Table of Contents

28 Top Puerto Rico Packing List Items for 2024 + What to Wear & NOT to Bring

Colorful street in Puerto Rico
Updated on

Puerto Rico is part of the United States, but its climate is that of the Caribbean! It’s home to colorful rainforests, historic cities, dreamy beaches, and much more.

Despite being an American territory, Puerto Rico can feel foreign and exotic compared to the States. This is why I created this guide on what to pack, what to wear in Puerto Rico, what NOT to bring, and valuable FAQs.

Fergusson at the beach
Us at the beach in Puerto Rico for the baby moon of our second child.
See our product selection criteria and guidelines here.

What to Pack for Puerto Rico – 28 Essentials

  • 1. Mesh Water Shoes

    I really love these shoes. I was surprised at how comfortable and supportive they are – they can easily be worn for a day of hiking, and you can splash around in the waterfalls or walk right into the ocean wearing them without a care in the world. Their design allows sand and water to flow out so they don’t get trapped inside and cause you pain or discomfort. I wear mine for hiking, beach-walking, snorkeling, paddle boarding… really any activity that requires a solid grip and water-safe shoes.

    Mesh Water Shoes

    View on ➜

  • 2. Quick-Dry Travel Towel

    A travel towel is an absolute must while in Puerto Rico. This towel not only dries in record time, but it even comes with a washcloth which is very handy. Gone are the days of lugging around a big bulky towel to waterfalls and beaches. This compact, ultra-soft, and lightweight towel can easily come on all your adventures, stored in a convenient quick-dry carrying case.

    Magenta travel towe

    View on ➜

  • 3. Virtual Private Network (VPN)

    Puerto Rico was hit by a whopping 1 BILLION cyberattack attempts in the first half of 2023, according to Fortinet. A Virtual Private Network is essential for any travel, but particularly in Central and South America, where the online crime rates are skyrocketing. I learned this the hard way when I recently had my credit card number stolen after using (what I thought was) a secure Wi-Fi network at an Airbnb. When you connect to unfamiliar Wi-Fi, you’re exposing your data to potential hackers. This means your personal information and financial details are all at risk of being stolen.

    A VPN puts up a wall of encryption between you and any cyber thieves, protecting your passwords, social security numbers, and credit card numbers. It will also give you unlimited bandwidth and a hidden IP address, which means lower prices on flight tickets and no third-parties watching you (including hackers, nosy onlookers, government entities, your ISP, etc.) For a shockingly low price and big payoff, it’s too valuable not to have!

    Virtual Private Network (VPN)

    View Options ➜

  • 4. Beach Bag with Cooler

    When you’ll be going to the beach, it’s super nice to have a reliable beach bag to make your day easier. This one is waterproof and easy to remove sand from. It’s also lightweight and can be folded compactly for packing, but unfolds to a large enough size to carry towels and other items that you’ll need at the beach. To top it all off, the bottom compartment is a cooler for snacks and drinks!

    Beach bag

    View on ➜

  • 5. Universal Waterproof Phone Case

    There are plenty of ways your phone could get ruined in Puerto Rico. The island is surrounded by water and many activities you take part in will put your electronics in danger. This phone case is my favorite method of securing my devices since it’s waterproof, dust/dirt-proof, simple to use, and offers some shock resistance. It also allows me to use the touchscreen and camera underwater.

    waterproof phone pouch

    View on ➜

  • 6. Travel Insurance for Puerto Rico

    Your domestic provider does not cover you overseas, and while PR is technically a U.S. territory, coverage does not extend here in most cases. Things like canceled reservations, unexpected medical emergencies, and theft or damage to items can all be taken care of with a good travel insurance plan. If you did become sick, getting a flight to a comprehensive facility could cost upwards of $35K, and that’s before even receiving treatment! Don’t risk paying out-of-pocket for unnecessary expenses that can be taken care of for you.

    We recommend Faye for affordable plans, a 100% digital experience, and awesome add-ons like “trip cancellation for any reason!” Travel insurance has saved me, my family, and so many others from the stress of expensive travel mishaps on multiple occasions. We’ll never go abroad without it and you shouldn’t either.

