Jamaica vs. Puerto Rico

The Caribbean region is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world. It is famous for its pearl white beaches and crystal clear sea. Jamaica and Puerto Rico are two island countries in the Caribbean that draw thousands of tourists yearly. They offer everything from scenic landscapes, thrilling adventures, as well as unique history and culture.
Jamaica vs. Puerto Rico

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Jamaica is a beautiful country. It has pristine coasts, lush mountains, and bustling tourist hubs. But aside from that, its allure is its amazing local cuisine and electric entertainment.

On the other hand, Puerto Rico is just as charming as Jamaica. It features similar beaches, mountains, and bustling city centers. However, its main appeal lies in its long history and rich culture that allows visitors to immerse in cities built hundreds of years ago.

All in all, Jamaica and Puerto Rico have their features to boast of. So how do you choose where to travel between the two?


Jamaica is a lush island in the Caribbean blessed with amazing tourist attractions. It is famous for its scenic beauty as well as rich cultural heritage. You can go on adventures or visit historical cities depending on where you are on the island.

Montego Bay is arguably the most visited tourist destination in Jamaica. It’s a resort town on the northern coast of the city and is easily accessible by plane or boat. The town is filled with lively bars, restaurants, and entertainment shops to keep the night alive 24/7.

On the other hand, the capital city of Kingston lies opposite Montego Bay. It is located along the southeastern coast of Jamaica and is one of the busiest cities in the country. It is primarily famous for its historical and cultural attractions about the unique Jamaican life.

What Makes Jamaica Unique?

The Culture and Entertainment Industry

Jamaica is the birthplace of popular trends in music, dance, and entertainment. You can hear reggae music blasting on the radio and see people in the streets practicing their moves to the dance hall. You can surely feel the electric energy of Jamaican culture as you travel around the country.

The city of Kingston is home to several cultural attractions that allows tourists to immerse themselves deeper into Jamaican history and culture:

Bob Marley Museum

If you appreciate reggae music, visiting the Bob Marley Museum is a must. The Bob Marley Museum in Kingston features the home of the world-famous reggae artist. It sheds light on the singer’s life journey and celebrates his accomplishments.

Trench Town Culture Yard Museum

The Trench Town Culture Yard Museum is another reggae-dedicated attraction featuring Bob Marley’s childhood neighborhood and hometown. The architectural and cultural museum explores Bob Marley’s life as a child and uncovers the origins of the singer’s music.

Port Royal

The Port Royal and Devon House are some of the most historic sites on the whole island of Jamaica. Port Royal sits along the coast of Kingston and was once the home of several notorious pirates in history.

A walking tour will take you through famous spots such as Fort Charles, the Giddy House, the HMJS Cagway, and more.

The Devon House

The Devon House takes visitors back to the late 19th century in the home of Jamaica’s first black millionaire. The glorious mansion features a combination of Georgian and Caribbean architecture. Each room of the Devon house features and tells a piece of Jamaica’s history.

Exotic Food and Local Cuisine

There’s no other way to enjoy Jamaican music and culture than indulge in the local cuisine. Jamaican food is characterized by strong spices and seasonal and earthly flavors famous in the Caribbean region. Do not forget to try Jamaican jerk cuisine available in pork, beef, chicken, lobster, and fish.

You can find different interpretations of jerk meat in Jamaica wherever you are. Grab a bite of jerk food from roadside eateries to fine-dining restaurants to get the full local experience.

Chance for Adventure Everywhere

Jamaica’s wild geography opened up the gates for numerous adventure activities. Instead of lounging by the beach, you can spend the day surfing at Boston Beach or the Palisadoes Strip. You might even catch the Makka Pro Surf Contest which is the largest surf competition in the Caribbean.

If you’re tired of the sea, why not take your adventure up the mountains and above the treetops? The renowned Chukka’s Zipline passes over the YS Falls over the Dunn’s River. Appreciate more of the island’s wondrous beauty by hiking trails in the Blue and John Crow Mountains or river rafting on the Martha Brae.

The People

Jamaicans are considered some of the friendliest people in the world. You can always find them with a grin on their faces and a welcoming demeanor and presence. Their hospitality is also a reason why the entertainment scene is very much alive in the country. People are not afraid to socialize, converse, and entertain others.

Puerto Rico

Puerto Rico is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the Caribbean. It offers tourists a wide selection of attractions and activities to do. From beach trips, water sports, city walks, fort explorations, and more. Described as the Old World mashed with modernity, Puerto Rico’s historical sites take visitors hundreds of years back.

But aside from its history, Puerto Rico still developed as a top travel hub. Drawing thousands of visitors each year, Puerto Rico’s tourism is the perfect combination of relaxation and adventure. Its most popular tourist attractions and destinations highlight the island’s undisputed Caribbean beauty – from the mountains to the sea.

What Makes Puerto Rico Unique?

