What Is The Difference Between Costa Rica Or Puerto Rico?: A Comparison

The Countryside Of Beautiful Puerto Rico

The countryside of Puerto Rico
The countryside of Puerto Rico | Source
A markercosta rica -
Costa Rica
[get directions]

Do I Go Back To Costa Rica Or To Puerto Rico

I am trying to decide if I want to return to Costa Rica or Puerto Rico for the duration of the winter months. My friends think it’s very amusing that I would want to leave South Florida for the rest of the winter, so let me explain: I have a chronic Sinus problem. Whenever the temperature drops below 50 degrees, and there is a cold wind, I will get sick. I can feel it coming on as soon as I breathe in cold air. If I don’t get to the doctor right away, and get on antibiotics, the infection will travel down into the throat, and bronchi; then go down into the lungs. There is always the possibility of building up a resistance to the antibiotic, but I have no choice.

A markerpuerto rico -
Puerto Rico
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Which Country?

I have made the decision to leave South Florida for the remainder of the winter. I would return to my home by the end of March. I have visited Costa Rica and Puerto Rico, and I really love the two countries. I now have to decide which country I want to go to.

It’s about a two hour flight to either country from Miami, Florida. I can get a round trip flight to Costa Rica for around $500.00 and to Puerto Rico for about $350.00

Costa Rica and Puerto Rico Are Similar

The two countries are similar in a lot of respects. Both are warm the year round. Both have beautiful white sandy beaches. Both have rain forests. Both countries have mountainous regions. If you are hot down in the lower region, you just move to higher country. The people of both countries are very friendly, and love to show off their country. I found the language barrier was not so great in Puerto Rico, where more people speak English. I speak NO Spanish. I would classify Costa Rica as more “country” than Puerto Rico. The roads in Costa Rica are filled with pot holes. They tell me the people want them that way because they don’t want a lot of road traffic. Most of the people get around by public transportation, busses and cabs. In Puerto Rico, most of the permanent residents drive their own cars. They do have good public transportation, though. Anyone over the age of 65 ride the busses free of charge.

No Passport Is Needed to Travel To Puerto Rico

The United States and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico share methods of currency. That means our American dollar is accepted everywhere. That makes shopping so much easier than in Costa Rica. You do not need a Passport to travel to Puerto Rico, whereas you do have to have a Passport to travel to Costa Rica. You just need a valid Driver’s License from the United States to enter P.R.

A lovely young woman shopping at Walmart in Puerto Rico.
A lovely young woman shopping at Walmart in Puerto Rico. | Source
The Home Depot in Puerto Rico
The Home Depot in Puerto Rico | Source

Other Comparisons Between Costa Rica And Puerto Rico

Both countries depend on tourism. They both export coffee and bananas among other fruits. Rum is the national drink of Puerto Rico. The have a large rum factory there. You can find Casinos in both countries. Gambling is legal.

Both countries boost excellent health care. Permanent residents of Costa Rica have their health care paid for by the government. If their residents need to go to a Nursing Home, that is paid for also. They really believe in education. Their government will pay for secondary school for your child. If you want to establish permanent residency, in C.R., you can do that after six months. The one BIG plus as far as I’m concerned is that in Puerto Rico, Medicare pays just like it does in the United States.

The native food is very similar in both countries. They eat a lot of fresh fruit and vegetables. If you don't care for their food, there is always American Fast Food. Burger King, McDonald's, Taco Bells are on every street. You will also see American chains such as Walgreen's Drug Stores.

While in Puerto Rico, I did see more big chain stores like Walmart and Home Depot.

I Felt Right At Home In Puerto Rico

When I was in Puerto Rico, I felt like I was in the United States. There are many skyscrapers in the capital city of San Juan. The are many shopping Malls just like home. As soon as you drive out of the city, you are in a different land; lush and green.

There is a big difference in the cost of living between the two counties. Costa Rica has cheaper housing, utilities and food. I think Puerto Rico is comparable to S. Florida for cost of living. Both countries enjoy state of the art communication systems. There are many Wi-Fi cafes in both C.R. and P.R. I never had any problems with my AT&T cell phone in either country.

Both countries have lush green foliage everywhere. I love flowers of any kind and flowers bloom in the rainforests in Costa Rica and Puerto Rico.

One of my favorite flowers is the Orchid, and one can see them growing and blooming everywhere i both countries.

I Want To Find A Small Apartment In Costa Rica Or Puerto Rico

I would like to find a small efficiency apartment in either country. I don’t care about the beaches or the night life. I would just like to find a quiet place to live during the 3 Winter months. As long as I have my computer, I’m happy.

My plans are to lock up my house, and leave pretty soon before the next cold front comes to South Florida. So , I have to make a decision now! If anyone has any opinion on where they think I should go, I would welcome that opinion.

Beach At Costa Rica

The beautiful emerald green ocean at Costa Rica
The beautiful emerald green ocean at Costa Rica | Source

Beach At Puerto Rico

Off the coast of Puerto Rico
Off the coast of Puerto Rico | Source

Skyscrappers In San Juan, Puerto Rico

View of downtown Puerto Rico with the skyscrappers.
View of downtown Puerto Rico with the skyscrappers. | Source

River In Costa Rica

A river running through Costa Rica
A river running through Costa Rica | Source

Countryside Of Puerto Rico

The lush green countryside of Puerto Rico
The lush green countryside of Puerto Rico | Source

An Update On Where I Went

This past winter when it began to get a little cold here in Florida , I took off for a two week trip to Puerto Rico. I went all by myself and stayed in a great Bed and Breakfast. I invite you to read my Hub about that trip:

Do You Prefer Costa Rica Or Puerto Rico?

See results without voting

San Juan, Puerto Rico

A markersan juan, puerto rico -
San Juan, Puerto Rico
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San Jose, Costa Rica

A markerSan Jose, costa rica -
San Jose, Costa Rica
[get directions]

Good Books About Puerto Rico From Amazon

Good Books From Amazon About Costa Rica

© 2011 Mary Hyatt

More by this Author


Comments 61 comments

Rosemay50 profile image

Rosemay50 4 years ago from Hawkes Bay - NewZealand

Hi Mary, It is a hard decision to make for sure. Both look beautiful and have a lot going for them.

On balance I think I would go to Puerto Rico. Mainly because English is spoken more widely. I would find it quite frustrating not being able to make myself understood. Having said that 3 months is a good long time to practice Spanish.

Whatever you decide I hope you have a wonderful time whilst you are there.


mary615 profile image

mary615 4 years ago from Florida Author

Hi, Rosemay50, it really is a hard decision. Thanks for your input as to whether I go to Costa Rica or Puerto Rico. I just want to enjoy the warm sunshine! Goodnight.


makohan profile image

makohan 4 years ago from Concord, NC

I would vote for Costa Rica. It's a beautiful country, fairly safe for travel and much to offer. The southern Caribbean (caribesur) is particularly peaceful, with lovely black sand beaches, a plethora of birds and exotic wildlife, and lots of opportunity for ecotourism, from jungle tours, to zip lines, to swimming underneath secluded waterfalls. Puerto Viejo, south of Limon, Costa Rica.


mary615 profile image

mary615 4 years ago from Florida Author

Hi there, makohan, thanks for reading my Hub and commenting. Sounds like you have been to CR, and loved it as much as I did. It's a hard decision. Thanks for your input, I do appreciate it. Goodnight.


ktrapp profile image

ktrapp 4 years ago from Illinois

Mary. I have not been to either place, but both sound terrific. As I read your hub though, it seems like you may be leaning a little more towards Puerto Rico. I think not having as many issues with the language barrier with three months would be a little nicer. How I envy your choice!


mary615 profile image

mary615 4 years ago from Florida Author

Hi ktrapp, Yes, that's the problem: they are both warm beautiful places: Costa Rica and Puerto Rico. I think you are right, I think I'm liking the idea of going back to PR. at this point. Thanks so much for your comment. Goodnight.


drbj profile image

drbj 4 years ago from south Florida

Hi, Mary, both Puerto Rico and Costa Rica are lovely and warm in the winter. I love both countries. But since your Spanish is limited (non-existent) you might find life easier though a little more expensive in P.R. Also the fact that Medicare is available there can be a plus. Here's to enjoying whichever you choose.