    Faye Travel Insurance

    Get a quote in less than 60 seconds with Faye ➜

  • 7. Mosquito-Repellent Wristbands

    Mosquitoes are a problem in any tropical or subtropical area. Puerto Rico is no different, and it’s wise to plan accordingly. These mosquito wristbands are my preferred method of insect repellent because they’re very long-lasting in and out of the water, they have fewer and safer chemicals in them, and they are safe for children. I also recommend bringing an insect repellent spray to use on hikes and when you need to spray your clothes or bag.

    Mosquito-Repellent Wristbands

    View on ➜

  • 8. Packing Cubes

    Packing doesn’t have to be a chaotic nightmare! We have the solution with these organizing packing cubes that allow you to pack accordingly and precisely with ease. Simply label each cube so you can find everything (shirts, pants, socks, essentials, etc.), locating items fuss-free instead of wasting time in your suitcase or throwing pieces all over your hotel room.

    packing cubes

    View on ➜

  • 9. Flotation Wrist Strap for Devices

    Don’t forget the flotation strap so your protected phone doesn’t sink to the bottom of the ocean! Electronics aren’t known for their ability to float, so this floating wrist strap is designed to be comfortably worn on your wrist and prevent the device from falling in the first place. It’s buoyant enough to keep your small devices at the water’s surface should an accident happen.

    Flotation Wrist Strap for Devices

    View on ➜

  • 10. Hanging Toiletry Bag

    This is the world’s most rad toiletry bag! Here’s why: This sustainable brand, Eco Sun, is based in Hawaii and on a global mission to support eco-conscious product development – made by travelers, for travelers. They field-tested a bunch of hanging toiletry bags to find what they loved vs. what they hated about each bag. Then, they took these findings to create the best possible toiletry bag, with all the perks and none of the downsides. Bada-bing-bada-boom!

    It has 4 giant internal pockets with clear compartments to see all of your items clearly, plus elastic bands to keep the bottles from flying around in your suitcase or potentially leaking. The 3 external pockets are excellent for smaller items you need quick access to. And the 360-swivel hook can hang pretty much anywhere (door, shower pole, towel rack, a branch if camping, etc.) It’s truly one of our favorite discoveries and you can feel good in your purchase because a percentage of sales support women’s education.

    hanging toiletry bag

    View on ➜

  • 11. Portable Lipstick-Sized Charger

    I can’t stand when I have to return to my accommodations mid-day just to recharge my camera or phone. When I travel, I tend to use those items a lot, so they run out of juice more quickly than usual. This tiny portable will fully recharge your phone so you don’t have to go back to the hotel and wait for your devices to charge. Throw this in your backpack next to your electronics and let it handle the rest!

    Lipstick-Sized Charger

    View on ➜

  • 12. Cooling Towels

    I honestly never knew the benefits of a cooling towel until I used mine, and let me tell you, it’s the best! With Puerto Rico’s tropical climate, enjoy the day longer with the use of a cooling towel. Ditch the sweaty, hot, and uncomfortable feeling by keeping these nearby in your backpack. Simply soak your towel in water and relax.

    Cooling Towel Pink and blue

    View on ➜

  • 13. Luggage Straps

    If you’ve never considered luggage straps – what if I told you they could make your journey faster, secure your belongings, and extend the life of your suitcase? This set is our favorite because it solves all of these problems and more.

    Enduring 700+ lbs of force tension, these adjustable belts will reinforce your zippers so nothing breaks in transit. Baggage handlers (at the airport or cruise ports) can be extremely rough and you can’t expect everything to be treated as if it has a ‘fragile’ sticker on it. Plus, the built-in ID card and bright colors make it a piece of cake to identify your bags quickly at arrivals, and someone can contact you if your things get lost.

    luggage straps

    View on ➜

  • 14. Gorgeous Dress

    There will be times in Puerto Rico when you’ll want to get a little dressed up for a night on the town or a fancy dinner. A gorgeous outfit like this will instantly help you feel more confident, which usually means you’ll have more fun! This dress is universally flattering (see the Amazon photos!), is light and airy, and can be worn on- or off-shoulder.

    Gorgeous Dress

    View on ➜

  • 15. RFID Neck Wallet

    Petty crime and theft aren’t uncommon. When you visit Puerto Rico, you’ll probably be enjoying the cultural sites and outdoor activities This neck wallet allows you to relax and enjoy the beauty without worrying about your belongings. It safely holds your passports, credit cards, phones, cash, and more.

