Looking to Move to PR in 2017

Hello All! My name is Melissa and I will moving from the awesome city of Austin, TX in 2017! I have a job that allows me to work from home providing a specialized dental service to dentists across the US and abroad (time zones permitting). I have 2 grown children and am looking for a new life adventure just for me. My company has given me its blessing as long as there is excellent internet service. I'm am most curious which city in PR will give me the less tourist-y experience yet still provide the amenities I need to keep my boss happy. I am a low maintenance kinda girl so I'm not looking for resort-style accommodations. I'd rather live affordably and use the extra capitol to travel around PR and beyond. I am looking for a year long experience and then will take things from there. I'm so glad I found this forum. I have so many questions. I am planning to move by May-June 2017. Thanks All! ~Melissa aka Ms. Phancypants!  :)

Hi, Check out my posts. I live in Ponce and a place up in the mountains nearby. It has some tourist due to the Colonial buildings, a beautiful art museum but they do not stay long once they have seen the architecture and there are no pretty beaches in walking distance. Ponce is a large district. The historic district is very authentic in a 2nd world sort of way but has 1st world amenities nearby. There is a small community of organic farmers and artist emerging. This is my interest.
It is like a classic Colonial town off the beaten path of South America. There are plenty of homeless, etc but they pose no threat. It is safe to walk. The best part is living in the colonial district where everything you might need is in walking or bicycle distance. Bicycle riding is getting more popular. There are prettier places to, live but they tend to be way off the beaten path and lack the level off Puerto Rican culture that Ponce promotes. You might want to be more specific as to what you are looking for. Now that a lot of Puerto Ricans are leaving the area more places are available to rent.

While San Juan is likely to provide you with the most reliable internet services, Ponce and Mayaguez both came to mind, and I'd recommend that you consider them.  They are significant cities with good services, and not as "touristy" as San Juan can be.  Ponce is a charming town -- lots of museums, great food, but as Mrkpytn pointed out, no beaches, so not as touristy.  Mayaguez has great colonial architecture, and some great beaches nearby, but you'd find it easy to avoid the tourists.

Thank you Mrkpytn and WanerW! While I don't necessarily mind tourism, another one of my goals is learn more Spanish. My hope is that if I can live a little off the beaten path, I'll be forced to use more Spanish than not. However, if I have to live in San Juan for the best internet, I am okay with that as well. I have heard that traveling around the island, between towns, takes about 2-4 hours? If I end up in San Juan, I do look forward to traveling. I'm from Texas and am VERY used to having to drive to get anywhere cool. Lastly, I've seen some YT vids that talk about power outages. How often does this occur?

Services like electricity, water, internet fail every now and then but if you prepare for that you are going to be fine.
In high-end condos there will be a backup generator and a water system that keeps you going. If you live in a more modest place you will have to take care of a generator and a water tank or two yourself.
The same goes for internet. Some providers are more reliable than others but none will give you connection 100% of the time. If you need your internet connection to work, no matter what, you should get a backup provider.
The bigger the town/city the bigger the chance that you can get along with English. If you go live in a smaller town or barrio you may have to work on your Spanish real fast.
The island is roughly 100 x 35 miles and a trip from east to west or west to east can be done in 3.5 hours.
So depending on what you like you could live anywhere on the island. :)

Ponce has reliable internet service. Few outages. Coming and going out of town is easy. San Juan can be a nightmare with traffic. Ponce is much slower than San Juan . Ponce is provincial. San Juan is more cosmopolitan. Little English is spoken in Ponce. Puerto Rican Spanish has its own dialect. The more rural the more obvious that is. Guest from Spain have commented on their difficulty in understanding  some people.

Thank you Gary! I just spoke with a friend last night about the generator situation. I guess what I need to know is "how often is often" when it comes to lack of services. We're no strangers to Time Warner Cable going down for the count for 15 mins to one hour or more about once every 2-3 months. Would say it's about the same in PR? More frequently? For same or longer time periods? My apologies if these are crazy questions. But if it happens all the time, it may make or break my plans. My job is 100% internet based. I host online meetings with clinicians need to communicate with my team. I will be so sad if I can't go. But my boss will blow a gasket, for obvious reasons, if I'm down too often for clients.
Thanks for sharing!!!

Thank you Mkpytn! I saw some great reviews of Ponce as well!


Just an FYI: T-Mobile is EVERYWHERE on the island. What we ended up doing is buying mobile phones, signing up with T-Mobile and use the "Hot Spot" feature to connect to the net and have Wi-Fi throughout our apartmeng (TVs, tablets, etc.) in San Juan.  It was cheaper than cable and works great.

