Adapting to the climate in Puerto Rico

Hello everyone,

Adjusting to new climatic conditions is key in any expatriation process. Moving to Puerto Rico is no exception.

What are the climate characteristics of Puerto Rico?

How does the local weather impact your daily life, mood or health?

What are the pros and cons of the climate in Puerto Rico?

Share you advice and help people adapt quickly to their new weather environment.

Thanks in advance,


I love PR's tropical weather and sunshine.  The sun has always had an emotional effect on me. When living in the northern US I had symptoms of S.A.D during the winter months and even used light therapy at times when it got bad.  So, since moving here nearly 3 yrs ago, I feel normal-happy year-round.

The price we pay for warm, sunny winters is that summers are extremely hot.  We live in an "urbanización" which seems extra hot since there isn't much breeze between the houses. It feels to me like the concrete construction radiates heat well into the evening, my house feels like an oven at night.  I dream of having a breezy house up on a mountain someday, but for now we have to run fans constantly and a/c in bedrooms at night to stand the heat.  Electricity here is too $$$ I've never seen "central air" like we had in the US. I don't think that exists here in PR, they just have inverter units.  I laugh when I remember that in NJ we used to run the central a/c from May-Sept and pay way less on our electric bill than we do here for a house just 1/3 the size of that house when we barely use the a/c!! Ugh!

The possibility of tropical storms / hurricaines is climate issue we face in PR,  but thankfully with today's technology we can be notified ahead of time and and prepare in advance.

To acclimate there are a few things to do:
Take lots of showers, go to the beach, visit rivers and the rain forest. These will cool you down, Wear a hat and cary an umbrella. Wear light clothes, cotton is great, drink a lot of water, have nice cold fruit juices under a tree while laying down in your Hamaca. Be prepared to change clothes several times a day.

Like Meljay97 said, the sun and brightness will cure the winter blues but be careful you don't get a sunstroke or nasty burn.

I do not recommend living in an Urbanizacion for most people since the houses are so close that there is little to no breeze. Also the issues with living so close to each other, the noise and the usual several families with more cars than people all parked in the street making the street hard to navigate.

Check the wind direction and get or build a house where it is breezy, like in El Campo or mountains. A nice balcony (Balcon) goes a long way.

I am a native and I sweat a bit too while in the island but that is the price of living in the caribbean. Remember your friends in the cold of winter and that you are no longer having to use a snow blower.

Get a big fan, when it rains get on your bike and ride around mostly taking the coolness of the rain.

Don't forget to drink plenty of water or beer. Lol

My apartment in VSJ has a year-round ocean breeze and A/C in the bedrooms, which are small, so it doesn't take much to cool them down.

What I love about PR is there aren't those temp extremes like we have here near Atlanta, where it is bone-freezing cold in the winter, and hotter in the summer I find the humidity more of a problem. It melted my salt lamps and fighting mold is a constant battle. Being near the ocean, the salt air is more of an issue. It corrodes everything and the smoke that blows from the cruise ships leaves a fine black dust that somehow maneuvers its way into the tightest spaces.

All in all, for me the climate is quite pleasant and good sangria in an air conditioned bar is only steps away. And without the big seasonal extremes, I have no hay fever.

Bad for people with mold alergies. It is not the heat so much as the humidity that gets to a lot of people. A nice cold one at a restaurant or a trip to the mall gets people energized again. Take a nap during the hottest part of the day.

Concrete does retain the heat of the day. For people building new houses there are insulated walls but mostly not worth it unless you plan to have central air and keep your home closed all the time.

I am sweating 5 minutes after a shower.


What about rust? I'm thinking about shipping a motorcycle and I'm worried about the bike rusting. When I lived in Samoa, things would rust overnight, there wasn't much you could do about it either.

On a side note, do many people ride scooters or motorcycles, or would it be insane to even think about driving a motorcycle?

Rust is a major issue. If you can, treat the metal parts with a rust-inhibitor before shipping it over.

condorbutch :


What about rust? I'm thinking about shipping a motorcycle and I'm worried about the bike rusting. When I lived in Samoa, things would rust overnight, there wasn't much you could do about it either.

On a side note, do many people ride scooters or motorcycles, or would it be insane to even think about driving a motorcycle?

