bohemian atmosphere in Ocean Park to a classic European style in Old San Juan. There is something for everyone, whether you decide to stay in San Juan metro, or head for one of the other coasts.
Rent, on average, is about $1,500 a month for a 2 bedroom / 2 bath in popular areas. You’ll may encounter high volatility in pricing due to erratic supply and demand caused by the Hurricanes, current market, and low availability of renovated units. For those planning to purchase a home, housing prices in popular areas are comparable to many U.S. cities, while taxes and insurance are lower.
There are numerous public and private schools that offer a high-quality education for grade school (K-12) and higher education learning. Many private schools on the island boast high acceptance rates to top rated U.S. universities.
There are also over 100 institutions of higher learning, including universities, colleges, community colleges, and technical institutes. The largest public university in Puerto Rico is the multi-campus University of Puerto Rico. More than 35,000 university degrees are granted each year; more than 12,000 are in the sciences, mathematics, technology fields and business administration.
Crime rates in Puerto Rico are comparable to those in other major U.S. cities. It is advised to exercise common sense precautions that would be followed in any major city to avoid problems.
The electrical grid is notoriously underdeveloped, but many residences and businesses are prepared for power outages that may occur with backup generators.
Water and wastewater systems meet the same standards in the mainland U.S. as dictated by the Environmental Protection Agency. Water can be consumed from the tap in all cities.
Getting to and from the Island is easy with hundreds of direct flights to many U.S. cities on a daily basis, including places as far as Montreal, New York, and Houston, via San Juan International Airport. There are two additional passenger airports that service other parts of the Island.
Primary roads are comparable to those in the U.S. mainland. Public transportation is available and rideshare services, such as Uber, are also popular.
Map of direct flights from San Juan International
You can expect U.S. standards in terms of medical facilities and physicians.
When searching for a local health insurance provider you will find premiums are usually cheaper than in the U.S. Check with your mainland and future P.R. provider to confirm coverages are suitable.
Resource: Triple-S Salud (the largest provider in Puerto Rico)
You can expect mainland U.S. banking standards, products, and protections offered by local and international banks. This includes FDIC protection up to $250K. Banco Popular is the most popular for personal and business banking.
Resource: Banco Popular
Most U.S. carriers work normally in Puerto Rico without additional fees. Depending on where you live and work, you may decide to switch carriers to improve service.
Puerto Rico has the necessary infrastructure for VoIP and broadband data connectivity to supply industry needs in landline service, wireless service, and Ethernet. Puerto Rico is connected to the mainland United States through the Puerto Rico undersea fiber-optic cable of the American Region Caribbean Optical-ring System. This connectivity provides broadband accessibility for Internet access.
The United States Postal Service is the national mail carrier.
We saved the best for last. The climate of Puerto Rico is predominately tropical rainforest. Temperatures throughout the year are warm to hot, averaging near between 70 and 85 degrees F. The rainy season stretches from April into November, which includes the Atlantic hurricane season.
Resource: Puerto Rico annual weather averages