Are you happy in Puerto Rico?

Hello everyone!

According to the 2016 UN World Happiness Survey, Denmark, Switzerland and Iceland are the happiest countries on earth.

How about you? Are you happy in Puerto Rico? Do you feel happier today in your host country than before in your home country? What has contributed to the change?

In your opinion, are locals in Puerto Rico happy? How can you tell?

Please share your experience!

Yes, many tell me about the hardship it is laying in a hammock drinking pina coladas and having to swim down to get a free live lobster for lunch. Many people are miserable also because they will not have the joy of shoveling the snow off their cars and driveway.

Rough life for you.

I am still in the states and will soon be having fun shoveling 24 inches of snow every few days in a month or two. :sosad:

It's a split - we're totally happy and we were on a catamaran off the coast of Fajardo yesterday. But today, I spent over 3.5 hours just to see one doctor and get bloodwork done, which is intensely frustrating.

Puerto Rico has an incredible amount going for it, and it's a lovely place. But whether you're talking the lack of doctors/medical care issues, tax office lines, or dealing with the utilities, the lack of service/functional business can be a drag. It's not that everything is perfect in the States, it's more that things COULD work better here, but they just...don't. Like when you go to the grocery store, and there are long lines - but all the employees are just standing around texting and talking to each other, instead of helping check out/bag groceries. Or the elevators in your building are 1.5 years past their inspection expiration, but when you ask the maintenance guy, he just shrugs and tells you "eh, they won't pass." Like that's....ok?

The lack of caring gets to you after a while, even when everything else is amazing. Still wouldn't want to move back to the mainland, but I can feel how it might wear me down, long-term.

I found the lack of functionality difficult as well. My partner and I moved down in January with our toddler daughter, excited about the island and the chance to spend more time with his extended family. But as more and more services were cut or proven to be unreliable, I ended up moving back with her several weeks ago. My partner is in a contract so he'll have to stay awhile longer. But we decided that it would be better to have our little one have increased access to resources (it was nothing to wait an hour for a bus to the nearest playground, or to have the bus speed past though we were frantically waving from the stop). I also got tired of having to run for my life in a crosswalk while people sped through the red light. The island is gorgeous and the people generally friendly; I'm just saddened at where it is now and how long I think it will take to recover from the economic crisis.

Puerto Rico is now my home.  I am happy here and am happy about where I decided to live, which is in Palmas del Mar in Humacao.  There are trade-offs.  Some aspects of my former life I dearly miss, such as public libraries, diverse live music, off-the-boat-fresh seafood, and my ragtag group of  wonderful friends. And yet, I am not unhappy with my choice.  It is good enough.

Am I happy?
Yes, sometimes I am very happy here. When I am at a beautiful beach or when I am out with friends at a beach bar, enjoying life.
But the reality is, that life here is a challenge for your nerves!
I freak out every time I am driving because people here win their license in the lottery and police isn't doing their work.
And yes, doctor appointments, shopping or things like getting a new drivers license can kill you!
People here don't know nothing about service and it seems that they just don't care. If you tell them that something takes too long they smile at you or they get angry.
My husband told the people who pick up the trash not to come again in the middle of the night because they wake us up.
They came at 3 ir 4.30 am in the morning!
4 weeks ago my husband got out of bed and told them to stop it. There are laws and they should keep the laws!
The trash people told him that if he got a problem with that they will not pick up the trash anymore. And believe it or not, they are not coming in our street anymore!
My husband had to call there and to tell them, that they should come and pick up the trash.
Again second week without tradh pick up.
Yes, we are very happy here! :P

LOL, you got your original wish, they are no longer coming at 3 am to pickup the trash.
What about the other people in the same street, are they upset about the time of the trash pickup?
With the heat in PR, I can understand that they want to get the trash run done by noon and head to the beach or the bar, but the noice at 3 am can be a problem.

Trash pickup a lot of times is contracted to a company by the town, talk to the Mayor's office about both issues, the early hour and the fact they stop coming.

