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PR Here We Come

Good Day All

First of all, thanks so much for this GREAT site and all the people up here that are so willing to take time out of their busy day to reply to our Fact Finding and Newbie questions. It is very kind of you to be willingly to do so.

My name is Jimmy and we are newbies, but have done a lot of research into our decision to move to PR. We are heading to PR in Sept. to start our boots on the ground research. At the this time, we are leaning towards the Dorado, Arecibo, Isabella and Aquadilla areas. We have found a really nice home that we really like between Arecibo and Aquadilla.  Naturally we will go and see to decide or we may do as Rey has suggested and Rent for 6 months.

My question is which area (even if not from that list) is the safest and best for a Expat Family that will be learning Spanish? I am moving my company to PR as well, so I will be in need of nice Office space to rent and eventually buy. This is a long Term plan and will be investing heavily into PR and hiring good people there.

We have traveled very extensively and understand the San Juan & PR (crime) issues. That is why I am asking about the safest and best areas for Expats, but with the need for good Business Office accommodations. We also have to travel overseas a lot so being within easy driving distance to Aquadilla Airport or San Juan is a must. We really do not want the big city life and living in an apartment complex. We prefer outside of San Juan.

Any help and suggestions would be greatly appreciated. HAVE A BLESSED DAY!!!

Many people bringing their business to PR are buying in Palmas Del Mar in Humacao. Lots of expats and super secured, you have multiple gated communities there and they are in a gated area, so double gate. Pools, ponds, stores inside, restaurants inside, bank, Golf course, people travel by golf cart everywhere inside, hotel in there also, all very clean and good looking properties. Oh forgot a great school also (Palmas Academy).

There are plenty of safe places in Puerto Rico. Just look for the telltale signs of neglect as you would in any place in the US. 
Rent before you buy. There are many ambient noises in Puerto Rico that can drive you crazy, such as the church folk who proclaim their faith at the top of their lungs or a close-by karaoke bar. 
I live in Palmas del Mar in Humacao. I like the cleanliness, the mix of natives and newbies, the safe community.  I know many folks who moved businesses here to take advantage of Act 20/22.

I agree, Palmas Del Mar in Humacao may be your best bet. It's in a highly security protected environment. There is a predominat English speaking community and their school also on the same premises is in english (kindergarten thru 12th). This place appears to be very popular for many expatriates. From what I understand you can rent or buy different types of property there. Also, it isn't far from the SJU airport in Carolina.

Palmas del Mar also has an English-speaking nondenominational church as well as a Catholic church.

You can even buy some houses there that have their own marina, but .... you going to pay for it. :lol:
There is a Facebook group for Palmas: Palmas del Mar Community Forum
At least 3 of our members live there.

Thanks All for the feedback.

We are Christians so the church Nondenominational Church you are speaking about would be of interest to us.

As for Palmas, I have read several comments that have stated that once you leave Palmas, there is not alot there. I am speaking of up to date shopping, grocery, ect... All the places a family needs to function. I may have misunderstood as well. If so then please correct me.

JOS66 :

Thanks All for the feedback.

We are Christians so the church Nondenominational Church you are speaking about would be of interest to us.

As for Palmas, I have read several comments that have stated that once you leave Palmas, there is not alot there. I am speaking of up to date shopping, grocery, ect... All the places a family needs to function. I may have misunderstood as well. If so then please correct me.

NOT TRUE.
Humacao has several LARGE strip malls, with banks, supermarkets, taco places, KKFC, MacDonalds, regular restaurants, rosticery chicken places, etc. Also one of the best hospitals in the island is there. Probably somebody that did not know the area. Also lots of small businesses like panaderias (Deli, where you can get fresh bread, sandwiches, breakfast, some serve lunch also), lots of places to get gas, vegetables, etc. Naguabo the next town over is well known for seafood also, you can get fresh seafood and plenty of nice little restaurants where you can have it served if you don't feel like cooking.