Rust is a major issue just like mold on surfaces. Oil what you can to keep rust from taking over, replace some parts as time goes with non-rusting materials.
There are a lot of bike, motorcycles, vespas, etc.
Safety can be an issue, sometimes someone gets hit and the other guy takes off. Cell phones make the issue worst. If you can use a bike in major roadways, country roads are narrow and twisty, hard to see another car or bike.

You have to live the way that makes you happy and if that is risky, well..... Everything in life has a risk.


I was afraid that would be the answer, most likely it's true with any tropical island.I saw a stainless steel 357 mag, pistol with rust on it while I was in Samoa, when stainless steel rusts, you know you have problems. I guess there are varying degrees of stainless steel, the good stuff won't rust, cheap stuff will rust. I'm going to rethink bringing a motorcycle, the one I want to ship, has a sidecar that shares the main drivetrain, in other words, at the flip of a switch, it has 2 wheel drive for off-road use, like a 4X4. Its not a speed demon, top speed is around 65 mph on a flat highway. I just like the idea of a sidecar for everyday use, room to haul stuff and people as well.

I see you have a place in Old Town, as an artist, I think I'd love the positive energy the place must have from the photos I've seen. Do you know of any apartments for rent, I'm thinking about a 1 or 2 bedrooms for around $1200 a month? If so, let me know.


We live up in the hills in Eastern PR and when there's a little breeze we get it. No A/C needed. O.K it can get hot in the afternoon but after sundown it cools down nicely.
A couple of fans is all we use to keep mosquitoes away and move the humid air away from warm bodies :)

As far as rust is concerned, it absolutely is a problem. Anything that's not super high quality stainless steel will rust. Mold, same thing. Shoes, textile etc.  Dehumidifiers may help although I found that keeping the air moving is more effective. Open closets and put a fan in front during a couple of hours per day.

I and of figured being on the Eastern part of the island you'd catch a good breeze. It was like that when I live on the beach on Samoa. Didn't need a A/C, and for that matter no ceiling fan either, no electricity. But, as I remember, the breeze was enough. I wonder about the Western part of the island, with the mountains, I'd think a good breeze off the ocean would be blocked. I'm thinking seriously about living on the west coast when I first move there, but after I've had an opportunity to explore, I'll be able to make a informed decision.

With rust being a problem, I'll remember that when I'm trying to decide what to bring and what to leave behind. What about cars and motorcycles that are not kept in a garage, do people use cloth covers for cars and bikes to guard against rust, or is it a losing battle?

A motorcycle left in the street, is likely to be stolen overnight.
As a bird flies, you can never be more than 18 miles away from the sea in PR, salt is an issue. Humidity is typically around 75 and I seen it in the 98 on occasion.
Unless you keep you car or bike in a zip lock bag with plenty of silicant material, they are going to rust sooner or latter.
Even in a garage, it will still rust, but maybe a little less.
Paint fading and cracking, will slow down some in the garage, sun is very harsh even in the shade.

Try to dry up before you get in the car, moldy car air is very unhealthy.

I stay away from cotton fabric clothing, it's a moisture magnet. Polyester shorts & shirts/tees with a pair of flip flops is the way to go. Learning to accept being a little "clamy" doesn't hurt either.
PR's climate is "hands down" better than anything in the States.

You are so right!  I moved here in June and chose a house in an Urbinazation that the houses are really close and there is NO breeze!  I am afraid to use the air conditioning because I have heard horror stories of high electric bills.  So we shower, change, go to the ocean and even the little kiddie pool in the backyard lol.

I wish I would have read this before.  For future reference, where do you recommend?  In the mountain neighborhoods?  I really like their views.  Of course I would prefer a water view but fear that would take a lotto lol.

It all depends, a condo in a high tower will have a breeze and probably a pool. Mountains areas can have great views of the sea and jungle also and is likely to be cooler.
My property in Ceiba, is around 1,000 feet above sea level in a country setting with houses separated by acres of land. It has a view to the east of the former Roosevelt Road Navy base, the Bay, and Vieques island. Have not build the house yet, view will be even better from the second floor. It is cooler there and there is a strong breeze of about 15 miles an hour. However it does take about 5 minutes down a snaking nature road to get to 53 (major Highway). Beach is another 5 minutes away. Some of the expats in this forum has seen the property and the view.

