Puerto Rico entices visitors to its shores for a variety of reasons, from its beautiful beaches and year-round sunshine to its many cultural wonders. Some visitors even turn into long-term residents, thousands of whom relocate to the island due to the lucrative tax benefits of such programs as Act 60. Not only can U.S. citizens save on taxes with an Act 60 Export Services or Act 60 Individual Resident Investor decree, but they also save on general living expenses, given that prices in Puerto Rico are generally lower than in the Mainland United States.
Puerto Rico is technically a U.S. territory, but in most ways, it acts as an independent nation. It has its own economy, laws, and government, but residents still enjoy U.S. rights and freedoms—and, of course, a lower cost of living, in most cases.
How Much Does It Cost to Live in Puerto Rico?
As with any place, the cost of living depends on the particular region you’re focusing on. If you’re moving from a rural town in the US to San Juan, the capital of Puerto Rico, you may even incur a higher cost of living in Puerto Rico. However, in general, if you move from a U.S. city, the cost of living in Puerto Rico will be lower, even in San Juan. To help paint a picture of the differences, we’ve compared the two most expensive cities in the US and Puerto Rico—New York City and San Juan. The data is pulled from Numbeo.
If you move from New York City to San Juan, you can expect to save roughly 50% on your living expenses. You can eat out at San Juan’s many exquisite restaurants for a lower price, with restaurant meals typically 50% to 70% lower than in New York City. You can save as much as 160% on beer as well. When it comes to grocery shopping, it depends on what exactly you’re buying, but in general, prices are about 50% what they are in NYC.
Public transportation in San Juan is an area where Act 60 decree holders can save tons of money compared to NYC prices—a monthly pass in San Juan is almost 300% cheaper than in New York. On the other hand, private transportation is more expensive—gasoline and new cars will cost you more than in NYC. Utilities is another area where NYC is cheaper than San Juan, but the savings are enough to offset these costs to a substantial degree.
The most significant expense, of course, is rent or housing prices, the ultimate determiner of living costs. No matter where you live in San Juan, you’ll almost certainly pay less than in New York City—around 300% less! Specifics depend on the type of apartment and the exact location, of course, but in San Juan, a three-bedroom apartment in the city center costs, on average, around $1,500 per month, whereas an equivalent apartment in NYC would cost around $6,800.
Improve Your Life in Puerto Rico
Puerto Rican tax incentives like the Act 60 Export Services incentive make life in Puerto Rico even more cost efficient. While the general corporate tax rate in Puerto Rico is 39%, Export Services businesses need only pay 4%, making for significant savings. Additionally, Puerto Rico’s low cost of living is beneficial to Export Services businesses because qualifying businesses must export their services to an overseas audience. That means businesses can pay wages and operating costs at Puerto Rico prices but sell their services at U.S. prices.
The low living costs are one of the many factors that makes Puerto Rico an attractive place to settle down. Combined with its gorgeous beach landscapes and colorful culture, Puerto Rico is a great place to live not only for Act 60 decree holders but also for anyone who wants to enjoy the Caribbean lifestyle with a relatively low cost of living.