Beauty and Adventure in One

Nothing more embodies Puerto Rico’s beauty and adventure-filled attractions than the scenic la Ruta Panorámica Luis Muñoz Marín. The Panoramic Route is a 268 km-long (167 miles) stretch that passes right through the heart of Puerto Rico.

Several tourist attractions lie along the way. Get the chance to visit the Maricao State Forest, the Salto Curet, and the Punta Tuna Nature Reserve and Historic Lighthouse. Completing the Panoramic route typically takes at least two to three days. It starts from the western-most town of Mayagüez and leads to the town of Maunabo in the southeast.

Long History to Uncover

Puerto Rico was the first founded European settlement in the Caribbean region. It served as a gateway to the American continent for hundreds of years. Despite Puerto Rico’s development, historic buildings and sites stand amidst modern city centers. Tourists can explore hundred-year-old castles and fortifications to know more about the country’s long history.

Old San Juan

The Old San Juan is a mostly untouched and well-kept section of the capital city of San Juan. Viejo San Juan maintains the same buildings and architecture of San Juan way back in the 1520s. The charming Old San Juan also features other historic buildings such as the former home of Juan Ponce de León and the Paseo de la Princesa.

La Fortaleza

Listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the La Fortaleza is an imposing structure along the Bay of San Juan. The historic site was built in the 16th and 20th centuries using military and European architectural elements. Throughout the years, the grandiose fortress served as an arsenal, prison, and residence to high authorities of Puerto Rico.

Castillo San Felipe del Morro

The Castillo San Felipe del Morro is one of the series of defensive structures built along the Bay of San Juan. It stretches along the coast to protect the city. Commonly referred to as El Morro, the massive citadel was one of the country’s greatest military buildings and played a crucial role in wars. It was used as an outpost overlooking the Caribbean Sea for both Spanish and American forces.

Cuartel de Ballajá

The Cuartel de Ballaja was used as a military barracks in the 1850s. It features a three-story well-fortified building with a large courtyard in the center. The historic building was restored and repurposed for cultural, educational, and touristic use. The barracks now house the Don Ruiz – Roastery, Museum and Café and the El Museo de las Américas.

World-Class Golfing Experience

Golf enthusiasts know that Puerto Rico is a must-see destination. Whatever part of the island you are in, you’re sure to find a world-class golf course within the region. The island has over twenty championship golf courses spread along the north, west, down south, and east coasts of the country.

Bioluminescent Bays

One of Puerto Rico’s most unique attractions is the impressive bioluminescent bays in Lajas. Out of the five bioluminescent bays found in the world, three of them are located in Puerto Rico.

Unlike other bioluminescent bays that are seasonal, Puerto Rico’s glow all year round. The sought-after attraction features a peaceful kayak trip at night. Paddling through the water disturbs the dinoflagellates that make them emit a neon-like color.

Which Is Better – Jamaica or Puerto Rico?

Jamaica and Puerto Rico are some of the most popular tourist destinations in the Caribbean region. They offer more than just pristine beaches and all-inclusive resorts. Instead, both islands are blessed with a selection of wondrous tourist attractions. Traveling to either Jamaica or Puerto Rico includes thrilling adventures and inspiring cultural trips.

Jamaica’s charm relies on its culture. Its vibrant and buzzing energy draws visitors looking to have fun with the locals and other tourists. You can imagine them enjoying live reggae music and dancing along the streets. The local cuisine is also a must in Jamaica. Nothing beats traditional jerk meat cooking developed and perfected by some of the best home cooks and chefs in the country.

All of these along with Jamaica’s scenic beauty makes it a top vacation destination.

Puerto Rico draws people to its unique historic atmosphere. Tourists walking through the city of San Juan can find modern beach resorts on one side and massive stone forts on the other. Escaping city centers can also bring you to some of the most beautiful nature parks in the country.

Experience both beauty and history when you travel to different parts of Puerto Rico.

In the end, there is no “better” option. There only is your preferred experience.


Which Is Cheaper – Jamaica or Puerto Rico?

Popular travel destinations and attractions in Jamaica and Puerto Rico are quite similar. You have beautiful beaches, historic sites, and cultural trips. However, traveling around Jamaica is a lot cheaper compared to Puerto Rico.

If you are traveling alone, the average daily expenditure for a trip in Jamaica is around $100. On the other hand, Puerto Rico requires around $170 a day on average.

Between the two destinations, the food, accommodations, and transportation are cheaper in Jamaica. Also, popular tourist attractions in Puerto Rico such as the Castillo de San Cristóbal also and Rio Camuy Caves have pricier entrance fees.

Is Jamaica Poorer Than Puerto Rico?

Statistics show that Puerto Ricans have a better quality of life compared to those in Jamaica. In terms of GDP per capita, Puerto Rico ranks higher than Jamaica for the past three decades, per the World Bank.

