If you expect life in Puerto Rico to be a paradise and that’s why you’re considering retiring here, think again. People who live in Puerto Rico are real people with real lives. If you want to have a satisfying lifestyle here in Puerto Rico, you have to either be flexible or have a strong desire to develop this characteristic. It’s not easy to prepare for life in Puerto Rico unless you are familiar with the culture. Do you remember the beginning of the movie, “The Descendants” where the main character Matt (played by George Clooney) says: “My friends think that just because we live in Hawaii, we live in paradise. We’re all just out here sipping Mai Tai’s, shaking our hips and catching waves. Are they insane? Do they think we’re immune to life? How can they possibly think our families are less screwed up? Our heartaches, less painful?” Similar to Matt’s idea about people who live in Hawaii, island life in Puerto Rico is life in the real world – piña coladas and all- and it’s complicated.
Though Puerto Rico has had a hundred (plus) year long relationship with the United States, it continues to be unsettled. Puerto Rico has a government that functions much like a state but it is classified as a Commonwealth or territory. People here are legal citizens of the United States and consequently, have unlimited travel to the US without a visa. Often many Puerto Ricans live for some months in the US and then go back to Puerto Rico for the rest of the time. Families frequently travel to visit relatives in the US and vice versa. Some Puerto Ricans work in the US for an entire career and then decide to retire on the island and conversely, others will move to the United States for retirement.
Puerto Ricans are citizens but do not have a right to vote for the President of the United States. If they move to the US, they can automatically vote in a presidential election. However, Puerto Ricans can vote in the primary elections. In fact, the last time a nomination was held, Hilary Clinton was chosen as the Democratic candidate. Puerto Ricans are extremely political and have a high percentage of active eligible voters. Sometimes people from the US come to Puerto Rico and assume that everyone wants to be a part of the United States but this is not true. There are three prominent parties in Puerto Rico – the Statehood, Commonwealth, and Nationalist parties. Respectively, the first party, would like to become a state in the Union, the second would like to maintain the status quo, and the third party members prefer independent governance. It is possible that in one family there will be members who vote for any of the three parties.
Puerto Ricans proudly remember their more than five hundred year history of cultural development. Before the US arrived to claim the island in 1898, the Spanish had inhabited it for nearly four hundred years. In fact, resistance to the Spanish colonial government continues to be celebrated by many Puerto Ricans on the holiday, Grito de Lares (Cry of Lares) on September 23, 1868. Though not all political parties recognize this day; historically, the University of Puerto Rico does consider it to be a national holiday and often the campus is closed. Considering holidays – Puerto Rico celebrates all the traditional United States holidays as well as nine Puerto Rican holidays – a fact that can make for unexpected closures at the bank or government offices if you are uninformed.
Because of the country’s political history, most people speak a bit of English but everyone speaks Spanish. That means that all business transactions will be conducted in the Spanish language first but often someone is around to help you in English. Buying a home, going to the doctor, solving an insurance or tax problem will probably be conducted in the Spanish language with a bit of English thrown in; however, official documents will probably be in Spanish. This means that you can buy property in Puerto Rico (with US currency) but the transaction will likely need to be facilitated by an agent who is proficient in both languages.
April 13, 2014 at 10:26 pm
Good evening, I would appreciate some info on things like utilities and cost, internet and cable and/or satellite TV. Is Puerto Rico able to get American TV shows? Thank you and have a great night.
April 14, 2014 at 2:00 am
Puerto Rico has the same services you would expect I the United States, Ilianna. You can have cable to obtain American TV, use a dish or Wifi. It’s not more expensive than the US. You could research online for more specifics.
May 26, 2014 at 8:19 pm
Does Puerto Rico participate in Medicare & Supplement Insurances? Since it is part of the United States.
May 27, 2014 at 5:00 am
Yes, Puerto Rico does have the same coverage and plans but I think the amounts might vary. You’d have to check. We do have social security and medicade/Medicare.
June 4, 2014 at 6:21 pm
what is the average cost per month to live and what areas are safer to live in. my wife is a R.N. is there a demand for them there
June 5, 2014 at 4:09 pm
Dick, I live in Puerto Rico. I could not tell you exactly the monthly cost here. I can say utilities like electricity and water are expensive, house rental cheaper (a house in a suburb can be from $450 to over $900) it all depends the city and the place you live.
Almost everyone owns a house, and eventhough there are many places to rent, there are not a lot like in US. Of course, that can change depending on the city. I live in the largest city in the south of Puerto Rico.
Medical expenses are much cheaper than the US as well as diferent services that you can find here ar a much cheaper cost than the states. As of your wife, if you mean she is a registered nurse, yes, the demand is real high here, but I don’t know how much are they being paid. Your wife would find a job in a flash cause there is a big lack of nurses and doctors here.
July 4, 2014 at 10:04 pm
I have been involved in financial services for several years but prior to that I was teaching at the university level (business and marketing). What opportunities might there be for a full or part time position at the university or community college level?
July 8, 2014 at 2:42 pm
I am looking into moving to Puerto Rico. I am on a fixed income of 2100 a month can I live comfortably on that
July 9, 2014 at 9:03 pm
@Joel – If you have a MA and are willing to work for less than what you would earn in the US, finding a part-time teaching position is quite possible. However, you would need to speak Spanish for the most opportunities. I believe that determined person could find a job without knowing a lot of Spanish.
@David – If you are a frugal person, it can be done. However, it cost more to live in San Juan (Condado area, Old San Juan, and Isla Verde). If you want to speak English with your neighbors, I recommend that you live in a tourist area.
@Dick – RN work pays much less here than the US (as jacsan wrote). In fact, many trained (bilingual) nurses move to the States for this reason. Gated communities and tourist areas are the safest. However, I felt safe living in the mountains – very peaceful.
September 6, 2014 at 3:26 pm
I was born in PR but raised in NYC. I would like to retire in the next 7 years. I will be on a fixed income. Which areas on the island tend to have affordable housing (homes or apartments) as well as low crime? Are there any affordable elderly complexes? Thanks!
October 8, 2014 at 3:31 pm
@Ana Many people who retire in Puerto Rico stay in an enclosed community or an apartment building and feel safe under these conditions. Crime is a problem everywhere in the US and PR so I cannot recommend a completely safe area. I wish you the best.