MsPhancypants :

We're no strangers to Time Warner Cable going down for the count for 15 mins to one hour or more about once every 2-3 months. Would say it's about the same in PR? More frequently? For same or longer time periods?

I'm pretty much in the middle of nowhere and right now I have my main internet via a wireless system to the next tower where it connects to the fiber system of Liberty, a cable provider.
I do need internet to work since, like you, I make (a big chunk of) my money online.
I may be without internet a couple of hours per month, sometimes less, sometimes more. I just want to have internet when I need it so I have a backup solution via my cell phone provider and when the main connection is down I switch (automatically)  to the backup.
Maybe you'll find a better provider in a town. But if you're dependent on 100% reliability 40 or 60 bucks per month for a backup provider shouldn't be a problem, right?
Electricity was pretty good the first five months of this year but lately we lost it six, seven times for 6 - 12 hours. My generator takes care of that.
I have a couple of thousand gallons of water in four tanks and a pump to get it where I need it.

If you know that you could lose a service that you don't want to  (or can't afford to) lose, even if it's for a short time and you take care of a backup you sleep well and enjoy living in paradise. :D

Something more, Melissa, if you are hosting online meetings, is that with video or is it voice only?
Check how much bandwidth (both down and up) you need to make it work smoothly and check with providers if they can get you that speed at the location where you would want to settle down.
Many people here are served with 2 MB down (and 512 KB up) or less. Right now I have 30 MB down and 10 MB up and that is good enough for everything that I do online.

Based on what you said so far, you are likely to be renting. So items like generators and water tanks with pumps may not be very workable up a multi family condo. But if that is the sort of place (multi family condo) that you like, it would be bast to ask the people in several apartments about the name of their provider, the speed and reliability.

If you are looking for a house then tanks and generators are possible options. You could purchase them, your landlord could provide it, or you two can make some type of deal.

Check what service he previous tenants were using and check with the service provider before you sign up.

Expect some down time at first. Once you order internet service, it may be days or weeks before it is up and running. Get a backup service by using your phone hotspot capability. If you do not need video, likely you will get enough speed, things get more hairy if you need video.

Gary I believe has a business contract, not a consumer contract. These typically have a service agreement and a repair by time limit. This is something you may want to consider if available in your area.

You also need to let's us know a little about what sort of place you want and what sort of activities you like. Do you want mountains, valleys, country, suburb, city life? Since it is just you, a 1 or 2 bedroom will likely do, but a house, a condo, a high rise condo? Once we know that we can advice you a little better, there are 78 municipalities in PR. You are not just coming to PR to just work, so the other stuff is important too.
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Since you are from Austin I'm guessing you would most like Santurce. You can find affordable places to live. That's where the Art, Music, Culture etc scence is at right now lots of people doing things. Probably closest to the vibe you are used to....I'm assuming. Close to the beach. Public transportation. Nightlife. Other areas of the island might not have enough social interaction for you especially if you are on your own. Also I believe you can get Fiber Optic Internet in San Juan. … -san-juan/

Yes, you can get fiber optic and a dedicated line in San Juan. And I agree, Sartuce is very cultural with music being of primary importance, as in Austin.

I chose Viejo San Juan. It is touristy. But it had what I wanted: a view of the ocean, walk to everything, culture, history and Latin vibe. My building is historic  with all the character that comes with it. But VSJ is also more expensive, so probably not for you. Sartuce is more affordable with much of the same. 

But, I love everything about the island. I could live anywhere there and be happy. I only chose what worked for me at this point in time. I might decide to sell and buy something in Ponce or somewhere else historic at some point. Who knows. LIfe is an adventure.

Thank you Dora!!

Thank  you Igustaf!!

I second what Gary said... I live right between Santurce/Ocean Park/Condado and I work online. I host webinars and have had 2-3 times where my audio would go and the connection drop. Very frustrating. We also have Liberty, and the highest level of service they offer. You definitely need a back up plan.

I love living in this area - lots of great little restaurants and easy to get to the highway.

Thank you ReyP! Ideally, I would like a house with a carport. 1K or less is the budget I'm giving myself for the 1st year--(again that's my ideal--I can cope if I can't  :) ) As I've been chatting here and continuing to do my research online, I'm realizing I should start closer to San Juan until I get my bearings. I am planning to ship my car as well so that I can get around and explore. I'm so glad Dora and Igustaf talked about cities that are more like Austin! I am a city girl but also a Navy Vet--so travel and unusual accommodations do not scare me! LOL!  I used to run marathons and triathlons but now sit in front of my computer hosting hour long voice meetings with my doctors/dentists viewing my computer via 'GoTo Meeting'. I love my job, but have let it become the focus. It will be 10 years with my company this October with the last 2 years working from home. I would love to get back out there and enjoy culture and sports again. (I understand Gold's gym also has facilities near San Juan?) My kids have said, "Mom, you can get back into sports why move to an island to do it?" My response? Moving to PR is to challenge me; to awaken me by forcing me to adapt to new things. It sounds like I've got my work cut out for housing and internet accommodations. I hope I can make it all come true!

