The author of "What to Wear in Puerto Rico," Vanessa Ramos, on a swing with a beach on her background in Puerto Rico

What to Wear in Puerto Rico in 2023 (By a Local)

👉 Jump To: What Should I Wear in Puerto Rico? | At Beach | During Winter | For Festivals | For Nightlife | For Hiking | What Not to Wear | Tips | FAQ

You’ve booked your flight, you’ve got your accommodation sorted, you’ve looked up the best activities, and now you’re probably wondering what to wear in Puerto Rico.

As a Puerto Rico local, I’ve seen too many tourists fill their Puerto Rico packing list with only beachwear and aesthetic summer dresses. These items definitely have their place, but they aren’t exactly the best way to comfortably explore a lot of Puerto Rico attractions. 

To save you from common mistakes like these, I’ve put together this comprehensive guide on what to wear in Puerto Rico. Let’s get into it!

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What Should I Wear In Puerto Rico?

When dressing for a trip to Puerto Rico, the following are suggestions for what to wear: 

Of course, what to wear in Puerto Rico will depend on two things – what Puerto Rico attractions you’re visiting and what you’re comfortable wearing. Puerto Rico’s weather is humid and hot, but you can’t use your beach vacation wardrobe for every occasion. 

Instead, I recommend packing casual clothing, yet bringing multi-purpose pieces you can wear to sites with a modest dress code like Puerto Rico museums and La Fortaleza.

Examples of these pieces are casual maxi dresses, jeans, blouses, button-ups, and t-shirts. Light clothing and bright colors are preferable, even if you plan on going to conventions, concerts, or business meetings.

For exploring the best Puerto Rico hikes and visiting El Yunque Rainforest, add plenty of sportswear, hiking boots, comfortable walking shoes, and a sun hat to your Puerto Rico packing list.

What to Wear in Puerto Rico at the Beach

The author, Vanessa Ramos posing for a photo on the Seven Seas Beach
Me in Seven Seas Beach

To visit Puerto Rico beaches, bring bathing suits, a sun hat, and sandals. Your beach packing list can change depending on how modestly you dress or if you’re hiking to the beach. Here are some suggestions: 

Chances are that visiting Puerto Rico’s divine sandy beaches will make up most of your Puerto Rico vacation itinerary. For this reason, a swimsuit and a beach cover-up are staples in your Puerto Rico packing list.

However, if you’re planning on staying all day on the beach, then you’ll want to save yourself from the sun with a long-sleeved UV shirt and a cap. If you’re hiking to your beach, wear sneakers or water shoes.

Cover Up

Our Pick
Blooming Jelly Swimsuit Cover-Ups
This beach cover-up allows you to transition from a beach day trip into other activities like eating or going to the mall.

What to Wear in Puerto Rico During the Winter

The author, Vanessa Ramos posing for a photo in front of a church in Aguada, Puerto Rico
Me visiting Aguada during the winter season

Winter in Puerto Rico experiences slightly chiller temperatures, especially in the mountainous region. When choosing winter as your preferred season to visit Puerto Rico, you should pack the following:

The changes in temperature during the winter aren’t as significant as in other countries, but the temperature does drop slightly, especially at night. If you’re prone to feeling cold, it’s best to pack a jacket or a cardigan. 

But don’t overdo it! Keep your wardrobe options fresh, as it will usually be above 85°F (29 °C) during the day. 

Light Jacket

Our Pick
MAGCOMSEN Lightweight Bomber Jacket

Stay warm without feeling heavy or stuffy with this windproof and lightweight bomber jacket.

What to Wear in Puerto Rico for Festivals

Locals in Puerto Rico during the San Juan 500-year Festival
Locals at the San Juan 500-year Festival

The top Puerto Rico festivals take place outdoors, so it’s imperative that you wear comfortable shoes and breathable clothing. To stay cool, bring along the following:

Regardless of the season, locals dress casually for most festivals. Shorts, jeans, tank tops, sportswear, and t-shirts are the order of the day. 

Sun Hat

Our Pick
GearTOP UPF 50+ Sun Hat for Men and Women

Stay cool and protect your face from UV rays with this wide and comfortable sun hat.

What to Wear for Nightlife in Puerto Rico

People enjoying their night on bars and restaurants in Old San Juan, Puerto Rico
A bar and restaurant in Old San Juan (photo: ClS / Shutterstock)

For night outs in Puerto Rico, casual glam is your dress code. These are some of the things you’ll need in your luggage:

There are a variety of places to enjoy the nightlife in Puerto Rico. If you’re visiting outdoor bars like La Placita, one of San Juan’s main attractions, then you’re best dressed in jeans and a nice shirt. Ladies usually opt for bodycon dresses or denim shorts and cropped tops. Men wear jeans with a T-shirt or a short-sleeve shirt.

For fancier clubs in Isla Verde and Old San Juan, you’ll find short dresses, button-ups, and dress pants to be more common. 