I used to live in a highrise condo in Luquillo a few years back. I wanted a large breed dog to take me walking so I looked around and found a place way up overlooking the Puerto Del Rey marina, Vieques, and Fajardo in the coastal mountains of Ceiba. Also lots of jungle and acres separating me from my neighbors and I've never used the AC in my 3 years on the mountain. It's an older 2 story house with a nice balcony, back off the road. About a 1/2 acre cleared and gated on a 5 acre parcel of dense jungle. Privacy, clean air, cool breezes and "million dollar" view.
Humaco's (Plaza Palma Real Mall) is 15 min. and Caguas Plaza Centro Mall (Costco) is 40 min. all via 4 lane highway. I really don't have much use for SJ Metro!

Acclamation takes awhile to adjust to the tropical climate.

When we first moved from the northern states (Minn. ) to the south (east Texas) it was a major change for us.   When talking with the guys at the office about the climate change, I'll never forget the advise given to me by one of our directors..."down here (east Texas ) , we go from our air conditioned homes to our air conditioned car to our air conditioned office, if we want to do something outdoors, we go to Colorado!"  :sick

Took me about five years to fully adjust to the warm & humid climate.  Now I can't take the cold winters of the north.

When i moved from PR to the US I was never acclimated, I was Ok in Brownsville Texas, in Massachusetts (20 years), I get up every day from Fall to Spring and The first thing I ask my wife is: Have I ever told you that I hate winter?

The humidity in PR gets to me some days, but most of the time I barely sweat, by late afternoon I feel sticky but that is about it.

I still to this date dont understand why people live in the northeast states. Toooooo Fricking cold, last week temperature was droping into low 50's in july and some days were mid to low 70's for the high (in summer). Not quite beach weather.

Mostly I need to get a pair of prescription Sun Glasses for PR because it is so much brighter, i dont even use sun screen in PR, but my wife bitches at me for not wearing it.

Never get on an AMA bus in PR with no air conditioner unless you want to sweat and become dehidrated. I used to take them in PR when I was a kid, it was rough.

I chose a home with an east-facing patio for the breezes.  Take many showers, select loose-fitting breathable clothes, drink gallons of water, walk at the crack of dawn, swim after 3PM, ceiling fans for a constant indoor breeze. 
This is much more preferable to getting used to extreme cold.  I remember waking up to 25 below zero temperature in Vermont and going skiing anyway.  I would rather sweat than relive the pain of frostbite.

We made the move from Michigan to PR at the end of August 2015 and I am melting like Frosty the Snowman in the heat and humidity here.  I have dropped two pant sizes, but I also have a different lifestyle here.  In Michigan, we would practically hybernate from December to May, only going out for work and necessary errands.  Here, we rise early (5:30 a.m.), to see the sun rise, get our walk in with the dog, and our outdoor work done by 1 p.m., then get out of the sun and relax, take a siesta until the sun drops over the mountain, about 4:30 p.m., then get back outside.  I would love to have a wonderful tan, but I have had skin cancer, and have been instructed to cover up, so a hat or scarf on my head is a necessity.  Otherwise, the less clothing worn, the better.  I practically live in bathing suits and shorts and t-shirts.  If we go to the center of the island in the mountains, the temperatures are always 10 degrees cooler, so I will bring a sweater just in case.  Oh, and if I have to go to a hospital or medical facility, I will bring a sweater, because it's always freezing there!

That sounds very familiar, I lived in Costa Rica for years, every time I returned to the States for any length of time, I gained 30 to 40 pound. However, when I returned to Costa Rica, it took me 3 to 4 months to lose the 30 or 40 pounds again I’ve finally concluded it’s not healthy for me to live in the USA. My wife is from Nicaragua, and doesn’t want to return for life or money. Costa Rica is out of the question, too many beautiful Costa Rican ladies are there. However, when we first moved here from Nicaragua, she said something I’ll never forget. “In Nicaragua the cows are skinny and so are the people, but in the USA, the cows are fat and so are the people” That profound statement sums it up. In Central America, the farmer are too poor to use chemicals or drugs on their fields or livestock, everything is organic. The problem is, they have Macdonald now, every place there is a Mac D’s, people are fat!

I’ve been in the States far too long, Puerto Rico is a compromise between my wife and I, soon we’ll be out of here and back to a healthier lifestyle.

I dont know..... there a lot of good looking ladies in PR also. You could be in trouble with the wife.  :D

Long ago there were many reports about some of those additives getting into the food chain in PR and the girls were developing at much younger age than normal. Things may have changed, dont know. A lot of the food in PR comes from the states, about 80% is imported. A lot of people eat from the fast food chains and prepared food but not as many as in the states. A good number still rather have a home cooked meal.

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