Lord De Cross profile image

Lord De Cross 4 years ago

I agree with Drbj,

But was thinking about the weather and both have the same kind of season and I go for PR. Sweet trip and Happy New Year!

LORD


mary615 profile image

mary615 4 years ago from Florida Author

Good Morning, drbj, Thanks for reading and for your wise advice! I think you're right about Puerto Rico being the better choice. I want to leave soon. We have a cold front coming Monday here! Oh, dear....


mary615 profile image

mary615 4 years ago from Florida Author

Hey there Lord, I'm leaning more toward Puerto Rico at this point. Wish I could hop on a plane Monday before the cold front gets here! I'll let you know what I decide. Hope you have a very Happy New Year, friend.


Deborah Brooks profile image

Deborah Brooks 4 years ago from Brownsville,TX

Oh I love Puerto Rico.. so much fun.. I have never been to Costa Rico.. I would love to go.. Hey Mary I will go with you.. LOL

Have a wonderful safe trip where ever you go.. they both looked wonderful and so exciting.

Happy new Year. Debbie


mary615 profile image

mary615 4 years ago from Florida Author

Good Morning, Debbie, thanks for reading about trying to decide on Costa Rica or Puerto Rico. I've spent a little time in both places, and loved them both. Right now Puerto Rico has more plusses, I think. Would love to have you go with me! Thanks for reading and commenting. I hope this next year will be a happy one for you, too!


Deborah Brooks profile image

Deborah Brooks 4 years ago from Brownsville,TX

Thanks Mary.. I would love to go... but not in my budget but I can dream..lol.. I know you will have a good time and I know you will bring back great pictures. Have a wonderful safe year.

Debbie


Gypsy Rose Lee profile image

Gypsy Rose Lee 4 years ago from Riga, Latvia

I would go to Puerto Rico. Will you be writing from there and will Baby be with you? Sounds heavenly to spend the winter in such a warm, lovely place.


mary615 profile image

mary615 4 years ago from Florida Author

Hi Gypsy Rose Lee, thanks for reading about my decision to go to Costa Rica or Puerto Rico, and commenting. Yes, I'll take my computer wherever I go and write. Baby will stay here with my Granddaughter who will come and take care of my house, plants, Baby, etc. Right now I'm leaning toward P.R. I have to hurry and go because we're having another cold front next week! HAPPY NEW YEAR in Latvia!


SATravel profile image

SATravel 4 years ago

Not a bad decision to have to make! I've been to both PR and CR, and I lean more toward Costa Rica. When I first traveled there I spoke very little Spanish, yet did not have much difficulty traveling around that country since many people in the tourist industry speak basic English, and even those who don't are usually very happy to help.

But the main reason I favor Costa Rica is that I really loved the "pura vida" lifestyle there. I think it is much more welcoming and relaxing that Puerto Rico, which I find much more chaotic and "busy." Of course, that said, I did enjoy my time in Puerto Rico, and they have some great beaches...


mary615 profile image

mary615 4 years ago from Florida Author

Hi, SATravel, many thanks for reading about my big decision to go back to Costa Rica or Puerto Rico. I really loved both places. Thanks for your input, I appreciate the comment. Regards.


homesteadbound profile image

homesteadbound 4 years ago from Texas

Hi mary615! What a choice! I wish i had such "hard" choices to make! Wow! For me Puerto Rico is a winner because of the language, the medicare, but also because it is a commonwealth of this country - I feel making it just a little safer. Whichever you choose, I'm with you, give me my computer an I will be happy. But i would have to get out and enjoy some of the nature that seems abundant in both countries. You lucky girl!


mary615 profile image

mary615 4 years ago from Florida Author

Hi homesteadbound! Thanks for reading about my choice of Costa Rica or Puerto Rico. For the same reasons you have, I'm leaning toward Puerto Rico. I have visited both countries, and they both have wonderful nature to enjoy. We have a cold front coming tomorrow; I'd sure like to leave now! Goodnight.


homesteadbound profile image

homesteadbound 4 years ago from Texas

Here's wishing you lots of warm safe dreams about the beach!


