Wondering whether to visit Puerto Rico or the Bahamas for vacation but not sure which is best? If so, you’re in the right place! 

Both Puerto Rico and the Bahamas have immaculate beaches, delicious cuisine, and plenty of tourist attractions making them great destinations for vacation.

In short, Puerto Rico is the best for those seeking an adventure that would like to explore national parks, hike through rainforests, kayak in bioluminescent bays, and enjoy delectable Puerto Rican cuisine.

The Bahamas is best suited for those looking to stay in a luxurious resort, island hop, explore some of the world’s most beautiful beaches, swim with pigs, and savor Bahamian seafood!

But, that’s just touching the surface and these places have far more to offer.

Keep reading to learn how Puerto Rico compares to the Bahamas.

By the end, you’ll know the key differences between locations so you can figure out which vacation spot suits you best! 

How does Puerto Rico compare to the Bahamas?

  • Puerto Rico’s unemployment rate is 4.1% lower than the Bahamas
  • Puerto Rico’s population size is 7.86 times greater than the Bahamas
  • The average age is 43.6 in Puerto Rico and 32.8 in the Bahamas
  • The average income is $24,560 in Puerto Rico vs $31,530 in the Bahamas
  • Puerto Rico is an unincorporated U.S Territory while the Bahamas is a sovereign nation

Puerto Rico vs Bahamas: A Brief Overview


Puerto Rico



Mountainous terrain with lush rainforests, waterfalls, caves, and white-sand beaches

Flat islands with white sand beaches, rocky hills, mangrove swamps, and abundance of coral reefs


Fried plantains, plantain cakes, pigeon peas and rice, coconut milk rice pudding

Cracked conch, jerk chicken, grilled lobster tails, johnnycakes, guava duff

Noteable Attractions

Flamenco Beach, El Yunque National Forest, Bioluminescent Bay, San Juan National Historic Site

Pig Beach, Queen’s Staircase, Atlantis Resort, Ardastra Gardens & Wildlife Conservation Centre


Very festive and exciting nightlife

Lively nightlife 


Generally safe in most areas (besides La Perla and non-tourist areas)

Not that safe (high likelihood of crime in Nassau and Freeport)


The average daily price is $218 for one person 

The average daily price is $249 for one person 

What is Puerto Rico known for?

Puerto Rico is a beautiful Caribbean island that’s full of history, culture, and natural beauty. Similar to the Bahamas, people often visit Puerto Rico for its stunning beaches and tropical climate.

Puerto Rico boasts a warm climate year-round, with temperatures ranging from 72°F to 89°F year-round.

The landscape of Puerto Rico is diverse and has rainforests, deserts, beaches, caves, and waterfalls making it the ideal spot for exploration. 

The capital city of Puerto Rico, San Juan is where most tourists stay. In San Juan, there is numerous beautiful beaches, historical sites, museums, and fine-dining restaurants. 

In addition, you can book a rainforest tour at the famous El Yunque National Forest if you’re up for an adventure. 

san juan puerto rico
San Juan, Puerto Rico (Photo by: Zetong Li)

If you’d like to get a glimpse into Puerto Rico’s rich cultural history, head over to San Juan’s historical site to view historical landmarks including the San Juan gate, San Felipe del Morro castle, and Castillo San Cristobal.

You’ll only have to pay $10 admission for every person over 16, and children under 16 can enter for free. 

San Juan Historical Site
Photo by: Stephanie Klepacki

In addition to the historical sites and rainforests, San Juan is home to plenty of beautiful beaches like El Escambron. 

That said, the best beaches in Puerto Rico are located on the East side, in the city of Culebra. Head to Flamenco Beach in Culebra to swim and snorkel in one of the most picturesque beaches on the island.

Or, head over to Tamarindo Beach to get the chance to snorkel with sea turtles. 

If you want to get the full experience of Puerto Rico, Vieques Island is worth visiting. Vieques is home to the famous bioluminescent bay, where you can go kayaking at night.

In addition to the bioluminescent bay, there are wild horses, wildlife refuges, ice cream shops, and plenty of beautiful beaches on Vieques.

It’s the perfect place for a day trip in Puerto Rico, and you can get there by taking a 30 minute flight from San Juan.

If you’re a foodie, you’ll love Puerto Rican cuisine. Puerto Rican food is a unique blend of Spanish, Cuban, and Mexican cuisine. They’re known for their fried plantains, pigeon peas (arroz con gandules), plantain lasagna, coconut pudding (tembleque), and other delectable dishes. 

Much like Cancun Puerto Rico has a lively and festive nightlife. If you’re looking for a fun night out, there are nightclubs, rooftop lounges, and street parties on the cobblestone streets of Old San Juan.

All in all, Puerto Rico is an outstanding vacation destination with something for everyone. Whether you’re seeking an adventure or looking for a relaxing getaway, Puerto Rico has lots to offer. 

san juan
Photo by: Molly Champion


Puerto Rico has many beautiful beaches that are known for being great for snorkeling. One of the most noteworthy beaches is Flamenco Beach, located in Culebra. 

