Much higher crime. Notice all the bars on all the windows? There are walls, gates around the property line borders, even in the relatively safer tourist areas like Condado. Many people live in gated communities or condos to share the cost of a 24 hour guard. There is a reason for it. Form follows function; function follows need!
Government websites like the DMV, aka DTOP, are in Spanish only. Why haven’t they hired a translator to display it in English also? This perpetuates the stereotype of the DMV being difficult to do business with and uncaring.
Higher risk of mosquito related diseases like Dengue Fever, and Chikungunya. There is no vaccine for either one. While the risk is real, there is no need for undue concern or panic, because your risk of acquiring either is far less than 1%.
Incomplete addresses that are not standardized and thus not GPS compatible, are senseless. You will get lost because of this. This is a huge drain on productivity and efficiency, a waste of time, a waste of gas, and keeps cars clogged on the roads longer than necessary. It would be a good start if every homeowner and business began using their numerical address, published it on their business cards, and websites. This would help make commerce easier and more efficient. They should also post the longitude and latitude address, especially when their numerical address cannot be found on Mapquest, Google Maps, and in a GPS device with the street address.
For packages from the USPS post office, they won’t leave it on your doorstep because the risk of theft is too high. So you must go to the post office with the pink slip to collect your package. Plan on waiting in line for 10-30 minutes to get your package, even if no signature is required.
The roads are in good condition but the many potholes and other hazards can damage your car. That’s why you see so many Jeep brand automobiles here, because they are known for having higher ground clearances and better suspensions. It’s not so much that the roads are in terrible shape, because for the most part they are good. However, it’s the numerous potholes, water runoff ditches, and sunken metal grates that your car will eventually run over, that can cause problems.
Due to the high population density, the roads are often clogged with cars. Compared to the states, heavy traffic means it takes about twice as long to get to where you need to go. The city of Bayamon has especially congested traffic.
Even in the San Juan metro area, in some neighborhoods, you will have roosters first crowing at 325AM and 419AM to wake you. This is even more common in the rural areas.
Gas stations don’t have pay at the pump. You must go inside to pay. There is no swipeable card reader at the pump. How does this fit with “Puerto Rico does it better?”
Lazy, complacent attitudes of SOME Puerto Ricans such as “that’s the way it is, you can’t change it, get used to it.” Instead of trying to improve things for the better, they don’t even try. Such people are ignorantly holding Puerto Rico down instead of trying to make a difference.
The power goes out far more frequently. In the month of July 2014, the power went out for about 5 of 30 days, sometimes for many hours at a time. In the states, that normally would only happen during or after a storm.
Food at the grocery stores is about double in price what it is in the states. Also, compared to the states, many of the product sizes are much smaller such as for canned vegetables, yet they still cost more.
Low selection of All You Can Eat Buffet restaurants. This is, no doubt, due to the higher food costs. Besides a few rare Chinese Buffets, there are the chains of Bonanza, Ponderosa, and Sizzler which run around $9-10 per person for lunch and $11-12 for dinner. At a buffet in the states, there are normally many meat options. At a PR buffet, the selection is less, especially with meat options, with usually just taco meat, fried chicken, fried pork chops.
Most products in Puerto Rico are priced higher than in the states due to the Jones Act, also known as the The Merchant Machine Act of 1920. This law, passed long ago, does not allow foreign flagged vessels to drop off loads to Puerto Rico, so they must go to the mainland first, then have those items shipped back. This adds to freight costs and adds needless delays.
The people here are wasteful, not much into recycling relative to the states. With an island of almost 4 many people, the Craigslist free section and Freecycle.org San Juan, Freecycle Mayaguez, Freecycle Guaynabo, and Freecycle Loiza sites are virtually dead with almost no activity. Instead of donating unwanted useable items, it appears they mostly get thrown in the trash. The people here have a stigma with buying used clothes.
Puerto Rico has panhandlers at most major intersections, and other areas where there is high foot traffic, such as outside businesses. For example, in Condado, there are bums camped out outside the CVS and Walgreen’s on Ashford Avenue. You will also find them outside restaurants, gas stations, or anywhere they can find a sucker to give them money to get drugs/alcohol. An ex-addict said that they money you give them might be the 50 cents that enables them to get high enough to overdose. DO NOT GIVE THE BUMS OR PANHANDLERS MONEY BECAUSE YOU ARE FEEDING THEIR ALCOHOL AND/OR DRUG ADDICTION! Homeless shelter managers say the same thing, do NOT give them money.
Raw sewage overflowing from the sewers is more common. This is especially true in Rio Piedras. You can see and smell it coming out from manhole covers and household sewer cleanout lines by the street.
See also what is better in Puerto Rico: