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Can You Drive to Puerto Rico from Florida?

Driving long distances can be an exciting ride, and with Puerto Rico being a U.S territory located off of the East Coast of Florida, it’s natural to question your travel options and if driving between the two destinations is possible.

It is not possible to drive from Florida to Puerto Rico. Puerto Rico is an island, and therefore its roads don’t have direct land connections to the U.S mainland.

The easiest way to travel between the two locations is by flight, and once on the island, car rental is available.

Travel distance from Florida to Puerto Rico

If we travel in a straight line from Florida to Puerto Rico, the distance is 1,150 miles or 1,850 kilometers.

Of course, driving from Florida to Puerto Rico isn’t a viable option, but to put things into perspective, if driving in a straight line and at the national speed limit of 70 mph, this journey would take an impressive 16+ hours to complete! 

Travel options from Florida to Puerto Rico

San Juan, Puerto Rico Old City skyline.

Flight is an option

The only travel option available from Florida to Puerto Rico is to fly. Flight travel times vary depending on which airport in Florida you depart from, with direct flights taking anywhere between 2h 30min to 2h 50min.

Costs generally range from $125-$200 per person for a one-way ticket and $160-$350 for a round trip.

Car ferry is not an option

Traveling with your car on a ferry from Florida to Puerto Rico isn’t currently available from any docking port. The lengthy travel distance is unsuitable for Ferries, which usually travel short distances of roughly 25 miles or 41 kilometers between charges.

Also, the unpredictability of the surrounding sea (Bermuda triangle area) means it’s not a calm ocean for long-distance travel.

Can you ship a car to Puerto Rico from Florida?

Vehicle shipping services from Florida to Puerto Rico are available but are not a practical option for those taking a vacation, as this is a costly and time-consuming process.

Prices vary between $1,200 to $3,300, depending on the size/type of vehicle being shipped, and in some cases, it would seem more practical to sell your car than to have it shipped.

It’s also a lengthy process, requiring preparation and taking approximately two weeks from the date of shipping from Florida’s docks to arrival at the Port of San Juan.

Can you drive in Puerto Rico?

Street in Old San Juan, Puerto Rico

Puerto Rico is an island that is part of U.S territory. For visitors holding a valid U.S driving state driver’s license, you will be able to legally drive on the island without an additional permit. 

Nevertheless, things get trickier If your goal is to move from Florida to Puerto Rico, and you will need to get a local driver’s license within 30 days of registering and establishing residency on the island.

International travelers wanting to drive in Puerto Rico need their country’s driving license alongside an international driving permit to be eligible. 

Renting a car in Puerto Rico

As long as you hold a valid U.S license or International driver’s license and driver’s permit, and are aged 21 or over, then you will be qualified to rent a car on the island. 

Driving a rental car in Puerto Rico gives you the freedom to explore the natural beauty the island has to offer and can potentially cut costs, as using taxis and Ubers for local and short rides can be expensive.

Therefore, if you plan on doing lots of sightseeing, renting a car is an option that can save you money in the long run.

General advice on car rental:

  1. It’s wise to purchase rental car insurance prior to travel, which many credit card providers provide. If you neglect this, you may be forced into paying hefty daily insurance charges.

    Don’t forget to take the insurance proof with you to the rental car office!
  1. Consider optional insurance types such as Collision Damage Insurance that covers car damage and theft while renting the car.
  1. If you have pre-booked your rental car, then keep written confirmation of the quoted price, as there have been reports of “free upgrades” once arriving at the rental office, with the original quoted price subsequently being raised on the invoice.
  1. Avoid smoking inside the vehicle, as additional charges will be made to cleanse the odor after the rental is complete.

Is it safe to drive in Puerto Rico?

San Juan, Puerto Rico

There are mixed reports regarding the safety of driving in Puerto Rico. On the plus side, cars drive on the right side of the road, the same as in the United States, and the roads are often wide, providing ample space.

Yet, travelers have also reported that driving on the island feels different compared to driving in the U.S, which can be difficult to get to grips with.

Examples of these differences include: 

  • Officially, the right lane is the slow lane and the left lane is the fast lane, but these rules are often disregarded, meaning a lack of slow and fast lanes, so you can be overtaken in any lane.
  • Drivers don’t always use signals to turn corners or stop at red lights.
  • Drivers are not shy of using their horns, and if you’re driving slow, expect to be overtaken.
  • Driving in peak traffic times of 8 AM to 10 AM and 4 PM to 6 PM is chaotic.
  • It’s considerably safer to drive in the daytime compared to nighttime.

Alongside these examples, stay mindful, and veer away from obvious no-nos such as not using a seatbelt, speeding, using your phone while driving, and not paying attention to the road ahead, and you should find driving on the island an exciting and fulfilling experience.


Old San Juan ocean view with buildings

Driving from Florida to Puerto Rico isn’t a viable option, as there are no land connections between the two locations.

To travel between the two destinations, your options are limited to flight.

However, once on the island, an available option is renting a car to sightsee and explore to your heart’s content.