Facts about Puerto Rico

Here are 30 interesting fun facts about Puerto Rico that were chosen and researched especially for kids.

puerto rico header

30 Puerto Rico Facts for Kids

puertorico flagPuerto Rico flag

1. Puerto Rico is an archipelago, or group of islands, in the Caribbean Sea of the North Atlantic Ocean.

2. Puerto Rico is a territory of the United States of America/ USA.

Puerto Rico is not an independent country or state but a group of islands in the North Atlantic Ocean. There are about 100 small islands and cays in the archipelago. Only three islands are inhabited all year round. The main island is called Puerto Rico.

puerto rico mapLocation of Puerto Rico

3. Puerto Rico is located on the North American continent and part of Central America. Puerto Rico is about 1,600 km/ 1,000 miles off the coast of Florida/USA. 

4. Puerto Rico is the smallest island of the Greater Antilles islands. The easternmost islands of the Greater Antilles, Puerto Rico is located to east of the Dominican Republic.


5. The land area of the main island Puerto Rico is larger than that of the smallest state of the USA, Rhode Island.

6. San Juan is the capital city of Puerto Rico. About 2.4 million people live there. This is the oldest European settlement in the territory of the USA.

The capital city is named after Saint John the Baptist whose name in Spanish is San Juan Bautista. The city was founded in 1521.

puertorico sanjuanSan Juan

7. The first settlements of indigenous people date back about 4,000 years. The islands were inhabited by the Taíno people from the 7th century onwards. The island was inhabited for a long time before Columbus reached Puerto Rico on his second voyage in 1493.

The first Spanish settlement was established by Juan Ponce de León in 1508, who later became the first governor of the island. The Spanish colonised the island in the early 16th century and brought in slaves from Africa. Slavery was abolished in 1873.

During the Spanish-American War in 1898, the U.S. army invaded Puerto Rico and under the Treaty of Paris, Puerto Rico was ceded by the Spanish to the USA.

puerto rico castillo san felipeCastillo San Felipe del Morro - second citadel of San Juan

In 1917, Porto Ricans were granted US citizenship. 

Puerto Rico Geography

8. The highest point of Puerto Rico is the Cerra de Punta with 1,338 m/ 4,390 ft in height. This peak is in the Central Mountain Range, the Cordillera Central.

The main island of Puerto Rico is mountainous with the Cordillera Central dividing the island into a northern and southern region. The coastal plains stretch widely along the northern and southern coastlines. Puerto Rico has no natural lakes.

puerto rico salinasPuerto Rico

9. The Caribbean island is known for its almost 300 stunning sandy beaches such as Flamenco Beach, Pelicano Beach or Tortuga.

puerto rico flamenco beach Flamenco Beach

10. Puerto Rico is located at the boundaries of the Caribbean and the North American tectonic plates, thus earthquakes and tsunamis are recurring events.

11. Close to the coast lies the Puerto Rico Trench which is the largest and deepest trench in the North Atlantic Ocean. Here is also the deepest point of the Atlantic Ocean, the Milwaukee Deep.

12. Puerto Rico's El Yunque National Park houses the only tropical rainforest of the forest system of the USA. 

puerto rico el yunque forestEl Yunque tropical forest

The rainforests are on the northeastern side of the island. Most of the rain falls on the North side of the island, because of the prevailing winds come from the North.

Facts about Puerto Rico

13. Puerto Rico has a population of about 3.2 million people. However, over 5 million Puerto Rican people live and work around the world, however, most of them in mainland USA. In New York City alone there are about one million Puerto Ricans. 

14. The Puerto Ricans call themselves Boricua. It is important to note that Puerto Ricans cannot vote in U.S. presidential elections.