Sueswan 4 years ago

Hi Mary,

I have not been to either Costa Rica or Puerto Rico but from the information you have provided, I would choose Puerto Rico.

Goodnight :-)


mary615 profile image

mary615 4 years ago from Florida Author

Good Morning, Sueswan. Good to see you on this cold day here in S. Fl. It got down to the mid 30's last night. Wish I were in CR or PR right now. Thanks for reading this, and I think you are right...think I'll head for Puerto Rico. Have a wonderful day, friend.


kenneth avery profile image

kenneth avery 4 years ago from Hamilton, Alabama

Hi, Mary,

you made the right choice of Puerto Rico..lovely place. Peaceful. Placid. And I loved this hub voted up and away..marvelous writing and layout. LOVED the artwork as well. Keep up the great work and now ENJOY YOURSELF in those warm breezes and take leisurely walks, naps, in those cool shades. Love ya, KENNETH


mary615 profile image

mary615 4 years ago from Florida Author

Hi, Kenneth, thanks for reading and for your advice. Yep, it's definitely PR. I've found a home that rents out bedroom with private bath, close to shopping, etc. Landlady speaks fluent English. This cold weather here is killing me! I'm taking my laptop and hope to get some writing done, so watch for my Hubs! Thanks for the votes, too! Think of me while I lay out in the sun, OK? I'll think of you too. Keep in touch in Forums.


kenneth avery profile image

kenneth avery 4 years ago from Hamilton, Alabama

Hi, Mary, you lucky person! LOL! Blessed is the right word. You are basking in paradise, my friend. Enjoy. And I will look for your hubs, but remember, vacations mean just that...VACATE from stress, duties, and just REST, RELAX....enjoy your life. I will be thinking of you also. Love ya, Kenneth


Eiddwen profile image

Eiddwen 4 years ago from Wales

Wow I really loved this one mary.

That up up and away due I know.

Take care and enjoy your day.

Eddy.


mary615 profile image

mary615 4 years ago from Florida Author

Good Morning, Eddy. So nice to see you. I am now in Puerto Rico! Having a wonderful time. It was getting cold in S. Fl; it is 80 degrees here today! I like that. I hope your day is great, too. Love...


Froggy213 profile image

Froggy213 4 years ago from On A Mountain In Puerto Rico

Hi Mary, glad you are here, its beautiful!! Puerto Rico all the way!!!


mary615 profile image

mary615 4 years ago from Florida Author

Yes, Froggy213, it is truly a beautiful place. I love it. I would like to move here permanently if I could talk my family into it. I'm working on them! Thanks for stopping by.


iiimusicfreak27 profile image

iiimusicfreak27 4 years ago

Oooh my, definitely Puerto Rico -- but that's cause I'm from there, haha;D

Beautiful island though:)


mary615 profile image

mary615 4 years ago from Florida Author

Hi, illmusicfreak27, thanks for reading and commenting on my Hub about Costa Rica and Puerto Rico. I am in PR now; been here for two weeks, and have not disappointed. I love it here. We've done many touristy things. Today we go to Ponce. So happy to meet someone from Puerto Rico. I'm off to read your profile. Have a wonderful day!


iiimusicfreak27 profile image

iiimusicfreak27 4 years ago

That's great!! I sure hope the rest of your vacation there goes just as awesome as it has so far!

:D


mary615 profile image

mary615 4 years ago from Florida Author

Hi again, iimiusicfreak27, good to see you again. Today we went to Ponce and saw the big cross, the museum, the gardens, etc. Really nice. I love Puerto Rico! Goodnight.


iiimusicfreak27 profile image

iiimusicfreak27 4 years ago

That's so wonderful to hear! Sweet dreams!


STEVEW13 profile image

STEVEW13 4 years ago from Norwich, England

Great hub, I only wish such decisions presented themselves in my life :) Voted up


mary615 profile image

mary615 4 years ago from Florida Author

I made the decision to go to Puerto Rico. I was there for two weeks, and truly loved it. I want to go again this winter. Costa Rica is certainly a beautiful place. Thanks so much for the vote!


