How to Find a Home Sweet Home in Puerto Rico

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“Aren’t you ever going to settle down?”, a friend said to me as I detailed my upcoming move from Boston to Puerto Rico.

She certainly wasn’t the only one with this response! In fact, most of my family and friends felt the same way. Within a span of eight years, my husband and I had lived in Washington DC, New York City, and San Francisco and then embarked on an epic year-long around the world trip. Upon our return, graduate school brought us to Boston.

But, we weren’t finished yet. This year, when it was time for my husband to choose an eight month internship location our wanderlust returned. With internship opportunities around the globe, there was no way we were satisfied with staying in Boston!

Nope, it’s not time to settle down just yet (or maybe not ever…).

So two weeks ago, we hastily packed up our belongings, put them in storage and jetsetted off to sunny Puerto Rico where I planned to work on my Spanish language skills, learn a whole host of “S’s” including salsa dancing, surfing, sailing and scuba diving, and continue my travel writing pursuits.

The move was easy easy except for one major problem – we had absolutely no idea where we wanted to live and upon our arrival, only one week to decide.  Would it be San Juan’s chic Condado or historical Old Town? Or, maybe even a peaceful, quiet beach community?

Thankfully after a few days of apartment searching, I discovered that finding a home sweet home in Puerto Rico wouldn’t be much different from my previous apartment hunting experiences. Mostly, there would be bunches of online research and hours of pounding the pavement to determine the best neighborhood fit. Then finally, voila! Success arrived in the form of a beachy condo overlooking the brilliant turquoise-colored Caribbean Sea.

If a case of wanderlust will be bringing you to Puerto Rico too, check out the following recommendations on how to find a stellar home sweet home on this dreamy, sun-kissed island:

  1. Chat with locals. Find a well-informed local who is willing to give you unedited advice on where to (and not to) live.  In San Juan, I found expert advice at a local hair salon, restaurants, and cafes.
  2. Airbnb. Airbnb can be a great tool for researching rental prices in different neighborhoods. After scouring the site, I reached out to individual owners to see if they would be interested in a long-term rental lease (which tends to be substantially cheaper than the short term vacation rates listed on the website).
  3. Clasificados Online, better known as Puerto Rico’s version of Craigslist. Several locals directed me to this website – it’s a bit crowded and not entirely user friendly, but I did find a few apartments to view here.
  4. Real estate agent. This is an obvious one, BUT it’s hard to go wrong with scheduling an appointment with a well-regarded real estate agent. Again, if you’re not sure where to find one chat with locals.
  5. As Puerto Rican’s would say, stay tranquilo! Things move at a slighter slower pace in this neck of the woods, so expect delays with inquiries and during the signing/move in process.  My advice is to stay relaxed and take everything in stride!

Tell us if you ever moved to another country with 1 week to find a place (or less) and how you did it!

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About Author

Katherine grew up in a teeny-tiny Midwestern town but always had big travel dreams. Since graduating from college, she has lived in three iconic cities (NYC, San Francisco and Boston), has frequently explored Europe and South America, and then in 2012 departed on a year-long around the world trip. Ever since she has been cycling, hiking, and motorbiking through Asia and Europe, all the while pursuing her passion for writing and photography. To follow her adventures, check out her website at www.katherinesazdanoff.com

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