October 11, 2014 at 6:13 pm
Quality of life in Puerto Rico can be better than some parts in the US for retirees due to its people, the low level of stress and the freedom (read “less rules and regulations”). The west cost is perhaps the safest as it is farther from San Juan than other areas. Specifically Cabo Rojo / Mayaguez. You can find everything you need from good hospitals to good quality groceries. Property taxes are low compared to the US and if your income is from the US you are only subject to the federal income tax. You have an airport in Mayaguez that has daily flights to San Juan from which you can go non-stop to the US, Europe or other Caribbean islands. There is an airport in Aguadilla (45 min from Mayaguez) with daily flights to NY and NJ. I have an apartment there and intend to move to PR when I retire. The air you breath is very clean and fresh due to the constant breeze from the ocean and it rains a great deal (tropical climate). I would say that 2 people can live comfortably with $2,000 per month (2014 prices, that is) and it is very safe if you choose the right neighborhood, like anywhere else in the world. Go visit it and do your homework. I guarantee you will love it.
October 11, 2014 at 11:02 pm
Thanks for the input, Jamie! I live on the busier eastern side of the island in San Juan but I’ve visited the West side. We have lots going on over here. There’s traffic, people, and bikes on the road. It’s more like a beach city here. Good luck on your move and enjoy Puerto Rico!
October 24, 2014 at 10:53 pm
My wife and I are already on medicare, would we need to do anything or make any changes to continue utilizing it if we moved to PR.
October 27, 2014 at 3:41 pm
I really am not an expert on medicare and other specific details. Maybe one of the readers here could help.
October 28, 2014 at 2:30 am
There would be no need for changes if you already have Medicare, and would like to continue using its benefits at Puerto Rico. Medicare is acceptable in all the hospitals and specialized doctor offices.
November 9, 2014 at 10:04 pm
My wife and I recently visited the West side of the island…Mayaguez, Aguadilla, Rincon…We have an 7 and 8 year old. How are the schools? Are they Bi lingual?
January 1, 2015 at 10:20 pm
Do pets need to be quarantined prior to moving to PR
February 1, 2015 at 10:47 pm
How easy is it to move a dog and cat to Puerto Rico, what are the requirements?
February 26, 2015 at 2:42 am
Where do people that work in Hato Rey usually live?
February 26, 2015 at 5:15 pm
@Reggie The public schools are generally not bilingual. There is an English language class in all schools. If you look for a bilingual school, verify that it really is bilingual. All private schools are not the same. There are a few special public schools that emphasize the arts, science or are bilingual in San Juan. The children compete to be selected to enroll in those schools; otherwise, your neighborhood determines where your children would attend school.
@drew No, as far as I know pets from the US to PR do not need to be quarantined or from PR to the US. I have both brought pets here and know people who have sent cats and dogs to the US.
@addie It is the same as in the US. Health certificates are required.
@Jojo Hato Rey is part of San Juan. If you work in Hato Rey you can live in Santurce, Condado, or in Hato Rey. It depends more on transportation needs. There is a good Urban Train route in Hato Rey so you can take it to Bayamon or any of the other areas on the route. Check Google Maps.
March 7, 2015 at 7:57 am
David Green you should be fine . My hubby and I are doing the same. On a fixed income. we are looking into Aguadilla. We donot want the hustle and traffic from SJ,
March 7, 2015 at 9:54 pm
Hi, I am a retired US Veteran, reading all the above posts sounds like I will be visiting the west-side of PR & I’m considering moving there.
(Cabo Rojo /Mayaguez/Aguadilla/Rincon) west-side right?
I need a one-bed/bath & would love ocean views. I too live on a fixed income of $1,000. needing an all inclusive apt. is it possible? thank you
March 9, 2015 at 9:38 pm
How is the postal system? I am a jewelry designer/artist and sell my wares, online. Would I be able to continue running my business out of my home in PR? I would simply need a way to mail purchases to the US without it costing an arm and a leg. Thank you.
March 10, 2015 at 10:51 pm
@Robin I wish I could provide you with more information but I would think about how much I could spend on rent and other necessities. 1000.00 seems a bit tight to me. You would have to find a small place and there is no harm in trying!
@Ce The postal system is the same as the US. It does not cost more. Sometimes the mail is slower. Another problem is that some countries/businesses don’t know that Puerto Rico is not considered international. It’s more like a state in the way pricing is done. That situation is more of a problem for the sender if you are receiving mail. I work around it by making calls to the uninformed company. I hope that helps. My son”s girlfriend has a web based mail order kind of business and she manages fine.
March 18, 2015 at 1:48 pm
Mainlander looking to visit Rincon area to explore retirement in 2 years. Searching for 1-3 month winter rental in walking distance to beach and bars. THANKS FOR YOUR INFO!!!!!!!!!!
March 27, 2015 at 7:08 pm
Soy, Rincon is a wonderful destination with many retirees (mostly from the NY area). Life is quiet with just about enough to keep us busy. I recommend that you follow this link for a quick look at everything going on in Rincon http://www.elcoquiofrincon.com You will find plenty of real estate leads on rentals. Good luck
April 5, 2015 at 4:26 pm
I am considering retiring in Puerto Rico, maybe to Fajardo, Ceiba or Humacao. I will have Social Security income and will be drawing also from my IRA account. Will I be paying Federal Tax and PR Tax? It is confusing, anything about this would be helpful. I am budgeting retiring with an income of 5,000 a month or 60,000 per year.
April 10, 2015 at 4:33 pm
1.) What areas have the best sand beaches?
2.) When you moved to Puerto Rico, what type of information did you learn the hard way, and wish you would have known before you moved there?
3.) Does Puerto Rico allow domestic rabbits?
April 21, 2015 at 2:41 am
One more question: I was thinking that maybe I could buy a house in Puerto Rico first while I am still working, then retire, sell the house and move to PR.
Would you recommend I do that or maybe sell the house in the mainland first, then rent an appartment while I find a house in PR?
What would you all recommend?
May 10, 2015 at 10:00 pm
Hi there! I am planning to move to Aguadilla in November, at the latest. I am retired, with a fixed income and I plan on living in a senior 60+ community called Jardin del Atlantico. I heard it’s a nice place and not shabby. Is there anyone out there in this forum that knows about it (the place) and also, what other places have a sea view that you may know of. I am disabled and my wellness depends on my moving someplace quiet and nice. To all AGUADILLANOS… I would love to hear from you.
