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New members of the Puerto Rico forum, introduce yourself here – 4th quarter of 2016

One more thing.... when you see a property that you really like to rent or purchase, stop by the area between 7 and 9 PM to see the level of noise, dog situation, crime, etc. Not everyone that looks blond blue eyed or carrot top is a mainlander, we natives come in all sizes and colors.

Thanks for your tips ReyP!  :)  We plan on flying down 1st Q 2017 for several weeks and scouting out the best places to live. One question about dogs. We have two pit bulls male and female. Is there a breed ban against them in PR?

Yes there is a ban for pit bulls and mixes. Check with the airline before you decide what to do. Plenty Pit bulls already in the island, they don't want additional ones. How strongly they enforce it I do not know.
If you are going to be stopped is going to be by the airline more than likely. Dogs will travel in a crate / cage since too big for inside the plane and you will need to pick them up. See info on traveling with animals in the forum.
If they are allowed, they will need to be fixed.

About 4 months ago 2 pit bulls attacked the elderly (74) mother of a lady and literally tore her to pieces, the dogs knew her and liked her but probably had a wild day. While yours may not, the publicity is big time so they may be watching for the forbidden animals more than normal. Sorry to rain on your parade.

Yes unfortunately that rules out PR for us. Thanks for the tip we'll look to Central America now.

Dont give up yet, check with airlines first.

Hi everyone! I'm from California and moved out here earlier this year with my husband and little one. It's been an experience moving here and adjusting. We were here for the three day island wide power outage and I luckily left Old San Juan in time to avoid the protests against Uber on the island today. Taxis blocked the Dos Hermanos Bridge going San Juan and there is supposed to be a Christmas Boat Parade there tonight as well.

A lot of protesters block the Dos Hermanos Bridge, it is fairly common. When I was a kid we used to go under the bridge and swim and wave at the tourists to throw coins in the water for us to retrieve.

I think the boat parade is in front of peer 6 but likely will be visible in Condado with some luck.

I would ask members if anyone has brought pit bulls into PR and if they had problems.

catmando :

One question about dogs. We have two pit bulls male and female. Is there a breed ban against them in PR?

From the USDA website (link to full document is below):

All breeds of Staffordshire bull terrier, American Staffordshire terrier, American Pit Bull terrier
and hybrids produced by crossbreeding with dogs of other breeds are prohibits be introducing or
importing to Puerto Rico.


Find the complete document here

Hi! I actually went to the Dept of Agriculture and they told me pit bulls or any dogs that resembled them were not allowed on the island at all. There is a group in PR trying to get that law repealed with the new governor. With the current governer, there is an executive order that stopped the euthanasia of pit bulls but that ends once he's out of office. According to the Americans with Disabilities Act, they cannot deny you housing or plane travel as long as you have the proper documentation, and of course the animal does not damage property and is well behaved and meets all the health certificate requirements. You can maybe check with the airline and specify it's a support animal and you have a letter from a doctor. They legally cannot ask you what your disability is.

Thank yall for all your help! :top: Our dogs are bro/sis from the same litter and are spayed and neutered. They are 8 1/2 years old now. Diesel is really laid back but Delilah is much more active. They are very good with people, children and babies. They sleep indoors in their own chair and sofa, no crate no outside chaining. They have the run of the yard when they go out.

When we take them for walks they are always leashed. I bought a tricycle to give them more exercise than a 73 year old man on his rickety old legs can lol. They love the exercise they get and they love to meet and greet other dogs in the parks we go to. Neither Diesel nor Delilah is dog aggressive.

We have decided to come to PR even though the ban is in effect. We'll let one of our family members keep the dogs here until we get back in 2-3 weeks. And we hope to meet some of you as well!

See you soon,

Everett and Carolyn Cox
Arlington, Tx.

Safe and enjoyable travels, January is a good time to come, it is not as hot and rain is less so more beach time.
Hope you like it in the island.

