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Negative feedback regarding move to PR

I'm planning a move to Spain or PR in a year. Im looking to perfect my Spanish and experience some city/in town living. Currently I'm leaning towards Spain because I get so many negative comments regarding life in PR, uch as, the crime is bad,  economy is poor and you wanna visit PR, not live there. I'd like to get feedback from someone living there.  I.e., in San Juan.  If you would like to share your experience and opinion with me I'd love to hear it!
Thanks

Puerto Rico, like any place else, has it's positive and it's negatives.  And you will get out of it what you put in to it.  is there Crime?  of course. where do you live?  No crime?  is the economy bad?  DUH!  If you are looking for a job, there ARE jobs... not easy to get but certainly there are jobs.  our Spanish is SPANGLISH... our English is just as bad.
BUT it's part of the United States so basially you are protected, need only your drivers license to get here ( although a Passport is a good idea,) need no special documents or permissions,  no currency change and no work papers necessary.  YOU ARE  Not a foreigner!  The climate is lovely as are the people and there are tons of interesting FREE things to do.  is is perfect?  when you find a perfect place, let me know.

True, true and true because I live in the Atlanta GA area. Are you in PR or San Juan?

Hello we moved from nh to Puerto Rico. We have moved to several areas neither times was because of crime .Crime is very low and usually petty crimes if any especially if you aren't in San Juan or ponce .Stay away from areas that have low income housing. Housing is inexpensive. Food cost can be expensive but grow your own. 
I also considered Spanish but my husband is 100% disabled veteran and feels that Spain is to close to the terrorists groups. Spain is inexpensive also.  So if you have specific questions about pr please private message me

I have visited Spain and have lived in PR until I was 20. I am not currently living in PR but plan to retire there.

Spain is 2 counties in 1, there are two languages, Spanish and Catalan. Cataluña is trying to separate from Spain and have their own language and customs. It is a beautiful country, with a much cooler weather than PR.

Spain is like a mix of 16 century and modern times, it is a place full of history that you should visit one day. I am not sure you should consider living there but definitely visit. If you do, you will likely fall in love with it, but you will be a stranger there, not quite fitting in.

Puerto Rico is safer and compared to Spain a little boring, if you like night life Spain is more for you. In PR just like the natives, you are a US citizen, in Spain you are a foreigner carrying a visa and you have rights negotiated between nations, In PR you are a citizen with the same rights as in the US mainland.

They both have high unemployment, they both have drug issues, they both have crime, they both have financial issues.

While PR has a lot of history it does not compare with Spain which is a much older country that was taken other by many other countries over its history.

Many places in Spain look like the old San Juan, while other parts are country side and others very modern cities. It is a mix of the old and the new, very charming.

As to jobs ..... In PR you will have a hard time finding a job, but in Spain you would have a harder time as you need a work visa or need to become a citizen to work there, also with the issue of the EU taking in a lot of people from other war torn countries you are likely to have as hard of a time finding a job as in PR even with the right documents.

I would suggest to spend a month in each one year, then come back for another month or 3 before you decide.

Safe versus adventure, Citizenship vs foreigner, you decide

Thank you Sandrarduncan and ReyP for providing such detailed feedback.  Very helpful.  Perhaps I should have mentioned that I have experience with Spain as I spent some time there  (about 4 months) several years ago. But having never been to PR, makes the evaluation tough. Given I would be interested in San Juan, or the surrounding area, looks like a trip might be in order so that I can form an opinion from actual experience. Thank you both again. You've shed important light on my delima.

Come for a visit, experience the old San Juan, experience the metro area, visit Fajardo area and Viequez and Culebra island, visit Rincon in the west, visit Ponce to the south, visit some of the town in the center of the island.

Then and only then you will have a little to compare. Comparing Apples and Oranges tends not to work out too well.

There is also Central and South America to consider but keeping in mind that you will need a work visa and a passport there.

