Family living abroad in Puerto Rico, Where to live?

Hi,
My family is planning on living a year abroad in Puerto Rico.  We are an active young family (7 years, 5 years,  and 1 year old).
We are looking for the area to live that best fits our family needs.  We would be renting a place. Our goal of the live abroad is to have a relaxed pace away from rat race of the US.  We would like to be come bilingual especially the kids and also experience a different culture than the US.

Here is our priorities in order

Safe and family area with interacton with  locals, not just Expats.
Near or on safe swimming  beach for kids with nearby snorkeling.
Bilingual international school close by
Nature activities close by (hiking, swimming, mountain biking, snorkling)

As a side note, we wound not be working.  We also have traveled as a family to several Latin countries (Ecuador, Costa Rica, Panama, Mexico, Nicaragua), so we are aware of the petty crime,  slow customer service,  etc  of the poorer countries.

I haven't found much info with regarding families living abriad in PR. Also wanted to know how the housing crisis and economy has affected life regards to crime, businesses closing, etc.

Thanks for any info you can provide.

First of all, are you American Citizens? if yes, they you are NOT living abroad; you are moving to another area of America... with a latin flair. Therefore, Expats would be people from Europe, South America and Asia... we have lots of those as well.
There are many a wonderful areas to live in: Condado for a more urban vibe,  Old San Juan for a historic life, Dorado for a Disney land experience ( everything is wonderful and beautiful), Guaynabo, Cupey, or even Bayamon for a north shore experience.  Caguas, for a more mid island experience; Fajardo, for a more casual experience( not much to do other than nature, sea and mountains there,) Ponce for a Caribbean Metro experience... and more.   find a relo expert if you can pay and they can give you all the info.

OK, let me clarify we want live on a island that speaks primary Spanish that looks beautiful.  Thanks for input.

Now youre getting it! Welcomed to Puerto Rico,  USA.

We're moving WHERE? :

First of all, are you American Citizens? if yes, they you are NOT living abroad; you are moving to another area of America... with a latin flair. Therefore, Expats would be people from Europe, South America and Asia... we have lots of those as well.
There are many a wonderful areas to live in: Condado for a more urban vibe,  Old San Juan for a historic life, Dorado for a Disney land experience ( everything is wonderful and beautiful), Guaynabo, Cupey, or even Bayamon for a north shore experience.  Caguas, for a more mid island experience; Fajardo, for a more casual experience( not much to do other than nature, sea and mountains there,) Ponce for a Caribbean Metro experience... and more.   find a relo expert if you can pay and they can give you all the info.

Good lord. You blast him with the "Puerto Rico is part of America" banner, (I think we get it from previous posts) and then you tell him to pay to find a relo expert. You are a wealth of information. I think the whole reason for the question was to get some local knowledge and background on the island of which you provided zero.

*** TravelingWave, Ignore him, he likes to correct everyone about not being an expat and is sort of rude and likes to argue with everyone.

Puerto Rico is a Caribbean Country that happens to be under the colonial control of the United States at the moment, but that may change in the future however unlikely. Cuba and the Dominican Republic gained their independence and one day that may happen in Puerto Rico too.

You are an expat, you will be living in a different country with its own language and customs that are different to the US, regardless of the possessive, rude gringos that see it differently. We participate as a separate country in Miss Universe and the Olympics so we are not the US, we do not vote for the US president or the congress but we are forced to live by their rules for now.

So welcome to the Forum and hopefully to Puerto Rico.

Almost anywhere you go in Puerto Rico it is safe to live, just stay away from public housing areas specially at night.

Some people that are overly concern with safety choose to live in Gated Areas but that is not necessary. People in PR are very friendly with those from the mainland and if you try to use your Spanish they will help you even more.

Areas Heavy on English are the San Juan Metro area (San Juan, Condado, Isla Verde, Ocean Park, Miramar), there is also Dorado (hope you got lots of money), and Rincon also known by the locals as GringoLand. In these areas you will require little to no Spanish.