PS. If you are traveling to Culebra or Vieques ask for the senior discount. It is normally something like 2 dollars each way on the ferry, but seniors is half. Most things to do are free in the island. If you go to Luquillo, it is 4 dollar parking all day for the beach there. Check the Charcos (puddles) is several of the rivers they are like ponds made by the rivers, people like to go swiming there, most are clear water. By the way the local tacos (not mexican) are a friend pastry full of some kind of meat or sea food.

By the way is is 15 degrees here in Massachusetts at 8:30 am and it is 83 in San Juan.

Hello everyone and Feliz Navidad,

My wife and I are planning to purchase some land in the mountains of PR. Our goal is to move to PR and build a house on the property as soon as we can sell our 60 acre ranch in Texas.

Our desire is to purchase between 5 to 30 acres for our house and a large garden/small farm. The main use of the property will be just for our own enjoyment and living, but our 30 year old daughter thinks we should make a small eco B&B. We told her that if she wants to come to PR and live she can take on that project.

We built our current ranch in Texas from scratch. I did 99% of the work alone on main house and guest house. I'm getting past the age where I want to do that again, so I plan on contracting out the building of this property.

We have spent the last 28 years spending our vacation time in tropical places getting to know the different cultures from Belize to St. Lucia, along with doing the normal vacation things like scuba diving, snorkeling, and hiking......oh and of course sitting by the beach drinking rum drinks!

We are currently working on learning Spanish so that we can fully enjoy the PR culture. A few years ago we stayed in old San Juan PR for a few days and really enjoyed the people.

I will be traveling to PR in January for 3 weeks to search for a property that fits our goals. From what I have read in this forum, it seems the best way to find a property that works for us will be to travel to the different towns in the mountains from Lares to El Yunque, spending a few days in each area talking to local real estate agents?

Any advise would be appreciated.

Hi Bkettren,
You basically got the formula right, but put some of the land to some agriculture use no need to waste so much land.
I am here if you have any questions, by the way eco B&B is a great idea specially with so much land. Horses for your land and a cow or two for milk and cheese. Lots of people use horses in those areas.
Welcome to the forum and Puerto Rico

Thanks,
We currently have a few goats and chickens. I will have to wait and see what works in PR based upon the type of land we end up with.

Goats, chickens and pigs are big time in PR for milk, eggs and meat. Goat is a delicacy usually prepared in a stew. where pig and chickens are stable. Beef is eaten also but not as much due to cost, but we like it a lot for Churrasco (strips on the grill with a nice sauce on the side made with Garlic, herbs and oil) and Biftec ensebollado (beef with Onions). We love to roast a whole pig for parties, people build their own Lechonera (pig spit) if they trow parties often or just sell the cooked pork. Very common in the country that people will kill a hog and share some of the meat with the neighbors, same with fruits and vegetables if they are friends or come help work the land or care of the animals. You will get the best of Puerto Rico in the country side, beach is never farther than 18 miles as the bird flies, much farther by winding roads of course.

In PR we typically cut the wings feathers down so the chickens wont fly out, most times people have the chickens free range or a large enclosure to make it easier to get them when it is supper time. Coqui and grasshoppers will put you to sleep at night and the roosters will let you know when to get up.

If you are used to farming and do it mostly to be self sufficiency and for the freshness, you will do real well country side. You can even grow coffee and many tubers, bananas, mangos, pineapples, and many other fruits. Sorry Apples do not do well in PR, there is no cold spell for them.

I purchased a 1.65 acre lot to build my house and do a little farming also. Not as much as you obviously.

BTW, if you like horses, you may want to look into the "Paso Fino" horses, with a large farm you can raise them and sell them for good money. Plenty of competitions in PR and Latin America. Most people in PR just have the common horse and Paso Fino are special.

Thanks again!!
Roasting a pig sounds like it might be a great way to meet the neighbors. I just need to greatly improve my Spanish!

I was worried that a eco B&B might offend the local culture. My wife and I want to adapt to the local culture, not clash with it. But if you don't think that a eco B&B would be a problem I will have to think about it more seriously.

