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Old 10-28-2012, 08:34 AM
 
Location: Tampa, Florida
666 posts, read 1,162,667 times
Reputation: 525

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Puerto Rico is a beautiful island, which even though is small in area (Average 100 miles east west, 40 miles north south) has a lot to offer. Natural variety in Puerto Rico is one of its greatest pros. In less than 6 hours everything is basically of reach from every inhabitant and tourist in the naturally island of enchantment. But unfortunately, Puerto Rico also has some negatives that every person who considers going there for vacation and especially move, should be aware.

First I will go with the positive aspects:

1. As said, Puerto Rico offers a lot of natural features. Flatland, mountains, caves, desert-like environment (including desert characteristics like the presence of cacti), gorges, falls, caverns, long rivers as well as some artificial, navigable lakes, different types of beaches (pond-like, white sand, normal sand, blue, less blue), cliffs with excellent views of the ocean, scenic views of the sea and even a canyon are all in the reach of every Puerto Rican and foreigner that visits or lives in Puerto Rico. There is also the metro area that gives the island a bit of the urban lifestyle you may find in an average US city, Miami being the most similar city; simply put, it is extremely difficult to get bored in Puerto Rico if you are adventurer. By the time you visit 30% of all its features which will usually take a long time, you will want to repeat it.

2. Culture; Puerto Ricans like to party and share in family and with friends. Every now and then, there is some sort of activity going on in any area of the island, which includes typical latin music such as salsa and reggaeton (the last I personally despise) as well as festivals, carnivals and all sort of celebrations ocurring throughout the year. For example, when one town has a festival (like the Festival de las Chinas, or Festival de las Flores) once it ends another town has its, and because they are all national festivals, the people are able to go to different festival almost every month. And this does not count the "Fiestas Patronales" or Town Festivals that occur throughout the year. In Christmas and Summer, this attribute tends to get more intense.

3. Transportation: there are some negatives I will state later but overall, in terms of distance traveling in the island, transportation is relatively excellent. From San Juan there are limited access expressways (unfortunately all have tolls) that take you everywhere- west, south, east. PR-22 (unsigned Interstate PR-2) takes you 56 miles west to different towns along the north coast, while PR-52 (unsigned Interstate PR-1) gets you to the south towards the mountains and the southern coast. There is a new, expensive tollway going towards the east suburbs, but it serves only a couple of towns, some areas in the east part of PR can be better accessed going south to Caguas and then take PR-30 east, the latter is one of the only two freeways in Puerto Rico (the other is PR-2 from Ponce to Mayaguez in the southwest). The tollways connect almost all coastal municipalities with the exceptions of the group of the coastal municipalities from Mayaguez to Hatillo in the west and northwest and some municipalities not accessed by the tollways like Loiza, Cabo Rojo and Lajas. But still these municipalities have good access through main highways. Some central, mountanious areas that are not accessed by the tollways have good access and can be reached in a comfortable way from the tollways; examples of this municipalities are Lares, Ciales, Villalba, Morovis, Coamo, San Lorenzo, San Sebastian and Moca.

4. Hospitality: Some may disagree with this point depending on the experience, and I have to admit it is decaying, but still today there is a lot of hospitality in Puerto Rico. If your tire gets screwed up and you need road assistance, someone will likely stop by and help you. Neighbors tend to be more united than here in the U.S. (in general, urban areas) and in most places you go for a service, treatment will be one of frienship. Unfortunately, due to possible stress and the overall fall of life quality life in the island, this pro is going down... Sad to say.

5. Outdoors activities. I mentioned some aspects on the culture part but now I refer to overall activities like concerts, theater plays, picnics in the mountains, and so forth. Not only are there cultural and natural excellent traits but also there is always something going on to share with friends and family.

