The Ultimate Guide for Moving to San Juan, PR

To make your move easier, Southern Self Storage created this ultimate guide for moving to San Juan, PR. It’s all here, from good neighborhoods to the cost of living, moving your car, and more! If a low-stress, successful move to San Juan, Puerto Rico, is your goal, read on!

Moving to San Juan, Puerto Rico is an exciting, life-changing affair no matter what brings you. It’s easier to move to Puerto Rico than to other countries since it’s a United States territory. There’s much less paperwork, the money is the same. And there are none of the typical “international travel” hassles. Still, moving anywhere is stressful, especially if it requires shipping your belongings in a container ship. And that’s exactly what you’ll need to do to move from the states to move to Puerto Rico. So keep reading to make your move as easy as possible.

Beach with a pier and rocky shore

What’s the Cost of Living in San Juan, PR?

Overall, the cost of living in San Juan, PR, is lower than the U.S. average. That’s not to say that San Juan is cheap, however. For example, owning a vehicle in San Juan is considerably more expensive, and electricity costs are, frankly, ridiculous. Buying or renting a home is cheaper here than in some similar cities. Also, grocery prices can be more expensive depending on what you purchase. (Locally grown produce is the exception to the rule.) Below is a simple breakdown of expenses in San Juan compared to the U.S. national average.

  • Overall: Slightly Less Expensive
  • Housing: Less Expensive
  • Healthcare: Less Expensive
  • Transportation: More Expensive
  • Groceries: Slightly Less Expensive
  • Miscellaneous: Slightly Less Expensive
  • Utilities: Much More Expensive
Fruit stand with various tropical fruits cut up into a cup

What are the Top Neighborhoods in San Juan, PR?

One of the biggest choices to make when moving is deciding where to live. The same is true of moving to San Juan, PR. When it comes to the “best” neighborhood, often it boils down to individual taste. That being said, there are several attractive, safe neighborhoods in San Juan that you’re sure to love. They include:


Revitalized over the last few years, Santurce is bold, beautiful, and busting at the seams with delights. Santurce is also home to a passionate artistic community. The sights, sounds, and aromas here will grab and entrance you, and the nightlife is simply fantastic!

Old San Juan

If 500-year-old cobblestone streets float your boat, Old San Juan is perfect. It’s the heart of San Juan and the most historic neighborhood. Not to mention that it’s also delightfully charming. The 2nd-oldest city in the Americas, Old San Juan, is also trendy, with beautiful art galleries and alluring restaurants. The pastel-colored buildings give it a European feel mixed with a Caribbean flair.

the ultimate guide for moving to San Juan PR

Ocean Park

The tree-lined streets of Ocean Park hide some of the city’s most beautiful homes. A gated community, it’s pedestrian-friendly and an exciting hub for nightlife. They also lay claim to one of the nicest beaches in the area while still managing to stay chill.

Horobale Mentions

  • Miramar: The best for fine dining.
  • Condado: An upbeat, tropical vibe.
  • Carolina: A favorite for locals.
  • Isla Grande: Young, brash and fun.
  • Isla Verde: The best for beach bums.

Basic Guide to Moving to San Juan, PR

Outgoing, loud, and friendly are three words that describe most Puerto Rican folks quite well. In San Juan, the traffic is heavy, and government offices are crazy busy. (Some would describe them as just plain crazy.) 

Like most cities, it’s best to lock your doors whenever you come and go. Depending on where you live, walking and even driving alone are not a great idea. As for food, many American foods are imported, which is good news. The bad news? Anything imported will likely be 50% higher than its price on the mainland. Frankly, the local food is so delicious you probably won’t miss very much anyway.

If you plan to rent, don’t rent a 1st-floor apartment unless you like partying and loud people. You can get around in San Juan without a car, but it’s not that easy (or cheap). Also, keep in mind that Puerto Rico gets hammered by hurricanes rather frequently.

the ultimate guide for moving to San Juan PR

Our Guide for Moving your Household Goods to PR

Moving to San Juan, PR, is no easy task (unless you’re moving here with only some suitcases in tow). All your things need to be packed, loaded on a truck, and shipped on an actual ship! That means you can almost always count on delays as shipping companies don’t give guaranteed delivery dates. Below are a few essential tips for moving your things to San Juan:

  • Start planning at least 2 months ahead of time. You’ll need that time to arrange everything, trust us!
  • Call movers and explain you’re moving to Puerto Rico. That will immediately weed out the movers who don’t ship via container ship.
  • Choose a mover and lock in your packing and pick-up dates.
  • Let the movers pack your things. The trip will be arduous, and anything not packed correctly could get destroyed.
  • Gather together all important paperwork, documents, titles, etc. Bring them with you on the trip. They include;
    • Vehicle titles
    • Medical files
    • School transcripts
    • Licenses of any kind. (Marriage, driver’s, medical, etc.)
  • Get rid of anything you don’t absolutely need or want before moving. Remember, the more you move, the more it will cost.

Ultimate Guide to Move Your Car to San Juan, PR

Moving your car to San Juan, PR, is almost easier than moving your household goods. Most movers will ship it for you, although there are car shipping companies that do the same. The cost will range anywhere from about $1200 to $3000 depending on the car. Also, as with your moving plans, get your car shipping plans in place well ahead of your moving date.

Do you need a Passport to go to Puerto Rico?

If you’re a U.S. citizen, you don’t need a passport to move to Puerto Rico. The island is a commonwealth of the United States with no passport or visa requirements for American citizens. So you can use your American driver’s license when you arrive. However, you need to get a Puerto Rico driver’s license within 30 days. (Here’s a link to directions on how to do that.)

Lots of umbrellas hanging overhead for decoration

Rent a Storage Unit Before Moving to San Juan, PR

We’ve seen many folks move to Puerto Rico from the mainland here at Southern Self Storage. Because of that, we know renting a storage unit in San Juan ahead of time can be a lifesaver! 

The thing is, on a long-distance move like this, with a transport ship involved, practically anything can cause a delay. Plus, your things might get here early, putting you in a bind if you don’t have a place to stay. That’s why it’s best to reserve a storage unit in San Juan, PR before you arrive. 

The good news is that Southern Self Storage makes it easy! You can reserve a San Juan storage unit online in 10 minutes without a credit card! It will be waiting whenever your things arrive, ready to store them safely and soundly. 

Southern has four self-storage centers in San Juan, PR, waiting to store all your stuff securely! All have 24/7 security cameras and friendly, on-site managers to help you with anything you need. We hope our ultimate guide for moving to San Juan, PR has been helpful. And until then, we wish you the very best for a stress-free move to San Juan, Puerto Rico!

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