The author wearing her backpack during a trip

Puerto Rico Packing List (19 Things People Forget to Bring)

While many people pack their luggage exclusively with swimwear, sandals, and t-shirts when they’re visiting the island, the truth is you’ll need a little more than that on your checklist of what to pack for Puerto Rico. 

I live in San Juan and I’ve seen many visitors buying essential things they forgot to pack for a high price in Old San Juan. 

Since I want to save you from that, I’ve summed up the essential items you should include in your packing list for Puerto Rico.

Here’s what we’ll cover:

Disclosure: Travel Lemming is an independent reader-supported blog. You can support us by purchasing via the affiliate links on this page, which may earn us commissions. Thank you!

Puerto Rico Packing Checklist

Water Filtration Bottle

Our Pick
Grayl Water Bottle
$99.95
Drink water with peace of mind from any source with this water bottle that filters out bacteria, chlorine, and other pollutants effortlessly.
07/06/2022 11:25 am GMT

If you feel uneasy about drinking tap water in Puerto Rico, you can bring a water filtration bottle in your backpack instead of spending your money on water bottles. The Grayl GeoPress water purifier bottle cleans out 24 oz of water, without a complex installation process or preparations, making it the perfect reusable water bottle.

Travel Backpack

Our Pick
Osprey Porter 46

Make your trip practical while still traveling comfortably with this backpack that fits everything for your trip while still supporting your back and keeping things accessible.

Don’t carry a heavy and uncomfortable suitcase to Puerto Rico, it’ll be a load you’ll have to carry through Old San Juan. Choose a backpack instead. The Osprey Porter 46 meets airlines’ standards for a carry-on, but it can fit your week’s packing list. It features a back harness to distribute the weight, a patted back with a laptop sleeve, and a front pocket for easy access.

Day Bag

Our Pick
Tortuga Packable Daypack

Take only the most important things with you during a day trip with this foldable and water-resistant day pack that can fit everything you need for a day of fun.

Many travelers face the problem of how to transport the things they need for a day trip without having to carry their complete luggage. The Tortuga Packable Daypack folds into a small pack you can fit inside your luggage and then take it out when you’re going to explore your destination. It’s comfortable and resistant to the rainy weather of Puerto Rico.

Eco-Friendly Sunblock

Our Pick
Sun Bum Original SPF 50 Sunscreen Lotion
$15.99 ($2.00 / Fl Oz)

Enjoy your hikes, beach days, and snorkeling excursions protected against the harsh weather of Puerto Rico, with this SPF 50 and reef-safe vegan sunblock lotion.

07/06/2022 10:40 am GMT

We’re in 2021 and it’s already common knowledge that sunscreen helps to protect the skin against UV rays, but not all sunscreens are safe for the environment, and some chemicals might harm marine life. The Sun Bum sunscreen lotion is great because it’s SPF 50, but it’s also reef friendly.

Snorkeling Gear

Our Pick
SwimStar Snorkel Set for Women and Men

Save time and money by bringing your own snorkel equipment to swim on the beautiful beaches of Puerto Rico. 

If you’re exploring the island on your own and you’re an experienced snorkeler, then you should definitely pack your own snorkeling gear. There are places you can rent snorkeling gear, but it’ll be more expensive. The SwimStar snorkel set fits any type of face and features a single anti-fog front crystal.

👉 Do you love snorkeling? Check out other best adventures you can enjoy in Puerto Rico.

Power Bank

Our Pick
Anker Portable Charger
$15.39
Take this slim and lightweight power bank with you for a day trip around the island. If needed, it can charge your phone quickly more than once.
07/06/2022 08:55 am GMT

After Hurricane Maria in 2017, blackouts and power shortages aren’t uncommon, so you should include a portable charger on your Puerto Rico packing list. The Anker portable charger is slim and charges your electronics quickly. This small power bank can charge your phone up to 3 times.

Quick Dry Towel

Our Pick
Rainleaf Microfiber Towel
$11.99

This microfiber towel absorbs and dries quickly, perfect for beach days and waterfall adventures.

07/06/2022 12:11 am GMT

A quick-dry towel is essential in your Puerto Rico packing list, since not every hotel or apartment offers a beach towel. The Rainleaf microfiber towel doesn’t occupy much space in your suitcase or beach bag, it’s absorbent, and it dries fast so packing it back up won’t be a problem.