There is a growing movement for eco anything and there are a few eco B&B. Even locals are starting to get concerned with the ecology. We have dairy farms and coffee farms giving tours to locals and tourists. We also have organizations protecting the turtles nests and raising the number of birds like native parrots.
People want more agricultural farms and products, PR imports 85% of what is consumed. People are aware and are starting to buy more of the local products instead of just what is cheapest.

Since your profile shows an interest in San Sebastián here is a little info. http://welcome.topuertorico.org/city/sanseb.shtml

Feliz Navidad,

Hola/hello,
Earlier this year, after doing some volunteer trail restoration work on St John, I spent several weeks exploring back roads all over Puerto Rico. In the past decade I've considered the idea of a winter garden/home in several places I'm fond of, esp Chile and Panama. I've settled on the dream of Puerto Rico, and in  the past 10 months I've honed a list of properties that seem appealing. The crazy lack of accurate information in MLS listings  and the lack of response to specific questions emailed to various (alleged) listing agents in PR is very frustrating, so I'm coming down for 6 weeks to try to find property I might purchase.

My problem is that I'm a bit like a kid in a candy shop, I love almost every part of the island. I've lived on a quiet, lovely farm in a beautiful small town for the past 37 yrs. While I'm accustomed to roosters crowing well before dawn I know that I need at least some space/distance from neighbors. I've been following this forum for some time now and several members have offered others the names of realtors/brokers that may be helpful. I'd really appreciate a link to those names as well as advice specific to pitfalls/things to be aware of involving a property of a few acres.

I have read that the northeastern part of the island is slightly more temperate than the rest of the island (excluding the interior mountain region). Is this true? Are some areas consistently more humid than others? I'd esp like to talk to Mark, near Ponce, about his experience with the growing season and really, all of it.  Asheville is a bit like Saratoga in many ways, so I'd enjoy seeing what you've created in PR.  If it would be possible for me to visit your finca in mid Jan or Feb, please let me know how I might arrange a visit.

In closing, thank you all for so many interesting perspectives and helpful posts. Frog..., I'll gladly bring you some packages of Pa. egg noodles if you'll contact me!  You have a v calming perspective when posts between members seem to get a little heated, and I'd like to ask your advice about several things. I look forward to meeting some of you and contributing to this forum...and to living in Puerto Rico.

Find the property you are interested in in the map, check for houses around the property to get and idea how close they are. Also check for churches since they tend to be loud.

A nice farm property is a great way to have some peace and quiet, work the land a little more every year, don't kill yourself, remember you are trying to take life easy, why do it today when you can do it tomorrow or the next day. Island time.
Land around El Yunque tends to get more rain, and stronger breezes.

Thanks Rey,

You are probably getting same snow we are today. A little nippy. When I'm able to actually see where a property is for a listing, I do try to note adjacent things (esp evangelical churches). Thanks for heads up on that. A big frustration is the often inaccurate listing of lot/acreage size and /or location. I email very specific questions regarding these matters but never hear back. From reading many of the forum comments I now realize this is common. Glad I like to drive, even gladder that it will be lovely driving!

Another question I have is regarding good swimming beaches. I'm drawn to the hilly terrain north and east of Ponce...maybe Coamo, Patillas, Naubacao,etc.,but I love to swim. I'd like to be somewhere within a 20 minute drive of good swimming. Maps say that Playa Pozuelo is permanently closed. Do you know why? Is it good for swimming or is there too much undertow? Are there places to swim at/near Salinas or is it not suitable? I saw a lovely picture of a manatee at Bahia de Rincon in Salinas, but nothing about swimming there.

Thanks for responding to my first post. Susan

Unfortunately I am not that familiar with the south of the island, I am most familiar with the metro area (Hato Rey, Santurce, Condado, San Juan, Old San Juan, Isla Verde and  Bayamón), Rio Piedras, Juncos, Las Piedras, Humacao, Naguabo, Ceiba (my place), Fajardo, Luquillo, Rio Grande, Loiza, Canovanas, Carolina, Isla Verde, in a big circle.