15. The official languages of Puerto Rico are Spanish and English.

16. The vast majority of the Puerto Ricans are Christians (89%). The cathedral of San Juan Bautista is the oldest Roman Catholic church in the United States.

puertorico cathedralSan Juan Bautista cathedral

17. Famous Boricua people include tennis player Monica Puig (born 1993), baseball player Yadier Molina (born 1982) as well as basket ball players J.J. Barea (born 1984) and Carlos Arroyo (born 1979).

One of the most famous and most revered movie stars in Puerto Rico is Oscar award winner Rita Moreno, who starred in 'West Side Story' musical in 1961.

The parents of singer Jennifer Lopez, who was born in New York, also come from Puerto Rico. Singers Ricky Martin and Marc Anthony as well as NASA astronaut Joseph Aquaba also have Puerto Rican heritage.

About half of the population still live under the poverty line. Many Puerto Ricans work in the tourism sector. Did you know that San Juan is the main port for cruise ships in the Caribbeans?

Facts about Puerto Rico
Name | National Symbols

18. The name Puerto Rico originates from the Spanish and means "rich port".

19. The national colours are red, white and blue. The national symbols include the coquí frog and the Puerto Rican spindalis bird.

puerto rico spindalis birdPuerto Rico spindalis

Facts about Puerto Rico

20. The coquí is the most common frog species in Puerto Rico and one of the island's proud symbols. There are 16 different coquí species. Most of these frogs can be found in the tropical El Yunque national park.

puertorico frog coquiPuerto Rico coqui

21. There are 16 bird species recorded in Puerto Rico. 

Rich sea life inhabits the ocean surrounding the islands and Puerto Rico has some stunning coral reefs which are known for fabulous snorkelling experiences.

Facts about Puerto Rico

22. The currency of Puerto Rico is the US-Dollar. 

23. The main economic sectors are tourism, financial services and agriculture. About six million visitors visited Puerto Rico in 2023. 

puertorico cayo icacosExploring the inhabited Cayo Icacos beaches

24. The main natural resources are copper, nickel and oil.

25. The main trading partners of this United States territory are Ireland, Italy, Netherlands and Japan.

26. Puerto Rico is situated along one of the most busy shipping routes in the world on Mona Passage to the Panama Canal. San Juan has one of the largest ports and natural harbours in the Caribbean.

Facts about Puerto Rico | Climate

27. Puerto Rico has a tropical climate with high temperatures all year round. The average temperature is about 29°C/ 85°F.

The islands have two seasons: a dry and a wet season. The rainy season lasts from April to November. Puerto Rico experiences tropical storms and hurricanes during these months.

puertorico gozalandia waterfallGozalandia waterfall

28. The average water temperatures in Puerto Rico is 28°C/ 82°F.

Puerto Rico Food

29. Facts about Puerto Rico: Mofongo is often considered the national dish of Puerto Rico. This dish consists of a fried green plantain-mash mixed with butter and garlic and sometimes pork crackling. Mofongo is usually served with seafood, crabmeat, octopus or pork and chicken meat.

puertorico mofongoMofongo

Puerto Rico's cuisine is varied and a blend of Spanish, African and local Taíno dishes.

Seafood is one of the main food supplies. Most dishes include plantains, beans or rice. 

30. Tostones are a popular snack. These green plantain wheels are made with thick plantain slices that have been marinated in a garlicky water and then are panfried.

puertorico tostonesTostones

Image Credits on Facts about Puerto Rico: photo stock from shutterstock and wikicommons, if not otherwise stated.

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Facts about Puerto Rico

Sources for Facts about Puerto Rico page:

  • Central Intelligence Agency. "Puerto Rico." CIA World Fact Book. Last updated 9 April 2024. Last accessed 12 April 2024
  • Puerto Rico Tourism. "Guide to Traditional Puerto Rican Food." DiscoverPuertoRico. Last accessed 12 April 2024
  • Puerto Rico Tourism. "Best Beaches in Puerto Rico." DiscoverPuertoRico. Last accessed 12 April 2024
  • SanJuan. "Top Attractions". Cupeles. Last accessed 12 April 2024

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