Honestly, it’s essential thing to pack for any beach vacation, whether you are packing for Mexico, Puerto Rico, or anywhere else with shoreline. 

Hand Sanitizer

Our Pick
Travel Size Hand Sanitizer Holder
$9.99

This hand sanitizer holder makes it very easy to refill your sanitizer bottle plus you can trust it’s safely attached to your backpack and you won’t lose it.

07/06/2022 12:04 am GMT

After 2020, it’s clear that hand sanitizer is something you should always carry with you, but small sanitizer bottles easily get lost. This travel-size hand sanitizer holder features a safe harness hook so you can attach it to your backpack or pants. The design makes it super easy to refill the bottle.

Leave-In Hair Conditioner

Our Pick
Moroccanoil All-in-One Leave-In Conditioner
$14.00 ($2.65 / Ounce)

Detangle your hair and keep it moisturized after a long beach day with this travel size, hydrating, and frizz-taming leave-in conditioner.

07/06/2022 12:05 am GMT

Besides taking care of your skin, you should also take care of your hair when you’re visiting Puerto Rico, especially if you’re planning to spend your days on the beach.  The Moroccanoil leave-in is travel size and it’s great to hydrate your hair and detangle it after a day of sun, breeze, and saltwater.

Travel Umbrella

Our Pick
TIME LOVER Travel Umbrella
$18.99

Don’t miss any of the fun because of the rain with this mini umbrella that is windproof, and it protects you from the sun too. 

07/06/2022 12:06 am GMT

Puerto Rico features a rainy season from June to November characterized by frequent short evening showers. Having a good travel umbrella with you will save you from getting soaked. This umbrella is almost the size of your palm, but it is still windproof and has a 50 SPF to protect you from UV rays.

Headphones

Our Pick
JBL Live 460NC - Wireless On-Ear Noise Cancelling Headphones
$129.95

Keep focused on your book or relax in your hotel room listening to music with these noise-cancelling headphones that can play music for about 50 hours.

07/06/2022 11:11 am GMT

If you’re staying in San Juan, then you’ll notice nights are quite noisy. Noise-cancelling headphones are great to keep unwanted noises out. These JBL headphones work up to 50 hours on a single charge, are noise-cancelling, and use a voice assistant to let you know about the battery status.

Motion Sickness Medicine

Our Pick
Dramamine Motion Sickness Non-Drowsy
$5.99 ($0.33 / Count)

Enjoy a day trip out in the waters of Puerto Rico with this quick-acting motion sickness medicine that won’t put you to sleep after taking it.

07/06/2022 08:35 am GMT

If you’re considering taking a catamaran to Icacos or the ferry to Vieques and Culebra, you’ll want to have motion sickness medicine ready. Dramamine is a great motion sickness medicine that prevents nausea and the best, it doesn’t make you drowsy.

Waterproof Bag

Our Pick
HEETA Waterproof Dry Bag
$16.99

Carry your most important belongings in the river or the beach with this waterproof and resistant dry bag.

07/06/2022 12:08 am GMT

Your Puerto Rico packing list should include a waterproof bag if you’re visiting rivers, waterfalls, or any beach. With a dry bag, you can keep your extra clothes and electronics with you at all times, even in the water. The Heeta waterproof bag gets made of a resistant material with seamless technology to keep the water out. It also brings a free waterproof phone case.

First Aid Kit

Our Pick
I GO Compact First Aid Kit
$14.69

Always be prepared for any emergency with this compact first aid kit with 85 supplies to help you take action fast.

07/06/2022 12:08 am GMT

You never know what can happen while you’re out hiking or on the beach, and a first aid kit can help you provide the necessary help, even if it’s temporary. This small and compact first aid kit offers 85 supplies in a resistant hard case you can throw in your suitcase or backpack.

Portable Action Camera

Our Pick
GoPro HERO9 Black
$379.00
Film your land and underwater adventures with this waterproof action camera you can carry in your pocket while you travel.
07/06/2022 12:09 am GMT

For your visit to Puerto Rico, you’ll want to include in your packing list a camera that can record your memories in every circumstance. The GoPro HERO9 is a top favorite action camera because it can record 5k video and take 20 mpx photos on the beach, underwater, and even while you’re ziplining. 

👉 Love to record beautiful destinations? Don’t miss the most beautiful places you should visit in Puerto Rico.

