The author walking in a historic place in Puerto Rico

How to Get Around Puerto Rico (13 Best Ways, By A Local)

There are at least thirteen ways to get around Puerto Rico. Transportation options in Puerto Rico include rental cars, taxis, buses, Uber, ferries, trains, scooters, and even trolleys. If you’re deciding how to get around in Puerto Rico, the best transportation method will depend on the cities you’re visiting, if you’re staying in the metro area, your budget, and your preferred way of traveling.

That probably sounds like a lot to sort through, huh?

Well, don’t worry – because I’m a local and I’m here to help!

In this list, I’m breaking down the best and worst of each transportation method so you can choose exactly what will fit your needs. I will also tell you the best local’s tips on how to move in Puerto Rico. 

Let’s dive in:

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13 Ways to Get Around in Puerto Rico

Rental Cars

🚗 Best for: Comfort, saving time, and freedom to explore
💵 Cost: $$$
👉 Where to Book: Discover Cars

The author with her rented jeep in Puerto Rico
Me with my rented Jeep in Vieques

Renting a car is the single best way for moving around the island of Puerto Rico. Driving in Puerto Rico is actually pretty easy, especially if you are coming from elsewhere in the USA. 

You will find major rental car companies in Isla Verde, where you can get a rental car for your trip with a driver’s license, compulsory liability coverage, and collision damage insurance. If you don’t have any insurance, you can pay an additional fee to get it with most rental car companies, or it’s also available as an add-on when booking through Discover Cars.

To search dozens of agencies at once, and compare quotes side by side, I suggest using the Discover Cars search engine

Pros of Car Rentals:

  • Explore at your own pace
  • Cheaper than private shuttles
  • Save time
  • Comfort

Cons of Car Rentals:

  • Pricey if you don’t book with time
  • Having to pay toll roads
  • Learning routes, speed limits, and traffic rules
  • Risks of car theft

👉 Pro Tip: Check out my full article on how to rent a car in Puerto Rico, as well as my guide to driving in Puerto Rico for helpful drive tips.

Taxis

🚕 Best for: Saving time, and comfort
💵 Cost:  $$ – $$$

View of a white taxi through the fence

Taxis are the second most used transportation by tourists, after a car rental, on the island. Taxis can pick you up right at the airport and take you to wherever you want to go. Certain routes have a fixed rate, otherwise, taxis have to use the meter to calculate the price based on the distance. Some taxis charge additional fees per piece of luggage or for transporting larger groups.

Pros of Taxi: 

  • Safe and trustworthy
  • Flexible routes
  • Vehicles identified
  • Drivers speak English

Cons of Taxi: 

  • Long routes can get expensive

👉 Don’t Miss: My list of the top Things to Do Around Puerto Rico this year!

Tours

🚍 Best for: Safe exploring and saving time
💵 Cost: $ – $$$
👉 Where to Book: Viator

If you rather avoid a car rental company, you can opt for exploring Puerto Rico through tours. Most travelers hire tour operators to visit the main attractions of San Juan in a day trip and save time, or to visit areas outside the capital city.

You can find most of the best-rated Puerto Rico tours on Viator, as well as a few other ones available on Get Your Guide.

Pros of Tours: 

  • Time- saving
  • Safety
  • Local’s insight

Cons of Tours: 

  • Limitations to explore on your own
  • Can get expensive

Uber

🚘 Best for: Comfort
💵 Cost: $$ – $$$
👉 Where to Book: Uber

Uber is the predominant ridesharing company in Puerto Rico. Anyone with the app in their smartphone can use it. The service is available in the metropolitan area even during night hours. 

Pros of Uber: 

  • Trustworthy  
  • Travel comfortably
  • Easy to use

Cons of Uber: 

  • You need to have a smartphone to use it 
  • Fares vary
  • Can get expensive
  • Not all vehicles are identified

Private Shuttles

🚍 Best for: Saving time and comfort
💵 Cost: $$$
👉 Where to Book: Viator

View of a white private shuttle on the road

Private shuttles are an alternative to taxis. Different local companies offer international visitors transportation from the San Juan airport to different points of the island, like the Ceiba terminal. Depending on the luxury of your vehicle and the amenities, the price for a private shuttle can increase significantly.

Pros of Private Shuttles: 

  • Comfort
  • Can transport large groups

Cons of Private Shuttles: 

  • Can be more expensive than a taxi

Scooter

🛴 Best for: Saving time, and comfort
💵 Cost: $-$$
👉 Where to Book: Skootel

View of three scooters from Skootel

For visitors that are short on time, the scooters are a great way to move around San Juan. To rent the scooters, download the app, add your driving license, and payment method. The app will show you the scooters near you and a map of the areas where you can’t use them. 

Pros of Scooter: 

  • Avoids traffic
  • Easy to rent
  • Saves time and effort

Cons of Scooter: 

  • Keeps charging if you don’t “unrent” the scooter
  • Can get expensive

On Foot

🚶‍♀️ Best for: Saving money, and freedom to explore
💵 Cost: free

View of cars parked on the side and a woman walking with her umbrella

Few cities in Puerto Rico are walkable, but Old San Juan is one of them. If you’re planning to stay in Old San Juan, you can safely explore the city’s sites and attractions by walking. This is a great way to save money on transportation and see San Juan at the same time!

Beyond San Juan, Rincón, Cataño, and Ponce are walkable cities too.

Pros of Walking: 

  • Saves money 
  • Flexibility

Cons of Walking: 

  • Physically demanding
  • The weather affects your itinerary

📚 Related Reading: Is Puerto Rico Safe for Travel Right Now? 