    RFID Neck Wallet

    View on ➜

  • 16. Filtered Water Bottle

    While the tap water in Puerto Rico is treated to the same standard as the rest of the U.S., with the recent flooding issues it’s better to be extra safe. This filtered water bottle is invaluable to have on any trip because it will save you from having to constantly buy bottled water or drinks – giving you autonomy over your water supply. This one is a bit pricey but worth it since it removes bacteria, parasites, viruses, microplastics, and more.

    Filtered Water Bottle

    View on ➜

  • 17. TSA-Approved Luggage Locks

    After having items stolen from our checked luggage, we don’t risk it anymore. Locks are the unsung heroes of peace of mind. We use ours for suitcases, backpacks, purses, and lockers while exploring cities. This set is TSA-approved so they won’t be broken by airport security, and they’re considerably safer than 3-digit systems.

    luggage locks

    View on ➜

  • 18. Discounted Tickets on Puerto Rico Attractions

    Get Your Guide is our favorite booking service for reliable tours that support the local tourism industry and give you an authentic experience!

    While in Puerto Rico, snorkel with the turtles in San Juan, boat around the Culebra Islands on a catamaran, and jump off waterfalls in El Yunque Rainforest.

    This country is made for adventurers that want to jet ski, ride ATVs or horses through the jungle, or zipline into a thrill park. From distilleries to food tours, there is no shortage of excitement in P.R., and you have everything at your fingertips for a dream itinerary.

    Discounted Tickets on Puerto Rico Attractions

    See all Puerto Rico attractions at ➜

  • 19. Windproof Travel Umbrella

    Depending on the season of your holiday, an umbrella may be your best friend. Puerto Rico’s tropical climate boasts hot weather year-round, however, during the rainy season it’s best to always be prepared. This umbrella is sturdy, large, and even comes with a strong protective case. This umbrella will not only be useful while you’re in Puerto Rico but will be a staple in everyday life too.

    Windproof Travel Umbrella

    View on ➜

  • 20. Affordable Underwater Camera

    Catch cool underwater shots and epic videos without having to purchase an expensive GoPro. I have tried several underwater cameras, and I like this one for its accessible price and quality images/videos. It’s small, easy to use, and won’t be heavy to bring along on your daily adventures in Puerto Rico.

    underwater camera

    View on ➜

  • 21. Swimsuit Cover-Up

    When lounging by the pool or hanging around at the beach, a swimsuit cover-up is a must-have. You can throw it on over your swimsuit and take a stroll or go for lunch without having to completely change or walk around in a damp towel. This particular cover-up is absolutely gorgeous and seems to be universally flattering.

    Swimsuit Cover-Up

    View on ➜

  • 22. Activated Charcoal

    Some travelers aren’t aware of activated charcoal, but this supplement is an incredible detoxifier that will remove harmful toxins from your system FAST. If you feel a stomach ache or food poisoning comes on, grab these to neutralize the pathogens and get to feeling better asap! (instead of spending your precious vacation time in the bathroom).

    Activated Charcoal

    View on ➜

  • 23. Travel Backpack

    You can’t beat this traveler’s backpack. It’s compact but still has plenty of room for your daily essentials (water bottle, camera, phone, guidebook, towels, etc.), and when it’s not in use, it can be folded up into its own tiny storage pouch. It’s also easy to wash and dries quickly – it’s made of water-resistant material that is ideal for travel or everyday use.

    Travel Backpack

    View on ➜

  • 24. Motion Sickness Patches

    The long and windy roads with panoramic views, as well as bumpy boat rides out at sea, can leave passengers feeling a bit green… If you are prone to motion or sea sickness, use these patches for nearly instant relief. These are the only ones that have worked for us! Stick one behind your ear and you will be free of nausea all day.

    motion sickness

    View on ➜

  • 25. Convertible Hiking Pants

    Puerto Rico has the only official rainforest in the United States, so it’s an awesome place to partake in some hiking. Between challenging and simple routes, these convertible hiking pants are a great addition to your suitcase since they can transform from pants to shorts. If you get mud or water on the pant legs, just unzip them to rock a shorter look that cuts off at the knees.

    convertible hiking pants beige

    View on ➜

  • 26. Kid’s Snorkel & Life Jacket

    Traveler tip: It may be easy to find adult sizes in snorkeling rentals, BUT! if you’re bringing the kids, the smaller sizes are not as hard to come by. You don’t want your kids to suffer through their masks filling with water, so opt for your own children’s snorkel set. This one keeps the breathing tube out of their face for easier visibility. Don’t neglect to purchase the life jacket so your tots can have full confidence in the water!