You would be 2 towns away from me, and as a local, I go to a lot of places that expats don't, so in the above I just mentioned the ones an expat would feel right at home.

My husband and I just bought a home in the mountains near Humacao, and there is a Sam's, Walmart, and other shopping. We go to church in Palmas. Caguas isn't too far away, and it has everything. Warning: Traffic is a challenge in all cities of any size.

JOS66 :

Good Day All

First of all, thanks so much for this GREAT site and all the people up here that are so willing to take time out of their busy day to reply to our Fact Finding and Newbie questions. It is very kind of you to be willingly to do so.

My name is Jimmy and we are newbies, but have done a lot of research into our decision to move to PR. We are heading to PR in Sept. to start our boots on the ground research. At the this time, we are leaning towards the Dorado, Arecibo, Isabella and Aquadilla areas. We have found a really nice home that we really like between Arecibo and Aquadilla.  Naturally we will go and see to decide or we may do as Rey has suggested and Rent for 6 months.

My question is which area (even if not from that list) is the safest and best for a Expat Family that will be learning Spanish? I am moving my company to PR as well, so I will be in need of nice Office space to rent and eventually buy. This is a long Term plan and will be investing heavily into PR and hiring good people there.

We have traveled very extensively and understand the San Juan & PR (crime) issues. That is why I am asking about the safest and best areas for Expats, but with the need for good Business Office accommodations. We also have to travel overseas a lot so being within easy driving distance to Aquadilla Airport or San Juan is a must. We really do not want the big city life and living in an apartment complex. We prefer outside of San Juan.

Any help and suggestions would be greatly appreciated. HAVE A BLESSED DAY!!!

If you're moving your company due to Act 20/22, Dorado is in the hot list, Humacao then San Juan Area if you like the city life.

I'm returning to P.R. again next month to explore western P.R. looking for alternative cities to Fajardo.. which is so far my pic as the best place to permanently reside in P.R..

Fajardo is large enough to have retail establishments that we are familiar with in the states.... yet still has a small town feel about it, has a airport and good hospital, and it close enough to San Juan for shopping, nite-life, entertainment, airport,.. etc.
It also is a stepping stone or stone's throw to Culebra, Vieques, and El Yunque....all incredibly beautiful. Fajardo also has nice beaches of its own...especially the National Park and it has incredble ocean views.

Thanks again Everyone for the insight. Is there nice office buildings for rent in Palmas, Fajardo, Dorado and in the Aquadilla to Arecibo areas? I know that is a big question to answer. We will be needing 2500-3500 s/ft of space with a good looking area and nice building. Will have clients coming in for meetings on a regular basis and will need restaurants not to far away for entertaining.

Dont get me wrong, we are not US and want to live in a bubble. Not at all. We WILL learn the language and will be apart of the culture and community. But also I want my Wife and Daughter to feel safe at home and when they are out spending money in the PR economy (if you know what I mean, LOL). I also need my Clients to see nice clean surroundings and office buildings when they come OR I could lose my Clients, if I have an office in the Hood (no offense anyone). While I still need to be within a reasonable distance from a good size airport.

I will go and explore all possible places, but based on my research and reading others comments, to get the type of office I need in the type of area I need it in, I will probably need to have it on the edge of San Juan and live in the Dorado area or on the East side. My thoughts may be wrong and welcome your input.

Captainculebra :

I'm returning to P.R. again next month to explore western P.R. looking for alternative cities to Fajardo.. which is so far my pic as the best place to permanently reside in P.R..

Fajardo is large enough to have retail establishments that we are familiar with in the states.... yet still has a small town feel about it, has a airport and good hospital, and it close enough to San Juan for shopping, nite-life, entertainment, airport,.. etc.
It also is a stepping stone or stone's throw to Culebra, Vieques, and El Yunque....all incredibly beautiful. Fajardo also has nice beaches of its own...especially the National Park and it has incredble ocean views.

What a coincidence. My husband really likes Fajardo (as do I) but I want to check out northwestern Puerto Rico as I have never been past Arecibo. My family is from north central Puerto Rico so I am most familiar with that part of the island and want to explore the west side. My husband's family is from the island also but they moved to the states generations ago. Good to hear that Fajardo has a good hospital. Only been there once and really enjoyed my time there.

JOS66 :

Thanks again Everyone for the insight. Is there nice office buildings for rent in Palmas, Fajardo, Dorado and in the Aquadilla to Arecibo areas? I know that is a big question to answer. We will be needing 2500-3500 s/ft of space with a good looking area and nice building. Will have clients coming in for meetings on a regular basis and will need restaurants not to far away for entertaining.

Dont get me wrong, we are not US and want to live in a bubble. Not at all. We WILL learn the language and will be apart of the culture and community. But also I want my Wife and Daughter to feel safe at home and when they are out spending money in the PR economy (if you know what I mean, LOL). I also need my Clients to see nice clean surroundings and office buildings when they come OR I could lose my Clients, if I have an office in the Hood (no offense anyone). While I still need to be within a reasonable distance from a good size airport.

I will go and explore all possible places, but based on my research and reading others comments, to get the type of office I need in the type of area I need it in, I will probably need to have it on the edge of San Juan and live in the Dorado area or on the East side. My thoughts may be wrong and welcome your input.

Love to read that you want to immerse yourself in the Puerto Rican culture and not be shut off from it. Also, that you want to contribute to Puerto Rico by bringing your business there and offer employment opportunities to the locals. This is wonderful and I absolutely LOVE to hear when people are trying to make a positive impact on the island.

Dorado may be the best way to go business wise. It is a pretty upscale town and very well kept as well as modern looking. There are a lot of impressive areas there but as a head's up it is expensive. Whatever you decide, I wish you all the best in finding a home and business that suits you and your families needs perfectly.

Jos66, if you need office space in an area that is nice and clean, I would suggest talking with one or more of the realtors in the island. Some of them are also members and have and entry here. Under menu Handy Tools, you will find the Business directory. Make some calls and see what office areas they recommend for you then look at the surrounding towns for housing.

Wish you luck.

Jos66,
I'm not sure if this will help much, but have you considered Old San Juan for a business location?  It's an amazing part of the city with culture, history, charm, and probably some of the best restaurants in the Caribbean.  With the amount of tourist traffic, cabs to/from the airport are easy to come by 24/7.  You can also drive to/from the airport quite easily.  Now, traffic and parking can be an issue if you don't have your own spot.  I lived in SJ for 3 years and never got tired of OSJ.  It's very safe and there are events throughout the year.

Just my two cents but if you are doing business here, I wouldn't venture any further than the metro area. Have you considered Guaynabo? There are plenty of homes and business spaces in the area. Time will be of the essence, things will move fast here and you won't have time for commuting. Not to mention you will be close to any kind of shopping you will need...Costco, Ikea, just about any grocer, etc. Plus it's a lot more cost effective than Dorado. We would love to set up business in OSJ but between festivities and tourists, traffic isn't as predictable as we need and can be a nightmare at times. We have an office in Condado but are probably going to move to Guaynabo because we will need more space in the future.

Thanks All, for the input. OSJ looks lovely and will definitely visit, but for my business, it will not work. Also, we have to have a single family home with a descent yard for our 2 Pups. LORD if I left them with one or 2 of my other kids, Mom and Baby Girl would shoot me!!!! LOL

Karenqc
How is the safety aspect in Guaynabo?

Are there nice & safe neighborhoods and shopping areas there?

In the nice neighborhood areas, shopping areas and business office areas; are they clean and up to date?

Could we get by while we are learning Spanish?

There are plenty of gated communities, the area has a good bit of mainlander presence due to the military base and the close proximity to San Juan. It is just as modern as San Juan (if not more in some areas) and you will be a 10-15 min drive from Plaza Las Americas, the largest mall in the Caribbean. It's as safe as anywhere else. I suppose you would be safer away from the metro area in Dorado but it really isn't that big a deal to me. I don't worry about my safety in Guaynabo. You just have to use common sense and be aware of your surroundings like anywhere else. Don't leave valuables in your car in plain sight, etc.  You could definitely get by speaking rudimentary Spanish in that area, you generally find at least one employee that speaks basic-very good English. In the mall, almost everyone does.

How big are your pups? Generally smaller dogs are more widely accepted in the communities.

We have a 65lbs Black (FM) Lab and a 6lb (M) Miki. Believe it or not the 6lb is the Alpha. So Funny

Safety sounds like no different than here in the US. We live in Greenville, NC but travel all over the US. So very use to being wise and prudent.

We will; definitely put Guaynabo on our list to check out.

I don't find that hard to believe at all, ha.  I used to live in Raleigh for a short stint and Charlotte as well for several years. Raleigh was a little scary but that was a LONG time ago,  I think at the time their economy was very depressed. Anyhoo, I would take Guaynabo over Raleigh any day.

Thank you for the insight and feedback. I will for sure look at the area when we hit the ground there.

Can anyone give some insight on the Eastern side between SJ and Fajardo? I know Fajardo is a looker, but what about the rest of the area back towards SJ and Carolina?

Yeah. Fajardo is a nice town. I'm looking foward to checking out Aricebo, Isabella and Rincon next month. Cant wait.
Are you familiar with Las Marias? All I know about it is what I've learned on line.

Yes I am look forward to seeing all the locations that we have discussed.

JOS66 :

Can anyone give some insight on the Eastern side between SJ and Fajardo? I know Fajardo is a looker, but what about the rest of the area back towards SJ and Carolina?

From Fajardo going toward San Juan, the area the Luquillo, Rio Grande areas area fairly safe, when you get to Canovanas and Carolina your safety goes down some but not a lot. There are gated communities in all those towns. I would avoid Loiza as a place to live but we have members there that seem to be doing fine.

Commercial real state can inform you of office space in each of those areas. The closer you get to San Juan the more facilities like bars, restaurants, night life you will encounter.

You have a balancing act to deal with, a nice place to live and take your customers for a BBQ, a nice clean office space with good parking in an area that does not scare the customers, a nice beach to take them to and restaurants and night life to keep them happy.

I still think that Fajardo area and the Palmas Del Mar are your best places in the east to make a nice impression on your customers while still being in a beautiful, area that will keep them coming to visit.

Will be really nice to start this new adventure in our lives,  explore and meet new people. Everyone here has been very nice and helpful. God Bless You All!!

I know there is probably posts on this, but I am being lazy.

What is the tax amount the PRG charges for importing a SUV? Value is around $45,000. I know what the estimated shipping cost should be. Just wondering about the tax.

May be better to sell and rebuy in PR, if the SUV prices are not marked up to much.

The form is online, enter the vin number and it will tell you. You can not go by the value of the car in the states, hacienda has its own tables and they are higher.

Dont forget transport which typically runs around 1200.

Thanks Rey

Hope to treat you to a meal one day soon.

JOS66 :

Thanks Rey

Hope to treat you to a meal one day soon.

Well i favor PR cuisine.

Good Day All

Is there any areas along the north side (from Aquadilla to Fajardo) and east side (Fajardo to Palmas) of the Island that has a history of Flooding and Storm Surge? Especially during hurricanes and strong storms.

I read that there was an earthquake a good while ago that hit the north west coast area. Is there anything else we need to consider (natural disaster wise) when we are looking?

Wikipedia and others are ok, but nothing takes the place as getting the real info from the locals.

FYI, I ask this because of the long history we have had with Hurricanes and Tornadoes in NC. When we farmed, I have seen 3ft high Soybeans that were under 5ft of water and many dear friends lose everything to flooding. Thank the Lord we only lost crops.