Outside of those, you will find that about 1/3 of the rest of the population speaks some English. If you try your Spanish with them, they will jump at the opportunity to help you even if their English is not great.

I prefer the East Coast of the Island and have property in the town of Ceiba which is next to Fajardo. Fajardo is the gateway to the hundreds of little sand dunes and mini islands and the gateway to the Virgin Islands. So if you like swimming in dead calm beaches, snorkeling, Scuba, Boating, Kayaking, some beginner surfing, fishing, hundreds of river pools, cascades, walking in the forest, watching Fauna and Flora, and the Rain Forest, the East Coast is likely for you.

There are houses and condos all over the island at the beach and at different distances from the beach. However it is not possible to be more than 18 miles from the sea as a bird flies since the island is 35 miles wide. By road it will be longer due to winding roads. I prefer country living and doing my own farming, it can get pretty country just 5-10 minutes by car away from the sea. Up there you can have great views of the sea and forests.

There are plenty of things to see with 78 towns, 250+ beaches, thousands of rivers, lakes, marches, mountains. Hope you like seafood, we are big on it.

Do some searches in the site, there is a lot of information here, you can also post your questions, no two people have the same questions or needs.

By all means I am here to help, I run the Puerto Rico section of the forum and also run the "Expats In Puerto Rico" Facebook group. You can find me in either one as I flip between the two.

Hope you come visit the island soon and start becoming familiar.
Rey

Some link for you TravelingWave
http://welcome.topuertorico.org/exploring.shtml
http://livinginpuertorico.com
http://www.puertoricodaytrips.com
http://www.clasificadosonline.com/Rentals.asp

Seach our site and you will find a lot of info also.

I understand the word "colonial" comes from the Latin "colonus", meaning farmer. Does PR have any colonists from the states? Are the expat blog members who reside in PR and have their origins in the mainland colonists? Or must the connection to the colonial power be more direct? What about a non-Puerto Rican federal judge (they're almost all Puerto Rican)? Is s/he a colonist?

If not, can you have a colony without any colonists?

Off subject, we can discuss it via PM, the new member asked for information about Puerto Rico.
Lets help the member, not scare them away.

I'll move my comment to its own thread. Likewise, you may wish to reconsider using the term "colony".

My husband and I are researching a move to PR as well.  I appreciate the information.  What do you think of Patillas?

mecassady :

My husband and I are researching a move to PR as well.  I appreciate the information.  What do you think of Patillas?

Patillas is beautiful and very country. Not a lot of english there. Fairly poor area with a lot of agricultural lands that may interest you. To my knowledge crime is fairly low also. But the lack of english may not work for you

Thank you!  That is good to know!

Mediam household income in Patillas is 14.5k, Humacao is 20.1k, Ceiba (my place) is 19.5k, Fajardo is 21.5k, San Juan 22.7k

Patillas: this may help: https://www.facebook.com/search/str/pat … ZmJiIn0%3D

There is also some good surfing in Patillas. BUTTTTT beware of flood areas, low laying areas do flood.

Agreed, was looking for info not a lecture

Thanks Rey for all the info.  It's great to have some useful info provided versus other comments  that just scrutinized our posts.

Patillas is a typically PR beautiful municipality on the east side of the Island. But is the east side drought prone?

Patillas really got clobbered in 2015-2016 as did a very high percentage of the entire east PR. Almost precisely from the center of the island to the coast. West coastal and Southwest coastal areas were in a lesser drought designation at times, but not like the east half.

Google "USDA declares drought disaster in puerto rico" and an article with that title will pop up, a brief synopsis of what happened east. It includes the US Govt drought map of PR for one month during that time. You can see what a huge area in the east was in a severe drought and that went on for months and months. And also google 'drought Puerto Rico 2015-2016 ' in general to read the stories of what people east were forced to live with. It received millions in US Disaster Relief. Tough, tough water rationing--one day on a few hours, the next day off all day.

East PR is scary to me for that repeat possibility, though I'd love the quick access to the outer islands.
Not going to occur again, that bad anyway, for 20 years or symptomatic of 'climate change'?

