✈ Flights to Puerto Rico: $1050
We spotted a great deal from Toronto to San Juan for $210 a person and we jumped on it. Puerto Rico wasn’t originally a destination we were planning, but when the deals are there – we go for it!
🏠 Accommodation in Isabela: FREE
After booking our flights I reached out to some contacts through Love Home Swap. We ended up finding an amazing house in Isabela, on the west side, for free! This house was seriously gorgeous, although funny enough, we had so much fun exploring the Island, we barely got any use out of it!
Have you heard of house swapping? See how it has saved us THOUSANDS in travel costs and why it is the only way we travel now!
🚗 Car Rental: $520
This is the most I have E.V.E.R. spent on a car rental and to this day it still makes me sick to my stomach. Puerto Rico doesn’t have great public transportation outside of San Juan, and since we weren’t spending our time on a resort, a car was a bit of a necessity.
When we originally booked our trip to PR we had car rentals for under $200, but our procrastination ended up costing us huge. 😭😭
Please book your cars as soon as you know you are going somewhere! Often you are able to cancel for free, so it just isn’t worth it to wait.
We drove a lot during our 2 weeks. Puerto Rico is rather large and you can easily spend several hours in a day driving to get from A to B. We filled up twice and only spent $65, which was pretty cheap by our Canadian standards!
Apartment in Old San Juan: $250
Old San Juan is expensive! We could have easily saved some money by staying outside of OSJ, but in my opinion, you can’t visit PR without staying here!
Parking is a nightmare and we knew we had to factor that in. We parked the car in a parking lot just as you entered and walked the duration of our trip. OSJ is super walkable, so if at all possible, don’t bring a car here. Parking is so expensive and the narrow streets are made for walking, not driving.
We rented a tiny apartment with one room and 2 beds. It was by far the cheapest option, and we got what we paid for. It was pretty gross, there was no hot water and we couldn’t cook for half the time due to the propane being out.
But you can’t have it all right?! We were located directly across from the forts in stunning OSJ and we had been saving all our pennies for our 2 nights here.
🏰 El Morro and San Cristobal: $14
Pay for entry to one of the forts and you have access to both! Children under 15 are free and adults are $7 each. Do not miss these forts!!
They are absolutely gorgeous and full of so much history. You should really factor in a full day at these forts. Take your time, pack a picnic and a kite. There isn’t a single Puerto Rican child that hasn’t flown a kite on these massive grounds. The large open spaces and trade winds make for prime kite flying (you know – if you are a kite aficionado 😜)
📍Cueva Ventana: $58
Access to this stunning natural cave is $18 a person (not cheap!) and it’s up to you whether you think it’s worth it or not. You have to pay for the tour, and it is about 45 minutes, but you will learn so much!
The view at the end is quintessential Puerto Rico, and for us cheapies, it was totally worth it!
🍎 Groceries: $180 (not included in budget)
We didn’t know what to expect when it came to purchasing groceries. After Hurricane Maria we were afraid that the prices may be inflated, but it was basically in line with standard American prices.
As always, our grocery budget was simply carried over from our home budget and not factored into the overall budget.
🍽 Eating out: $130
While visiting Crashboat Beach we purchased lunch for the family from a small beachside vendor. Burritos, hot dogs and french fries as well as a cold coconut. We did this both times we visited and each time cost us $15.
We stopped by the Ocean Boardwalk in Aguadilla one day and ate at Hot Rod Pizza. We had a huge cheese pizza ($11) cooked up fresh for us that we split and the lovely owner gave the kids free cookies. Be forewarned, store owners will be gifting your kids cookies everywhere they go – it’s kid heaven!
On New Years Day we attempted to go out for a nice dinner at Francachela. We ended up waiting 3 hours for an app platter, and when both girls fell asleep on our laps we just canceled the order and left. Our two drinks and 3 lemonades for the kids (which were $7 each!!!) ended up costing us $29, and we didn’t even get to eat! 😭😭 Seriously the worst restaurant experience ever!
The only rule you need to know when it comes to eating out in other countries: If they sell it on the side of a road, or you spot a local lugging around a cooler on their shoulder – eat there! It will cost you less than $15 for an entire family, be an amazing homemade meal and you will be supporting real local people.
On our last night in Puerto Rico, we went to a small hole in the wall restaurant called La Madre in Old San Juan that was serving up authentic Mexican cuisine. The 5 of us split some plates ($60) and it was hands down the best Mexican food we had ever had!
📍 Arecibo Observatory: Free
The Arecibo Observatory has earned a reputation as the largest and most sensitive radio telescope in the world. Although admission is regularly $10 for adults and $6 for children, due to lack of power we were granted access for free.
📍 Cabo Rojo Lighthouse: Free
We weren’t able to access the lighthouse due to damage from Hurricane Maria, however, it is always free to the public! Either way, make this a stop on your itinerary, its spectacular.
⛱ Beaches: Free
You can’t go to Puerto Rico without seeing some of their fabulous beaches! Access to the beaches are free, but you may have to pay for parking sometimes. If you are fine to walk, you can easily bypass this fee.
Coming soon: I'll be posting our favourite beaches (including some top secret ones) so be sure to subscribe to the blog!
🚶♀️ Hiking: Free
Puerto Rico has some stunning hiking trails and mountains that you have to see for yourself, and as always, the best things in life are free!
Coming soon: The top places to hike in Puerto Rico
For not knowing what on earth we were walking into when visiting Puerto Rico, we thoroughly enjoyed our time!
Every time we plan a trip I am always so hesitant to go, I whine about the money that we are going to spend and almost always talk myself out of going. But every time we do go, I never, ever regret it for a second!
We were so happy to spend time on this beautiful island, and again, you don’t need a million dollars to go see the world – Happy Travels ❤💛💚💙💜
Total for 14 days in Puerto Rico: $2087 USD
(Ahhhhh, we were SOO close to keeping it to our standard 2K, close enough!)
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