Consider taking a job with an international organization in the US that will let you visit and work in different countries.

Moving permanently to another country or even Puerto Rico is not a decision you should make lightly.

You sound adventurous and young
Rey

When you visit, make sure you put on your 'Do I want to live here?' glasses. Go shopping for daily needs, do your laundry, figure out where the cat litter will go, decide which room will be your hobby/computer room.  Look for those lifestyle items that you want in your daily life.

Puerto Rico is a big island and each place has its own flavor.  I spent many years living half of the year in Puerto Rico and half of the year in Long Island, New York.  The first place I lived in PR, and still own, is in a quiet, rural section, directly on the Caribbean.  it is now my retreat.

The place I live now has more social opportunities, reliable modern conveniences, is well-maintained,  and is  within striking distance of friends, the Virgin Islands,the mountains and  San Juan.  As they say in the pet adoption world, I think I found my Forever Home.   Is it absolutely perfect?  No.  But if you are sitting next to me in my golf cart, driving to the beach with an adult beverage in the cup holder, you might here me ask the question "Is this what Heaven is like?".

I made the move to PR from Michigan at the end of August '15.  If you had asked me my opinion in September or October, I am afraid I would have also offered negative feedback.  I was adjusting to "the way things are done here on the island," and "lowering my expectations, then lowering them again," and trying to find the patience I had forgotten to pack in the move that was so necessary for me to adjust. 

Now that I have been here almost 6 months, I second Frogrock's suggestion that you rent for a while and try to go through the motions of everyday life, not vacation life. 

The island is beautiful and the people are wonderful.  We live 20-25 miles from San Juan, in Rio Grande, and have not had any problems with crime.  Hector's cousin lives in Punta Marias, by Ocean Park, and we housesat for her and three dogs for two weeks, didn't have any problems, but noticed that everything is barred, locked down, and gated ... so living in the metropolitan areas of San Juan may require more diligence in security and precautionary measures, but there will also be many positives like world class restaurants, convenient markets and stores, people to meet from all over the world, etc.

If you would be here to conduct business or are in a hurry about anything, it's going to drive you batty for a while though, until you (not everyone else) adjusts.  There is no rushing here ... I don't think it's possible, the people just do not move in a fast efficient way, and most do not multitask, expect to wait in line for many many tasks.

If you are coming to perfect your Spanish, kick back and take it easy on another source of income, I don't know anything about Spain, but PR is worth a good try!  Best of luck to you!

Thanks ReyP! Not necessarily young,  :D  but young enough to still get my dream/adventure on.  (44). I'm hoping to take my current job with me wherever I end,  whether in a new role or the current one. It's an international company.

You are right. A visit is needed in the next few months. I will be able to make a better decision after that. 
You are great!  Thanks again.

Lol. I love it! And great way of putting it.  My do I want to live here glasses/goggles. I will definitely do that.

Thank you! And sounds heavenly to me.

Pr has lots of Beautiful places. I have been to 3/4 of the main island. I have lived in 2 areas before coming to Rincon .I love Rincon. Many people speak English here which makes life easier for me. Not sure if you speak fluent Spanish. If you don't it will be very hard enjoying life. I tried enjoying the other 2 places but without a social life it becomes depressing.
What does surprise me is that even emergency services don't speak English even in Rincon. Food pricesv are through the roof so definitely growing food yourself or live in an area the neighbors will give you food grown on their land. We have food that grows on our property and people here are always bringing us food. I love Rincon and really recommend this area

Havn't you heard about the crime in Spain. It is very barren, and the cities are really bad to drive in. I would recommend PR, as it is much closer if you wanted to go home.  I hated Spain, but that is just my opinion.

Hi smithcgc,

No matter where you decide to travel, you're going to have somebody come up with all kinds of negative comments about why you shouldn't go. Usually they're just as envious as Hell and want to rain on your parade.

