Packing For Puerto Rico: Packing Checklist for Your Puerto Rico Getaway

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Puerto Rico’s stunning beaches, lush rainforests, and vibrant culture make it an incredible Caribbean destination. With warm tropical weather year-round, packing for Puerto Rico is fairly straightforward, but there are still some helpful things to keep in mind when filling your suitcase for your Peurto Rican getaway!

I lived in Puerto Rico for 3 years and one of the most common questions I was asked (besides where to eat!) was what should I pack?! Use this guide to help prepare for your Puerto Rican vacation!

travel packing for Puerto Rico

Essential Clothing and Accessories When Packing For Puerto Rico

When it comes to clothing, be sure to bring lightweight and breathable outfits as the weather can get quite hot and humid. I have my first trip back to PR in a few days, and since we left I’ve lived in Alaska and now in the mountains of Colorado. I’m pretty sure I’m going to melt in the heat & humidity! Lightweight clothes that wick away moisture are a must-have.

Pack a variety of swimwear, as Puerto Rico offers stunning beaches and crystal-clear waters.

Don’t forget to bring comfortable walking shoes for exploring the vibrant streets and historic sites. You may want to skip the heels if you’re staying in Old San Juan, as the cobblestone streets can be tricky!

Sunscreen, a hat, and sunglasses are essential to protect yourself from the intense Caribbean sun.

A waterproof phone case and a portable charger will come in handy for capturing beautiful moments and staying connected. I take so many more photos on vacation, so I make sure to keep my power bank close.

A small backpack or tote bag is useful for carrying your belongings while on the go.

When packing clothing, opt for versatile pieces that can be mixed and matched for day or night. Stick to light fabrics that will keep you cool and comfortable. Only bring essentials – laundry services are readily available if you need to wash clothes.

Sun Protection and Hydration

Remember to bring plenty of sunscreen and water to stay hydrated during your time on the island. Puerto Rico’s tropical climate means that the sun can be intense, so it’s important to protect your skin.

Pack a high SPF sunscreen to shield yourself from harmful UV rays. Additionally, don’t forget to bring a wide-brimmed hat, sunglasses, and lightweight, long-sleeved clothing to further protect your skin from the sun’s rays.

It’s also crucial to stay hydrated in the heat. Fill a reusable water bottle and carry it with you everywhere you go. You can easily refill it at restaurants on the island or in your hotel/rental home. Remember, staying hydrated is essential for your overall well-being and to avoid heat exhaustion or dehydration while enjoying all that Puerto Rico has to offer.

packing for puerto rico rainforest

Outdoor Adventure Gear

Puerto Rico offers a wide range of activities for nature lovers and thrill-seekers alike. Whether you’re planning to hike through the lush rainforests, go zip-lining in the mountains, or snorkel in the crystal-clear waters, having the right gear is essential.

First and foremost, don’t forget to pack a sturdy pair of hiking boots or comfortable sneakers. The terrain in Puerto Rico can be rugged, so it’s important to have footwear that can withstand the trails, cobblestones, and rough sidewalks.

If you’re planning on spending time in the water, make sure to bring a snorkel and mask to explore the colorful marine life. Don’t forget your swimsuit, quick-drying towel, and your reusable water bottle to stay hydrated throughout the day.

Don’t leave for the day without grabbing your hat, sunglasses, and sunscreen to protect yourself from the sun’s rays!

Miscellaneous Items

Don’t overlook the small but essential items that can enhance your overall experience on the beach. While beach essentials mentioned above like sunscreen, towels, and sunglasses are crucial, there are a few miscellaneous items that can make your Puerto Rico vacation even more enjoyable.

First, don’t forget a portable phone charger to keep your devices powered up for capturing stunning beach views or staying connected with loved ones. A dry bag is also handy to keep your valuables safe and dry while you’re in the water.

Bug spray is VITAL when visiting Puerto Rico! Dengue is a disease that’s very common on the island, and is transmitted by infected mosquitoes. I had dengue fever in 2014 after living on the island for a year.

Trust me, dengue is miserable! I was so weak I couldn’t even manage to pick up our newly-rescued street puppy Roxy, and she was only 4 pounds at the time. And unfortunately there’s no treatment for it, just managing the symptoms and riding it out. Make sure you apply bug spray every time you’re going outdoors to prevent catching dengue.

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Clothing Essentials

  • T-shirts, tank tops, and short sleeve shirts in lightweight fabrics like linen or cotton
  • Swimwear – bring a few different options so you always have a dry suit ready to go
  • Rash guards or swim shirts provide sun protection while snorkeling or swimming
  • Cover-ups and sarongs to wear over swimsuits around town
  • Lightweight sweaters or jackets – the air conditioning can get chilly in restaurants and malls
  • A rain jacket or poncho – passing tropical showers are common
  • Sandals – bring a pair you can wear around town or to the beach
  • Water sandals or closed-toe shoes for hiking through forests or waterfalls
  • A sun hat and sunglasses to protect against the strong tropical sun

Toiletries & Medications

Pack toiletries wisely to avoid liquid restrictions when flying. Some key toiletries to pack include:

  • Sunscreen with SPF 30 or higher – reapply often to protect skin
  • After-sun moisturizer or aloe vera gel to soothe sun-kissed skin
  • Insect repellent – especially for rainforest excursions where mosquitoes may be common
  • Any prescription or over-the-counter medications you need, kept in your carry-on bag
  • Trial or travel sizes of shampoo, conditioner, toothpaste, and other basics
  • Biodegradable sunscreen to protect delicate ocean reefs when snorkeling

Beach Gear

You’ll want supplies for full beach days, including:

  • Beach towel – pack one for the pool/hotel and one for the beach
  • Small beach umbrella provides shade on sunny days
  • Lightweight portable beach chairs so you always have a seat
  • Waterproof phone pouch to protect electronics from water and sand
  • Reusable water bottles to stay hydrated in the tropical heat
  • Snacks like fresh fruit, granola bars, trail mix for energy
  • Books, magazines, card games, etc. for leisure time
  • A small cooler bag and ice packs can keep drinks and snacks chilled
  • An inflatable pool float can make time in the water even more fun

Documents & Essentials

Don’t forget these important items:

  • Vaccine cards and other medical records
  • Debit/credit cards – notify your bank of your travel dates
  • Backup cash in smaller denominations
  • Cell phone and charger with adapter if needed
  • Camera, charger, extra batteries
  • Power bank/portable charger for phones and devices
  • Travel pillow, earplugs, eye mask for naps during travel
  • Travel insurance documents

Miscellaneous Items

Some final items that can enhance your Puerto Rican vacation:

  • Motion sickness medication like Dramamine if prone to nausea on boat rides
  • Lightweight sweater for indoors with strong AC
  • Refillable water bottle
  • Dry bag or waterproof pouch to protect valuables during adventures
  • Laundry detergent pods
  • Small first aid kit with bandages, antiseptic cream, medicine
  • Lightweight backpack or crossbody bag for daily excursions

Packing Tips

  • Use packing cubes to organize clothing and maximize space
  • Place liquid toiletries in checked bags to avoid carry-on restrictions
  • Wear bulky shoes and lightweight sweater during travel to free up luggage room
  • Leave valuables and irreplaceable jewelry at home
  • Check luggage weight and dimensions to avoid extra airline fees


Hi, I’m Natasha!

I’m a lover of yoga, essential oils, and traveling. I’ve lived in Florida, Puerto Rico, Alaska, and now I live in the mountains of Colorado with my husband Dan and our two pups, Roxy & Rico.

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