Officially called the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, or Estado Libre Asociado de Puerto Rico, Puerto Rico is now a self-governing commonwealth in association with the United States. The chief of state is the President of the USA. The head of government is an elected governor. As a commonwealth, versus a possession such as the Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico has their own constitution and a significant amount of autonomy.
Home to two-thirds of the 3.9 million Puertorriqueños, San Juan is the capital of Puerto Rico. The island’s inhabitants have all the rights and obligations of US citizens, such as paying social security, receiving federal welfare and serving in the armed forces, except the right to vote in presidential elections and the obligation to pay federal taxes.
As a US commonwealth, Puerto Rico uses the US dollar (US$), though it is often referred to as the “peso.” Spanish is Puerto Rico’s official language, spoken by everyone, although many locals also speak English.
Puerto Rico enjoys summer temperatures year round, with an average annual temperature of 80°F (26°C). Puerto Rico observes Atlantic Standard Time all year around, which means that they do not observe Daylight Savings Time (one hour later than Eastern Standard Time, EST, from October to April, and the same as Eastern Daylight Savings Time from the first Sunday in April to the last Sunday in October.
Did you know that, although they are a commonwealth of the United States, Puerto Rico has its own Olympic team and competes in the Miss Universe pageant as an independent nation?
And did you know that Puerto Rico has its very own Virgin Islands? The Spanish Virgins, including the magnificent islands of Vieques—with its fascinating “Bio Bay”—and Culebra.