    Kid’s Snorkel & Life Jacket

    View on ➜

  • 27. Rash Guard

    The sun is extremely strong in Puerto Rico, even in the winter. This means that sun safety is crucial, and a rash guard will go a long way toward keeping you safe from excess UV exposure. These are our favorite rash guards for fun in the sun – they’ve got a UPF rating of at least 50, plus they’re very comfortable and will protect against rash and friction burn when using water sport accessories.

    Rash Guard

    View on ➜

  • 28. Packable “Just in Case” Bag

    You’ll definitely want to bring home some treats from this American territory that feels so separate from the States. Puerto Rico has beautiful handmade goods like ceramics, artwork, leather bags, as well as delicious spices, wine, rum, and Spanish cigars.

    Bring along this “just in case” bag to tote home gifts for yourself and your loved ones. It’s super lightweight and counts as your personal bag on the return flight, fitting right under your plane seat!

    Packable “Just in Case” Bag

    View on ➜

What to wear in Puerto Rico

Depending on the activities you have lined 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 heat. If you’re going to the mountains, dress in layers. No matter what, bring comfortable walking shoes.

What should WOMEN wear in Puerto Rico? – (Click to expand)
Below is a sample women’s clothing list. (All items link to for your convenience).

What should MEN wear in Puerto Rico? – (Click to expand)
Below is a sample men’s clothing list. (All items link to for your convenience).

What NOT to take to Puerto Rico

  • 1.Flammables

  • 2.Firearms

  • 3.Sharp objects

  • 4.Liquids

  • 5.Household tools

  • 6.Camping equipment

  • 7.Medical tools

  • 8.Certain alcoholic beverages

FAQs about traveling to Puerto Rico

  • 1. Is it still safe to travel to Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria?


    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 worry or change your plans unless your hotel advises you to. Many recovery efforts have been largely successful and you’ll find that most parts of the island are perfectly fine.

  • 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?

    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 and just before the rainy summer. You’ll find the weather more tolerable, and the lines far shorter than during the tourist high-season.

    If you must visit during high-season, plan for higher prices and be sure to be patient with crowds. Puerto Rico is a popular destination!

  • 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’s monetary unit is the US Dollar. There’s no need for exchange rates or foreign currency! Carrying a lot of cash is very unwise, though – most places accept cards. Carry a small amount with you if you must (for things like tips or small street purchases), but lock all other cash away in a safe in your room. Or better yet, just visit an ATM when you need to!

  • 6. Do I need a passport or travel documents to visit Puerto Rico if I’m a US Citizen?


    No. Unless you intend to pass through another country, going from the mainland US to Puerto Rico is just like going from Dallas to Denver – you just need a photo ID. It’s a good idea to have multiple forms of ID just in case, but standard travel ID requirements for air travel are all you should need to worry about.

  • 7. What’s the best way to get around Puerto Rico?

    In larger cities like San Juan you can take public transportation like the buses that serve the area. This is ideal, as it’s fairly cheap and you can hop on and hop off as you decide what you’d like to do that day.

    Ferries are a very accessible method of transportation (and just about the only way to visit the Bacardi distillery there…) and are available on schedules.

    If you’re staying close to your accommodations, walking is easiest but bicycles are also common and can often be rented.

  • 8. What is food like in Puerto Rico?


    As you might guess, seafood is on just about every menu, and is typically excellent and fresh. Another extremely common ingredient in Puerto Rican cooking is rice. You can find sweet rice dishes with spices and rum, or you can find savory and hearty rice concoctions with meats and veggies mixed in. Spices tend to be flavorful but not especially spicy unless you’re sensitive to spice. Influences for Puerto Rican foods come from Spain, Latin America, and even Africa!

    Asopao – a meat and seafood stew – is a must-try if that seems like something you’d be in to!

  • 9. What are the best attractions to see in Puerto Rico?

    Beaches on the island are top-notch, so if you’re looking for relaxation they’re ideal. Swimming and snorkeling, too, are thoroughly enjoyable – even more fun with a snorkel guide! Otherwise, exploring Old San Juan is fascinating. There are plenty of tours that offer insights and histories of the area, but you can also manage it on your own with a map.

    Boat and rainforest hiking tours are endlessly entertaining as well. If you’re looking for a thrill, try taking a Kiteboarding class or learning to surf or SCUBA dive!