Moving to Puerto Rico

Good afternoon, All,

My name is Ayesha and I'm planning to move to Puerto Rico. I've visited a few times and really love everything about Puerto Rico, but I have a very limited knowledge of the island. I am however aware of the state of the economy in Puerto Rico. So, I know that I will need to either have a remote job before I come to the island and/or start my own business.

I am planning with my sister and friend to buy a multi-unit property to airbnb and a food truck. Does anyone have any ideas or a step by step plan of how to buy a home in Puerto Rico and start a business. Also, does anyone have any suggestions on where to move? So far, we've only stayed in San Juan, but have taken day trips to Loquillo.  My sister and I speak some Spanish, but plan to enroll in a language immersion course. By the way, my timeline for moving is within the next 6 months.

I appreciate and welcome any and all suggestions.

Thank you!

Welcome to the island and to the forum. Check other postings here you there are some folks looking at the same information and you may be able to find help with some of the members directly.
To purchase a first check the area you want to live at. There are different ways to go at it. You can get with a realtor and he or she will do most of the work for you. Be aware a lot of properties are locally advertised by the owners and some of them will not deal with a realtor. Cash is hand taks. If you know a lawyer, and you will want to know one for both the house purchase and the business setting, he will guide you thru the process. Any house you are interested in the first thing I will do is ask for the CRIM certificate, this will tell you two main things, one that the seller is the legitimate owner and two that the property is up to date on taxes.
I have purchased houses for rental this past year so I am aware of the process so let me know if you have any especific questions I can answer for you.

Good luck and again, welcome!!

Thank you adlin20! I appreciate your response. I will definitely contact you with specific questions.

Thanks again!


First thing you need to do is figure where you want to live and where will the AirBNB units be located. Second if you plan on a food truck you will need to do some research as to where you plan to park and handle customers.
To run a business like a food truck you are going to need permits, they can take months to obtain, so the timing of getting the permits and the truck need align or you may have a truck but no permit to operate it. You should also get yourself incorporated, specially with a food truck. If something happens you want to limit your liability to only the business and not your finances. I do not have info on permits, maybe others do.

There is a web site to enter the hotel taxes, I'll try to find it. You will need that for your Airbnb properties so you can pay the taxes on the customer stays. It is around 15% I think.

As to short term / Airbnb property, start thinking how you will advertise it on the site. Why people would want to stay there, what services you plan to provide and make it special so they will be happy and rate you well.

Your place and your food need meet the needs of the customer and be special in some way, so you have a lot to think about.

You need come to the island and canvas it not as a tourist but as a business person. Location, Location, Location. Lots of customers with the right income level, a menu that they would like, a chef that can consistently execute the menu, food tests and feedback, what you think is good others may think is crap, so test and listen to the people. Also see what they would be willing to pay for it.

You may consider the properties first and the truck later. Airbnb is a lot easier than running a food truck.

Thank you, ReyP. Your response to my post was very helpful. I will definitely begin doing more research. I do have a lot to consider. I really like the focus group idea. You're right we definitely need to come back to Puerto Rico as future residents and business owners and not as tourist. I also agree that perhaps getting the airbnb started first will prove easier. May the research begin!

Thanks again!


Also, it may be easier to buy a existing food truck and then modify it to your liking. Specially one with the permits and place set up already.

That's a great idea Adlin20! I'm getting so many great ideas and suggestions on this forum! I'm adding this to my list.

Check in you will find some post under "negocio para la venta" also in FB groups.

The thing with the property is that you can start it as soon as your research is done and you purchase the 1st property. You can contract a maintenance company to meet and greed your guests while you are still living in the states. This will get you some money rolling in without having to leave your current job or your current apartment. A typical condo say 2 or 3 bedroom normally rents for about 150 a day + cleaning fee 35-50 for the stay + taxes. Once you are popular you can count on being occupied 50% of the time so that would be about 27k a year for a single place (180 days x 150), but starting I would expect around 10% occupancy but it should climb up fairly quickly as the reviews pour in. Block out the days you need it and you can stay in the same place when you need it. Obviously it will be less due to maintenance contract but that is until you move permanently to the island. If you save the money and not spend it, you can get another unit 3 years latter and again 2 years later.
A typical condo would cost you around 100-120 in this market and less if you can get a repo and fix it up.

This might help you with some questions:

How do I start a Business in Puerto Rico?

Thank you, richvide0 for the link. Great information!

Thank you, ReyP for the wealth of information and suggestions. We are developing a plan to implement  these suggestions and get this moving.

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I will be following this forum.  I am also looking for properties to rent out as well preferably in the San Juan/ Condado area.

If in the states Jolo your best bet is to use clasificados for rentals and for used furniture or appliances.

Hello Ayeesha you could first come back and check out where would be the best place to move in to. You could consider having a business Travel you could check staying as a couch surfer and check out around the island. I think this wilm be the best way of rigerring out where to move into PR. Now as for the food truck there are a lots of regulations you could look up for:  food truck, carretones, guaguitas or trailers. You cam search in or after that look up the regulations for the food truck they are all different. For that you need a permit on where you will be locating the food truck beside that you need to get the fire permit, OGP, ARPE, health. You could find more information in here you could find many of the regulations and of the permits...

Also you need to be 100ft from distance from other food trucks .... Do you know what type of food you will be cooking ....

Hope this is helpfull .....

Welcome to PR ....

Like other members mentioned there's different websites in Puerto Rico where you're going to find homes for sale. The problem while researching them you'll find the mayority are optioned and not available. If you're thinking in buying real estate in the island for Air b&b and to have a success rate is to buy RE close to the beach or at least 30 min away from the airport and to hire a professional.

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