77 Interesting Facts About Puerto Rico     - The Fact File (2023)

Last updated on April 19th, 2022

Puerto Rico, officially the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, is an unincorporated territory of the United States located in the northeast Caribbean Sea. It has an area of 9,104 square km. Its capital and largest city is San Juan. Spanish and English are its official languages. Its official currency is the United States dollar (USD). It has no land bordering countries. It is an archipelago consisting of the main island of Puerto Rico and a number ofsmaller islands. With these 77 interesting facts about Puerto Rico, let’s learn about its history, culture, people, beaches, wildlife, trade, economy, caves, food, flag and more.

Historical facts about Puerto Rico

1. The name Puerto Rico (rich port) is derived from the abundant gold that the initial Spanish settlers found on the island.

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2. Slaves were imported from Africa to help with the production of cattle, sugar cane, coffee and tobacco on the island.

3. Two-thirds of the island was a U.S. naval base for almost 60 years. The Navy used the area extensively for bombing and military training purposes. However, after the accidental death of a civilian, the area was abandoned as a Navy base and eventuallybecame a wildlife reserve.

Puerto Rico on the map

4. Puerto Rico was one of Spain’s last two colonies in the New World (the other beingCuba).

5. Discovered by Columbus: Puerto Rico was first discovered by Christopher Columbus in 1493, and several invasion attempts were made by the French, Dutch, and British. During his journey, he stayed on the island for two days.

6. Before discovery: It is notable here that Christopher Columbus discovered America in 1492, one year before discovering Puerto Rico. Before his arrival,the archipelago was inhabited by Taíno Indians, who called it ‘Borinquen.’

7. Christopher Columbus named the island “San Juan Bautista”for St. John the Baptist.

8. Did you know that at one time,the U.S. planned to purchase Puerto Rico for a sum of $160 million? However, Spain refused (Puerto Rico was under Spanish treaty at the time).

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9. During the Spanish-American War, U.S. acquired Puerto Rico, Guam, and the Philippines under the Treaty of Paris. The cost of the treaty to the U.S. was $20,000,000.

10.The country’s population grew from 155,428 in 1800 to nearlyone million in the 19th century.

11. Change of name: The island’s name was changed to “Porto Rico” in 1898 by the U.S. However, it was changed back to “Puerto Rico” in 1931.

12. Barceloneta in Puerto Rico has the biggest pharmaceutical complex in the world (14 industries). Wondering why? The water in Barceloneta is so pure that it requires very little treatment for use in the manufacture of pharmaceutical products.

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13. Barceloneta is also known as the “pineapple city” because of its extensive pineapple plantations.

14. If you want to visit the island, also be aware that Barceloneta is famous for its blue sand beaches.

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15. A giant telescope:Puerto Rico is also home to the largest single-aperture telescope ever constructed – “the Arecibo Observatory.” It has 40,000 aluminum panels, each measuring three feet by six feet. The telescope has been featured in some Hollywood movies, including GoldenEye, a popular installment inthe “James Bond” film series.

16. Sightseeing – Cave system: The river gives existence to a beautiful and magnificent cave system known the world over – Camuy. The system features more than 10 miles of caverns, 220 caves, and 17 entrances. Experts believe that there are still another 800 caves that are yet to be explored. Today, a 268-acre park is built around the cave system, providing tourists insights into some of the best natural locations in the country.

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17. Unique Frog:A frog from the island,“Coqui,”is found only in Puerto Rico. It produces a distinct, high-pitched sound –“ko-kee, ko-kee” – especially at night. The frog is also the unofficial national symbol of the country. Sadly, it is a threatened species now.

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18. Forest without snakes and bears: Puerto Rico also has the only tropical rainforest in the U.S. Forest System – El Yunque. And you may be surprised to learnthat this forest is free from snakes, bears and threatening animals of any kind!

19. A barkless dog: Interestingly, Puerto Rico is void of any naturally existing land mammals. Present-day mammals including horses, cattle, cats, and dogs, have all been introduced to the island from elsewhere. A barkless dog once existed on the island, but itis extinct today.