Casual Bodycon Dress

Our Pick
Valiamcep Ribbed Tank Dress

This basic bodycon dress works for day and night activities, and you can dress it up or down with accessories.

What to Wear for Going Out in Puerto Rico

The author, Vanessa Ramos posing for a photo in front of the Condado Lagoon
Me at Condado Lagoon

Although Puerto Ricans are usually casually dressed, we mostly keep shorts for the beach. In a shopping mall, restaurant, or at the movies you can wear:    

When you visit Puerto Rico, you’ll notice Puerto Ricans are casual in their style but they like to look well put together. Jeans, crop tops, short-sleeved shirts, dresses, skirts, and blouses are common outfits for concerts, restaurants, bars, and for a day out.


Our Pick
Dokotoo Women's Loose Jumpsuits

Stay fresh and comfortable with this lightweight jumpsuit perfect for both indoor and outdoor scenarios.

What to Wear for Hiking in Puerto Rico

The author, Vanessa Ramos during one of her hikes in Puerto Rico

Your wardrobe should consist of lots of sportswear when hiking in Puerto Rico. Here are some things you should pack: 

Some of Puerto Rico’s best sites are only accessible through hiking, including Puerto Rico nature reserves, some beaches, and forests.

Although you could wear shorts on most excursions, it’s advisable to wear long leggings to protect your legs. Also bring a light raincoat when visiting El Yunque National Park.

Hiking Boots 

Our Pick
Columbia Men's Waterproof Hiking Shoe

Keep your feet dry even within the rainforest with these gripping waterproof hiking boots.

What NOT to Wear in Puerto Rico

Regardless of the season you’re traveling, you’re still visiting a tropical island. Your Puerto Rico packing list shouldn’t include thick or heavy fabrics. 

Even during winter, the average temperature is above the eighties. Coats, scarves, and thick fabrics will be too hot and uncomfortable. 

Unless you’re going to a business convention, you should also avoid filling up your luggage with office clothes. 

As a general Puerto Rico safety tip, don’t wear jewelry, particularly expensive pieces, while clubbing or on the beach.

Tips for Dressing for Puerto Rico

Consider Your Trip Style

Although Puerto Rico is a beach destination, not every visitor is a beach lover. Depending on what you’re planning to do, you might wear more sportswear or dressier items. Instead of packing stuff for “just in case” scenarios, pack after you’ve planned your Puerto Rico itinerary

Wear Comfortable Shoes

Even if you’re not an outdoor enthusiast, you’ll be doing a lot of walking in Puerto Rico. Anything other than closed comfortable shoes is impractical. Keep sandals for indoors, the beach, and short walks. 

When in Doubt, Bring Sportswear

If you don’t have space in your suitcase, then I recommend packing lots of sportswear. Puerto Ricans use sportswear for the outdoors, hiking, the beach, and some indoor settings like the mall. Sportswear pieces will work for multiple scenarios on your trip.

Pack Breathable Fabrics

Puerto Rico’s humid weather will make you sweat easily. Fill your Puerto Rico packing list with breathable and light-colored clothing pieces to stay fresh all day.

Bring the Extras

After worrying about your clothes, you should also bring other essentials like a waterproof bag and a reusable water bottle.  

Beach enthusiasts shouldn’t forget reef-safe sunscreen, aloe vera gel, and bug spray. If you’re creating content, then an underwater camera or a waterproof phone case will come in handy.

Although Puerto Rico’s tap water is safe to drink, you can also pack a filter water bottle like the GRAYL UltraPress 16.9 oz Water Purifier. You can learn more in our Puerto Rico packing list guide

FAQs About What to Wear in Puerto Rico

Can I wear jeans in Puerto Rico?

Travelers can wear jeans in Puerto Rico. Although the weather is humid and hot, it’s common to see both locals and visitors wearing jeans. Palazzo-style and baggy jeans are more comfortable, but many locals wear skinny or straight jeans.

What type of clothing should I wear in Puerto Rico?

Travelers should wear light and fresh clothing when visiting Puerto Rico. Lightweight shirts, jeans, sportswear, sneakers, and bathing suits are the basics of a Puerto Rico essential packing list

What do you wear to a night out in Puerto Rico?

For a night out in Puerto Rico, travelers can wear jeans, nice shirts, and dresses. Depending on the place or activity, visitors can dress up or down. But overall, Puerto Ricans are very casual.

Do people dress up in Puerto Rico?

People do dress up in Puerto Rico depending on the occasion. Contrary to popular belief, locals limit beachwear only to beaches and pools. The average Puerto Rican outfit is casual with staples like dresses, blouses, shirts, button-ups, and jeans. Heels and accessories are used to dress up.


Thanks for reading my guide on what to wear in Puerto Rico! Have more questions about Puerto Rico’s dress code? Drop them in the comments! Up next, check out my list of Puerto Rico travel tips.

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