I decided not to risk it, even a wweek like that, let alone 6-7 months, wasn't in the cards for me when I had great choices to minimize that kind of a human necessity/comfort disaster.
So headed west and high, it rained there. I can drive east if I want to jump the ferry. One of the super things about PR--it's small.

Sorry to say that someone gave you some misinformation. I used to live in Arroyo, right next door to Patillas, and still owned a home there during the drought.. We never-ever had water rationing. That only took place in the San Juan area, because there was no infrastructure that allowed access to water reservoirs located in other areas of the island. We had plenty of water.  The other place where I now live, on the east coast, also had enough water. Never had any rationing. 
That is why this forum, with contributions from folks who actually live here in Puerto Rico, is a good place to find out what is really going on.

Drought map from the Feds was wrong? Your area was not in the drought?  Patillas was not in a severe drought for months and months? There was not widespread rationing?

I didn't say your specific town had rationing, you could have been one of the lucky towns that didn't for several reasons. But most of the east coast did. I was there in SJ then. I was also in Caguas then.

There was drastic rationing all around the East as reported in the local news and national rags and not just SJ--and parts of SJ did not have rationing. I doubt you are denying that are you?

Some say water was diverted to centro SJ for political reasons. 

So I respectfully beg to differ with you who I read was also living in the states. 100% bad info, unsupported, contrary to fact and misleading.

Because I highly respect opinions of posters that are actually living in PR.

Drought map measures the height of the water reservours. Just because rhey are low it does not mean they will shut rhe water. The east side last year always had water, no issues. Rain forest is on the east. I was following it all year, Frogrock is absolutly correct and not only that but she is boots on the ground.

Regardles, did you know that the PR infractructure leaks around 60 % of the tap water every year? And AAA has basically done nothing about it.

Was she then?

Saying it measures reservoirs is a scientific tool. They also do soil samples, deep soil samples. You don't think they know what a drought is and the effect? Are you also saying they didn't ration water to 400,000 people?

Try these on-line found published by reliable sources:

Accu-Weather:  "PR Residents Face Water rationing up to 48 hours". 

400,000 affected in 9 Municipalities

From the USDA (that's the US Dept of Agriculture):  "PR strictest water rationing ever".  45% of PR severe drought. (Also included is the history of droughts in PR)

NBC News: ""PR Restricting Water Shutting down Taps." 400,000 affected.

PBS news: "How PR is Coping"

Professor Peralta, University of Inter-American Law, SJ, PR:  "6 times since 1986 the people have voted on Independence for PR. Never once did Puerto Ricans vote more then 5% for independence from the US."

you know better than us.
Try the local news, and people that live there, not US based news.

We were looking at rentals in Isla Verde in August 2015 the water rationing was one of my main concerns. We found two condos there a few blocks from each other and interestingly one had water rationing the other did not.

ReyP :

You know better than us.
Try the local news, and people that live there, not US based news.

Why so sarcastic Rey? It's a relocation Board not a dating site so that's fine, but

"You know better then us"--who is us? You and Frog I presume, the only two who replied right?
A good poster but is that who you mean by "us"?

Did you and she post about this during the drought?

Interesting, the post started with me asking for where to llive as a young family in PR.  There has been several off topic tangents.  Anyways,  thanks to who actually gave useful info to my original post.

Guilty as charged, we do get off topic way too often

35th :
ReyP :

You know better than us.
Try the local news, and people that live there, not US based news.

Why so sarcastic Rey? It's a relocation Board not a dating site so that's fine, but

"You know better then us"--who is us? You and Frog I presume, the only two who replied right?
A good poster but is that who you mean by "us"?

Did you and she post about this during the drought?

I posted about the drought, not sure if she did or not. Several people in the Metro area were affected greatly, other areas were cut of a few hours a day, while other areas had no problems at all but were on stand by.

The east side has some of the best reservoirs and they were rather low but the service was not cut off. They did divert some of the water from the east reservoirs to parts of the metro to help but just a small percentage to my knowledge.