That said, there is nothing that makes Puerto Rico any worse than Spain. Just remember that right now unemployment in Spain is at an all-time high, recently jumping to 14%. That also translates to a higher crime rate too, so anyone who tells you that you should worry about crime in PR is full of it. You should worry about crime in Detroit, Toronto, London, Madrid or anywhere you travel, you need to take all the common sense precautions whenever you travel even if it's to another city in your own state; that's a given.

Cheers,
James
expat.com Experts Team

I spent a long time in Spain, and when people ask for advice or an opinion, isn't that what you are supposed to give?

You all have been awesome! Every opinion, suggestion and experience shared has helped me greatly in determining my nxt steps. The good, the bad, and the obvious!  Lol. Thank you VERY much.

James, you and a couple of others  are right. Crime, employment issues can be found next door. And yes,  given Spain's current economic state, they can't be devoid of it. Gd point and some thing that should be considered.

Many suggested a visit or some time in PR. Looks as if that will be the best way to mke an informed decision. Why,  bc at the end of the day its clear that the bottom line will be... "to each his own".

Great info Sandra, Diane, Frogrock, Melendezki, etc.....

Until my next question/delimma on this topic...

Thanks again!!!!

You are welcome. I grew up in England, so visited Spain many times. I am visiting PR for 5 days to check it out. I am checking the Rincon area. If I like it, then I will move there pretty fast. As soon as I sell my truck and camper.  I am 64 and not afraid of people shouting "CRIME"  Everywhere you go there is crime.  You just have to be smart and careful. Ex Pats is a great help, especially Sandra.

Smithcgc,
Not sure if you know but Puerto Ricans are made up of mostly 3 (Sugar, Chocolate, Coffee), Kidding.

We are made up of Taino Indians, African, and Spaniard. We are all one race, Puerto Rican.

If you are cute and single, you will have many flirting with you.

Thanks Diane! And if you remember, I'd love to hear about how your trip goes.  Good luck & safe travels adventurer.

ReyP, yea I'm a little familiar. So thanks for another motivating factor lol.

I expect everything to go great. My trip is not a vacation, but just to check out the Island. Will keepyou posted.

dianec333 :

You are welcome. I grew up in England, so visited Spain many times. I am visiting PR for 5 days to check it out. I am checking the Rincon area. If I like it, then I will move there pretty fast. As soon as I sell my truck and camper.  I am 64 and not afraid of people shouting "CRIME"  Everywhere you go there is crime.  You just have to be smart and careful. Ex Pats is a great help, especially Sandra.

If you have the English accent a lot of people are going to love it.

Lived in the States since 1975. Lost the accent unless I have a couple of drinks. lol.

We lived here for a year.... I don't want to give negative vibes about Puerto Rico but if I had to give an option Go To Spain! They are much friendlier there for what your looking to accomplish!

I would go to Spain if all else was equal...

It has been about 4 months since receiving everyone's helpful feedback.  Since then I've been eating and breathing PR research.  I've finalized arrangements for my visit and I'm excited for my upcoming 8 days there in July, to vacation, explore my chosen areas and confirm if it's for me.  If I'm still loving it, I will be San Juan bound next year. I can't wait! I'll keep you posted. 

C

Hope all goes well for you during you July visit, it is going to be hot, but a plunge in the pool or sea will fix that. Hope you have fun, I just came back from there Friday.

Good to see you still interested and planning, smithcgc.  Let us know how everything goes and your opinions.  Safe travels :)

sandrarduncan :

Pr has lots of Beautiful places. I have been to 3/4 of the main island. I have lived in 2 areas before coming to Rincon .I love Rincon. Many people speak English here which makes life easier for me. Not sure if you speak fluent Spanish. If you don't it will be very hard enjoying life. I tried enjoying the other 2 places but without a social life it becomes depressing.
What does surprise me is that even emergency services don't speak English even in Rincon. Food pricesv are through the roof so definitely growing food yourself or live in an area the neighbors will give you food grown on their land. We have food that grows on our property and people here are always bringing us food. I love Rincon and really recommend this area

My daughter had an emergency at the beach at Loiza just past Carolina.  I drove to the police station and there was an ambulance parked there.  Neither the police officer or the EMT spoke any English.  I had to have 911 translate and it was scary.

