Current employment and housing on the island

So, I have been reading all of the threads on this site. It has been very informative, to say the least. I am finding that many of the topics have not been commented on for a period of a couple of years. I did read the NY Times article about the dire economic condition in PR. That said, we are still planning our first visit in January. We would like to follow this up with a second one in February.

We are both working in the culinary field. This includes everything from cooking to management. we also both have retail experience ( I am currently a manager at Whole Foods). I see there are many 'big box' stores on the island. Do they hire non-natives for these positions? What about private chef opportunities? I have been a chef instructor for a top school in the states. I also see there are potential virtual customer service opportunities that just require a laptop and phone. I have never had a problem finding a job before. While a reality check is good, I did find that some people were very clear about moving there being a nightmare because of everything from finding a job to dealing with the utility companies. We have found that because we are friendly, open people that truly try to expand our horizons, that we naturally meet the right people to accentuate our experiences.

We should have enough money to get us there and cover expenses for about a year. Neither of us is fluent in spanish. I know a bit. We plan on taking immersion when we get there. I know full well that life on the island will not be anything like the US. That is part of the attraction for us.

LIfe in the Bay Area of California can be anything but fun for many. Rents are beyond reasonably expensive (think $2500 for a very small studio apt anywhere around), food costs are crazy (we recently went to NYC and thought it was cheap compared to California), etc. Add Google buses, traffic, and rampant entitlement and you have a glimmer. The election was the final straw that made us go, ok, time to look at another place to live.  Given that, PR sounds more and more like it could be something that we can acclimate to.

You all are living this daily experience and we appreciate your input. Many thanks again!

Not sure what the elections have to do with your decision and I am not going to ask, but it is the same president for PR also and any decisions he makes likely will affect the island in similar manner. You are still in America.

Since you seem to be interested in answers from people currently in the island I will stay away from commenting further.
Give people a few days to see your post.


Working on Palo Alto I know what you mean about prices in the bay. We have our retirement house in PR and will be moving there soon.
As you may have read, jobs are very hard to find and without a good domain of the language it will be harder. As chefs you may be able to find opportunities in the metro area or even closer to Rincon where a lot of expat lives. I will suggest explore different parts of the island and see what fits for you. A year is a long time and it will give you time to aclimate and practice the language.
I can tell you, it beats the crazy traffic in the bay area and the fast live.


The economy is in a bad shape and finding a job is not going to be easy. Not being fluent in Spanish is going to make it even more difficult.

Then again since you guys can afford to live without income for quite some time it might be worth a try.
Renting a place to live is very affordable, especially if you look outside the metro area. Think out of the box and you might get lucky and be able to start a new life here on the island.
I ended up doing something completely different  and making 20 times less than I did in Europe but I love the place, been here 15 years and I'm not going anywhere.. :D

We are always up for a good challenge! We plan to do just that. Check out the island and vibe to see if we want to live there. If so, then another trip and so on.

Sounds good! You'll find that most people are friendly and helpful. Getting to know them is a good plan-  the local watering hole and a couple of rounds of beer are a good start.  With a couple of drinks Spanish gets easier, too :D

If you rent a place in a rural area there's a good chance that the land lord will keep utilities in his name so you won't have to bother dealing with that but  instead either pay a fixed price or he will come every month with the latest water and "light" invoices and you pay him cash.

Since many locals are leaving the island there are plenty of places for rent (look for "se alquila" signs) and you will get a good rate.

Have you thought about opening up your own restaurant?

The private chef opportunity might work well for you if you focus on event catering. Because there are many expats moving their business to places like Palmas and Dorado, they often have people in for meetings and events....people must be fed. We have hired a chef to come in each day when we have board meetings and prepare all our  meals.... she brings all the food and we supply the kitchen and many of the supplies. Its a possible niche business but I will say, if you do this-be sure you clean up after yourself. It took us hours to clean up the mess from that last meal of churrasco! She won't be invited back because of that!

Thanks for the advice! Clean up is always mandatory! That is too bad, but always a good reminder.

I would consider that. I want to wait to get to the island and see what the culinary scene is like. I do not know all to much about it.

I've skimmed your first post. I'm retired with an at-home job and living in Tucson.  However, I do have PR and Bay experience, but both a very long time ago, and in the 60s, both PR and SF were livable, even nice. The breaking point for me will be not just killing Obamacare, but Medicare. If the Republicans kill either one, they will, in fact, be killing people at various stages of treatment. Imagine getting cancer treatment and then being cut off.  In the case of Medicare's demise (and possible SS cuts), I'm investigating Colombia, which has a good expat visa program and coverage under their universal system.  If Medicare is spared (I'd bet against it), a return to PR is possible and the tradeoff would be poor healthcare but cheaper COL (i.e., many houses and apartments vacated by those leaving the island, so it may be a buyer's market.

SS will not be cut; statistically, seniors are the strongest voting base... period. Obamacare may be enhanced & renamed, but it won't be fully repealed... the sky is NOT falling, and all will be okay, chicken little.

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