Mosquito Repellent

Our Pick
OFF! Deep Woods Bug Spray & Mosquito Repellent
$12.99 ($1.62 / Ounce)

Keep mosquitos, ticks, and flies away with this easy-to-apply repellent that doesn’t leave a sticky residue on your skin.

07/06/2022 12:09 am GMT

Puerto Rico is a tropical island with lots of mosquitoes. If you’re sensitive to bites or you aren’t used to them, make sure to add mosquito repellent to that packing list. The OFF Deep Woods repellent doesn’t leave an oily residue on the skin and it also repels mosquitoes, ticks, and biting flies.

Waterproof Phone Case

Our Pick
CASE-MATE Pelican Waterproof Floating Pouch
$24.99
Take your phone on underwater adventures without worrying about it getting wet with this waterproof and resistant phone case designed to fit most phones.
07/06/2022 12:11 am GMT

If you’re visiting the bioluminescent lagoons, the beaches, or any of the rivers of Puerto Rico, and your phone isn’t waterproof, a waterproof phone case is something you’ll need. This Pelican waterproof pouch stores your phone safely with a clear window so you can still use it and take pictures if you need to.

Packing Cubes

Our Pick
BAGAIL 8 Packing Cube Set
$24.99
Make everything on your Puerto Rico packing list fit neatly in your luggage with this 8 packing cube set made of nylon to protect your belongings.
07/06/2022 01:25 pm GMT

For your Puerto Rico trip, you’ll want to keep your bag as organized as possible. This amazing set of packing cubes separates and organizes your items with bags for your shoes, underwear, and clothes. It even brings a toiletry bag and a string bag perfect for your dirty laundry.

Travel Insurance

Our Top Pick
World Nomads Travel Insurance
4.7
Travel during a pandemic is always risky, even if you aren’t going far from home. Buy peace of mind by protecting your trip with World Nomads.

While planning your trip to Puerto Rico, make sure to buy travel insurance. Besides all the incidents that could happen while you enjoy an adventure like hiking in El Yunque, Puerto Rico also has a hurricane season that can change your vacation plans at the last minute. Not to mention, we’re still in the midst of a global health crisis that could throw a wrench in your plans any day! With World Nomads travel insurance, you can enjoy knowing you’re covered in case of emergency.

Other Puerto Rico Essentials to Pack

Clothing to Pack for Puerto Rico

Unless you get easily cold, you won’t need your winter clothes in Puerto Rico, not even during the winter! The island features hot weather the whole year, and most of what you’ll wear in Puerto Rico will be light and comfortable.

So what clothing should you pack? Here is a quick clothing checklist for Puerto Rico: 

That’s the overall list of things that all Puerto Rico packing lists should include. Let’s look at some specific clothing items you will need for your tropical vacation.

Beach Cover Up

Our Pick
Wander Agio Beach Swimsuit Cover Up
$22.99

Go from the beach to the restaurant and to the shopping mall without having to change clothes with this cover up made of cotton.

07/06/2022 12:10 am GMT

Unlike other destinations around the world, Puerto Ricans do not wear a bathing suit for restaurants or shopping malls. This is why a light comfortable cotton cover up like this one is useful and easy to throw on.

📚 Related Reading: Top Puerto Rico Beaches

Water Shoes

Our Pick
Wates Lves Water Shoes
$26.88

Go into a beach or a waterfall with your feet protected with these athletic sport shoes that dry quickly and can take you to more places than just the beach. 

07/06/2022 12:11 am GMT

If you’re planning to visit the waterfalls in Puerto Rico, common water shoes won’t help you get there, as many of the island’s best waterfalls are at the end of Puerto Rico’s many hiking trails.

The Water Lves water shoes offer a rubber sole with arch support, thick to protect your feet but light enough to dry quickly.

Sun Hat

Our Pick
Columbia Unisex Bora Bora Booney
$28.90

Avoid a sunburn with this hat that blocks out UVA and UVB rays completely, while being breathable. 

07/06/2022 12:04 am GMT

To avoid skin damage because of sun exposure, you’ll want to use additional coverage besides sunblock. The Columbia sun hat blocks out UVA and UVB rays, plus it sports an adjustable string to keep it in place during your windy beach day trips.

Money Belt

Our Pick
Peak Gear Travel Money Belt
$19.97
Protect yourself from identity theft and walk reassured that no one will know you're carrying your cards and passport under your shirt with this discreet money belt.
07/06/2022 01:20 pm GMT

Pickpocketing is one of the common crimes in Puerto Rico. You can carry your cards safely and protect them from any thieves and identity theft with this RFID-protected money belt that fits even your passport in a breathable and discreet bag. Check out the Puerto Rico safety guide to learn more.

