Help returning to roots-first step inquiries

Hello all,
My husband and I are both born in Puerto Rico but raised in the states. We have both always wanted to move back and would only do so with the right opportunities. We are both successful by American standards (professional, house, etc) and unless we could have a similar lifestyle then it defeats the purpose of why our parents left to begin with. We don’t mind downsizing- we just want the island pace where things aren’t so rushed and experiences vs things. We love the outdoors, and quite frankly, the island has much of that to offer...and free. Plus, you can’t beat the food and smiling faces 😉
I am a registered nurse with 7 years of experience in an ER/trauma. I am also in nurse practitioner school and will finish, God-willing, in September. I am aware there are limited positions as such. My husband is an aircraft mechanic/quality assurance with the AirForce currently. 
We are wondering what the transition is like for Americans moving there. How to look for living accommodations (Buy or rent first), school for kids (elementary) and daycare, commutes, common problems you didn’t think of until you lived there, etc.
Any help would be greatly appreciated!

Welcome to the forum and hopefully PR soon.

Some of your post makes me think you want to be where it is happening while some tells me you want a relaxed nature environment.

A lot depends on your life style preferences.

I was born and raised in PR until after 20 years old, left the island, spend 40+ years outside and returned back retired and never leaving again.

Schooling in general falls into 3 categories, homeschooling, public schools or private schools. Again it is up to you and your budget but most mainlanders opt for private schools if they can afford it.

School selection should drive your location unless your kids are not going to be attending schools for many more years.

I always recommend people rent at first, this will keep you flexible so you can change your mind easily and let you learn the island without being attached to an area permanently.

Take several trips to the island, pick 1 or two towns (there are 78 of them) close to the school of your choice and then find a rental in those 2 towns. If your search is spread out in the island you will have difficulties deciding where you want to live and finding a place.

Focus.

Thank you Rey. I am actually looking for the more laid back atmosphere and have focused on Aguada/Aguadilla.
I have contacted a school and am awaiting a response.
My other issue is work. I am a registered nurse and by the time I would like to be there I would be done with my nurse practitioner. With that being said, it doesn’t seem that is a position available in PR, which breaks my heart. So I am trying to see what is available with my credentials. Otherwise, I’ll have to settle for finding property and just visiting 😫

My suspicion is that you will wind up settling on the latter, "finding property and just visiting."  Sorry to tell you that.

My wife is a RN, a floor nurse with Med/Surg certification.  We looked at nursing jobs a couple of years ago and the situation is grim.  She would have to take and pass boards in PR, and if she found a job, it would be at 1/3 her current pay.  In addition, RNs are responsible for 8 patients (compared to 5 here).  My wife just recently completed certification as a WOCN, which is a national cert.  This improves her odds of finding employment, but the outlook is still pretty grim.  We haven't relocated yet, but when we do, our savings/retirement income will cover us, and my wife can take her time finding a job, since nursing for her is a vocation, not merely employment.

As for the broader economic situation, things have not improved since your parents left.  There is still a net exodus from the island.  My understanding is the emigration is particularly acute in the health field.  In those circumstances I wouldn't expect to maintain your current standard of living by relocating to Puerto Rico and relying on the local economy for income.

My guess is that you will find that economic opportunities are significantly better where you are, though property in PR is cheap.  The purchase of a property which might be rented when you are not visiting may be the way to go.

Finding a job, any job will be a challenge, I know people that have been looking for a year.

There is a lot of competition for the few jobs available and how long the companies will be around is in question.

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