May 12, 2015 at 3:25 pm
@Soy the area you are interested in is quiet and comfortable. Isabella is a nice area, too. Your idea to look for a short term rental to verify which area works best for you is great!
May 12, 2015 at 3:32 pm
@Roy you should have no problem living on your retirement income. Excellent retirement plan! I think the tax question is for a professional. I know that properties in PR do not pay Federal Tax but if your I com is from the states there probably would be tax on that… I recommend that you ask a tax person in PR. About buying a home, you could consider buying in PR and then moving here when you are ready. It seems less complicated to me and I know a couple who do this option – so it’s workable.
May 12, 2015 at 3:36 pm
@Evelyn is it possible for you to come here and visit the location? Maybe you could send a family member to check everything out before you make a commitment. Sometimes it is difficult to get around in PR if you need wheelchair access. Best of luck!
May 12, 2015 at 3:46 pm
1- beaches in PR are fabulous! You have to be more specific about what you want (and can afford?) most people love the quieter beaches in the west side but that does not mean you wouldn’t like other areas – the East is beautiful but the south is dryer because if less rainfall. Do an image search to get an idea if what you might like.
2- see the article for what I learned the hard way!
3- I think the answer is yes, but you should verify the rules with the health and safety workers.
May 14, 2015 at 11:22 pm
@Cynthia Pittman ~ Unfortunately, my cousin was able to only see the outside on a recent quick stop there. She was not able to see the manager and ask to see an apartment. The view is gorgeous and I am sure the apartments must be habitable, to say the least. I am looking to learn about Aguadilla and maybe make a friend or two, where we can e-mail each other and this way I can have a better idea of how it really is and when I get there, I would know someone local who can fill me in on all things. I wish I could take a quick trip before the actual move, but that doesn’t seem possible right now. I keep on checking for airline fares and see if I can get a bargain. Time, I have time… I am feeling this blessing and I will be fine. Thank you for responding to me.
May 16, 2015 at 8:54 pm
Hello EVERYONE. Looking to make a friend in Aguadilla. I don’t know anyone who lives there and I would like to ask about life in Aguadilla. Is there anyone out there who I can chat with by e-mail or even in this forum. I have a few questions and it would be so nice to have a connection.
May 20, 2015 at 5:14 pm
i don’t live in Aguadilla, but visit every year. My husband’s family lives there full time.
They do not speak much English. Aguadilla is a beautiful town. We would go to the beach, Crashboat, every day. The town has many franchise restaurants. McDonalds, Burger King, Chili’s, etc.
There is a water park, (Las Cascadas) and an ice skating rink O_O
I was recently told that a hotel was being built right next to the water park.
Other than doing the touristy thing and hanging out with family we mostly relax by the beach.
We hope to retire in PR in the next 5-10 years. We’ll see how the economy is doing there before we make that decision.
May 23, 2015 at 9:08 pm
For those looking to make friends and get information about Aguadilla and other towns, I recommend also posting in the expat-blog site
Introduce yourselves, then create a new post with what you are looking for.
Like here they are very helpful.
May 24, 2015 at 12:05 pm
I just read an article, that they just completed laying down a new 80 Terabyte fiberoptic cable in Isla Verde. This will provide additional connectivity to the U.S., South America and the Caribbean.
May 25, 2015 at 12:35 pm
My husband and I moved to San Juan in early January 2015 and we love it. Although we thought we wanted the “charm” of Old San Juan, we are now looking to move somewhere quieter and less hustle and bustle. We checked out Isabela yesterday. The only issue I see so far is that we don’t speak Spanish so living in OSJ was fine but not sure of any other areas. Any ideas? It is just the two of us, living on fixed funds. Our apartment in OSJ has the most amazing unobstructed view of the sea, but the traffic sounds and lack of parking has worn on us.
May 25, 2015 at 12:36 pm
On more question. Does anyone know of how to search for apartments other than clasificados? It is rarely up to date.
May 25, 2015 at 6:09 pm
@Deidre your apartment sounds great to me! OSJ is always interesting but not always quiet. I like the art, walks and restaurants there. A lot of people give up their car to avoid that parking hassle. There’s plenty of public transportation. It is fun to learn how to communicate in Spanish while on the bus!
The San Juan beach area near you has quieter locations near the beach and more parking – Santurce, Loiza, Isla Verde and Condado – but not a lot. Puerto Rico is a small island that can be crowded in popular areas. I found my apartment from driving and walking around in the areas I like. There are many people who speak Spanish in these areas. Since you have a car, you could explore areas you would like to live in. I like the beach and bustle of San Juan.
It seems that you would prefer another area but you can’t be sure unless you explore more. You certainly could look for an agent who could help. Best of luck!
May 26, 2015 at 9:05 am
The area of Rincon, has a larger US mainlander population. That may be an area to consider. I would give you a link, but so far, the two times I added a link resulted in an edit by the moderators and the links were removed. Look up rincon and real estate for that general area, you should be able to find the links. Also the expat-blog site that I mentioned earlier can get you in contact with more English speaking people from the west of the island that will be able to help. Let see if my post is edited again.
Note from administrator: We limit links in guest posts to the bio section of the post. Links are not included in the post content or in the comments.
June 1, 2015 at 4:11 pm
Hello all, I am looking at moving down to Puerto RIco by next summer (2016). I use to live in Sabana Grande when I was a kid and young adult. Been away for the last 20+ years. I am looking at buying home in the mountains of Puerto Rico as the homes appear to be less expensive and have land. I am looking at working in the drug and alcohol field but I am struggling at getting anybody to call me back. I am wondering if I need to move there as it would make it easier to obtain a job. I would be moving with a friend who could help with bills until I got a job. I know these are questions that I can’t expect a simple answer, but I am looking for advice as well. I am fully bilingual and am looking at going back to school once I get down there. Is making $2000.00 a month after taxes asking for a lot in the substance abuse field in Puerto RIco? Thanks for any info you all may be able to give.
June 1, 2015 at 5:29 pm
@ Mark, hi!
I’m not sure what you mean about your field. Are you a rehabilitation counselor? Law officer? The pay for most lines of work are usually lower than the US average. If you are set on moving back here, why don’t you make an arrangement to meet with a real estate agent and look around? Working here presents a few problems – usually people need to met you to hire you. It’s my impression that there’s a lot of paperwork and a slower way to conduct business, generally. Life in the mountains is good but commuting to work – usually in the cities- is stressful. I wish you the best – maybe someone else can help with your questions.