The difference between the economies of both countries can also be seen in their health, education, and public sectors. In Puerto Rico, people are expected to live longer and earn more. On the other side, Jamaica has notably higher pregnancy, mortality, and unemployment rates.

Is Puerto Rico and Jamaica the Same?

Puerto Rico and Jamaica are two different island countries in the Caribbean region. However, they do have a lot of similarities. Jamaica and Puerto Rico are closely similar in terms of size, climate, and geography.

Both countries have popular resort towns making them some of the most visited destinations in the Caribbean.

In terms of culture, Puerto Rico is rich in Latin culture while Jamaica is highly influenced by both American and British traditions.

Where Is Jamaica Compared to Puerto Rico?

Jamaica and Puerto Rico are both located in the Caribbean Sea, north of the continent of South America. Jamaica lies near the center of the Caribbean region. It has the island shared by Haiti and the Dominican Republic on its east, Cuba on its north, and the Cayman Islands far along its western coast.

Puerto Rico is situated on the eastern end of the Caribbean region. It lies on opposite sides of the island of Haiti and the Dominican Republic. The island of Puerto Rico sits next to the trail of smaller island countries including St. Martin, Antigua and Barbuda, and Dominica. The distance between the two island countries is roughly 1,130 km (702 miles).

Is Jamaica Next to Puerto Rico?

Jamaica is not immediately next to Puerto Rico. The countries Jamaica shares maritime borders with are the Cayman Islands, Cuba, Colombia, and Haiti. Other nearby countries include the Dominican Republic which is 755 km (469.1 miles) away and the Turks and Caicos Islands at 699 km (434.4 miles).

How Far Is Puerto Rico From Jamaica?

Jamaica and Puerto Rico lie 1,130 km (702 miles) apart. The island of Haiti and the Dominican Republic and the Caribbean Sea sits in between Jamaica and Puerto Rico.

Flying is the most common option for tourists traveling from Puerto Rico to Jamaica. However, it is possible to get a ferry ride from San Juan, Puerto Rico to Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. From there, you can book a flight to Jamaica for a possibly cheaper route.

What Direction Is Jamaica From Puerto Rico?

The island country of Jamaica is located left of the western coast of Puerto Rico. Hispaniola island sits in between the two. However, the city of Santo Domingo on the southern coast of the Dominican Republic serves as a primary transportation hub. It connects flights and ferry rides from Puerto Rico to Jamaica.

Which Island Is Bigger – Puerto Rico or Jamaica?

Jamaica has a larger land area compared to Puerto Rico. In terms of sheer size, the island of Jamaica stretches wider as opposed to the other. It has a longer coast as well as several high peaks.

The total land area within the property of Jamaica is approximately 10,991 sq km (4243 sq miles). On the other hand, Puerto Rico only has approximately 9,104 sq km (3515 sq miles), making it roughly 21% smaller than Jamaica.

How Do You Get to Puerto Rico From Jamaica?

Unfortunately for tourists, there is no direct flight from Jamaica to Puerto Rico. However, there are several travel options available to reach the city of San Juan.

The fastest route is to fly from Montego Bay Airport in Montego Bay, Jamaica, and catch a connecting flight heading to San Juan Airport. People taking this route can catch flights from airports back in the US or other Caribbean countries. They can find connecting flights to San Juan, Puerto Rico in New York, Miami, Panama, and more. The travel time for these flights depends primarily on the stopover before heading back out to Puerto Rico.

Can You Fly From Puerto Rico to Jamaica?

There is no direct flight available to and from Puerto Rico and Jamaica. However, several airports in Puerto Rico offer connecting flights to get to Jamaica. Tourists can catch flights heading back to the US or nearby Caribbean islands in Aguadilla (BQN), San Juan (SJU), and Ponce (PSE). From there, tourists need to catch a connecting flight that will bring them to either Montego Bay or Kingston, Jamaica.

How Long Is the Flight From Jamaica to Puerto Rico?

Several flight routes are available for tourists going to Puerto Rico from Jamaica. Considering that there is no direct flight from Jamaica to Puerto Rico, the duration of the flights differs from one another.

One factor that needs to be considered when it comes to flying from Jamaica is the airport they are first heading to. Airports closer to Jamaica have less travel time and stopover delays.

The length of the stopover in between flights adds to the total travel time from Jamaica to Puerto Rico. Regardless, traveling from the Montego Bay Airport to Luis Muñoz Marín International Airport in San Juan, Puerto Rico can take about 8 to 11 hours in total.

How Many Hours Is Puerto Rico From Jamaica?

Travel time from Jamaica to Puerto Rico depends on the flight route booked by the tourist. Flights heading back to US airports take 1 to 2 hours and the connecting flight to San Juan can take another 3 to 5 hours. The total travel time to Puerto Rico from Jamaica includes both flights as well as the length of the stopover in between.