Servers typically make a pittance in salary and if they do not get good tips they tend to sour quickly, that is not an excuse, but it is what happens a lot of times. The problem is the management that does not properly train them and is not quick to get rid of people that do lousy service.

As to government workers ..... Forget it, you will get an ulcer if you get upset with them, the government and the unions protect them, so removing them hardly ever happens. They know it, so the give the worse they can get away with.
Businesses need to train the people and get rid of those that are inefficient or provide lousy service, after all there are a lot of people looking for a job and few jobs. As an employer I would be very selective, but in goverment, due to protections it is hard to fire someone.

Yea - They pick up the trash at my place about 4AM - I always thought due to the hot weather- it's much cooler at 4AM than 4PM!!  If I had to do that for a living, it would be at night.

The guys that pick up the trash on our neighborhood come at different times every week. When we are there I make it a purpose to say hi and offer water or soda. I have no problems with trash been left over or trash can been all bang up. They even collect the branches and stuff that doesn't fit on the trash can.  :cool:

And yes we are very happy when we are in the island. It is extremely difficult to leave every time. Can't wait to retire and be there 100%

Mine is the reverse of most of you, because moving to PR is moving to my island, culture and language that I left soooo long ago.

When I get to go to the island, I am very happy. I do feel lost a bit because so much has changed since I left the island, new urbanizaciones, new malls, expressways, new hotels and goverment offices I never had to deal with because I was barely 20 back then.

I do hate to leave the island and come back to work away from my brother, my oldest son, grand kids, cousins and aunts that all live in the island.

Every year I am away from PR makes me wonder if I will ever return to my Isla Del Encanto. Yes, I am super home sick because I can not yet move to the island, but the ducks are starting to line up and I am getting more mainlanders friends in the island thru this forum so I will not loose my English and I will have the opportunity to show them the richness of the island.

I'm definitely seeing a difference in answers between those of us who are living here and the folks who aren't here full-time yet....haha.

I find the culture here to be warm and friendly. You are treated as kindly as you treat others. People smile if you smile at them. You receive warm greetings as often as you offer warm greetings. Good lessons for life!!
If I walk into a store, gas station, market, I automatically smile and everyone graciously treats me with loving warmth and respect.  My spanish is pretty broken, but with a smile and a humble "lo siento", many will make an effort to communicate, with kindness.
I've  travelled 45 of the 50 contiguous U.S. States and never found consistency of kindness and respect, until I moved to Puerto Rico. And who can complain, when people love their culture enough to sing their songs openly, dance their dances publicly, and share their culture so freely, to us U.S. "EXPATS".
YES, I am happy in Puerto Rico, my home.

Yup, I'm happy in PR. 15 years (full time) here in the mean time.

Everywhere there's something that is not as nice/good and PR is no exception but Utopia doesn't exist.

I agree. Customer Service is non existence.

Customer service is seriously lacking in every aspect of daily life here.  I have learned to let it go because I cannot change it and being snotty in return just makes it worse.  I have observed that many people here do not multi-task and have no sense of's not personal, it is what it is.  I agree with all the comments above. I'm happy here, but wish the island could realize it's own potential.

So true! I never experienced something like this in my whole life! I guess they know we don't have any other options than except whats going on on this little island!
It still drives me crazy after 9 years!

The issue with service I can only guess at, people under payed that have no training in customer service are dealing with rude customers all day and just want to go home, after a while they stop giving a dam.

But the real problem is management which does not keep an eye on this, does not train their employees and does not take corrective action. Low level management should be accountable for this and if not then it is a problem that goes all the way to upper management.

Get on Facebook and twitter and name names, if it goes viral it will start to change those companies. Best if you have it on video or at least voice. Time to stop this SHIT!