However the east and south of the island are in the Caribbean Sea which tend to have a lot of swimable Beaches and tend to have less undertow, so it is likely not to be a problem. Any realtor worth anything (not many of those) will take you to the closest beaches to the properties you are looking at. Again Google Maps is your friend, put a pin by the sea close to your property and let the system take you there. Did you see my private message?

There's some nice beaches on the south part of the island. Salinas, santa Isabel, bahia jobos, playita cortada and polluelos are nice áreas. Most of those areas are not as developed as other areas along the west side or like the ones in the northeast side. You will be closer to Ponce and from there a short trip to coffin island.

Not sure if closed or not, this has a little info about the playa Pozuelo, but from this and some pictures it does not look like a dead calm beach for swimming. I like beaches that are dead calm for swimming and snorkling
https://foursquare.com/v/pozuelo/4e2317 … 639540285b

Hello,

Moving to Aguadilla next month with my husband and baby all the way from California. So far my only concern is safety and a good pediatrician and OBGYN for me and my baby.

Check with your health insurance provider if nobody makes a recommendation. A lot of people just use their regular doctor for those but both specialist exist in PR.

For the most part all PR is safe, you could go into a gated community if you prefer.

Welcome to PR!

Your best bet would be to check with your insurance who is a provider out here. If not try google or yelp but not a lot of offices seem to have a website out here like they do in the states. It might take calling several times and driving to the offices to find a good doctor or an office that is open so I suggest calling now before you move. I moved out here when my baby was 5 months old from the Temecula area and it took a while to find a pediatrician (he's not all that great but something is better than nothing) and if you are vaccinating you may have to go to a vaccination center. Also, ask if the office is by appointment. If not you could wait up to 3 hours or more to be seen and that's not fun with a little one. Safety is always a hit or miss so it's important to be aware or your surroundings especially if you're alone with your little one. I follow some news pages on Facebook and it seems like most of the crime happens at night, on the weekends, wee hours of the morning. There are random carjackings and home robberies but  I assume as long as you're not flashing money everywhere you go you'll be fine. I carry a knife with me at all times just for comfort, I was followed home from the beach in Isla Verde from a guy handing out restaurant business cards and carrying a club/stick. It wasn't random, I was definitely followed and i was glad to be living in a gated condo. Not trying to scare you, but always good to keep an eye out.

Have your husband ask around the office for places to live and for doctors, likely his new co workers have their own doctors preferences and stories about the service they provide

Yes, my baby is two months old so my concern is vaccinations.  Her second round are due this next month and of course we move that month. I seriously figured out no one uses websites on this island lol we already started driving around and going into offices.  Trying to find a place that speaks English too. My husband starts work Jan 30 so we have a month before he can ask. Every one we know so far don't have kids.

I have a lot of Puerto Rican friends who freaked me out yesterday with the stories and how bad it is here and hurricanes :/ I guess it's human nature to tell people bad over the good lol

Most houses are concrete, no hurricane can move it and I do not believe your name is Dorothy, besides it is far from Kansas.

PR is a small target, most past to the north and south of the island, it is rare that we get a direct hit. All over he newspaper: 3 chickens, 2 cows and one fool swimming or watching the waves during the huracane perish. Puerto Rican's are used to it, but they still empty the supermarkets. Biggest issue are loosing power and loosing water due to possible contamination, outages can easily last a week. Get a generator and store candles and water, you will be fine. Low laying areas may have flooding issues, also some roads may flood, so stay home for 24 to 48 hours and the flooded roads will be passable.

Any doctor and many pharmacies can give you a vaccine for your family. Unless there is a real problem with the health of the baby a regular doctor will do fine, relax, many babies in PR.

First kid?
For my first kid we used to boil the water, bottles, and sucker, we used a thermometer to ensure perfect milk temperature.

