One of the first things people want to know when they are moving to Puerto Rico from the U.S. or any other country is: what are the best and safest areas to live? Puerto Rico has a bad reputation due to an escalating crime and murder rate a few years back.
Luckily those numbers have gone down in 2014 and 2015 and PR is as safe as many cities in the U.S. In fact, The FBI’s Uniform Crime Reports (updated 2013) give Puerto Rico the 12th lowest violent crime rate among the 52 jurisdictions reported on by the FBI. (U.S. States + DC + PR). PR has the lowest property crime rate of all 52 jurisdictions.
The metro area of San Juan and other cities, are of course, where much of the crime exists. People can live in these areas without any trouble, as long as they take common-sense precautions: Don’t walk alone at night, keep your doors locked and don’t make yourself a target.
Families with children are often looking for the very safest places to move that also offer a good lifestyle and amenities. There are plenty of choices–from expensive gated communities to rural beachside towns—to choose from. Below you will find our picks for the 10 safest cities and areas in Puerto Rico for 2015 based on safety and amenities. Better statistics are not available since the last city-by-city crime data was released in 2009. This list was put together from our own information, along with forum recommendations. Also see our list of the best cities in PR
For day-to-day crime stats throughout Puerto Rico, check the official police Mapa del Crimen
10 of the Safest Cities in Puerto Rico
In alphabetical order:
1. Cabo Rojo – a safe, sleepy town with spectacular beaches, famous salt flats, cliffs and The Boqueron State Forest. Cabo Rojo is a great option if you are looking for affordable housing with acreage, though it’s a more rural.
2. Condado – welcome to the city life with luxury condos, high-end shopping, hot restaurants, bordered by sparkling beaches. Condado (technically not a city — a suburb of San Juan) is a great place for young business people to live and work. There are great schools, medical facilities and shopping all within a few blocks. Condado has a higher crime rate than you will find in more rural areas, but so do all cities. Police presence here is high so if you want to live somewhere in the city that is safe, this is a great option if you have the bank account.
Check out Ocean Park and Isla Verde for more affordable options.
3. Dorado – an affluent, safe suburb 40 minutes west of San Juan (without traffic). This area has some of the most expensive real estate in PR. Its home to Dorado Beach, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve. There are lots of freshly-migrated-from-the-mainland people here, a bilingual school, good restaurants and educated business people. The Dorado bubble is full of lovely dinner parties, sunrises on the beach and safety—but it will cost you.
Check out neighboring Toa Baja and Levittown for more affordable options.
4. Fajardo – located east of San Juan, Fajardo is known for its boating and has the largest marina on the island, Puerto del Rey as well as a luxury resort, El Conquistador. Beautiful beaches, excellent seafood and affordable housing make Fajardo an excellent choice for families.
5. Guaynabo – stretching along the outskirts of San Juan is Guaynabo with some of the best shopping and dining on the island. This is suburban sprawl at its best, with luxury gated communities, excellent medical facilities, schools and more shopping malls than anywhere else on the island. More affordable and better for families than the metro area though there are some sketchy areas.
6. Luquillo — Check out the city of Luquillo East of Fajardo for a beautiful city nestled between the Atlantic coastline and El Yunque National Rainforest. Called “the Riviera of Puerto Rico, ” Luquillo boasts beautiful beaches with unique species of wildlife, and some of the best surfing spots on the island.
7. Mayaguez – located on the west end of the island, between Cabo Rojo and Rincon, Mayaguez is a safe, excellent choice for families. It is home to some of the best colleges in PR and has wide stretches of palm-tree-lined highway with plenty of shopping. You’ll find a large city center, theatre and shopping, along with the only zoo on the island, plus access to stunning beaches. Mayaguez is quite large, with both safe and unsafe areas. Stay away from the downtown area and stick to the Southwest corner closer to Cabo Rojo.
8. Old San Juan – encompassed by old colonial buildings, cobblestone streets and forts, Old San Juan is one of the largest tourist areas on the island, and with shops, some great dining and a lot of history. Old San Juan (technically not a city) has a constant police presence, but can be congested. If you’re looking for a place that’s convenient to all the amenities and allows you to connect with all sorts of people, Old San Juan is the area to explore.
9. Palmas Del Mar – on the eastern corner of the island, you’ll find Palmas Del Mar, a suburb of the city of Humacao. This gem isn’t as well-known as other areas, but has one of the largest resort communities on the island. Pass through the gates (open to residents and non-residents) to find excellent restaurants, marinas, golf courses, tennis courts, schools and even a large horse riding stable. There are several condo and housing communities within the gates as well as luxury custom homes perched on cliffs overlooking the ocean. Palmas Del Mar lacks the pretentiousness (and expense) of Dorado without sacrificing an incredible lifestyle.
10. Rincon – looking for a little bit of California life in PR? Find it in Rincon, where you’ll find plenty of West coast natives, surfing, farmer’s markets, vegetarian options, eco-friendly living and a laid-back way of life. Rincon is very safe without relying on gated communities and a constant police presence.