I do find it difficult to believe that the police would not speak English.
While it was an unfortunate incident, Spanish is the language of the island.

There are all sorts of numbers about the percentage of people that speak English, some say most but I also seen official numbers saying only 30%. In an island of 3.5 million that is around 1 million and they may not speak it fluently. In another 15 years that number should go up to probably 60% as us older people die out.

Today only those that deal with tourists or that deal with american businesses have an opportunity to practice  English. While the school system teaches English, it is as a second language, they get 1 English class a day, after that all other subjects are in Spanish. Younger people are attracted to English due to the american music, TV programs and movies. But those same young people speak Spanish all day long with a few English words thrown in.

I have been in PR since Saturday and I love it!!! I've been practicing my Spanish and although I have more practicing to do, it feels great being back in the swing of it! The people have been great.  Staying in Isla Verde and explored Guaynabo, Condado  etc. I'm a bit saddened by the cost and compromises that would be required to live in Condado or IV. Not sure what to do  or where to go for an awesome place at my standard of living for my budget with town/walkability.  I do love all the living /shopping comforts and similarities to home.  It makes all the differences so amazing and welcomed! More later. In route to zipline. Are these waivers of theirs typical??? Scarry uggh.

Thank you.  I'm actually looking to move for the opportunity to perfect my Spanish.  I also love the culture.  Rincon cannot be on my list due to the English spoken.  I would get lazy with my practice.  😊

I'm glad you're daughter is ok. Yes, that would have been a scarry experience.

I now see what all have meant about the sales tax. Wow. Not sure about grocery prices yet. Please tell me they coupon here. I'm an addict.
My trip ends Sunday but I've learned a lot. If there are any other suggestions for why I'm here,  pls keep them coming!

That i am aware two people have died from the ziplibes, number could be larger. Being suspended at that altitude is risky, any mistakes, faulty equipment, or screwup and you are done. So a bunch of waivers are used.

Uggh. Ok confirmed no accidents with this company.  Whew. I'll say a prayer. Wish me luck.

Good luck, you are braver than me

I guess you survived the zipline since you are still posting :D

Ha! Yes I survived.  I believe I shedded 5lbs.  This is indeed a nice life😆

If you can find it, try the MAVI drink, it is non alcoholic, very refreshing and unique. May see it in clear glass gallon or larger bottles or regular plastic milk bottles, liquid is light amber and likely to have foam coming out of the mouth of the bottle. A glass is around a buck. My favorite drink on hot days.  Made from the bark of the Mavi tree.
Restaurants dont carry it, but carts and kiosks may have it. Harder to find now days for some reason.

I've been living in PR for the past 6 years. Like everywhere else on the planet, there are challenges involved in settling into a new location.  There's plenty of good advice on this forum, some fits your situation and some doesn't.

Personal safety seems to be a frequent topic and Just like anywhere else, you need to pay attention. That doesn't mean being paranoid but it does mean being aware of your surroundings. You already do that where you live right now. The published murder rate doesn't accurately reflect anything about your personal safety if your not involved in gangs or drugs. Petty theft and robberies are usually  crimes of opportunity that frequently occur in the tourist areas. A tipsy tourist shuffling between casinos in Condado may not go home with his money or rolex. There's a price for being stupid around the "have nots"!

Very well said!!!!!

Be sure to visit Old San Juan if haven't done so. The old Forts are amazing. Also if you can take a trip to Cueva del Indios in Arecibo, you will love the old caves. It's worth the drive. It costs 5 bucks, take a cold water and wear sneakers for the small climb.

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