20.Holiday shoppers beware: the“Plaza Las Americas” mall in San Juan is one of the most profitable malls per square foot in the world.

21.The Bacardi rum factory (est. 1862) in San Juan, is the largest rum distillery in the world (producing more100,000 liters of rum every 24 hours). The distillery contributes nearly85% of Bacardi’s total rum production, and the remainder is produced from the distilleries in Mexico and India.

22. Visitor’s Paradise: An estimated five million people visit Puerto Rico’s capital, San Juan, each year.

23. Not a country: Puerto Rico is considered as a country by many; however, the fact is that it is not a country in itself. It is a territory of the United States.

24. Puerto Rico does not observe Daylight Saving Time.

25. Tax benefits and cuisines: Puerto Ricois a popular travel destination for tourists from around the world because of its attractive tax incentives and traditional cuisines.

26. Out of the many national holidays that Puerto Ricans observe, quite a few are held on Mondays, so that citizens can enjoya long weekend.Pretty smart, aren’t they!

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27. San Juan has also been calledone of the world’s busiest cruise-ship ports.

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28. Arroz con Gandules, the national dish of Puerto Rico, is typically enjoyed by its residents during every festival andcelebration.

29. Spanish influence:the island was ruled by the Spanish for nearly 400 years.

30. Puerto Rico is overwhelmingly Spanish speaking. The U.S. government has failed to establish English as the dominant language despite several efforts.

31. Citizenship: Juan Mari Brás was the first person to receive Puerto Rican citizenship. He received the citizenship certificate from the Puerto Rico Department of State on October 25, 2006. The government has since been granting Puerto Rican citizenship to people born in Puerto Rico and to those who have at least one parent whowas born in Puerto Rico, and also to those who have lived at least oneyear in Puerto Rico and are an American citizen.

32. It is the largest insular territory of the U.S.

33. Voting: Puerto Rico does not have a vote in the U.S. Congress. They cannot even vote for the President or the Vice President of the U.S.

34. It is also called “the land of the Valiant Lord.”

35. San Juan is Puerto Rico’s most populous city.

36. English speakers, but not advanced:nearly 90% of Puerto Rico’s population cannot speak English at an advanced level.

37. Puerto Ricans pay no income tax.

38. The President of the United States of America is the chief of the state of Puerto Rico. Itis a commonwealth associated with the United States.

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39. If you are a U.S. citizen visiting Puerto Rico, note that there is no visa requirement for you. However, those whoare from the outside of the U.S. need to follow the requirements that are setfor entering the U.S.

40. Over the years, Puerto Rico has produced five Miss Universe winners

Facts about Puerto Rican food, people, flag, economy, trade, beaches etc

41. Food is inexpensive in Puerto Rico. So if you are looking for a place where you can eat well within your budget and enjoy your time, Puerto Rico is a goodchoice.

42. Beautiful Streets: The streets in the country look amazing!They are paved with blue cobblestones, which makes them look stunning.

43. In 2013, the cost of running AC in Puerto Rico was three times that of in New York.

44. Puerto Rico is famous for three things – Rum, Ricky Martin, and Recession.

45. Puerto Rico and rum have beenrelated for more than 400 years now. The country produces some of the best rum in the world. The U.S. imports more than 70% of the rum sold in the country from Puerto Rico. They producerum in three varieties:light, dark, and añejo, or aged.

46. Puerto Rico’s and Cuba’s flag are the same, but the colors of the bands and triangle are reversed.

47. Puerto Rico’s motto: “Puerto Rico does it better.”

48. The third-largest underground river in the world, the Río Camuy, is in Puerto Rico.

49. Puerto Rico is an officially multilingual country; as are others, such as India, Canada, Belarus, Cyprus, Madagascar, New Zealand, South Africa,and Switzerland.

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50. Currency: Puerto Ricans have the United States dollar as their official currency; however, they refer to it as the ‘peso’ or ‘dollar.’

. . . continue reading on the next page.