Shame the management of the store for not correcting this type of behavior

I'm happy here in PR, but the customer service sector, does need some "help". For instance, walk into a Walmart, just about anywhere in the mainland, and you will have someone welcome you, then ask if they can help you find anything... in most cases, as you enter a new department, you are approached and kindly asked if they can help you find anything... here in PR... you will have to bring a bull-horn and scream help! I once asked if Guayama Walmart had a particular sandal in my size; they did not. I asked if they could call local walmarts, and see if any had the sandal in my size... they did not want to, and when a pair was finally located, I asked how long it would take them to have it sent to this walmart... they indicated that they could not do that. I use Walmart as an example, because we are a captive audience, here, and we have little other choice, in our daily purchasing routine.

I recently saw a post on FB, where someone was looking for a product, and one reply stated that that person, should be looking at PR-owned businesses first... in my experience, ALL franchises here in PR are locally owned. Thats why you cannot order items from (last time I tried), but could only go to, which basically shows where stores are, what the hours are, and a telephone number, (which will NEVER be answered, if called). But, one living in the USVI, can go online to, and order items, for delivery to the local walmart, in St. Thomas.

Another example of poor customer service...and also Walmart related.  I used the bathroom in the Canovanas Walmart and there was no soap nor paper towels.  There was a sign that says if you would not rate the maintenance of this bathroom a 10, please let us know.  When we checked out, I let the cashier know.  Her response to my husband was, well we don't put paper towels in there because she is supposed to use the air dryer and the soap probably is just jammed ... arguing about my comments, like they're not valid.  Generally speaking, I notice that it's never a Puerto Rican's fault for anything! They'll put a twist on anything to avoid "owning it."

You are right, in the U.S., people will raise holy hell if something is wrong. Here, it's just a passiveness, a not give a crap whether you like it or not, and unapologetically to boot!!!! Pretty soon the customer just learns to accept that's the way it is, nothing is going to change and one person can't make any difference.

ReyP :

The issue with service I can only guess at, people under payed that have no training in customer service are dealing with rude customers all day and just want to go home, after a while they stop giving a dam.

But the real problem is management which does not keep an eye on this, does not train their employees and does not take corrective action. Low level management should be accountable for this and if not then it is a problem that goes all the way to upper management.

Get on Facebook and twitter and name names, if it goes viral it will start to change those companies. Best if you have it on video or at least voice. Time to stop this SHIT!

Shame the management of the store for not correcting this type of behavior

That is exactly what they count on, that nobody is going to complain and get others to complain, as such, nothing is wrong, it is the way it is supposed to be.

If we accept it, then it is done for.

I can't wait to be back in the states to be honest. Completely different standard of living.

It gets old feeling like you're the only one who wants better for the island...if they don't know it already by now, why paint a target on yourself. They look at you like you have a third eye on your forehead if you get frustrated. Sam's Club membership: we go about every other week, no one ever asked if we wanted to renew our membership at checkout. We go to check out one day and after ringing us all up, say we have to go to the customer service counter across the store with another huge line, to get our card reactivated, then come back and we can then check out.  A 2 hours process!  Next visit to Sam's, same deal! The customer service people failed to update our membership status, so they wanted us to go back through the same process again.  Mind boggling ineptitude. I threw a fit, ready to cancel membership and walk out before I went postal on someone.  Management is called, they have to run back and forth between cashier and customer service for 30 minutes before we win the lotto and get cleared to get our supplies and get on with our life.  It's no wonder people pack up and leave the island. I'm retired, I cannot imagine how young men and women working and with small children deal with it on a daily basis.

I  have to put myself back into vacation mode and appreciate the wonderful things about the island.  My husband can bring me back to Earth by getting me to the beach to sea glass hunt, or walk a rainforest trail, swim in a river water pool, then go to the Luquillo Kiosks and get my favorite acapuria, and get back on our mountain and live to fight another day.   

Justpeachyy :

I can't wait to be back in the states to be honest. Completely different standard of living.

