PUERTO RICO: AMERICA’S EXOTIC ISLAND OF ENCHANTMENT
Puerto Rico (Spanish for “Rich Port”) officially the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, is an unincorporated territory of the United States located in the northeast Caribbean Sea. It is an archipelago that includes the main island of Puerto Rico and a number of smaller ones such as Mona, Culebra, and Vieques. The capital and most populous city is San Juan. Its official languages are Spanish and English, though Spanish predominates. The island’s population is approximately 3.4 million. Puerto Rico’s rich history, tropical climate, diverse natural scenery, renowned traditional cuisine, and attractive tax incentives make it a popular destination for travelers from around the world.
Population: 3,474,182 as of 2015
Capital: San Juan
Official languages: Spanish, English
Sovereign state: United States
Largest city: San Juan
Area: 3,515 square miles
Population Density: 989.4 people per square mile
Tropical. Puerto Rico has a rainy season stretching from April into November. The mountains of the Cordillera Central are the main cause of the variations in the temperature and rainfall that occur over very short distances. The mountains can also cause wide variation in local wind speed and direction due to their sheltering and channeling effects adding to the climatic variation. About a quarter of the annual rainfall for Puerto Rico, on average, occurs during tropical cyclones, which are more frequent during La Niña events.
The island has an average temperature of 82.4 °F (28 °C) throughout the year, with an average minimum temperature of 66.9 °F (19 °C) and maximum of 85.4 °F (30 °C). Temperatures do not change drastically throughout the seasons. The temperature in the south is usually a few degrees higher than the north and temperatures in the central interior mountains are always cooler than those on the rest of the island. The average yearly precipitation is 1,687 mm (66 in).
The Constitution of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico grants the right to an education to every citizen on the island. To this end, public schools in Puerto Rico provide free and secular education at the elementary and secondary levels.
The public school system is funded by the state and is operated by the Puerto Rico Department of Education. The department employs over 45 thousand teachers of which 32,000 have full-time tenureships and are organized under several independent unions, including the Puerto Rico Teachers Association and the Teachers’ Federation of Puerto Rico. The remaining teachers are either temporary or contracted on a yearly basis.
Preschool education, care, and services (including Early Head Start and Head Start) are free for low-income families with private daycares being common and within walking distance in urban areas. Primary and secondary education is compulsory and free regardless of income through more than 1,400 public schools. Unlike most schools in the United States, public school instruction in Puerto Rico is conducted entirely in Spanish. English is taught as a second language and is a compulsory subject at all levels. There are more than 700 private schools on the island, most of them Catholic.
There are a number of junior colleges on the island, the most prominent being the Huertas College, the ICPR Junior College, the Instituto de Banca y Comercio, and the National University College (NUC). There is one state-run system, the Puerto Rico Technological Institute, which possesses several prestigious programs at the local level and whose costs are significantly below US market prices.
The University of Puerto Rico offers the largest academic choices with 472 academic programs of which 32 can lead to a doctorate. UPR is also the only system with a business school, an engineering school, a law school, a nursing school, a school of architecture, and a school of medicine. Almost all its schools and programs rank first on the island although competition has increased in the last decades with private universities gaining track at a fast pace.
The economy of Puerto Rico is mainly driven by manufacturing, primarily pharmaceuticals, textiles, petrochemicals, and electronics; followed by the service industry, primarily finance, insurance, real estate, and tourism. In comparison, Puerto Rico is poorer than the poorest state of the United States, with 45% of its population living below the poverty line. However, when compared to Latin America, Puerto Rico has the highest GDP per capita in the region. Currently, the unemployment rate in Puerto Rico is sitting at 16.4%. If you do not already have a job prior to moving to Puerto Rico, finding one may prove difficult – but not impossible.
The cost of living in Puerto Rico is high and has increased over the past decadeSan Juan’s in particular is higher than Atlanta, Dallas, and Seattle but lower than Boston, Chicago, and New York City, Housing prices are comparable to Miami and Los Angeles, although property taxes are considerably lower than most places in the United States.
Statistics used for cost of living sometimes do not take into account certain costs, such as the high cost of electricity, which has hovered in the 24¢ to 30¢ range per kilowatt/hour, two to three times the national average, increased travel costs for longer flights, additional shipping fees, and the loss of promotional participation opportunities for customers “outside the continental United States”.
Puerto Rico is a U.S. territory. American citizens may enter with any government-approved form of identification. International visitors should contact their local government offices to apply for a U.S. visa before making travel arrangements to Puerto Rico.
Pets coming from the continental U.S.to Puerto Rico must have a standard domestic health certificate as well as proof of current vaccinations. Dogs must have received a rabies vaccination at least 30 days prior to entry, Puppies younger than 3 months and dogs originated or located for 6 months in areas considered to be free of rabies are exempt. Dogs and cats coming from locales where rabies is present must have a valid rabies vaccination certificate. If the animal has not been vaccinated for Rabies prior to entry, the animal may be admitted if it is quarantined immediately upon arrival. The animal must be vaccinated within four days after arrival at the port of entry and remain in quarantine for a minimum of 30 days.
Compass isn’t just your average moving company. Moving to or from Puerto Rico requires more than packing boxes and transporting them.
Rely on our years of moving families like yours. Ask us for advice, tips and information. From planning your move to adjusting to life in or outside of Puerto Rico, we’re always here to listen and help.
Puerto Rico – Wikipedia. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Puerto_Rico
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