Now, I will go with the negatives, since they are very important especially in terms of life quality:

1. Huge crime. In 2011, Puerto Rico has more homicides per capita (100 inhabitants) than the entire country of Mexico. Although certainly several border regions in Mexico such as Juarez and Tamaulipas have more crime, when the entire nation of Mexico is accounted for, the murder rate of Puerto Rico almost doubles it. The metropolitan area of San Juan is second to New Orleans in murders and the overall crime in the island is rampant. Most of it still confines to the underworld (drug smuggling) and passional issues (man kills unfaithful woman, woman kills unfaithful man, etc.) but recently a starling and scary number of innocent people killed amid carjackings, home burglary and assaults is on the rise. Senicides (killing of elders) have escalated, many who have been victims of their own family, generally for money either for drug consumption or debt owing. One of mu mother's friends had her nephew killed in the middle of an assault when he was pouring gas to his car; a man in Caguas who was coming from his job in San Juan stopped by a gas station and three assailants came and announced their assault, abducted him to his home and there they asked him for gold and jewelry he could not provide, in front of his family. He was shot in the head and died instantly. A young man, 17 years old, coming from a family activity was raided while driving in the town of Dorado and was announced an assault. As he first did not stop, the assailant crashed him forcing him to stop and shot him twice in the head, and the boy died in the hospital. The crime scenario in Puerto Rico is turning more used to this kind of horror, which is certainly found in the U.S (Virginia Tech massacre, Aurora massacre, DC sniper attacks in 2002) but the problem is that it is becoming more common. Minor crimes which generally do not involve death but still can be shocking is even more.

2. Extreme corruption in the local government. We all know generally governments, all of them, contain corruption and illegal activities, but in Puerto Rico we are talking about a kind of corruption that far exceeds the "usual". Departments of Education, Health, and Justice are plagued with corruption, funds provided for the good education for kids (books, etc.) as well as good school maintanance are ravagely stolen and today most public schools are in bad conditions; lack of power, cracked walls, unpainted, bad looking buildings abound especially in urban areas. An incident in which a nine year old child was viciously killed in a home during a party his mother and three friends had 2.5 years ago has not been solved and all suspicious are all free including his mother who now lives here in Florida, considering that the boy has relatives who are related to the current resident commissioner as well as his grandmother being part of the current party in control of the government we must think what has happened here. Parties constantly attack each other with no serious commitment to the people, and they keep the population under control by giving stamps, doing something here and there although in an extremely lousy and mediocre manner but that would "please" them, and the political panorama is extremely bleak.

3. Unemployment. There are almost no good paying jobs in Puerto Rico, and the few that are there are taken by means of networking, especially if there is a friend or family working there, as well as political favors. Salaries are lesser than Florida and the cost of living is as high as the DC area, so the combination of these two makes it impossible to have a decent living in the island unless of course, you live in a cheap apartment which generally is very prone to burglary. Power is the second most expensive, with normal bills in the order of $150-$300 per month. Food is also more expensive than here, and car payments are more expensive depending on the car you drive. Real unemployment is in the order of 15-40% depending on areas.

4. Bad infrastructure. The physical conditions of the roads is pitiful. Potholes, cracked cement roads, bridges in bad conditions and overall mediocre road treatment (mostly patching that lasts only a couple of months) abound. There is some work being done to fix it but it is so slow that you never see then end of the maintenance.

5. Mediocrity and lack of services. There are sectors in Puerto Rico that can be without power and water for days. All good medical stuff rest mainly in the San Juan metro area. Everything good in terms of service is focused on San Juan and suburbs. The central, mountainous area is the less privileged in terms of services.

Basically this is the summary of things you, foreigner that may want to visit or live in the island must be aware of.
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Old 10-28-2012, 10:06 AM
mym
 
680 posts, read 999,897 times
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good call on mentioning the fiestas patronales, they are alot of fun:

Fiestas patronales in Puerto Rico - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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Old 10-28-2012, 11:36 AM
 
Location: Puerto Rico
353 posts, read 986,575 times
Reputation: 175
As a Puertorican born and raised in the island and looking to move out, I approve of your summary. The island has become into a nice-to-visit place. However, living here is not easy at all. I'm at 10 year experience software programmer and barely have money to save anything.
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Old 10-28-2012, 12:50 PM
 