What is a interesting fact about Puerto Rico? ›

Other facts

Although Puerto Rico is an American territory, it competes as an individual country in Miss Universe's contests and the Olympics. Flamenco beach, in Culebra, has been recognized as one of the Top 10 Beaches in the world on multiple occasions. The piña colada was invented in Puerto Rico.

What are 3 things Puerto Rico is known for? ›

Puerto Rico is the world's leading rum producer; 80% of the rum consumed in the United States hails from the island. There is a counted number bioluminescent bays in the entire world. Puerto Rico is home three bioluminescent bays.

What was Puerto Rico first called? ›

Christopher Columbus arrived in Puerto Rico in 1493 during his second voyage to the New World. Initially, Columbus christened the Island San Juan Bautista (St. John the Baptist). The name was soon changed to Puerto Rico, or “rich port,” when the Spaniards realized the impressive amount of gold found in its rivers.

How much is 1 dollar in Puerto Rico? ›

How much is a US dollar in Puerto Rico? US Dollar is same as it is the official currency of Puerto Rico.

How old is Puerto Rico? ›

In 1508, Juan Ponce de León founded the first European settlement, Caparra, near a bay on the island's northern coast; Caparra was renamed Puerto Rico (or “rich port”) in 1521.

What is Puerto Rico's nickname? ›

Its nickname is "Isla del Encanto," or "Island of Enchantment," and on the surface, Puerto Rico seems to fulfill every paradisiacal promise made about it by glossy travel magazines.

What good is Puerto Rico known for? ›

Puerto Rico is known for its beautiful beaches, and with 270 miles (434 km) of sandy shores, there's no shortage on which type of beach you'll find there. What is this? But, it's not just the amount of beachfront that makes Puerto Rico a favorite Caribbean destination; it is the quality and variety of them.

What is only found in Puerto Rico? ›

The island's wildlife includes a variety of endemic species, which are found only in Puerto Rico and a few nearby islands. Other unique animals include the Puerto Rican parrot, the Puerto Rican boa, and the Puerto Rican broad-winged hawk, all of which are found only in Puerto Rico and a few nearby islands.

What were the 4 main products of Puerto Rico? ›

Puerto Rico main exports products are pharmaceuticals, accounting for over 50 percent of all exports. Others include medical equipment, computers, apparel, canned tuna, rum, beverage and concentrates. Puerto Rico's main exports partner is the United States, accounting for around 70 percent of total exports.

What is Puerto Rico's national animal? ›

The Puerto Rican coqui (pronounced ko-kee) is a small arboreal frog that's brown, yellow, or green in color. Its scientific genus name—Eleutherodactylus—means “free toes” because, unlike many frogs, the coqui doesn't have webbed feet.

What Puerto Rico means? ›

Etymology. From Spanish Puerto Rico (literally “Rich Port”). In US English, the name is commonly pronounced and was formerly spelled Porto Rico; many other Spanish Puerto placenames were formerly also anglicized to Porto.

Who lived on Puerto Rico first? ›

The first inhabitants of Puerto Rico were hunter-gatherers who reached the island more than 1,000 years before the arrival of the Spanish. Arawak Indians, who developed the Taino culture, had also settled there by 1000 ce. The clan-based Taino lived in small villages led by a cacique, or chief.

What is the oldest city in Puerto Rico? ›

San Juan, Puerto Rico, is the oldest continuously inhabited post-European contact city in United States territory and the second oldest in the entire Western Hemisphere. Since the Spanish founded it in 1519, San Juan has served as the capital city of Puerto Rico.

What type of flag is this 🇵 🇷? ›

🇵🇷 Flag: Puerto Rico

The flag for Puerto Rico, which may show as the letters PR on some platforms. The Flag: Puerto Rico emoji is a flag sequence combining 🇵 Regional Indicator Symbol Letter P and 🇷 Regional Indicator Symbol Letter R. These display as a single emoji on supported platforms.