June 1, 2015 at 8:10 pm
Yes I am a drug and alcohol counselor for the past 25 years. Sorry for the confusion. Yes I am looking into getting a real estate agent when I visit in September. Thanks for your feedback.
June 8, 2015 at 2:03 am
WOW, reading all your post was GREAT thx.. So much was shared I gotta get busy.
a little about me~Im a army veteran~1yr BC survivor YEAH outgoing~real & I need the ocean/sand/weather & the love of friendship.
Im excited about moving to PR when my lease is up 10/31/15. my game plan is to work w/my hud/vash social worker & the VA here in phx.. I will schedule all PR VA appts prior to coming.
I plan to visit PR prior to moving to secure location & housing (late august/early sept 2015).
This is how I see it~i need all the advise/help w/my relocation~if u feel the same let’s start sharing & growing together. May GOD Continue His Blessings Upon Each of us. Respectfully, Vivian firstname.lastname@example.org
June 10, 2015 at 12:41 am
i am thinking of moving to PR. was wondering if a person could live comfortably on 3 thousand a month fixed income (retirement) if we paid cash for a house or condo (130 thousand) and had 180k in a 401 to draw from when needed.
June 11, 2015 at 5:58 pm
I am a 62 year old retired man planning a trip to PR this fall. I will be spending the winter someplace warm, and PR will be my first and maybe only stop. I wonder if anyone planning to visit would like to share the expense of a apartment while we look around. If so please drop a line and chat with me. email@example.com
June 27, 2015 at 2:38 am
My wife and I are considering purchasing a lot in Aguada. It’s a short walking distance to the beach.
Our hope is to build a house there with a rentable 2 bedroom apartment on the second floor. The plan would be to rent the the 2 bedroom unit to vacationers.
We’ll continue living in NY for another 6 years before we retire out there.
Has anyone out there done anything like this? what service did you use for your rentals. Were you able to rent it at least 15 weeks out of the year?
Was it difficult to manage remotely?
July 4, 2015 at 5:06 pm
We wonder who you pay US Federal and state taxes when living in Puerto Rico? I guess we do pay global income. How are the Banks? Are my properties and bank accounts under US Federal rules or the rules of the PR commonwealth? Can the US Fed take my land or bank account if they want to? In other countries, they cant. We are very confused about how that all works. Gotta thing about all the aspects.
July 21, 2015 at 11:00 pm
Am in search of someone to to assist with my last year’s in this beautiful setting! Let’s begin! More information after contact. Rodney.
July 23, 2015 at 4:42 am
We are considering moving our family to PR at the end of this year. We have two daughters in the 8th and 10th grade. We do not speak Spanish and would need to enroll them in a private, English speaking school. We are looking for a safe and quiet area with a good school and would love beach access and/or views. Is there an area better for families? We are planning to visit in September. Thanks for any advice.
July 29, 2015 at 9:48 pm
I read all the above questions and answers. Thanks for all the info.
I am surprised no one ever asked about any cultural life – like concerts, plays (Spanish OK), art, etc…. Does that mean people planning retirement in PR are not into any of those?
July 30, 2015 at 4:50 am
Diana, San Juan has a lot of cultural events. I enjoy going to the Museum of Art on De Diego Avenue. We have a Fine Arts performance theater for concerts and dance, a PR symphony orchestra, lots of museums in Old San Juan and a beautiful one in Ponce. There is lots to do in Puerto Rico! Culture at it’s finest!
August 8, 2015 at 9:05 pm
Hello, I plan to move to the town of Cayey is anyone familiar with this city. Thanks
August 22, 2015 at 3:20 am
I am looking to purchase a villa in Rio Mar as a second home. Is there a way to find CCRs for that location online? I want to know if I can rent it when not at that location.
August 28, 2015 at 4:56 pm
I am also thinking of relocating to P.R. and am finding your site to be very valuable, are Spanish classes widely available or would I be better off finding a tutor and learning the old fashioned way ( by fending for oneself) ?
Also being healthy the post from Rodney piqued my curiosity are you leaving the island or the planet and why?
September 15, 2015 at 11:00 pm
I saw your post and I wanted to comment because I lived in Rio Mar for 3 years. Now is the time to buy. The villa that I had was 600k and now for 300k you get the same one but the maintenance fee is high I paid $400 each month. I used to advertise it when I was not there but Rio Mar does not rent well because is not close to the metro area. But believe I work in real estate and there is nothing like living there, is peaceful you go to the hotel walking and is just very safe for children. Hope this help
September 26, 2015 at 8:15 pm
I AM PLANNING MY FIRST TRIP IN 2/16. INTERESTED IN POSSIBLE RETIREMENT OPTIONS ON MY OWN FOR NOW. ANY INTERESTED COMMENTS OR ADVICE FROM SINGLE PEOPLE?? LUVMNM328@YAHOO.COM
October 9, 2015 at 7:02 pm
Hi Lori: I am also planning early retirement to Puerto Rico some time in the later part of 2016. I am planning my first trip for March 1 2016 to stay for at least 15-30 days. I am a single heterosexual female. I am seeking friends with like minds. I am looking for something near the beach, reasonable and as safe as you can be in any city today. my e-mail is firstname.lastname@example.org
October 28, 2015 at 9:21 pm
Hi, my husband and I are considering retiring in Puerto Rico and wondered can Americans just buy a house and move in full time or are there restrictions on how long we can live there? We have an independent income of about 4000.00 a month and will pay cash for a house. We are looking at properties on Vieques but don’t want to buy and move if we find out we can only stay there for 6 months out of the year like some countries. Thanks
November 8, 2015 at 2:03 am
Can anybody tell me how safe is Punta Santiago area in Humacao?
Any information is appreciated
November 9, 2015 at 2:47 pm
Pamela, moving to PR is the same as moving across states, i.e. Oregon to Washington, California to Nevada, New York to New Jersey ….. PR is a commonwealth of the US and its residents are US citizens (Americans for all intended nationality purpose)- and, just like you, they carry a US passport. My advise, you may want to do a little more research about PR before you move there.
November 25, 2015 at 6:06 pm
awsome and helpful info , my quest, my parents live in N.Y. and are wanting to move to P.R. but they think they will loose ther social security income , can you shed some light on this muchas gracias amigo
November 29, 2015 at 2:02 am
Thanks for the informative comments. Looking to relocate to PR and trying to identify good options to visit. Single male, no Spanish but plan to learn enough to butcher it properly. Based on the comments read…potential on West side, Rincon , Aguadilla and Mayaguez. Plan to visit in 1st Qtr of 2016 and plan to live there 4 to 6 months each yr for next 5 yrs before staying year round and would love to develop some contacts.