Ponce has good reservoirs also and I do believe that they only had a short incident of rationing, but most of the Ponce general area were unscatted.

No matter where you go in PR, the winds are mostly from the east where they deposit a lot of the rain, then the mountains keep the clouds from moving or are forced to move higher in order to continue moving west. The key is the reservoirs, if they are full of silt, then there is little space to hold water so the rain is wasted.

Droughts can happen anywhere in the island, no place is always safe.

There you go again. Several people were affected? And what data are you basing the rest of your broad conclusions upon, please. That's only fair Rey or else it can be assumed it's your conjecture. the climate data is all over the place, hard data. Maybe I am wrong like the multi US Media that you do not rely upon or believe that said 400,000 faced rationing.

Droughts and where to live/not are of course logical. Not at all off topic. Not fair to limit concerns to the travel brochure. Or else a flood zone is also not a consideration. Original poster was considering a town that was one of the hardest hit.

Let me look for your posts.

Im done

No surprise, it's your pattern.

I'll respond to you and Frog's advice to me and we'll see.

I sincerely apologize to anyone that takes that inference. My posts are based on my observations or a source relied upon as reliable by anyone objective.

So I have a low tolerance for people who post as fact but really only post bull.

And I will always question baloney. That's not snarkey is it Sitka?

Sitka it's one thing to post trivia about trivia, who cares. It's quite another to post trivia about serious issues, like drought.

And surprise surprise, it's Sitka again.

To be pertinent, do you have info in support of or against what  the three of us has posted about the climate where or do you disagree that climatic conditions are important and relevant to where a person should live. The OP stated she was interested in living in Patilla. What is your info on living east in view of climatic data

Hello everyone,

just to inform you that i have removed some posts from this thread.

I suggest you follow the rules of the Code of Conduct :

"OPINIONS:

The entire concept of this forum is to promote the free exchange of information and ideas. Therefore, everyone has a fundamental right to form and express their own opinions, provided that they comply with the terms of use of the website. However, it is not acceptable to criticize or abuse another member in any way for simply expressing their opinion or making a personal observation. If you find the opinion expressed offensive you should not take matters into your own hands nor should you make any abusive comments: please use the Report button so that we manage the issue."

https://www.expat.com/forum/viewtopic.php?id=224196

Thank you in advance,
Bhavna

Hello,
Thank you all in advance for any advice and help.
Me, my husband and my 8 year old daughter are wanting to move to Aguadilla or Rincon. We currently live in a beach community in LA.
We will be needing to work. My husband runs restaurants in California and I am a pediatric anesthesia assistant. We are open to any type of work,But would be great to stay within these fields. Any idea of the pay scales?
Our biggest concern is obviously our daughter and her well being. Schooling and medical care.
We would probably be renting a house, so ideas of pricing would be helpful.

Thanks again

Hi, Cynthia. Do you or your husband speak Spanish?

Hi Cynthia,
Welcome to the forum.

I really do not recommend for anyone to come to Puerto Rico looking for a job. The US unemployment is 4.4%, PR unemployment is around 15%.
You did not mentioned Spanish so for a moment I will assume you are not fluent in it. In most of Puerto Rico you will need some level of fluency in order to have most jobs. While in Rincon you may need little Spanish, in the surrounding areas you will need some.

You could get lucky, but is not super likely. As to salaries, most jobs in IT for example pay 1/3 to 1/2 what they pay in the US mainland, I have no idea what a restaurant manager gets pay in the states or Puerto Rico.

we do not speak fluent spanish

CynthiaT :

we do not speak fluent spanish

In that case you will have stronger competition from local talent.
You sure you want to do this?

Thank you so much.
We do not speak spanish fluently. But can understand some and are quick learners.
We also are not expecting to make the same income, but do feel we can contribute to the area....like opening up a cafe or restaurant in the near future after relocating and seeing the needs. IE..... giving jobs to locals.
How is the living expensises for long term rentals?

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