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Driving in Puerto Rico?

Everett, Washington
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Driving in Puerto Rico?

I've been reading and searching around and getting conflicting options about renting a car and driving ourselves to various places. Frommer books seem to really discourage it and others feel it is a great option. Most of the negatives seem to revolve around traffic and congestion within San Juan more than road conditions and bad driver habits elsewhere.

I'm fairly adventerous about driving and have driven just about everywhere in the USA and Canada. Including many narrow winding mountain roads and congested cities. So I'm exploring mostly for differences and local customs to study up on. Obviously things like speed limits being in MPH and distances in km are a local thing. Just ran into the toll roads (autopista) issues and toll booths (A for exact change and C if change needed I understand). But I can't find a chart of the tolls that are collected.

We're planning to drive to Arecibo (city) and head south to the observatory and Camuy Caves so PR-22 would be toll but how much change should we carry?

Some web sites I've found useful so far are:

www.hawaiihighways.com/Puerto-Rico-page1.html (Puerto Rico is part of Hawaii now?)

www.hawaiihighways.com/Puerto-Rico-page2.html

http://wikitravel.org/en/Puerto_Rico

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Puerto_Rico_Highway_22

http://www.wpi.edu/Images/CMS/GPP/Puerto_Rico(1).pdf

This last one cautions about bad drivers - bad how? I'm not finding many specifics as far as local quirks or customs aside from quick stops at stop lights (treat like a 4-way stop?) after 10pm. Not planning to drive at night. Any other customs to be aware of? Thanks.

(Same also posted at CruiseCritic.com )

Cleveland, Ohio
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for Puerto Rico, Carolina
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1. Re: Driving in Puerto Rico?

Being from a big city you will be just fine. If you are from Cornfield Kansas and land in San Juan with a metro population of over a million people, you are in for a shock. Otherwise no issues. Rush hour, some hot heads, load music, Etc. Tolls, don't know the exact amout. But it's a buck here, a buck and a half there. Most of the rental car companies have the tags for just driving through the express lanes. Budget was an addtional $2 a day or $10 a week plus the actual tolls. We went to RIncon about 2 years ago and I was charged about $22 after I got back. $10 of that was the fee for the week.

El Yunque National...
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for Puerto Rico
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2. Re: Driving in Puerto Rico?

Driving in PR is an experience. It takes being an aware and defensive driver. But it is very doable and it is the best way to get around and explore.

I wrote a long article about it in my blog: puertoricodaytrips.com/driving-in-puerto-ric…

Maybe it will answer some of your specific questions on oddities. My biggest issue is the number of cars that going through the red lights.

As for how much money to drive RT 22. between SJ and Arecibo:

Going west: Toa Baja $1.00, Manati $1.50, Arecibo $0.75

Going East: Arecibo $0.75, Vega Alta $1.00, Buchanan $1.00

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3. Re: Driving in Puerto Rico?

No problem with driving. Bring or rent a gps and you'll be all set, even in San Juan.

San Francisco CA
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4. Re: Driving in Puerto Rico?

seq - This last trip was my 3rd time driving there. I have never driven in the interior mountain roads. Other than the autopistas, most of the highways are 2 lanes in each direction, and there are stoplights, so driving times are somewhat longer than you might anticipate. I observed lots of people changing lanes quickly and frequently usually without signaling. Every now and then I saw someone coming up on the right shoulder in order to jump the light and turn left. I only had one totally frightening moment while merging with a gasoline truck. We drove back into Old San Juan during afternoon rush hour, and I was very glad not to be going the other way. The bottlenecks at the interchanges were extreme compared to the San Francisco area. It is quicker if you have quarters for the tolls, but the lines for the change were never long. I never went out in morning rush hour.

San Juan
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5. Re: Driving in Puerto Rico?

You will find the rates for each toll at the following website:

http://www.dtop.gov.pr/act/TarifaPeajes.htm

The ones that apply to a 4 wheel car are the ones under the first column to your left hand, where it says VEHICULO DOS EJES

Driving in PR is not as difficult as you may think, as long as you are aware that we use the car's horn a lot: to greet friends, to rush slow drivers, to make the front car move at traffic light changes, or sometimes just to scare or get someones attention...

We do not stop when ambulances come by, just move to the right but keep going; hand signals are almost not used, and turn lights are seldom used, blinking the head lights during the day means that the police patrol is close - reduce speed & watch the limit; and the slow lane rule is not enforced.

As long as you are a defensive driver, you'll be ok.

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6. Re: Driving in Puerto Rico?

Get a rental with the "easypass" and no problems with tolls. Charlie Car has this in all cars. $3/day of actual toll use plus tolls. They also have gps's for rent.

usa
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7. Re: Driving in Puerto Rico?

When I drove from SJ to Quebradillas in February, I stayed in the right lane most of the time. It almost seemed like I was out of place and that most times slower moving vehicles stayed in the left lane and faster ones passed on the right.

Is that a local custom?

Other than that, no problems whatsoever including lots of driving on local roads in the Quebradillas area.

Cleveland, Ohio
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for Puerto Rico, Carolina
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8. Re: Driving in Puerto Rico?

Kind of like here in Ohio. People drive where ever they want.

King of Prussia...
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for San Juan, Ponce
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9. Re: Driving in Puerto Rico?

Same as here in PA. Slow moving vehicles ride on both right and left lanes. The left lane rules are not enforced in all states nor US territories (such as PR).

Edited: 25 June 2010, 18:58
Everett, Washington
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10. Re: Driving in Puerto Rico?

Thanks all. And Flowerfarm someone posted your link on CC as well. Very nice article and the links to rental cars will be very handy.