3,362 posts, read 3,791,920 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by efrenb5 View Post
As a Puertorican born and raised in the island and looking to move out, I approve of your summary. The island has become into a nice-to-visit place. However, living here is not easy at all. I'm at 10 year experience software programmer and barely have money to save anything.
I feel so sorry for people like Efrenb5. There are so many people whom would prefer to stay at home, on the island, with our own, trying to make Puerto Rico a better place. Yet, as an outsider which I now am, it seems to me like, for every one (1) person who wants to work hard and do things right in Puerto Rico, there are 100 who don't care and who'd prefer to live off of some form of gov't assistance.

This is not the Puerto Rico I grew up in back in the 70's. The great majority of Boricuas back then were hard working, no-quit types who got up early in the morning, worked hard and took care of their families. Those critical things always came FIRST! When time and money allowed it, they partied hard. But again, partying never came before obligation and responsibility.

Like so many of us, I no longer live in Puerto Rico. I visit each year. From the looks of things, I will never live there again.
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Old 10-28-2012, 04:30 PM
 
Location: Tampa, Florida
666 posts, read 1,162,667 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chacho_keva View Post
I feel so sorry for people like Efrenb5. There are so many people whom would prefer to stay at home, on the island, with our own, trying to make Puerto Rico a better place. Yet, as an outsider which I now am, it seems to me like, for every one (1) person who wants to work hard and do things right in Puerto Rico, there are 100 who don't care and who'd prefer to live off of some form of gov't assistance.

This is not the Puerto Rico I grew up in back in the 70's. The great majority of Boricuas back then were hard working, no-quit types who got up early in the morning, worked hard and took care of their families. Those critical things always came FIRST! When time and money allowed it, they partied hard. But again, partying never came before obligation and responsibility.

Like so many of us, I no longer live in Puerto Rico. I visit each year. From the looks of things, I will never live there again.
And the problem is that those 100 people that you mention are the ones that eventually make that only person that stays to reconsider his decision and eventually go, as some people I have known have done. There is an environment of "laziness" in the island that guarantees things are not going to get better, socially talking, anytime soon.
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Old 10-28-2012, 10:03 PM
 
Location: New Orleans
1,477 posts, read 2,508,329 times
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It's very sad in so many ways. I am mostly likely going to visit soon and want to keep going back, it will be interesting to see if things get better or just keep on getting worse. I've never been so extreme in my opinions of a place-- I loved Puerto Rico and hated it. The good things make it great, the bad things make it horrible. I'm glad both sides were addressed here.
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Old 11-01-2012, 11:06 AM
 
2 posts, read 6,598 times
Reputation: 11
[FONT=Verdana]I grew up in Puerto Rico and left 20 years ago. I've visited every year since I still have family there. Puerto Rico is a cruise ship on rough waters heading for a collapse. I've visited countries from all over the world, from South America to Eastern Europe to Asia. I can make an intelligent comparison in regards to how Puerto Rico is doing. The previous comment by ezpizarro is dead on. It is very sad to see the quality of this island just declining year after year. Drive around for just a little while and you will notice the decay of a once great society.[/FONT]
[FONT=Calibri][SIZE=3] [/SIZE][/FONT]
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Old 11-07-2012, 05:33 PM
 
Location: Scranton
1,384 posts, read 2,944,247 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Latina7 View Post
Was this decay the result of the invasion of people from Santo Domingo into Puerto Rico?
No. It's the result of the government paying people not to work. And people voting for whatever politician that promises more money for doing nothing.
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Old 11-08-2012, 03:13 PM
mym
 
680 posts, read 999,897 times
Reputation: 812
it all went downhill when law 936 was phased out.
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Old 11-09-2012, 05:04 PM
 
Location: Pahrump, NV
2,601 posts, read 3,683,683 times
Reputation: 2389
I visited PR in 2000 & 2005 - I absolutely LOVED the island & never had any bad experiences there. We have visited a good portion of the island, but haven't seen everything yet. I dream of the day I can afford another visit
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