November 30, 2015 at 6:53 pm
waleman, Social Security )like all federal benefits) is available to people in PR; same deductions, same regulations….. the only difference between US citizens born or residing in PR is that they cannot vote for US President – all else is exactly the same.
November 30, 2015 at 6:56 pm
russ, Rincon, Aguadilla is a great choice with a healthy number of ex-pats from NY, NJ, English is spoken almost everywhere. The Aguadilla airport is an asset and the area, Porta del Sol, has a wealth of activities to keep one occupied.
December 23, 2015 at 3:01 am
Looking to move in 2017 or 2018. Want to rent. Social security and va benefits . Is this possible on 2300 a month. Have health problems can I go to va there?
December 24, 2015 at 12:14 am
I’m considering to retire in PR, can someone suggest an area that is rich in culture and history. Would it be possible to rent an old home in such an area? Thank-you!
January 10, 2016 at 2:48 pm
We are looking to buy a condo on the west coast of Puerto Rico. As we begin the process, I am wondering if there is a way to find out the financial condition of the condo association? This is so crucial to us since there seems to be quite a few empty units at many developments, which in turn means that the association may not be collecting fees from tenants, and in turn have less money to make improvements. Any info would be deeply appreciated.
January 10, 2016 at 3:14 pm
Oh, and can anyone recommend a bilingual real estate agent that specializes in Cabo Rojo or Aguadilla?
January 16, 2016 at 5:27 pm
Hello All, I’m no where near retiring as I am 33 years old but I too like so many others would love to move to Puerto Rico. I work in the social service field assisting Homeless Veterans in NYC. Are there any social services jobs in Puerto Rico that might be readily hiring. I also have two small boys ages 2 and 5 and schooling would be a must. I have no family in Puerto Rico but would love to live there. Any suggestions?
January 19, 2016 at 6:25 pm
Christie, $2300 is tight (especially if you have health issues), but doable. Keep in mind that services like transportation, health supportive services, etc. are much more limited to non-existent there. Yes, there are several VA facilities in the island.
Jon, I can only think or Old San Juan, San German, and Ponce where old colonial properties might be available. Old San Juan certainly offers a lot in terms of culture and activities; Ponce has some and San German even less but some… you may want to look at their tourism sites…. check out Que Pasa PR!
Wilma, when purchasing you’re supposed to have access to the building financial statements – make sure your agent understands you’re not purchasing without reviewing the building’s financials. I don’t know agents in Cabo Rojo or Aguadilla but I will bet 85% of local agents are fluent in English….
Michele, if you read the papers you know there are hardly any jobs available in PR and as a result, many educated Puerto Ricans are leaving the Island. But, there are several VA facilities so if you could secure a transfer before you move there, that would be perfect.
January 27, 2016 at 6:41 pm
Hello I just retired from the Air Force and got a job in Aguadilla at Lufthansa Technik. We have a house in Anasco, my kids are 15 and 11 and I am trying to find a English speaking private school. We have to move this summer. Thanks
January 27, 2016 at 9:48 pm
Tom, You may want to look into:
Don’t know anything about them but I’ve seen them driving around. Congrats on your job, everybody is excited about the Lufthansa project!
January 28, 2016 at 1:17 pm
Thank you Arnie!!
March 3, 2016 at 3:58 pm
Want to look at retirement down there, thinking it would be wise to rent for a few months to learn our way around. Looking for a safe and peaceful area, near the beach would be nice. Any advice?
March 8, 2016 at 5:21 pm
Chris, I am from PR and my home town Isabela has great beach properties. The town also is getting a face lift with a touch of an antique view. Nice people, all your needs within 45 minutes driving access.
Good luck….By the way My brother is finishing a house lifted in columns and is ready for sale. 10 minutes from the beach..
March 10, 2016 at 7:00 pm
Chris, Generally beach properties on the west coast area are less expensive than those on the east – closer to San Juan. But remember, there is a great airport in Aguadilla serving the west coast and towns like Rincon, Aguadilla, and Isabela are within a 20 minutes drive from the airport. I know Rincon and Isabela have maintained that quaint old town feel with beautiful central square (Plaza) and large numbers of expats to balance the scale between English and Spanish..
March 20, 2016 at 1:46 am
72 yrs old french american lady concerned about lots of heat and mosquitoes in san juan pr do not drive is it a problem………..am a very culture minded lady especially cine i live in barcelona spain could exchange infos thanks
April 1, 2016 at 3:46 am
We bought a house in Aguadilla and in the process of moving in the next months. We actually live in Michigan. Does anyone know of a good way (cost effective) to move home goods (mostly antiques) to P.R. and if there is any tax involved? Thanks!
April 4, 2016 at 4:08 pm
Anni, mosquitoes are present but, in my experience, not a problem. depending on the season you might see some but definitely not like in other tropical countries I’ve visited. Unfortunately, public transportation in San Juan, or in PR in general, is extremely unreliable and very limited. Either one drives (for everything!!) or must have a driver as even taxis are difficult to get.
April 4, 2016 at 7:32 pm
I haven’t found mosquitoes to be a problem. I live on the San Juan side. Many tourist wear anti-mosquito (repellent) bands. If I plan to spend time outdoors, I might use Off but it’s not critical.
I have shipped my furnature and household effects. We had shipping costs but I don’t remember anything additional. We also shipped our car. It was easy but took several weeks.
I haven’t had any difficulty with taxi service on the San Juan side of the island. I generally use public transportation for work and don’t have a problem, either. Maybe I’m on “island time” so I don’t expect the same scheduled stops within specific time frames. I just wait and if it takes too long I find another way to go. I use the tran urbano for local travel. Buses to OSJ or pretty frequent, if you know which ones to use and where to wait.
