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Old 08-24-2008, 01:58 PM
 
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We are thinking of taking a trip to Puerto Rico, visiting San Juan but also driving to out of the way areas in the mountainous interior. We only know and understand a few words of Spanish between us. Would this be a problem in out of the way areas that don't see many tourists?
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Old 08-25-2008, 05:04 AM
 
Location: On a Long Island in NY
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kanhawk View Post
We are thinking of taking a trip to Puerto Rico, visiting San Juan but also driving to out of the way areas in the mountainous interior. We only know and understand a few words of Spanish between us. Would this be a problem in out of the way areas that don't see many tourists?
Most people in Puerto Rico can speak at least basic English.
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Old 08-25-2008, 08:46 AM
 
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Don't get too concerned about this sort of thing. People have been travelling all over the world for a very long time to places where they didn't know the language. And in recent times this has become much easier since a) there is almost nowhere any more that you can't find someone who speaks at least a little English and b) you can always take an English/Spanish phrasebook which should cover almost any scenario you will encounter. There are even electronic gadgets for this as well as software versions you can put on a PDA or smartphone.
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Old 08-25-2008, 09:49 AM
 
Location: Maine
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Yes, most people do speak some basic English, but I'd at least make sure you learn your numbers well so you understand how much you owe the cashiers! It sounds silly, but that's one area that I need to work on. I usually defer to my husband when we check out at the markets. As with any foreign language, I'd certainly brush up on your basic pleasantries if you don't know them already.
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Old 08-25-2008, 11:01 AM
 
Location: The Circle City. Sometimes NE of Bagdad.
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Oh, and make sure you are familiar with the traffic signs especially the stop sign. In MX it's Alto, in PR it's Pare if I remember correctly.
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Old 08-29-2008, 07:47 AM
 
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Language shouldn't pose a problem for the mainland driver. Signs are federally regulated to be of the same geometry, scale and color. You don't need to actually read the signs to undertand their meaning in PR, they are exactly the same as they are in the CONUS.

Now for some real advice that may actually save your life: never go on a green light right away. Always wait for at least two to three cars to run the red light, particularly those coming from 'ONLY' lanes (marked as 'SOLO' down there) in the opposite direction. They will. All the time. Be prepared to be hackled and insulted if you choose NOT to block an intersection of traffic while in bumper to bumper traffic (or in the case of PR, ALWAYS). Keeping intersections open is a mainland rule. Following traffic rules in PR is effectively a "courtesy" and few practice such courtesies. Don't drive without a local after 9:00PM outside isla verde (for tourists). Finally, after 1:00am DO NOT REST at red lights in intersections with few or no cars. Pull up to the line, yield to left, right and forward-left traffic, if there is any, and then RUN it like your life depended on it, it probably does. Sorry for the somber outlook, but I rather you enjoy the positive aspects of touring the island than be tarnished by an ugly incident. good luck!
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Old 08-29-2008, 11:54 AM
 
Location: The Circle City. Sometimes NE of Bagdad.
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Good advice hindsight 2020. I had to get used to the DO NOT REST situation. Got honked at many times for "resting" too long.

Oh, and solo was a good term to use when ordering fast food and you didn't want fries, just a burger.
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Old 09-09-2008, 01:12 PM
 
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I live in Europe and did not find driving in PR hard at all. You should try driving in Paris!! You dont need Spanish to spend a good vacation in PR

Telmo
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Last edited by Sam I Am; 09-11-2008 at 03:45 PM.. Reason: no advertising, no tag lines
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Old 10-04-2008, 07:19 AM
 
Location: Long Beach, CA
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The further away you get from San Juan the less people know English. We stopped at McDonald's and my friends who speak very basic Spanish could not understand her and when they apologized for their poor Spanish...lets say she didn't accept the apology.

As far as driving infrastructure is basically the same as any highway/roadway in the States. The only thing I found confusing was the cardinal directions of the highways. In the States freeways are marked N,E,S,W in relation to where the highway terminates/originates. In Puerto Rico they are marked by the literal direction of the highway so they change frequently.
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Old 10-05-2008, 04:53 PM
 
Location: Bronx, NY
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Puerto Ricans are not as spanish oriented as other latin countries like the DR, Cuba, Mexico etc where there is very little english if any. For good reason, they are afterall a US commonwealth. English is spoken in PR. So you have nothing to worry about.
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