Rain Jacket

Our Pick
Baleaf Raincoat Jacket
$25.99

Explore the mountainous interior of Puerto Rico with this light and waterproof rain jacket with a reflective logos that makes you stand out.

07/06/2022 01:51 pm GMT

If you’re planning to hike El Yunque during the rainy season, you should include a light rain jacket in your suitcase. These Baleaf raincoats are great for men and women with waterproof material, a warm interior, a back pocket, and adjustable strings to make your jacket fit the best.

Hiking Boots

Our Pick
Columbia Newton Hiking Boots
$89.95

Hike through the hardest trails, rivers, and rocky mountains with these waterproof and lightweight hiking boots with a rubber sole and comfortable interior cushion.

07/06/2022 12:05 am GMT

Puerto Rico features amazing hiking trails any outdoor adventurer will love to explore. Your common walking shoes might not take you far, so you should opt for a good pair of hiking boots. The Columbia hiking boots are waterproof and lightweight perfect both for men and women.

Puerto Rico Packing Tips

Pack Light

You won’t be needing winter clothes when you pack for Puerto Rico. Since you’ll be spending much of your time on Puerto Rico’s beautiful beaches, you really don’t need to overload your luggage. Bring more than one swimsuit instead, light clothes, toiletries, and necessary travel accessories. 

Consider What You’ll Be Doing

If you’re planning to go to conventions, restaurants, clubs, and Puerto Rico’s museums, then your bag will look different than the bag of a beach lover. Keep in mind the dress code for restaurants, shopping malls, and museums will require different clothing than walking around Old San Juan or visiting the beach, and make sure your bag matches your to-do list on the island.

🧳 Read Next: Colorado Packing List

Choose a Backpack

It’s very frustrating to see tourists dragging their luggage through the steep streets of Old San Juan. If you’re only visiting for a few days and you won’t be attending any particular event, then a good travel backpack is more practical than a suitcase for your trip and it will fit all that you’ll wear in Puerto Rico.

Do Laundry for Longer Periods

If you are only visiting for a Puerto Rico weekend getaway, this won’t be a problem. But if you’re staying more than two weeks, you might want to consider staying in a rental apartment with a washing machine, using a local laundromat or your hotel’s laundry service, so you can wash and reuse your clothes instead of packing a huge suitcase that will pay extra fees at the airport.

A Scrubba Portable Wash Bag is a nifty way to wash clothes without a washing machine.

Keep an Eye on the Weather

Puerto Rico’s weather is quite warm all year, but from June to November it’s the rainy season and your vacation will get frequently interrupted by showers. You can bring a light rain jacket if you’re spending time in El Yunque or hiking in the mountainous interior. You can also bring a light jacket during the winter if you get cold easily. 

👉 For more planning tips, check out my guide to the best time to visit Puerto Rico for the best weather and fewest crowds.

FAQs About Packing for Puerto Rico

What should I pack for a week in Puerto Rico?

To stay in Puerto Rico for a week, visitors should pack comfortable and fresh clothing for the heat. A Puerto Rico packing list should always include flip flops, swimwear, shorts, t-shirts, jeans, and sneakers.  

What do you need to bring to travel to Puerto Rico?

To travel to Puerto Rico, travelers should bring light and fresh clothing, swimwear, driver’s license, passport if they’re international, mosquito repellent, sunscreen, a camera, and their prescribed medicines.

How should I dress for a trip to Puerto Rico?

For a trip to Puerto Rico, tourists can dress comfortably in jeans or joggers, and a t-shirt. They can use an additional layer on the airplane if they get cold, but they should avoid wearing thick sweaters and boots, as they’ll reach a warm destination. Visitors’ luggage should be mostly packed with light clothes.

What do you need for 2020 in Puerto Rico?

Visitors arriving in Puerto Rico will need a vaccination card or a negative Covid-19 test done within 72 hours of their trip. Daily essentials include light clothing, face masks, swimwear, flip flops, reef-safe sunscreen, and mosquito repellent.

***

That is the complete list of things you need to pack for Puerto Rico!

Whether you’re visiting El Yunque, the historic cities, or the sandy beaches, your packing list will probably consist of the same things.

Keep planning with my guide to the top things you can do on the island.

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