Thank you Suzanne12345!!

1k in Santurce is doable check … -+Busqueda
Many under 1k, do note this was a search for Santurce and 2 bedroom

@@@@@ The one in Sagrado Corazon really looks good.

Yes, Melissa, you CAN make it happen. I did, and that's without speaking Spanish or even living there.

One of the things I like about the location of my apartment is that I can walk to everything.  And in VSJ, I get plenty of exercise just walking the uneven cobblestone streets and hills. Around the Sartuce/Condado area there are also bike lanes, so if you like to bike you're in luck -- and in many ways better than trying to navigate around the congested, confusing streets. Plus, Puerto Ricans have their own "rules of the road", if you get my drift. In the greater San Juan area, the bus system is not bad, and a free trolly runs from Condado to VSJ. Outside of greater San Juan, having a car is much more important. 

Puerto Ricans love life. They party hard, but they are health-conscious. My property manager runs from Candado to VSJ and back at least three times a week to stay in shape, and there are always people jogging around town (especially in the morning), going to the gym (there are quite a few crossfits in the area - Zumba, Pilates, yoga are big), and every night the kids practice basketball at the community court across the street.

BTW:  In the Candado/Sartuce area there are lots of condo rentals with private parking and many of them also have private gyms and other recreational facilities like pools and tennis courts. 1K/mo should be very duable. I know you wanted a house, but I wouldn't rule out townhomes and condos, especially to start off, unless you know the house landlord has a good reputation for being responsive to problems and taking care of his property, or the house is being rented through a management company.

Military presence is still quite strong in PR, so you mgiht be able to hook up with other vets for pointers and to expand your social network.

Oh, and PR has the "BIg Four", as I call them: CostCo, WalMart, Home Depot and Ikea. Just about anything you need, to can get at one of them. Are you bringing your furniture?

Thank you Igustaf!! This is VERY encouraging!!! :)

ReyP :

1k in Santurce is doable check … -+Busqueda
Many under 1k, do note this was a search for Santurce and 2 bedroom

@@@@@ The one in Sagrado Corazon really looks good.

Thank you ReyP!!

Classificados is a very good source for everything: from appliances to cars. There is also a PR Craig's List, but it doesn't have near the readership.

If you're not bringing furnture, finding a furnished house to rent will be easier on the more "resort" parts of the island, where mainlanders have second homes. Finding a furnished townhome or condo is easier in the San Juan/Condado/Sartuce area.

Rooms-to-Go is HUGE in PR and PR has the largest Macy's outside of New York City. There's a big Bed, Bath & Beyond in the De Sol shopping center in Bayamon and even a Marshall's in the middle of VSJ, where I get my sheets, towels and all that stuff.  You can also order from Amazon which has direct delivery to PR.  I think Wayfare does, too.

We live in Fajardo and love it.  Started out in Old San Juan but it was too touristy.  We have some friends who just moved to Ceiba and it is also a small town feel.  I have an excellent realtor for this area whenever you are ready.  I too work from home and found Aeronet to be the absolute best.  For on $59 per month I have excellent service and quality customer service the few times the internet has been down.  Check with them once you have places considered to move to ensure it is part of their coverage area.  Good luck to you and your move.  It is a beautiful island and we have really enjoyed our time here.

I'll be brief, do to being on a smartphone; I've lived in the sourh, and now on the west. For such a small island, it's surprising how the oeople are different,  from one area to the next. I find the west to be a bit more mellow. I had many power outages, while living in Rincón  (the surfing capitol). I had a power plant, and the rent was super cheap,  but I had no internet, for almost 4yrs. , I am living in Isabela now, not one outage yet, in 5 months. There are "Gringos" everywhere, some tourists, some permanent residents, others "snowbirds", who've been coming for years. I've been here for 11yrs,, my only regret is; I wish that I had come sooner!

Thank you dcarterbriscoe! This is encouraging information!

Thank you for this information mac00677! It is just what I need to make my decision as to where I need to live to make the most of this move!

Rincon and surrounding areas are getting more and more expensive due to mainlanders moving in and all the snow birds.
While I do not know for sure, I heard that the power outages there tend to be due to the number of people and obviously the lack of infractructure and incompetence of the electric company.
Rental property is best gotten when the snow birds are out of the island, they go up when they arrive.

Looking for rent or buy? more than glad to help!

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