April 8, 2016 at 6:29 pm
My husband and I just purchased a house in Arecibo. Although the buying process was slow it all turned out well. Remember that you are on Island time, so anything you do such as turning on light, water etc. will take a full day. A word of advice your social security card is required in many places. We are both fortunate to have family on both sides of the island, so should we need anything, it’s just a phone call away since we live and work in NYC. With all the negative publicity PR is getting, we still choose to buy the house and we did it proudly and happily. Our plan is to retire in ten years, but until then we will enjoy ourselves exploring “La Isla Del Encanto” and the surrounding islands. We have already booked all our trips for the rest of the 2016; we refuse to spend another snowy and cold holiday season in NYC. We love the island the people and the food. VIVA PUERTO RICO
April 9, 2016 at 4:47 pm
Congratulations on your new house! What a wonderful spirit you have. Even with all the challenges Puerto Rico is a fantastic island. I love it here, too.
April 11, 2016 at 7:25 pm
Hopefully things will have improved in 10 years
April 13, 2016 at 8:56 pm
Called about the excise tax on shipping a car to PR. My car is valued at $25K and the taxing authority wants $5,700 to bring it in. Does that sound correct, or is there a way around the excess fee??
April 14, 2016 at 5:46 pm
Cynthia, Glad to hear your experience with public transportation has been better than mine. I’ve found it impossible to hail a taxi on the street – in fact, one doesn’t even see them. I understand one must call a taxi company to dispatch a cab; I’ve done this and a. seems highly expensive, and b. sometimes they show up but often they do not. The Tren Urbano is extremely limited as to where it takes you so I find it pretty useless too. And buses, yes they run but I would venture say my average wait for a bus is over 45 minutes and the ride is slow. But, thanks for the encouragement, maybe I’ll try again.
April 16, 2016 at 4:03 am
I am thinking of retiring to the west side of the island. I expect to have a fixed income of right around $3,000 a month (with about $50,000 in the bank for whatever) and am on Medicare. Here in California I can get medi-gap insurance to cover prescriptions, the 20% Part B medicare doesn’t cover. etc. Is that available there or will I be paying the usual 20% out of pocket? I’m not someone with a lot of needs or desires to travel a great deal, but love the sound of the climate.
April 21, 2016 at 6:09 am
Hi I am looking for assisted living communities for my 92 year old uncle who is living in ponce right now. Local would be best but a good facility, where he can be happy is most important where ever on the island that might be. I need suggestions please.
April 21, 2016 at 7:56 pm
This message is for Nerissa who is looking for assisted living for her 92 year old uncle. There’s a very nice, private facility in Juncos. Call Reverend Ruben Gomez at 787-447-4747 for information.
April 21, 2016 at 8:05 pm
By the way, the east coast of Puerto Rico, particularly the Naguabo area, has many expats that have retired from the nearby naval base at Roosevelt Roads. The beaches are beautiful but not crowded and there is enough entertainment to keep you busy.
April 21, 2016 at 8:18 pm
15 years ago I purchased a Condo right on the beach in Naguabo (east coast of Puerto Rico) for my retirement and I spend every free moment there that I can. It’s so close to the malecon (boardwalk) that I can walk from my apartment. I’m from Chicago, born and reared, but this is truly a paradise!
May 30, 2016 at 3:43 pm
is there a directory of rv or mobile home retirement type parks in puerto rico?
June 1, 2016 at 10:49 am
Hola! I have some questions about the South of PR. Looks like the husband might be transferred to work in Yauco. We both like big city life and the proximity to restaurants, cafes, shopping, sports, etc. so we were thinking about moving to Ponce. Is that a good idea? Is Ponce safe? What are some nice neighborhoods there? Do they still have a baseball team?
What is Yauco like? Are there any nice communities? Or anything on the beach you could recommend which is not too far driving from Yauco and Ponce? What about Mayguez? Too far or recommendable?
Thanks so much!
June 21, 2016 at 6:24 pm
I’m buying a condo in Isabela, Pr. I would like to know if is good place to move
June 21, 2016 at 6:49 pm
I hear lots good things about Isabella, Charles. I’ve been there a few times and it seems like a great place to live.
June 21, 2016 at 7:19 pm
JB: According to google maps, the drive from Ponce to Yauco is 35 minutes and most of it is highway. I’ve gone to Yauco on a couple of day trips and it’s pretty, lush and green. Ponce is more active for sure, and plenty of people love it there. The landscape in Ponce is pretty flat and arid. It has a lovely beach and a long history of Puerto Rican culture. Annual carnivals are enjoyed by many. The Museum of Ponce is enjoyable, too. There is a convention-like center and nice hotels. The bio-luminous bay is in the area, too. I believe some housing developments are very modern, but I can’t recommend any specific place. Maybe one of the readers here has more There’s a fine university in the area, too, so there must be good housing. I think your plan is quite an adventure, JB. Good luck!
June 21, 2016 at 7:24 pm
Also JC, Mayaguez is pretty far from Ponce but no place is too far to go in Puerto Rico. It’s so easy to travel around the island.
June 21, 2016 at 8:38 pm
For a list of 10 RV camps, check reparkreviews dot comslash regions slash puerto-rIco. Or there’s one trailer park that I know of – Trailer Park del Atlantico, Calle Amador Brall, Camuy, Puerto Rico
June 21, 2016 at 8:46 pm
I really don’t know how Medicare works in PR (I mean I don’t know how it pays for medical prescriptions) but your income seems fine for a good life here. Maybe someone else here can answer that question.
July 4, 2016 at 4:55 am
My hubby and I plus our 3 young kidsare thinking of moving to cabo rojo next year. Our income is about $3600 a month. We would like a little acreage. Is that possible?
July 4, 2016 at 4:48 pm
Hi. It is good to see so many people who have implemented the move to PR, which we plan in the near future. How have you found access to health care on the West Coast? Also, any advice on realtors for the West would be appreciated.
July 4, 2016 at 7:18 pm
Cabi Rojo sounds great! I’ve been to a beach in the area, Balneario de Boqueron, and enjoyed it immensely. The drawback there was family party noise but it also felt safe. It seems as if you could have a good life on your income level since it’s far above the average income (11,000 annual) but you have to consider costs for school for the kids (if you will pay for private school and what is available). Most houses have a small yard but acreage is relative, for example, in PR 5 acres seems huge but in the US it’s small for keeping a horse and a few animals. The island is only about 100 by 35 miles (give or take a few)! Good luck to you!
July 5, 2016 at 1:36 pm
Mary, The municipality of Cabo Rojo encompasses several districts and Boqueron, a fishing village, as stated before is particularly noisy and crowded – especially on weekends. The rest of the town is a mix of everything and certainly not as busy. I really recommend you do research on cost of living as one would think PR is less expensive than the mainland but, like elsewhere, some items may be but others are not. While 3K may seem adequate, it depends on what your expected standards are: will your kids attend public school? will you need 1 or 2 cars? Will you run your A/C units a lot? Public schools in PR are not the best and private schools are pricey, electricity and water are quite expensive, etc….
