palm trees at Playa Tortuga (Turtle Beach) on Isla Culebrita, Puerto Rico

General information

Puerto Rico, officially the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico or Estado Libre Asociado de Puerto Rico, is a United States territory located in the northeastern Caribbean.

Puerto Rico is an archipelago that includes the main island of Puerto Rico and a number of smaller islands, the largest of which are Vieques, Culebra , and Mona . The main island of Puerto Rico is, by land area, the smallest of the Greater Antilles. Due to its location, Puerto Rico has a tropical climate with warm weather year-round and does not observe daylight saving time. Its official languages are Spanish, which is prevalent, and English.

Puerto Rico was part of Spain for over 400 years since its discovery in 1493 and it became a US Territory in 1898 during the Spanish American War.Since 1917 the people born in Puerto Rico are natural-born U.S. citizens. The territory operates under a local constitution, and Puerto Ricans elect their own governor.

  • Area: 3,515 sq miles (9,104 km²)
  • Capital: San Juan
  • Population: 3.62 million
  • Towns: 78 municipalities


  • Currency : US Dollar
  • The banking system in Puerto Rico is regulated under US Federal Laws and protected by the FDIC. There are a number of local and international banks.
  • Commercial Banks: Banco Popular, First Bank , Oriental Bank, Scotiabank , among others.
  • ATH: is the local term for Debit Card system.
  • ATM Machines: accept all US debit and credit cards with extra fees.
  • Notify your local bank when travelling to Puerto Rico.


Many federal executive branch agencies have significant presence in Puerto Rico, just as in any state, including the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Federal Emergency Management Agency, Transportation Security Administration, Social Security Administration, , among others. While Puerto Rico has its own Commonwealth judicial system similar to that of a U.S. state, there is also a U.S federal district court in Puerto Rico.

Legal- Health

  • All medications have to be approved and regulated by the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) and all physicians need to have a DEA (Drug Enforcement Agency) registered number.
  • Legal age of Puerto Rico is 21, all patients under 21 need authorizations from a legal guardian (both parents).
  • HIPPA “The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability”– these privacy laws apply for all Hospitals in Puerto Rico and also the EMTALA: Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act law.


As with any large city in the United States, one should exercise prudence and avoid wandering into unknown areas of the city, especially at night and one should not leave valuables visible inside a parked rental car.   The tourist zones in Puerto Rico are safe and a police presence is visible.

Puerto Rico Tourism Page


Puerto Rico has many airports in Aguadilla, Ponce, Ceiba and Isla Grande but its International Airport is Luiz Muñoz Marin Airport in Carolina.

Puerto Rico is a US Territory thus international customs is under the United States Customs and Border Protection. TSA (transportation security administration) is also present at Major airports in Puerto Rico.

Passport is not needed to Puerto Rico for travel to and from the Continental United States.

  • US Airlines at LMM:

American/US Airways , Southwest , United, Delta , Jetblue, Spirit, Seaborne , Cape Air

  • International Airlines at LMM:

Copa , Avianca, Condor, Norweigan, Air Europa , WestJet, InterCaribbean Airlines

  • Charter/ Smaller Airlines are also available to other Caribbean Islands and Vieques and Culebra at both Isla Grande , Ceiba and LMM airports.


Puerto Rico has many brand name hotels like Hilton, Marriott, Wyndham, Ritz Carlton , etc . There are also options of Boutique Hotels, Guest Houses and Short Term Rentals. Many prices vary per season. High Season is December to April.

HIMA Health will send list of hotels with discounted rates that are located in San Juan, Caguas, Bayamon and Fajardo.


HIMA Health patients have access to complimentary shuttle transportation and is available from Monday to Friday specific rules and regulations apply  and  it has to be pre-coordinated through your coordinator or at the call center.

For other options:

  • There are many options for rental car, from US companies like Hertz and Budget to local companies like Charlie Rental Car and Target. Most companies have offices at the airport. Driving regulations are very similar to the US, still signs are in Spanish and gasoline is measured in liters.
  • Taxi Services: there are taxi stands at the airport with specific rates, also they are available at hotels, hospital lobby or to call a service directly. Ask HIMA Health for a list of services.
  • Public Transportation: Bus services are very limited and mainly in San Juan and its surroundings. The Tren Urbano which is the only train available is only available in San Juan, Guaynabo and Bayamon. For more information see:
  • Uber is also started in 2016 and its available on specific sites only .


Puerto Rico has many options for shopping. Old San Juan has many jewelry stores, US brand outlet stores and local boutiques. There are also numerous shopping malls with US and European stores the ones close to the Facilities are Plaza del Sol in Bayamon and Las Catalinas Mall and Plaza Centro in Caguas.

There are also discount stores like Kmart and Walmart in every big city .


Puerto Rico local cuisine is a mixture of african and european blends. Many of popular dishes are Mofongo and Tostones which both are plantain based,   Rice and Beans, Fried Pork and Chillo (snapper).

Additional to local puerto rican cuisine restaurants (criollo), there are many international options like Mexican, Italian, Japanese, Chinese, and Spanish in all major cities and towns. US brand restaurants (Longhorn, Cheesecake Factory, Olive Garden, Chilis) are also available in most shopping malls and town centers including Fast Foods.

Recreational Activities

Puerto Rico has many historical and nature sights. Main tourism areas are Old San Juan, El Yunque Rainforest and its beaches in places like Culebra and Isabela.

For more information about Museums, Nature sights, Beaches, and tour services go to . Trip Advisor is also a good guide for activities.


Puerto Rico has one of the most unvarying climates in the world. Temperatures year round range from 75° to 85°F (24°-29°C). The island is wettest and hottest in August, averaging 81°F (27°C) and 7 inches (18cm) of rain. Sun block is recommended.

The hurricane season, the curse of Puerto Rican weather, lasts officially at least from June 1 to November 30. A large storm has not been on the island since 1998.