You can mitigate alot of things, but earthquakes and flooding you can not.

JOS66 :

Good Day All

Is there any areas along the north side (from Aquadilla to Fajardo) and east side (Fajardo to Palmas) of the Island that has a history of Flooding and Storm Surge? Especially during hurricanes and strong storms.

I read that there was an earthquake a good while ago that hit the north west coast area. Is there anything else we need to consider (natural disaster wise) when we are looking?

Wikipedia and others are ok, but nothing takes the place as getting the real info from the locals.

FYI, I ask this because of the long history we have had with Hurricanes and Tornadoes in NC. When we farmed, I have seen 3ft high Soybeans that were under 5ft of water and many dear friends lose everything to flooding. Thank the Lord we only lost crops.

You can mitigate alot of things, but earthquakes and flooding you can not.

This may panic you more but I call it like it is, no sugar coating here.

Low laying areas all along the coast are subject to flooding due to storm surges. a lot of streets anywhere in the island may have segments of the road that are lower than others and they may flood. Rivers can overflow and cause flooding of homes, streets and businesses. If you are above 30 feet above sea level the sea will never reach you, at least not for several hundred years. Flooding occurs in the US, so PR is not special in that way. Get a place at least 30 feet above sea level and you only have to worry about rivers and rain.

Mud slides do occur in PR also but they are usually minor and may result in a road or house being damaged. They also occur in the states.

Huracanes occur every year in the Caribbean but PR is hit with one every 20-30 years on average, we are a small target, US gets hit almost every year. Even when hit it does not mean it is going to cause a lot of damage, most houses are concrete. Electricity may go away for several days and even 2 weeks if really severe. Water becomes contaminated and it has to be shutdown and may go away for a week or so. Most houses now days have generators and cisterns to store water. PR is used to Huracanes, a lot of people don't fear them, because they seen 1 or 2 in their lifetimes and while it may have been hard for a few days, it was not a disaster.

Most earthquakes occur north of Puerto Rico and far enough that not all towns feel them. We had one a 5 but was long ago. New York, Massachusetts and many other states are overdue for a 6 and above quake. Most quakes in PR and around 3.6 and below.

thousamy or however it is spelled did hit the island once to my knowledge over 50 years ago, 3 chickens and 1 cow died (kidding, no idea). It came in less than 200 feet inland and the wave was under 30 fee, not like in the movies. They can occur but it is rare again and the likely place would be the south of the island. People are not worried about it but there is a watch for them.

If you live along the coast the most likely scenario is beach erosion which may affect your household if you live within 100 feet of the sea. The other is sea spray and floods from the sea in the event of huge waves. Again distance and height take care of that. My place is 5 minutes from the beach and it is 1,000 feet above sea level, the only concern I could have is a possible mud slide and I am not worried in the least.

The biggest storm to hit PR was around 1948 and it did a lot of damage, back then most houses were wood. Around 20 people died out of 2.5 million population.

Relax, millions of people live in the island and they sleep well every night (rum does help, LOL).

More people die from traffic accidents in PR than from natural disasters.
Rey

We are in an active earthquake area. As you know earthquakes are not predictable so we could get a big one within the next minute, day , month, year....

As for flooding, avoid low areas, as simple as that. A tropical storm or hurricane will cause flooding and we do get tropical storms and hurricanes every now and then.

Matches, candles, canned food, some blankets, and for most cases, stay home, don't go surfing during the hurricane like some people do and do not go swimming in the rivers for a day or two after the storm.

Also: generator (do maintenance and test before the top of the season starts), enough gas for car(s) and generator, batteries, fill the cisterns, enough drinking water

Rey and Gary
Thanks for the insight. Emergency Prep is in our blood. I do understand about the low area flooding. I will be very wise whether we buy or rent/buy later.

try this site: https://earthquake.usgs.gov/earthquakes/map

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