AMA Bus

🚍 Best for: Saving money, mingling with locals
💵 Cost: $

View of the AMA Bus waiting for passengers in Puerto Rico

The AMA buses have 24 routes that run around San Juan, and other major cities in the metro area. You can catch an AMA in the designated bus stations, and you have to pay 75 cents per one-way trip in coins or with or with a card you can get at any train station. The bus runs until 9:00 pm on weekdays, 8:00 pm on Saturdays, and they don’t run on Sundays.

Pros of AMA: 

  • Cheap way to move around 
  • Get to travel like a local

Cons of AMA: 

  • Mostly limited to the San Juan metro area
  • Frequent stops
  • Doesn’t run on Sundays

👉 Local Tip: If you have a smartphone, you can download the First Transit app to monitor the live location of the bus and the bus schedule.

Tren Urbano

🚃 Best for: Saving money, saving time, and avoiding traffic
💵 Cost: $

View of people and the train in a train station in Puerto Rico

The urban train is a light rail system that provides a quick way to move between San Juan, Guaynabo, and Bayamon from 6:00 am to 11:20 pm. The fee for a one-way trip is $1.50 and you can get the train card at the vending machines at every station. Learn more about the stops on their website

Pros of Tren Urbano: 

  • Avoids traffic during peak hours
  • Cheap way to move around 
  • Saves time 

Cons of Tren Urbano: 

  • Limited route 
  • Limited hours

👉 Local Tip: Carry cash to buy your train card, since many of the machines don’t accept debit or credit cards.

Ferry

⛴️ Best for: Saving time and money
💵 Cost: $-$$
👉 Where to Book: Puerto Rico Ferry

View of a ferry parked near the road in Puerto Rico
Ferry from Ceiba to Vieques

There are three ferry routes in Puerto Rico. These are between San Juan and Cataño, Ceiba and Vieques, and Ceiba and Culebra. The round trip between San Juan and Cataño is only $1 and the roundtrip from Ceiba to any of the municipal islands is from $4 to $4.50.

Ferry is the best way to get to the islands of Culebra and Vieques (which, by the way, I recently visited and can say offers a ton of fun things to do!).

Pros of Ferry: 

  • Cheap transportation
  • Time-saving

Cons of Ferry: 

  • Tickets run out online
  • Limited hours

👉 Bookmark for Later: Top Things to Do in Vieques.

Airplane

✈️ Best for: Saving time and exploring safely
💵 Cost: $$$$
👉 Where to Book: Kayak

Another way to move around the island is through airplanes. Airlines like Cape Air, Vieques Air Link, and Air Flamenco offer daily flights to Vieques and Culebra, from Luis Muñoz Marín or Isla Grande Airport. 

Some of these airlines also land at airports like the Mercedita International Airport (PSE) in Ponce, and the Rafael Hernández Airport (BQN) in Aguadilla.

Pros of Airplanes: 

  • Saves time
  • Easy to book

Cons of Airplanes: 

  • Expensive

“Pisa y Corre” or Guagua Pública

🚌 Best for: Saving money
💵 Cost: $

View of vehicles parked in a parking lot in Puerto Rico

Pisa y Corre or Guagua Pública are small buses that travel between cities for a small fee. You can catch one in the “terminal de carros públicos”  in the cities’ center. Locals use them because they have more extensive routes than AMA buses, but you have to wait until the bus is full for it to leave the terminal. You must pay your fee in cash.

Pros of Public Buses: 

  • Cheap
  • Routes with more coverage
  • Runs frequently

Cons of Public Buses: 

  • Time-consuming
  • Uncomfortable
  • Hard to find drivers that speak English

City Trolley

🚎 Best for: Saving money
💵 Cost: free

A blue city trolley in Puerto Rico

Some cities in Puerto Rico have trolleys that run during the daylight and that are free. There isn’t a specific website to find out about the services, so you will always have to ask the locals to find out if the city offers the service. San Juan, Bayamón, Carolina, and Guaynabo are some of the cities with a trolley.

Pros of a Trolley: 

  • Free 
  • Covers major routes

Cons of a Trolley: 

  • Hard to find out about the routes
  • Most drivers don’t speak English

5 Tips For Getting Around In Puerto Rico

Choose The Best Method for You

Although most visitors choose to go with a car rental, the truth is a car is not necessary if you’re planning to stay in Old San Juan only. The old city is entirely walkable and it’s safe even during the night. A car will only be necessary if you want to explore the main island on your own.

Rent a Car if You Can

A black car driving around the highway of Puerto Rico

The easiest way to get around Puerto Rico by yourself is with a car. Although renting a car in San Juan, Puerto Rico might seem expensive, you’d be saving money in the end if you compare it with booking tours for a few days. It also gives you more flexibility and time to explore the scenic routes of the island. 

Be sure to use Discover Cars to compare agencies and get the best deals.

Know the Traffic Rules

Cars passing through the express way in Puerto Rico

Puerto Rico’s traffic system is similar to the United States. Besides knowing the laws for wearing seat belts, be aware of the speed limits for school zones, highways, and urban areas, to avoid getting a ticket for overspeeding. Read my complete guide for driving in Puerto Rico here.

Know Your Spanish

If you’re planning on taking public transportation, be sure to know basic Spanish phrases that can help you in case you get lost. There aren’t many bus drivers that know English, so it will be hard to communicate in case you need directions.

Use Apps

Google Maps works in Puerto Rico, but you should always download your maps offline in case you lose signal. You can also keep at hand a translator app to help you out with possible language barriers, and use First Transit to know the AMA locations and stops.

Map of Puerto Rico

***

How you explore Puerto Rico will depend on your final destination and your preference. 

Do you know the places you’ll be visiting within the island? Check out my post on the best places to visit in and outside San Juan.

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