How much is $1 dollar? ›

1 USD = 459 NGN Mar 05, 2023 14:25 UTC

Check the currency rates against all the world currencies here. The currency converter below is easy to use and the currency rates are updated frequently. This is very much needed given the extreme volatility in global currencies lately. Sending money abroad is as easy as ever.

Is living in Puerto Rico cheap? ›

The cost of living in Puerto Rico is, on the whole, significantly lower than that of the US. However, it's still by no means cheap. In Mercer's Cost of Living Survey for 2022, San Juan ranked 72nd out of 227 countries, placing it on par with large cities worldwide such as Edinburgh and Barcelona.

Can 18 year olds drink in Puerto Rico? ›

There is some similarity between DUI-related laws in Puerto Rico and the U.S. mainland, but there are also differences. For example, the legal drinking age in Puerto Rico is 18, and for those 18–20 years of age, BAC levels must be lower than . 02. g/dL.

Who owns Puerto Rico? ›

Just months later, however, the United States invaded the island during the 1898 Spanish-American War as part of a broader effort to push Spain out of the Caribbean and the Pacific. Spain lost the war and ceded Puerto Rico to the United States, along with other territories, including Guam and the Philippines.

How long live in Puerto Rico? ›

It should be presumed that an individual is a resident of Puerto Rico if they have been present in Puerto Rico for a period of 183 days during the calendar year.

What is Santa called in Puerto Rico? ›

It may sound strange for some that in Puerto Rico, like so many other countries in Latin America and Europe, it is not Santa Claus, but the Three Kings –a.k.a. the Magi, or the Wise Men– who bear the gifts in Christmas, but the explanation for that is rooted in these countries' deeply Catholic history.

What do they call girls in Puerto Rico? ›

17. guial: Comes from the English “girl” and is used in Panama and Puerto Rico.

What do Puerto Ricans call friends? ›

Corillo is quite a useful word to know when talking to your new Puerto Rican friends. The word “corillo” is the Puerto Rican slang for friends or a group of friends.

What sport is Puerto Rico known for? ›

Since it was introduced in the early 1900's, baseball has been the favorite sport of Puerto Rico, followed very close by basketball, and boxing. In addition, Puerto Rico has been participating in the Olympics since 1948 as an independent country.

What is Puerto Rico most famous food? ›

1. MOFONGO. Mofongo is one of those staples that you can find just about anywhere in Puerto Rico. It's made with mashed fried plantains, lots of garlicky goodness, and chicharrones, which is fried pork skin.

What did Puerto Rico invent? ›

The pina colada was invented in Old San Juan, Puerto Rico (another claim was made at the San Juan Caribe Hilton bar). Puerto Rico produces and exports more rum than any other couhtry in the world. Salsa music was invented by Puerto Ricans and Cubans in New York City and was exported to the island.

Who is a famous Puerto Rican? ›

Some other Hollywood “big names” who hail from Puerto Rico include actress and philanthropist Roselyn Sánchez, Academy Award-nominee Joaquin Phoenix, and veteran actor Luis Guzmán.

What is the Popular of Puerto Rico? ›

Banco Popular de Puerto Rico (BPPR) - With branches in Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands, Popular offers retail and commercial banking services, as well as auto and equipment leasing and financing, mortgage loans, insurance, investment banking and broker-dealer services.

What are 2 common foods in Puerto Rico? ›

The vibrancy of Puerto Rican culture comes alive in its dishes, a celebration of flavors that visitors have the opportunity to indulge in. Some of the favorites are mofongo, tostones, pasteles, arroz con gandules, tembleque, and coquito.

Are monkeys in Puerto Rico? ›

Rhesus macaques, often descended from escapees from research projects, have been found on Puerto Rico's main island and hundreds of them populate Cayo Santiago, a tiny island off Puerto Rico's southeast coast, where they are allowed to roam free.

What is Puerto Rico's main religion? ›

Today, depending on the source, Puerto Rico's population is between 75 and 85 percent Roman Catholic. Although weekly church attendance is far below that figure, the Catholic Church has great influence on Puerto Rican life.

