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Puerto Rico: Why visit during the off-season?

Cemetery on the water in Old San Juan, Puerto Rico

This is "hurricane season." Run for your lives!

Puerto Rico is a great place to vacation. But a lot changes depending on when in the year you’re there.

Tourist season runs November or December to April or May.  This is the season with regular short rainstorms, but generally beautiful weather. (A freak tropical storm is always a possibility, so nothing’s written in stone.)  Everything is more crowded and sometimes more expensive.  Hotels, car rental agencies, restaurants and attractions may be booked to capacity far in advance.

The off-season is May-ish to October or November.  (You get a different answer from everyone you ask.)  This has both advantages and disadvantages.

Pros:

  • Less crowded beaches, restaurants, hotels
  • Less expensive
  • Some events only happen during the off-season (for example, the 2012 International Salsa Congress this July!)

Cons:

  • Businesses may be less reliable
  • More likely to encounter wet weather
  • Small possibility of severe storms

By less reliable, here’s what we mean: If a small business is entirely dependent on tourism, and the owners want to take a vacation, this is when they’ll do it.  So a tourist-oriented restaurant may be closed for a few weeks here or there.

Wet weather is more common in this season.  But most of the time, wet weather isn’t serious and passes quickly. Unless you’re the Wicked Witch of the West, you can still have a great time.  There’s always the possibility of a severe storm, or even a hurricane.  But historically, they’re rare.

A Puerto Rican sunset over the water

Still trying to find that hurricane! It's gotta be around here somewhere.

I really like traveling in the off-season.  And I’m not the only one.  My friends there in the tourism industry recommend it as the best time to go – especially mid- to late October, when businesses are all geared up for the high season, but it’s still not too crowded.  Puerto Rico at its least crowded is Puerto Rico at its best.

Anyways, think about it!  If you’re willing to risk some rain, or even a change in travel plans due to weather*, a trip during the off-season is the way to go.

Matt

An old stone wall in Old San Juan, set against a blue sky and bluer water

A stone defensive wall along the water in Old San Juan

*You should always have travel insurance just in case. That way, if your trip is cancelled due to weather – or illness, or alien invasion, or whatever – your investment in airfare and the rest of your vacation is protected.

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