Commonly Asked Questions and Answers About The Economy in Puerto Rico:
There has been a lot of negative publicity about Puerto Rico recently, in regards to its deficit and economy. Consequently, visitors to the island are worried and sometimes reluctant to come here, simply because all they hear is doom and gloom on the news regarding our beautiful island.
It is important to remember that media’s job is to create a buzz, to get people to read or listen to their stuff. Hence, the reality in Puerto Rico is not nearly as bleak as the media makes it out to be. So, we’d like to clarify a few things regarding how the suffering economy actually affects tourism, if at all.
Here are some of the common questions asked:
Is there enough food?
Believe it or not, this is a very common question. The media plays things up so much that the tourists worry that there may not be enough food.
Answer: there are no food outages in Puerto Rico. The economy is hurting – yes, but there are no problems with food. We are a U.S. territory and therefore have some of the same chain grocery stores as on the mainland U.S.A.
Common grocery stores you will find here are: Amigos (owned by Walmart), SuperWalmart, Econo (a local chain), Pueblo, Ralph’s, SuperMex. We also have Sams Club and Costco within a short drive from Luquillo.
Are there electricity outages?
Answer: There are no electric outages due to the economy. Yes, it is true that the power company is government controlled but no one in Puerto Rico is experiencing any type of electricity rationing.
Are there water outages?
Answer: Yes, some areas have experienced water outages and rationing. But this is due to an ongoing drought, not the economy.
It also does not affect tourism because hotels and restaurants are either exempt from rationing or have cisterns. In Luquillo, we have not had any water rationing because our water comes from a new reservoir in Fajardo, which has maintained a safe water level.
Is everyone depressed?
Answer: We don’t really know where this perception comes from but some big news outfits have painted a bleak picture of people in Puerto Rico claiming that everyone is depressed and sad because of the economy. It is true that no one here is happy about it but people in general stay positive and feel that this too shall pass. Locals are always warm and friendly and love to have a good time.
Is Puerto Rico dangerous?
Answer: No. This is a complete myth and it has been perpetuated by the hype regarding the economy.
Like anywhere else in the world, if you’re looking for trouble, you will find it. There are certainly some areas (especially in the big cities) that would not be recommended for tourists but overall, Puerto Rico is not dangerous. And Luquillo is actually a very safe, small town.
What about taxes? Aren’t they ridiculously expensive?
Answer: Sales tax has risen from 7% to 11.5% this year. However, it does not include food items from a grocery store. You will pay sales tax at a restaurant but not in the local store. The sales tax is really only a problem if you plan on buying large ticket items, otherwise it is barely noticeable.
Bottom line is this: Don’t believe all the media hype.
Puerto Rico is still a beautiful island that is close to the continental U.S., is a U.S.A territory, and is much cheaper than traveling to, say… Hawaii. Come visit us in beautiful Luquillo Puerto Rico and we don’t think you’ll be disappointed!