17 Top Puerto Rico Packing List Items + What NOT to Bring (2018)

Updated on August 6, 2018 by Asher Fergusson

Puerto Rico is part of the United States, but its climate resembles that of the Caribbean! Puerto Rico is a country that is home to colorful rainforests, historic cities, dream-like beaches and much more. Pack your bags and get ready for the trip of a lifetime.

Note: Puerto Rico is still very much in recovery-mode after being hit hard by Hurricane Maria. Many popular tourist areas were untouched, but make a call to your hotel to make sure that the area you’re going to is safe. If you go, bring a positive attitude, and consider volunteering some (or all) of your vacation time to help Puerto Ricans in need. Find out more here.

What to bring to Puerto Rico:

1) Supplies to Aid in Hurricane Recovery – Hurricane Maria totally devastated Puerto Rico, leaving many without power and some without homes. Don’t cancel your trip just yet, though – your travel dollars will make a very helpful contribution to the island during this difficult time. If you go, consider filling your suitcase with items that can help in Puerto Rico’s recover, including LifeStraws and solar lanterns.
Learn more about how to help/ what to bring here ➜

2) Lightweight Clothing – The weather in Puerto Rico’s is generally hot and humid throughout the year, unless you’re in the mountainous region, where it can get chilly at night. To feel as comfortable as possible in the sticky warm weather, pack clothing that is loose and lightweight. These tank tops are perfect for this sort of climate.
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3) Chaco Sandals – Sturdy, athletic sandals are a must-have for Puerto Rico. They can be worn hiking around El Yunque National Forest, or on any other adventure that doesn’t quite require hiking boots. They also double as water shoes if you get this type, that stayed strapped securely to your foot.
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4) Closed-toe Athletic Shoes (or Hiking Boots) – For some activities, like jungle trekking, you’ll definitely want to wear closed-toe shoes. If you’re planning on a big hike, pack your hiking boots, but if your itinerary just includes running and some mild-moderate hiking, bring some classic athletic shoes like these.
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5) Flip flops – Flip flops will be your go-to beach footwear, and also double as shower shoes! If you bring a simple black pair like these ones, you can easily wear them with a dress or skirt for going out at night.
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6) Dry Bag – Puerto Rico weather can range from hot and humid to monsoon-style rain storms at the drop of a hat. If you’re hitting the beach or doing anything outdoors, storing your belongings in a waterproof dry bag will give you peace of mind. This one is lightweight, reliable and 100% waterproof.
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7) Waterproof Case for Your Phone – If you’ve ever wanted to bring your phone into the water to take a few snapshots, now you can. This waterproof pouch has a snap and lock closure to keep out water and sand, so you can feel good about taking your phone to all the beautiful Puerto Rico beaches and hidden waterfalls!
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8) Rain Jacket – Puerto Rico weather can be a bit wet at times, if you haven’t heard. In case it rains, make sure to bring along a solid poncho or rain jacket. This one packs up small enough to fit in your purse or daypack, and can be whipped out in case of emergency.
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9) Swimsuit – Speaking of water – don’t forget to bring a swimsuit! A swimsuit is totally necessary if you want to go for a swim (and avoid tan lines) on your trip to Puerto Rico. Finding that one swimsuit that you feel comfortable in is key. This one is cute, versatile, and stays put so that you can swim, dive, jog along the beach or even hike through the jungle.
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10) Sarong or Cover Up – When you’re beach hopping in Puerto Rico, the last thing you’ll want to put on your body in is tight or restrictive clothing. Forget the jean shorts and pack a breezy cover up or sarong instead. Bonus point for this sarong, that can moonlight as a scarf, skirt, or beach blanket.
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11) Medications – “Farmacias” are plentiful in Puerto Rico, but if there’s a medication that you know you’ll need while you’re there, bring it with you just in case. I like to bring a stash of Advil, allergy medicine, and melatonin with me when I travel.
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12) Chargers and Adapters – Puerto Rico uses standard American outlets, so if you’re from somewhere else, bring an adapter! I like to bring my universal adapter to every country I visit, and it has never let me down.
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13) Daypack or Cross-body Bag – Personally, I’m a daypack kind of gal, but you can get away with a purse as well while you’re exploring Puerto Rico. Anything works, as long as it keeps your hands free to take pictures and dig in on all the amazing street food.
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14) Sunglasses – On blazing hot summer days, you won’t want to walk outside your airbnb without a pair of sunglasses. Protect your eyes from the harmful UVA/UVB Puerto Rican sun rays with this stylish pair of shades.
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15) Sun Hat – Especially if you have fair skin, a good sun hat can be a lifesaver in Puerto Rico. It’s always good to stick a sun hat on any children that you’re traveling with so that they don’t overheat. This one is inexpensive and can be worn for a day at the beach or for more athletic endeavors!
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16) Binoculars – When you’re trekking through the tropical rainforests of Puerto Rico, you never know what creatures you might see! Bring a pair of binoculars to get an up-close view of wildlife, even if it’s just to gaze at the colorful birds from your front porch.
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17) Clothesline – This braided clothesline is perfect for drying towel and swimsuits after a day in the ocean. It keeps your wet stuff from smelling musty, and makes it easy to do laundry while you’re on the move.
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Other packing list items for camping:

What to wear in Puerto Rico:

Depending on the activities you have lines up for your Puerto Rico trip, deciding what to wear can be simple. If you’re going to the beach, you don’t need to wear much – a swimsuit, flip flops and a cover up are ideal. A hat and sunglasses are also a good idea too. For days in cities or elsewhere, shorts and a tank top are good to beat the summer heat. If you’re going to the mountains, dress in layers. No matter what, bring comfortable walking shoes.

What NOT to take to Puerto Rico:

If you’re flying, make sure to check out what items cannot go in your carry on bag. These items are TSA prohibited:
1) 🚫 Flammables
2) 🚫 Firearms
3) 🚫 Sharp objects
4) 🚫 Liquids (unless you follow the liquids rule – see FAQ)
5) 🚫 Household tools
6) 🚫 Camping equipment
7) 🚫 Medical tools
8) 🚫 Various miscellaneous items
Here is a link to the TSA website.

FAQs about taking a trip to Puerto Rico:

1) I booked my trip to Puerto Rico before Hurricane Maria hit. Should I cancel?

Call your hotel and ask as many questions as you need. The headlines on the news can be discouraging, as they focus on parts of the island that are not typical tourist areas. Puerto Rico can still offer sunshine, beach time and many fun activities. Your visit is giving tourist dollars to the island, and helping families of Puerto Rico, so you don’t necessarily have to cancel unless your hotel advises you to.

2) How can I help aid in hurricane recovery?

You can physically volunteer, donate supplies, or donate money. Here’s how to help on the ground, and get matched with a volunteer project.

3) What’s the best time of year to go to Puerto Rico?

The best time to visit Puerto Rico is from mid-April to June, right after the busy winter season and just before the rainy summer.

4) What language is spoken in Puerto Rico?

Spanish is the most common language, but many people also speak English.

5) What currency is used in Puerto Rico?

Puerto Rico uses US dollars as their currency.