Peggy W profile image

Peggy W 4 years ago from Houston, Texas

Hi Mary,

I found the comparisons between Puerto Rico and Costa Rica interesting from your point of view. Considering the ease of communicating in PR...I think (unless I was trying to learn another language by immersing myself in it...which, of course, is a good way) I would choose PR. Actually I would enjoy seeing both places someday for a vacation. So many places and so little time! Ha! Voted this useful, interesting and will share. Thanks!


Thundermama profile image

Thundermama 4 years ago from Canada

What an interesting choice to be confronted with. Both options sound good, I think it depends on expense and what kind of experience you want to have. My vote would be with Costa Rica, I would choose country living over city any day, but I bet you had a lovely time in Puerto Rico. Wishing you good health!


mary615 profile image

mary615 4 years ago from Florida Author

Hi Peggy W, as you know by now, I returned to Puerto Rico. I still like the idea of Costa Rica, but PR has more plusses. Medicare pays in PR, and that's a big plus for us senior citizens.

With all the places you have traveled and written Hubs about, surely you can make some time to go to PR.

Thanks for the votes, Peggy, and for the share.

Goodnight.


mary615 profile image

mary615 4 years ago from Florida Author

Hey there, Tundermama (I love your name!) I did have a hard time trying to decide which country to go back to, but I'm glad I chose Puerto Rico. Being a senior citizen, it's nice to know that if I got sick, I could get medical help.

Thanks for reading and taking the time to comment.

Goodnight.


chamilj profile image

chamilj 4 years ago from Sri Lanka

Interesting article with beautiful collection of photos.


mary615 profile image

mary615 4 years ago from Florida Author

Hello, chamilj, thanks so much for reading and taking the time to comment on my hub about Costa Rica and Puerto Rico. I made the decision to return to Puerto Rico and have written more about PR. I love that place.!

Thanks for the nice compliment on my article.


Tim 4 years ago

We will be going to PR in Jan 2013, to stay 4 days before boarding a 7 day cruise.

We are looking forward to the salsa dancing and are told all have a great time. Our biggest concern is where to stay? Old San Juan, being closer to the clubs, or the newer area.

I hear that the landscape and beaches are more beautiful in CR though! And look forward (as you to a stay there as well)!! Tim


mary615 profile image

mary615 4 years ago from Florida Author

Hi, Tim. You are a lucky guy indeed! If you are going to be in Puerto Rico for 4 days, I'd stay in a nice hotel on the beach, and take day tours to the different adventures on the island. I wrote a Hub about Old San Juan, and a couple more about Puerto Rico. It is truly beautiful place. I wrote a Hub about my vacation in Costa Rica, too....you might like to read that one.

Thanks for your interest , and for reading!


DeborahNeyens profile image

DeborahNeyens 4 years ago from Iowa

What a tough choice. I think I would have picked Costa Rica. I've spent 10 days in both places and while that was long enough to explore much of Puerto Rico, I feel like there is so much more of Costa Rica left for me to experience. But I certainly can't argue with your decision.


mary615 profile image

mary615 4 years ago from Florida Author

Hi DeborahNeyens. It was a tough choice but I chose Puerto Rico to spend three weeks all by myself! Iwant to go back this winter if possible. I did love Costa Rica, but because of my age, I'd go back to PR because Medicare will pay there just like the US.

Both places are wonderful and beautiful.


Liz 4 years ago

Hi , it seems like a hard decision, I live in the USA now. I 'm from Puerto Rico and I married a guy from Costa Rica , I visit both country almost every yr, Puerto Rico because we buried our mom there (to check her grave and cry) and we visit Costa Rica because my father and law live there and husband and kids wants to visit grandpa.ok so back to where you should go. I'll pick Costa Rica, love both country but you see more in CR, people are learning more English , cheaper , exotic, the only thing I don't care about CR is the food, We maybe speak Spanish even though different accent and some words have a different meaning. But the food is totally different for me , but I'm learning and trying to enjoy their food. So good luck .


mary615 profile image

mary615 4 years ago from Florida Author

Oh Boy, Liz, you have the best of the two worlds! Puerto Rico and Costa Rica. I do like both places. I do think CR is prettier in a lot of ways than PR, but since I'm on Medicare, I would probably choose PR since Medicare would pay there and not in CR.