Terry, Health care in the Porta Del Sol area is adequate for the area and quite accessible. Having said this, do not expect standards for care services one would find in most US states. As far as realtors, I’ve dealt with several, mostly in Rincon/Isabela beachfront areas, and having had experience in NYC, Chicago, and upstate NY I can tell you: a realtor is a realtor anywhere….
Good luck to both!
July 5, 2016 at 2:25 pm
Arnie, thanks. Being a native New Yorker and having lived in Chicago as well, I know what you mean!
August 2, 2016 at 3:19 pm
Hi, I am retired by the U.S. military. My income is quite good for age 54. I am not wealthy, but for my age my income is decent for someone on a retirement income. I write full time. I have many books done, but I have not been able to get published in the USA. Anyway, I can read Spanish fluently, and I know if I moved there in six months to a year I would likely be near fluent with the speaking – I try to watch Spanish TV often. I can afford an expensive apartment. I have a dog and three cats. I am single. I did live in Hawaii in the 1980s, and island living was great. There were some problems living there, but in general it was much better than the mainland USA for me. I was also stationed in the Philippines. I could retire there, but I am a bit worried about terrorism there. Where is the expat site online? I am sick of winters and in Hawaii the rents are $2,000 and $3,000 a month and more for places that aren’t even decent.
August 23, 2016 at 9:31 pm
Although I continue to work at age 69, I spend every weekend at my condo in Cala de Hucares in Naguabo, PR where I kayak either to Monkey Island, the Humacao Reserve which has 2 lakes, the mangroves and several very nice coves past the malecon area (boardwalk) plus a fabulous view of the rain forest, El Yunque, from the ocean. Having a boat parking space in front of the beach is incredibly convenient that I can’t envision any place in the world with these amenities, not to mention that this is in the USA! If anyone wishes to explore this area, you may contact me at email@example.com.
September 5, 2016 at 5:02 am
For $2k a month?, Isabela, Puerto Rico is the best choice…… No need to look any further. ….
September 5, 2016 at 1:38 pm
In general, how do you feel that the economic status has affected quality of life particularly on the West Coast – electricity, sanitation, crime, transportation, etc ?
Also, does anybody know someone selling a larger condo near the beach on the West Coast ? Thanks for the time.
September 6, 2016 at 1:09 pm
As owner of a condo in the west coast who visits every couple of months, on the average, I have not seen the local businesses, services, quality of life directed affected by every we hear in the news. Having said this, my condo as most in the area do has a generator and short interruptions in electrical service are very common – especially during electrical storm which are quite regular. As most condos, we have private garbage pick up service, transportation has always been pretty much non-existent and that has not changed (). As far as crime, I have not seen or heard of a spike but will say that as home owners, we are a bit concerned and our board and management has taken some steps to deter possible crime.
Our town continues to grow with new restaurants, hotels, construction of condos by the beach. Restaurants seemed to be thriving when I was there 3 weeks ago, beaches were busy but not obnoxiously so.
Terry, what do you mean by a larger condo?
September 15, 2016 at 12:15 am
We are interested in a 3 bedroom condo but have not found any realtors ( we have contacted at least 1/2 dozen) who have returned our calls.
Is this normal?
We are going to be around in February, but would happy to hear about someone who would work with us. Thanks.
September 15, 2016 at 3:11 pm
It’s great to see this community of people helping each other. Best of luck!
September 16, 2016 at 9:40 am
Cynthia, Thank YOU for your efforts to establish the site. Very helpful. Terry
September 19, 2016 at 5:21 pm
I am surprised as I know for a fact there’s plenty of inventory. Try these 2, I’ve dealt with in the past and seemed knowledgeable:
Island West Properties, Inc.
Km 0.7, Bo., PR-413
Cambija Street Sunset Village A5
September 25, 2016 at 6:07 pm
Thanks, Arnie. I will try again. I have tried J and M – no response and l found that the Island West website is very high end real estate. That being said, I am guessing that when we are down there in February, the more informal/walk in approach might work better.
I really appreciate your responsiveness and perhaps, when Ken and I are there in the first week of February, we can touch base if you are around.
Very nice of you to try and be so helpful.
October 4, 2016 at 8:55 pm
Hola. My Husband and I would love to retire in PR. My husband has Medicare and would be in a fixed income. Me, on the other hand work as a phlebotomist. Would need to work two more years due to medical insurance.
Can anyone tell me about phlebotomy jobs in PR in hospital?
October 9, 2016 at 1:46 am
My wife and I are interested in retiring in the Humacao area. Is it safe to buy a small home with acreage there>
November 7, 2016 at 5:43 pm
My husband and I are thinking of moving to Vieques. Is the tax code the same than for the rest of PR? Which area would you recommend in vieques? Is Vieques safe?
November 15, 2016 at 2:52 pm
Gloria, Yes Vieques is a municipality and, as such, tax codes are the same as any other municipality in the main Island. As far as safety I can tell you that, based on what I read and hear, it seems like crime rates are a bit higher than in many other communities. They seem to have high unemployment which result in petty criminal incidents, I’ve also heard drug use is also a problem. Hopefully others who have first hand experience can reply with more personal comments.
November 29, 2016 at 5:30 pm
Hola! I’m looking for a Spanish tutor in Humacao….can anyone recommend a teacher/tutor in the area?
December 23, 2016 at 5:45 pm
Feliz Navidad… I have been to Pr and Vieques twice so far. Love it there. Coming again this year but going to visit Culebra this time. Am giving serious thought to moving there from Ga. I would rather live in the “Mountains” than near the beach. What towns are safer , between 15-20k people? Will also be checking out Aquadilla this trip. Did the s.e corner last year. Gracias.
January 17, 2017 at 2:40 pm
Ellen, Definitely check out Aguadilla, Isabela, Rincon or, as it is known, Porta Del Sol. I too thought Vieques and Culebras would be idyllic but realized after a couple of stays in each that they are too remote for me. And they also require additional logistics in terms of getting in/out of there; Aguadilla airport is 20 minutes away from the 3 towns mentioned above and they all have a very thriving local and ex-pat population with beach and mountain housing options in addition to culture and community involvement opportunities. Ok, that’s my pitch for Porta del Sol, check out http://www.elcoquiofrincon.com for inside news into the happenings in Rincon. Good luck.
