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Money & Banking | Comprehensive Guide To San Juan, Puerto Rico

Money - Currency and Usage


Puerto Rico is part of the United States.  The currency is the U.S. Dollar.  No other currency is accepted as an alternative, you should convert your currencies upon arrival.

As with any large city, do not flash your cash around.  That is an open  invitation for scammers and n'ar do wells.

Though rare in the tourist zone, thievery does occur.  Don't take valuable watches or large sums of cash to the beach.  You will be constantly watching your belongings instead of enjoying the sunshine.

Traveller's checks will be welcome in larger venues such as your hotel.  However, Puerto Rico has many vendors that have never heard of traveller's checks.  Don't arrive thinking you can rely solely on traveller's checks and cash them quickly.  Not only do you need to find someone to cash them, but you need to be sure that they're open.  Puerto Rican's have lot of holidays.  You might not find a bank that is open for another three days upon arrival.  Refer to the map below for Western Union locations that might be able to assist.

Credit Cards and ATMs

Credit cards are commonly accepted.  Be sure to 1) check to be sure you can pay with a credit card before purchasing and 2) ask if there are any additional charges for using a credit card instead of cash.

We have many levels of sophistication for vendors in the Tourize Zone.  Never assume anything, always ask beforehand.

ATM machines are called "ATH" in Puerto Rico.  ATH cards are not the same as credit cards, and you may find that where credit cards are accepted, ATM cards are not.  Again, always ask beforehand.

For ATM charges, expect an international charge on top of your regular charges.  When withdrawing money using an ATM, expect additional charges of $2-5 per transaction.  It is generally a good rule to withdraw your cash in larger sums, keep it in your hotel's safe, and use cash or credit cards where possible.

 

Tipping

Tipping is the same as in the United States.  15-20% for good service from waiter, bartender.

Doorman

$1-$4 for carrying luggage
$1-$2 for hailing cab (add an extra $1 if it's raining)
$1-$4 beyond the call of duty

Bellhop

$2 first bag, $1 per additional bag
$2-3 for each additional service, such as room delivery

Housekeeper

$2-$5 per day

Concierge

No obligation for answering questions
$5-10 for tickets or restaurant reservations
$15 for hard-to-get tickets or reservations, or 10-20% of the ticket price

Taxi driver

15-20% of the fare, but minimally $1
$2 for the first bag, $1 for the second

Purchasing and Safety

Purchasing and selling are virtually identical to the United States. You can't "haggle" with most store items, but street vendors are sometimes open to discussing price. If you wouldn't "haggle" in your hometown, you can't do it here, but if you can save money up north (such as with hotel upgrades, big ticket item discounts), you can probably do it in San Juan.

A dollar in Puerto Rico is called "dollar" or" un peso".  A quarter is "una peseta" [pronounced "puhsaytuh"].

Pickpocket is rare in the Tourist Zone. Theft is not common but does occur. Never carry large amounts of cash at night with you, and during the day only amounts that you will need that day. Always lock your valuables in the hotel safe. Never leave items unattended in cars; put them in the trunk or glove box. Never leave items unattended at the beach.

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