I have a one year old, and I'm pregnant. With Zika, and the standard of care here with medical facilities has me looking for a ticket back to the mainland. Lol one can only stay in vacation mode for so long until you realize vacation mode isn't a mode here it's just how things are done here. 4 hour wait to see a doctor after a "scheduled appointment", a phlebotomist drawing blood without any PPE/gloves mask etc, and a McDonald's restroom with no running water or soap to wash hands are just some of the things I've seen that just make me think if that's really normal or acceptable here or if it's just a rare thing. It's also good to know your insurance plan. I went to 3 doctors, one followed my insurance copays, the second charged $65 for an ultrasound but I had the option to not do it and talk to the doctor about it, and the third wanted $500 for routine testing, ultrasounds and to charge for disposables. I have a federal insurance plan with no copay for prenatal care.

Same thing at COSTCO. The other day I went there to return something, which takes an unbelievable long time for them to do it, as opposed to any other location in the US. Well, when it was finally my turn, the lady taking care of me had the audacity to stop processing my return and engage on a 7 minutes long conversation ( I timed it) with another coworker,about a new place that does fake eyelashes very well and cheap. I could not believe it !!!! She just ignored me and went on and on about eyelashes . PR is a beautiful place, but it is hard to get over the culture. And I'm also a Latina.

My experience with customer service has been mixed in PR,  sometimes bad (often related language barrier) sometimes good.  I shop at home depot a lot and sometimes have returns, it usually goes smoothly.

Public agencies are always a problem, private firms less so. I guess you live and learn, vote with your feet, trade where they treat you well.

I have been lucky with the customer service, except with Claro, which is THE LOUSIEST COMPANY IN THE ENTIRE UNIVERSE. I do not know how they stay in business.

yes...I have been told to stay away from them.   We have liberty, and the service was poor when we first hooked up with many disconnects.  After MANY complaints, the service seemed to improve.  I'll know more when I get back soon.

Happy Holidays All,
    As far as dealings with customer service on the phone...Don't waste your time!  But going to face to face luckily for me it hasn't been bad.. Been to Home Depot, Walmart, PepBoys, AutoZone and TMobile no problem. Mind you all American companies who probably better train their employees. But dealing with AAA (water company) is like pulling teeth and the same with Direct TV.. Never takes 1 tech to resolve the problem and takes multiple visits.  I now past 3 yrs hooked up Prepaid DirectTV and haven't had any problems that can't be fixed with a 1/2 hr. Unfortunately, helping my father with his DirectTv help doesn't get better. Will convince him to let me hook up the Prepaid setup.  As far as having anyone direspect and ignore me when it's for nonsense if I can't get through service employee, then the store manager will hear my grief and forget the smile and politeness.

Unfortunately Nothing in life will ever change if people just accept that "that is just the way it is".  It would seem that Puerto Ricans seem content to just accept poor customer service and don't want to expect better experiences.  I think it would be hard to be from the mainland or elsewhere and try to effect a change.  They would likely be seen as complainers or "high maintenance", etc.  And why is it that they are so "behind the times" with availability of online services, etc., when so much of the rest of the world is more advanced.  It is not like it is a 'third world country".  I realize that they are in an economic crisis, however it seems that their outdated ways of doing things is likely costing them way more money to get things done than it needs to be!  I can't believe that there is not more of a push in the government, or business sector, etc., to improve the way things "work".  I bet it would improve daily quality of life of Puerto Ricans as well as improve productivity, progress and overall business!   That could improve the economy and also bring more tourists.  Seems like a win-win situation.  Of course that is completely an outsiders perspective.

I am with you Live2sparkle,

People in service probably start nice and friendly and later develop an attitude to do the minimum required to do their job. Lousy pay may be the reason and noticing that what little they get does not go far.

But it is up to management and the owners to correct the issue and nip it in the butt as it is costing them business. The problem is people accepting the bad service instead of raising hell with the management and then not following thru by voting with their feet.

Services like tube and Facebook can help spread the word and make management pay attention. People should use them, which then cause more people to become aware and also raise hell. Either they correct it or they lose business.
Give them Hell

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