February 12, 2017 at 5:02 am
My husband and I are considering retiring to PR in the next 5 years or so. I have been doing quite a bit of research on the climate changes and the different municipalities. I am quite undecided on where I would want to live. We know that we want a beachfront condo that is reasonably priced, as we will want to do some traveling. I am really drawn to the NE and East coast. I want to be on a beach that has calmer waters which is why I am not feeling the NW and West coast. Am I on the right page in my thinking? My husband wants to fish. He fishes Lake Michigan for Salmon. We are unsure if he will buy a boat or go out on a couple charters. I have also been reading a lot about Palmas del Mar. Can anybody give me any kind of feedback. It would be greatly appreciated. P.S. I hate winters in Wisconsin.
February 22, 2017 at 12:52 am
Kathy, et al,
Crashboat beach is one of the best beaches on the island and is in Aguadilla. We have been going there several times a week for the last 3 years after touring the main island and Culebra. Before you settle on the east / northeast give Isabela and Aguadilla a visit. We bought 3 years ago in Isabela Beach Court and are very happy with the decision.
February 23, 2017 at 3:31 am
Thank you for the advice. We appreciate any advice anybody can give. I can’t wait until we can get there and explore PR. I keep hearing many good things about that area. It will definitely be a consideration. For now, I have the cold winter here to wake up to every morning and my books on Puerto Rico to read.
February 25, 2017 at 11:14 pm
What great information posted here! This is my 2nd visit to PR in 2 years, and have determined that this is where I want to retire. While I have no current medical issues,
I want to settle near good medical care and facilities. I’m open to living just about anywhere in the island that is reasonably affordable (i.e NOT San Juan, although I love the Santurce area).
Does anyone have experience or input about good medical care on the island? If this is where I’m going to live – and die – I want to investigate this before any decisions. Thanks, all! -Roert
February 26, 2017 at 1:56 pm
My inquiry comes after reading about the economic trajectory of healthcare in PR. Current estimates indicate that 10 medical professionals per day are leaving PR for the mainland because they’re suffering financially. As my health/medical needs increase with age, what are the prospects for an environment that can meet those needs?
Check this out:
February 28, 2017 at 8:46 pm
Indeed, health care conditions in PR are not good. There is an exodus of professionals leaving the Island in search of better working conditions and living standards which has depleted the number of doctors serving an increasingly aging population. Hospitals too have suffered for lack of adequate funding – a lot of this a result of the combination of a horrible economic situation affecting the Island and the fact that even though PR people are US citizens, dollar for dollar they are not receiving the same amounts as residents in the US.
Having said all this, my direct experience has been mixed; it is difficult to make appointments particularly with specialists. Many offices make appointments for the day, not a specific time, so one must sometimes wait around for hours until they’re ready for you. Hospitals visited did not appear to be in great shape and, again, long waits even in ER. The Drs. themselves were very competent, most fully bilingual or capable of treating an English speaker well, many trained in PR and schools in the US (schools in PR are US accredited so the standards are pretty much the same), overall I would say excellent doctors.
Those are my 2 cents, hopefully others will share their experiences.
March 1, 2017 at 12:45 am
Yes, the doctors here are well prepared – same as every trained medical professional. But you have to wait a long time in most offices. Raising kids here, I spent hours just waiting for our turn. You get use to it. Our emergencies were handled quickly, though.
March 1, 2017 at 1:42 am
Thanks, Arnie. Though currently in excellent health at age 67, such a blessing never improves with age! My priorities include settling somewhere warm, inviting, affordable, while offering excellent AND efficient medical care. Doesn’t sound like PR is heading that direction, but Iet’s wait and see. It might be best for me to wait a year or so to observe the direction of healthcare on the island. Thanks again.
March 1, 2017 at 6:51 pm
Thanks, Cynthia…very helpful!
April 8, 2017 at 6:00 am
Hi all, The comments and help on this page is amazing, thanks in advance. I’m a 34 single male engineer from Wisconsin, considering making a move to the island and keeping my profession in the engineering field. I noticed that HP has a site in Aguadilla and would fit my experience quite well, just depends on when there’s a good opening. Anybody else in the engineering field made the move and still work in the field? I guess my main question is how does the salary compare to the states for an engineer? Any input would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!
June 1, 2017 at 8:51 am
hello I’m looking to move to puerto rico probably in rincon, I’m retired on SS and have a federal section 8 voucher that’s good up to 750.00 a month for rent, will I have any problems finding a 1 bedroom apartment or a small house ? thank you
August 1, 2017 at 2:07 am
There are rentals posted on craigslist for Puerto Rico:
You’ll find monthly rentals under:
vivienda > alquiler de pisos
August 1, 2017 at 12:17 pm
I’m not sure about engineering salaries in Rincon. Have you been there? There must be some way to get factual information online.
November 4, 2017 at 1:15 am
Hello everyone! I hope all of you on the island are safe and making the best of a series of continuing terrible events. My thoughts have been with you each day.
I am scheduled to make my annual vacation visit San Juan for 5 weeks beginning Dec. 7, one month from now. My airbnb host shares that the electric power is still out in the apartment I have reserved from him (Santurce area of San Juan), and hesitates to predict when it may be operable and dependable. Do any of you in the San Juan area have insights? Is it best for me to cancel my plans? If I come, I could lend a hand…but at 68, it would be limited. Suggestions welcome! Gracias.
March 31, 2019 at 4:29 am
Cynthia, I just loved your post.. It is so accurate and down to earth…and non-judgmental. I can tell that you truly like it here and..what’s not to like??? beautiful beaches, gorgeous sunsets, friendly people (as long as you give them the right of way). Its all good. I’m here to stay and I am determined to love it…it is what it is. Seriously, there’s a lot to love about this island. My mother was born and grew up here and so it is in my blood, so to speak. While I lived in the states, every Spring I would feel something calling me back to PR. However, the daily struggles would obliterate the feeling until it was just a faint memory and then be gone. Well, here I am, taking care of my wonderful mom in her “golden years” and I am determined to explore every little nook and cranny of this “enchanted isle” and become acquainted.
May 27, 2021 at 7:54 pm
Thank you for your comment, Mia. I hope that you are still enjoying this beautiful island as I am. I still need to do more exploring myself!