Work and Travel in Puerto Rico
VOLUNTEER AND PAID WORK OPPORTUNITIES IN PUERTO RICO FOR TRAVELLERS
Puerto Rico is a US territory in the Caribbean. It’s easily accessible from both Europe, the US, and other Caribbean islands. Plus, it’s not as expensive as many of the smaller islands.
So if you want to travel in Puerto Rico it’s wise to look into some of the projects you can involve yourself in there. Our travel guide to Puerto Rico is going to introduce you to what this island has to offer.
1. Rebuild the Infrastructure of Puerto Rico
Everyone knows about the hurricane that devastated the island back in 2017. Unfortunately, a lack of help from the US government in Washington DC has meant that local people still don’t have what they need to repair the damage.
One of the most rewarding volunteering opportunities in Puerto Rico involves helping charities rebuild the island.
Much of this work takes place in the remote areas, well away from the capital of San Juan. It’s your chance to see parts of the island that, as of this writing, would be considered inaccessible.
This work will be available for many years to come, due to the damage being so great.
2. Rescue Street Dogs in Puerto Rico
Anyone who has ever decided to work and travel in Puerto Rico is aware that much of the local population is poor. Poverty has led to a significant rise in the number of street dogs, especially after the hurricane.
Charities are working to reduce the number of street dogs by rounding them up and socialising them for adoption on the island and in the mainland US.
If you love working with animals and you want to make a difference with your work in Puerto Rico, this is the project for you.
3. Teach English in Puerto Rico
Puerto Rico has a long history as a Spanish colony. Despite being under the US for many years, there’s a significant part of the population that has never had the opportunity to learn English.
Work in Puerto Rico as an English teacher, whether that’s working with the older generations or young people. The lack of quality schooling on the island often leaves this vital skill an afterthought.
You can change all that during your travels. There are projects all over the island, but, naturally, the majority of educational projects are centred on the capital of San Juan.
VOLUNTEER WORK VISA / PERMIT REQUIREMENTS FOR PUERTO RICO
Puerto Rico is a US territory, so you will need to conform to the visa policies of the US to travel in Puerto Rico. You’ll also receive a US stamp when you land and deal with mainland US immigration authorities.
Canada is the only country whose citizens have true visa-free travel to the US. They can stay for a total of 90 days.
Members of the Schengen Area, the UK, Australia, New Zealand, Australia, South Korea, and Japan are entitled to use the visa waiver program to visit Puerto Rico. This means that they need to fill out an ESTA form online and, if accepted, it’s valid for a total of two years.
Russians, South Africans, and the Chinese are just some of the many countries that require a visa in advance.
To obtain a visa in advance, you’ll always have to attend a US embassy for an interview.
SEASONAL BACKPACKER SKILLS NEEDED IN PUERTO RICO
The spring season is the shoulder season and sees relatively cool temperatures with a humid climate.
It’s one of the best times to look for volunteering opportunities in Puerto Rico because the climate is temperate and there’s an absence of extreme weather. That’s why rebuilding the infrastructure of the country is always a popular option in spring.
Plus, you’ll be able to involve yourself in conservation programmes. This type of work in Puerto Rico will take you into the forests and along the coastlines, where you’ll be working to protect the natural environments there.
Conservation projects are available throughout most of the year, but it can be extremely difficult to manage outside if you’re not used to these conditions.
The summer season is the hottest, muggiest season of the year. It can be one of the more difficult times to work and travel in Puerto Rico.
We recommend working with young people in summer. They are on vacation and the tradition of the US summer camp still continues here. You can enjoy working within these camps and using your unique skills to make real connections with the youth of the island.
Autumn is a time of year that we wouldn’t recommend visiting the island. Hurricanes are common and, as we saw recently, they can present a threat to life.
At the very least, the bad weather can be extremely disruptive and make it difficult to indulge in volunteering opportunities in Puerto Rico.
The only real opportunity for volunteering is in English teaching.
Winter is the main tourist season and you’ll see plenty of cruise ships visiting the island. You have two main options for work and travel in Puerto Rico in winter.
You can either work in the cruise industry, which may even involve finding a job on a ship and using it as your ticket to move to your next destination.
The other option is to take up work in a surf camp. Surfing is extremely popular in Puerto Rico because of the choppy waters surrounding the island offering ideal conditions.
ATTITUDE TO FOREIGNERS WORKING OR VOLUNTEERING IN PUERTO RICO
Puerto Rico retains much of its original Spanish heritage, whilst also taking a lot from the US. You’ll find working here to be much like working in any other Western country.
After the effects of the hurricane, you’ll find that Puerto Ricans are delighted that volunteers have arrived to provide help. It’s a real sore spot that the mainland US has done practically nothing to support them.
But do be aware that crime can be a problem in many areas of the island, so make sure you keep your wits about you.
Are you going to work in Puerto Rico this year?
- Edited on May 19 2021 by Lily