Thanks for reading, Mary


starstream profile image

starstream 3 years ago from Northern California

I hope you will give us an update on Puerto Rico and your new housing situation. What kind of rent cost is there? I would love to try Puerto Rico first then perhaps Costa Rica later. I live out in California so the flight would cost much more.


mary615 profile image

mary615 3 years ago from Florida Author

Hi, starstream. In my opinion it is almost a "toss up" between the two countries: Puerto Rico and Costa Rica. Since I wrote this article I returned to PR and spent a glorious two week vacation. If I were looking for a place to live, I'd have to chose PR because Medicare would pay US citizens there, but not in CR.

Both places are wonderful. I hope you can check both of them out one day.

Thanks for reading and commenting, Mary


Mike Robbers profile image

Mike Robbers 3 years ago from London

Both are great destination and that was certainly a welcome dilemma! Great hub and very beautiful pictures.


tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 3 years ago from New York

Its a good thing you weren't depending on my opinion for this one Mary. Your descriptions make both countries sound beautiful and your pictures just emphasize their beauty.

Obviously medical convenience and not having to get a passport would move PR closer to the top of the list.

So where to this winter?

Voted up, useful,, and interesting.


suzettenaples 3 years ago

I enjoyed reading this article. I have been to PR but not to Costa Rica. PR is beautiful as you say and has many conveniences and advantages because it is a territory of the US. I love the photos and both countries are beautiful. Great write and read!


mary615 profile image

mary615 3 years ago from Florida Author

Hi Mike Robbers. Yes, both Costa Rica and Puerto Rico are both beautiful places, and I do love them both. I lean more toward PR though.

Thanks for reading and taking the time to comment, and thanks for the nice compliment on my photos. Mary


mary615 profile image

mary615 3 years ago from Florida Author

Hi there, tillsontitan (Mary). I love both countries, but I have returned to PR twice now, and that is clearly my choice.

Thanks for reading, and the votes, Mary


mary615 profile image

mary615 3 years ago from Florida Author

Hi suzettenaples. I'm happy you enjoyed reading about Costa Rica and Puerto Rico. Yes both are beautiful countries.

Thanks for your nice compliment on my Hub, Mary


teaches12345 profile image

teaches12345 3 years ago

I don't know if I could choose between the two. The coast of Puerto Rico looks beautiful, but the mountains of Costa Rica are magnificent. How can anyone choose? Thanks for sharing the highlights.


mary615 profile image

mary615 3 years ago from Florida Author

Hi, teaches12345. Yes, it was hard for me to decide which I liked better: Puerto Rico or Costa Rica, but PR won with me because of the Medicare issue, and the money is the same as the US.

Thanks for reading and commenting, have a wonderful day, Mary


blessedsea 2 years ago

Just found this thread so I am sure you have been to and back from both Costa Rica and Puerto Rico a few times by now. I have had the privilege to have lived in both countries for many years. Mom is Puerto Rican, Dad is Costa Rican. I have been living in Costa Rica for the past 20 years. Both countries have their charm, pros and cons. I do find the people of Puerto Rico to be warmer and the food is a lot tastier as well. I lived for 15 years on a coastal town on the West side of Puerto Rico where I went through high school and college...childhood and college friends and first time love so sentimentally I am more attached to Puerto Rico. Beaches of both countries are lovely, weather is less "wet" in Puerto Rico. When I am away from PR, I miss it and when I am away from Costa Rica, it miss it too. Crime in PR is higher than here in Costa Rica.


mary615 profile image

mary615 2 years ago from Florida Author

Hi, blessedsea Thank you so much for adding your comment on my Hub comparing Puerto Rico and Costa Rica. Since I wrote this article I have made another trip to PR for two weeks. I have not been back to Costa Rica, but would love to revisit it.

Sounds like you love both places equally as much! I think if I make a permanent move, it will be to PR because of medicare, etc.

I just read an article in a news mag. that CR is experiencing severe water shortages now, because they have allowed so many people to move there, plus all the new condos, etc. on the beaches.

Thanks so much for reading and leaving the great comment, Mary


Og 13 months ago

PR is not a country! It's a US territory

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