By the second kid we did none of that. If the sucker felt on the floor we brush the dirt off and stuck it in his mouth. My first one is now 42 my second one is 30, my third is 26, did not loose any and all very healthy.

I'm in the same boat. Not many of my husbands coworkers have kids. I had to drive around and yelp my way around the area to find doctors. Hurricanes are from June to December and the rains weren't so bad but the roads out here flood quickly in some areas. What you have to keep in mind out here is the mosquitos, and the outages that happen randomly. It's good to get a battery powered fan and plenty of water just in case just for the baby. You can also go to healthychildren.org and input your area to look up pediatricans in the area. It was quite a trip coming out here and trying to get settled. It's easy to nitpick things out here but the beach is always close by to go relax at.

LOL funny how apps have become verbs

Thank you for all your advice. We will be stocking up on food, water, candles and lots of batteries.

Boy am I Dorothy! Coming from Southern California it's life changing. So worth it at the end.

Now to figure out car registration and turning on our water and electricity lol so much work!

Greetings team! Almost 2017...

We'll be heading to Puerto Rico in a few days and wanted to check-in with everyone. Our plan is to stay in Isla Verde for 5 days and then spend 10 days transiting around the island. We are hopeful that we don't get too stuck in vacation mode and end up staying in town the entire time (for those who know how that goes) because our goal is also to look at different parts of the island to see where we'd eventually like to buy. I have about 10 places saved from Zillow but i understand that the data may be hit or miss in its accuracy (price, location, specs, etc).

Ideally we'll do the tourist thing and Uber around Old San Juan, Condado, and Isla Verde, and then head west (or maybe east) and try to airbnb places with ocean views to get a better feeling of what we are looking for. At least as much as possible in 10 days. We have two rental car reservations as of today but I think we'll cancel the one we have that covers the time we are in Isla Verde since I don't think we'll need one at that time, but will for the trek around the island. After the two weeks in PR, we will head down to South America for a week and then head back to PR for a few more days.

Thanks everyone for the assistance thus far (via separate messages and this forum). Here's a few last minute questions before we depart for PR in a few days:

1) Does our "plan" sound solid? That is doing 5 days in town with no car, do the tourist thing, and then start trekking around for 10 days? If so, any recommendations on which route to take and where to stay so that we can base for a few days to check places out? I have places saved all around the island but we are open to looking every and anywhere. Forgot to mention that we'll also want to see sites along the way. And I know that we need to see the middle of the island too but those ocean views are what we really think we want at this point but are totally open to see places inland as well.

2) Should we try to get a realtor at this point to show us around or is it best to just explore? Leaning heavily towards just exploring but since I speak about a 100 words of Spanish, it will be hard to do drivebys and speak with people. But that's fun for us as well, that is trying to communicate with people. We've lived all around the world and adapt pretty quickly.

3) Back to 1, will we be able to find decently priced accommodations on the fly using airbnb? I'll caveat "decent" with me being somewhat of a prima donna when it comes to lodging (remember this is a vacation too). Ideally would want to stay in places similar to what we would purchase or at least in the same area with ocean views (close to ocean or on a hill overlooking it).

4) It will be only me and my wife, and we'd love to meet up with people during the 2+ weeks (arrive on 4 Jan very very early in morning after a long flight). This could be in town or as we transit around. First round is on us, or maybe event the second too...

Really excited to see what Puerto Rico has to offer and we are hoping that it is "the location" for us to call home later.

Sounds like a good plan.  I am in Palmas del Mar. Let me know if you are in the neighborhood.

Your plan to do without a car in Isla Verde is fine, you have Uber, Taxy and busses. Once you leave metro area you will need a car.

This time of the year it may be hard to find accommodations if you head west due to popularity of the west to snow birds and surfing jocks but luck may be with you.

Natives visiting the island will start to leave after Jan 7 as they need to go back to work back in the states.

Realtors may be hard to find during the holidays and they may not call you back unless you are serious about purchasing now which you are not likely to be since you are in exploring mode.