What does Puerto Rico grow? ›

A variety of crops are grown in Puerto Rico, including rice, sugar cane, coffee, and corn. However, there is currently a debate as to whether or not agricultural production on the island should be increased or reduced.

What are Puerto Rico's top 3 exports? ›

The chief exports are chemicals and chemical products, foodstuffs, and computers and electronics. The main imports are chemicals and chemical products, petroleum and coal products, food products, transportation equipment, and computers and electronics.

Is there a Puerto Rican dog? ›

The Puerto rican sato

Satos (pronounced with a short A) are a type of dog rather than a breed. The name is Puerto Rican slang for “street dog,” but they are also known as Puerto Rican Found Dogs in the U.S. They are the homeless dogs, or urban free-ranging dogs, that live in Puerto Rican cities.

What is Puerto Rico's flower? ›

Because of deforestation and disturbance, the species has become common throughout the moist and wet areas of Puerto Rico. Flor de Maga's flower is the “national” flower of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico.

What do Puerto Ricans say before eating? ›

When I was in Puerto Rico people would say "buen brovecho" before every meal. It roughly translates to "enjoy your meal", and it became one of my favorite parts of the trip.

What does Puerto Rico do for Christmas? ›

Many Puerto Ricans will attend a midnight mass known as Misa de Gallo, where they welcome Christmas as a commemoration of the birth of Jesus. Some churches even reenact the Nativity scene. The holiday menu in Puerto Rico includes local favorites like pernil, arroz con gandules, pasteles, tembleque, and arroz con dulce.

Who is the oldest Puerto Rican? ›

Emilio Flores Márquez is the oldest living man in the world at 112, according to Guinness World Records. A former sugar cane farmer in Puerto Rico has been confirmed as the world's oldest man by Guinness World Records, just a few weeks shy of his 113th birthday.

Who really discovered Puerto Rico? ›

On November 19, 1493, during his second voyage, Christopher Columbus arrived in Puerto Rico. The indigenous Taíno culture dominated the island. The Taíno called the island Borikén (Spanish Boriquen), “the land of the brave lord.” Columbus named the island San Juan Bautista in honor of Saint John the Baptist.

How long did slavery last in Puerto Rico? ›

Though emancipation was a great thing for the many slaves that worked to maintain the sugar plantations on the island, slavery lived on the island for almost 350 years before its abolishment.

Where is Puerto Rico 🇵 🇷? ›

Location: Puerto Rico is located on the continent of North America, between the Caribbean Sea and the North Atlantic Ocean. It's east of the Dominican Republic and west of the Virgin Islands.

What is the oldest house in Puerto Rico? ›

The Casa de los Ponce de León is a historic house in San Germán, Puerto Rico. It is possibly the oldest residence in use in Puerto Rico. Its most famous resident was the poet Lola Rodriguez Ponce de León.

What are the 4 largest cities in Puerto Rico? ›

Cities by Population (2020 Census)
  • San Juan. 395,326. 342,259. -13.4.
  • Bayamón. 208,116. 185,187. -11.0.
  • Carolina. 176,762. 154,815. -12.4.
  • Ponce. 166,327. 137,491. -17.3.
  • Caguas. 142,893. 127,244. -11.0.
  • Guaynabo. 89,780. 89,780. -8.3.
  • Arecibo. 96,440. 87,754. -9.0.
  • Toa Baja. 75,293. 75,293. -16.0.

What are 3 things that you love about Puerto Rico? ›

Dubbed the 'Island of Enchantment,' Puerto Rico has been captivating the hearts of travelers all over the world for years with its colonial architecture, tropical climate, diverse landscapes, and traditional cuisine.

What are Puerto Ricans known for? ›

Puerto Ricans are known for their warm hospitality, often considered very friendly and expressive to strangers. Greetings are often cordial and genuine.

Why is Puerto Rico so special? ›

#1: The island is gorgeous

Dreamy beaches, palm trees, old Spanish forts, jungles, waterfalls, tropical drinks, delicious seafood—Puerto Rico has it all. The island is even home to the USA's only rainforest. It's no wonder they call it The Island of Enchantment.


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