Driving in Puerto Rico: The gringo perspective (interview & video)

Following up on one of the Puerto Rico random facts we mentioned last week, I caught up with my partner Blaine to talk more about his experiences on this trip. My typing could barely keep up with him. He had so many things to say about driving in Puerto Rico that I had to publish a post just about that gringo’s perspective. Here it is!

Driving in Puerto Rico: The gringo perspective

* The roads? Uneven. What we went through to go zip lining in Puerto Rico:

* It’s how you’d imagine driving in South America would be like.

* The cars are fast, due to men acting all macho, trying to impress the homies.

* Your own personal breaking has to be judged by the car in front of you and its family chemistry: Are they all getting along? Is there a giant secret being told right before your eyes, causing the woman to slap the man?  This all needs to be taken into consideration. All of a sudden, you become very in-tune with shadows.

* After 2 days of driving, you come to a realization: The signs are built by men in the local towns. Meaning, they look at them and say: “C’mon, you know where you are! You don’t need this sign any higher.” This, in turn, makes you start driving in Puerto Rico like everyone else: Suddenly cutting people off, changing lanes without signaling, making turns in areas you should not been turning in, etc.

* I was comforted to know that at police blockades, they mostly check for paperwork and not automotive safety standards such as working break lights.

Driving in Puerto Rico, Orocovis

Driving in Puerto Rico: Dirt road at Toro Verde Adventure Park, Orocovis

* After 2 days driving in Puerto Rico, I realized that I had broken break lights in the middle of a rural town. In the states, this would cost me a hefty fine. But in the island, after seeing broken break lights in 1 out of every 5 cars, I realized I was among amigos.

* After driving in Puerto Rico for a few hours, you’ll suddenly start speaking (I mean cursing) in Spanish.

* If you are following a Puerto Rican, you must stay on their ass. Otherwise, you’ll be panicking at a red light as you see your Boricua girlfriend’s mother stop in the middle of a 4-lane road after running the yellow-to-red light.

TLTR – Puerto Rico: You’re in South America, so drive like it.

Stay tuned as I interview locals for their take on driving in Puerto Rico next week!

Have you ever gone driving in Puerto Rico? What was it like?

18 thoughts on “Driving in Puerto Rico: The gringo perspective (interview & video)

  1. At the end of the road to Toro Verde there is a telephone pole IN THE MIDDLE of the road. But it was worth it to ride the Beast!

    • well, there you go: confirming that the drive is so so crazy! But definitely worth it, great travel story time material haha 😀

  2. The saddest thing about driving in Puerto Rico are all the signs & graffiti along the road. The visual pollution is a real shame on what is otherwise a beautiful island.

    • Graffiti is a common problem in many places. I wish the people who did it understood, but when you are talking of gangs…not much sense can be had! On the other hand, I wish they would use their “talent” to paint a beautiful mural instead. This has been done in many schools where graffiti used to be a problem. Can only hope this initiative spreads…

  3. Also, that’s one of the better mountain roads. I’ve been scared to death driving some of them in Puerto Rico.

  4. That sounds terrifying and awesome, much like when I learned to drive a scooter in India! Yup, you gotta be aggressive or you’ll get KILLED!

  5. HAHAHA! You definitely get “some” of our infamous driving skills in this video. I went to ToroVerde on March and I’ll admit even for me the driving trip was a blast. Mountain roads and its drivers are very different from coastal ones. But so is the difference between metro area drivers and west island drivers like me. Still very good description of my people and our cars. Next time u come you both need to be passengers of a PR driver from different parts of the island to see our road diversity even more close than what you might want to hehehe ;). Other than that drive safely trough your awesome journey so i can keep reading this great blog.
    Un Boricua 😉

    • Hahaha ¡gracias Daniel! 😀 what a great trip: That would be an amazing series of crazy videos and blog posts! Will write it all down for my next trip to Puerto Rico 😉 more for the extensive travel bucket list of mine!

      Thanks again and welcome to the crazy world of LatinAbroad 😀

  6. Ha ha! Definitely driving here is wilder than in the States, but having lived in several central and south-american cities, I can safely say that this is very far from south america. Worst has been Peru so far, where lines in the road are just decoration, cars are driven by honking the horns, the lanes are determined by the actual amount of cars able to fit in the road.
    And that without mentioning Guatemala, where wearing a watch or talking on the phone (Puertorrican national favorite hobby by the way) with your window rolled down might get you mugged.

    I even got a motorcycle! I never dared in the other countries I’ve lived.

    I would say, latin-american enough to drive with busted-up vehicles, north-american enough to drive without fear of being crashed/mugged.


    • Oh, you just saw a video of a rural road! If you could see some of the descriptive scenarios Blaine described in his interview, yet are too unbelievable to share without video evidence…hahaha 😉 I must say though, Cairo (Egypt) was the worst in the world, that’s for sure. I even had to write a How to Cross the Street in Cairo guide so fellow travelers wouldn’t die in those streets!

      Thanks for sharing your stories! 🙂

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