I would suggest you explore the island and see the general areas where you may want to live instead of looking at properties.

While in Isla Verde check out activities in San Juan and the rest of the metro area here is a site that will help: http://www.puertoricodaytrips.com also check out my links in the forum about things to do in December just change the month to January. Note that some of the activities in the December calendar run thru January 22, so check out the December Calendar first.

One important item, Jan 6 is Dia De Los Reyes (the day the 3 wise men meet baby Jesus and deliver gifts, custom is to put a shoe box filled with grass for the Camels under the bed and on January 6th it may be full of presents for the kids), it is bigger than Christmas, finding anything open including restaurants may be hard, plan on eating at the hotel that day or check with local restaurants to see if they are open.

You should visit the east coast first while still in Isla Verde, you are close to Loiza, Luquillo (JonnyHulk place), Rio Grande (melendezky place), Fajardo (Sugarbird place), Ceiba (my place), Naguabo, and Humacao (Frodgrock place). After that then head toward the west to check out Dorado and other towns westward. You may also may want to check the south of the island using Ponce as your gateway to surrounding towns.

I am available all the time other than when sleep, so do not be afraid of shooting me a private message or post in the forum. Ill try to help.

Everyone accepts cash in the island, the more out of the way you are, the more you will need cash. Do not be afraid of food sold by street vendors. Good unsophisticated places to eat are easy to spot by the number of locals going to eat there, if it is popular it likely is good and savory. Our food tends to be greasy and spicy like Italian food is, lots of Garlic, Onions and Green Peppers, we do not eat hot food normally, some dishes you have a choice of "Piquante" or not like Pasteles and Blood Sausage (morcilla) come as Piquante or not, most other is not. We do have local hot sauce at the table for those who love hot stuff like me (I will eat very hot when I can).

Don't be hungry Jan 6, check with restaurants to see if they are open that day!!!!

hello skholl, Since I purchased my property about 13 years ago the weather has been changing, The South coast is considered the dry side of the Island but we have been getting more rain that usual. Our 32 acre farm was a coffee farm for 100 or more years. They stopped growing coffee about 40 years ago because the climate got drier and the there was no longer a market. All this seems to be changing. I am fond of the Ponce area as I enjoy country/agriculture and culture. I can be in the heart of the historic district and be at my farm in under 15 minutes. We do not have to travel too much on back roads. 20 minutes from a major city is the furthest I would be unless I was going for complete isolation and there are plenty of places for that. We have a couple of ways to go to town as not to be cut off by landslides. toppling trees, etc. Location is very important.   I have been experimenting with different types of crops and have been very successful with most with little attention. Too much water can be a problem. A lot of fruit trees do not grow to  their full stature in very wet areas and are known to fall over. Too much rain can cause mangoes to have worms.
I have only been in PR partime, I will be in PR full time this year. I have a lot of projects in the works. Water containment will be one of my priorities. We have very good but limited water on the farm for bathing. drinking, cooking, etc, I plan on catching water with roofs of cottages and other simple structures. These cisterns will be gravity fed. The soil in the Ponce area has a lot of clay. When it is mulched it retains water for a long time and when it is drier the roots grow deeper to access the underground water. This gives the trees strength. Even tho Ponce is dry there are a few rivers that continually flow. There is plenty of land for sale at very good prices but most tracts are large with a lot of the terrain being steep. I have  very few flat sections but I know how to work with this terrain. The invitation to visit is always open but my priority now is to sell my building here in NC and proceed ful ltime with full speed ahead.

This site is good to give you an idea of where each town is, how close they are to each other and for some demographic. http://welcome.topuertorico.org/exploring.shtml

HI everyone!

We are a US family of 4 including 2 kids (14 and 8), and we are relocating in Puerto Rico from Barbados. We are looking for an affordable, secure, and calm area to rent a 3 bedrooms’ house with at least 2 bathrooms. We also need information about private schools as well as activities for kids. Your inputs will be appreciated.

Thanks

Lewis

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