It’s a one-mile beach with calm, crystal-clear turquoise waters that are perfect for swimming and snorkeling. In the capital of San Juan, Escambron and Candado Beach are two popular beaches that are great for swimming as well.

puerto rico
Photo by: Zixi Zhou

Things To Do In Puerto Rico

Puerto Rico has everything from tropical beaches to historical landmarks, and the charming downtown of Old San Juan.

Read our article on 20 unique things to do in San Juan for a full list of the best activities, including hidden gems.

  • Old San Juan
  • Guajataca Tunnel
  • El Yunque National Forest
  • Toro Verde Adventure Park
  • Caves (Cueva del Indio, Cueva Ventana)
  • Castillo San Cristobal
  • Bioluminescent Bay (Vieques)


Puerto Rico has lovely weather year-round, and the average temperature ranges from 72°F to 88°F throughout the year. 


The official language of Puerto Rico is Spanish but roughly half of the population speaks English as well. 


Puerto Rico uses the same currency as the mainland United States (USD) since it’s an unincorporated territory of the United States.


If you love Spanish, Cuban, and Mexican cuisine, you’ll absolutely love Puerto Rican food. 

Popular dishes include empanadas, fried plantains, mashed plantains (mofongo), and pasteles. 

As you can tell, plantains are a staple in Puerto Rican cuisine, and they’re used to make everything from pasteles to plantain lasagna.

Pasteles are similar to tamales but rather than corn flour they’re made of green plantain and taro root dough. The pasteles are either stuffed with chicken or pork and steamed in banana leaves like a tamale. 

For dessert, make sure to try “Arroz con dulce”, a popular rice pudding with coconut milk, raisins, and cinnamon!

Puerto Rico’s Nightlife

Puerto Rico has a very exciting and vibrant nightlife scene.

Head over to the old cobblestone streets of Old San Juan at night and you’ll find street parties, rooftop lounges, bars, and some of the best nightclubs.

If you have time, visit the La Placita de Santurce farmer’s market in the evening and watch it transform into a lively hotspot at night.

Is Puerto Rico safe to visit?

Compared to the Bahamas, Puerto Rico is much safer for travelers. Puerto Rico is generally very safe for travelers, as long as you stay within the tourist areas.

But, there are still areas with higher crime rates such as La Perla in San Juan. Always take the appropriate steps to protect yourself and your belongings. 

What Is The Bahamas Known For?

Located in the West Atlantic Ocean, the Bahamas is a popular vacation spot known for having some of the most luxurious resorts and breathtaking islands. 

The Bahamas is slightly larger than Puerto Rico, with the Bahamas being 5,358 square miles and Puerto Rico being 3,425 square miles

Atlantis Resort, Paradise Island
Atlantis Resort, Paradise Island (Photos by Expedia)

The key difference is that the Bahamas is a self-governing country that consists of over 700 islands, whereas Puerto Rico is an unincorporated territory of the United States that has around 100 islands. 

Since there are more islands in the Bahamas, it can be more difficult to navigate around. You’ll have to rely on ferries, water taxis, and small planes to view many of the popular beaches in the Bahamas.

Most visitors to the Bahamas book a stay at a luxurious resort in the capital city of Nassau, such as the Atlantis or Baha Mar. 

In Nassau, you can relax on the beaches, go on a city tour, or book an excursion to swim with pigs. The famous swimming pigs beach is located on the Exumas islands, which is around 80 miles from Nassau.

swimming pigs bahamas
Photo by Forest Simon on Unsplash

From Nassau, you can go on an excursion to swim with pigs at Rose Island, or the original Pig Beach in the Exumas. Rose Island is just a few miles off the shore of Nassau, so it’s a much better option if you’re staying in Nassau.

Nassau has historical landmarks, museums, great seafood restaurants, a rum distillery, and more. If you want to explore the city, you go on a food tour or city tour by van or ATV.

The Bahamas nightlife is abundant and there is plenty of popular nightclubs and beachside bars throughout the islands. Similar to Puerto Rico, the people in the Bahamas are very outgoing and sociable. 

If you stay at the Atlantis resort in Nassau, you’ll have direct access to the Atlantis casino and Bar Sol where you can enjoy a cocktail at night. 


The beaches in the Bahamas are the primary reason people visit. The beaches in the Bahamas have crystal clear waters, white sand beaches, and calm waves making them ideal spots for relaxation.

junkanoo beach
Junkanoo Beach, Nassau Bahamas (Photo by Geri Chapple)

Top Tourist Attractions In The Bahamas

  • Cable Beach and Cabbage Beach
  • Aquaventure and Baha Bay Waterparks
  • Queen’s staircase 
  • Swimming Pigs Excursions (Rose Island or the Exumas)
  • Bahamas Rum Cake Factory
  • John watling’s Rum Distillery
  • Fish Fry At Arawak Cay


Like Puerto Rico, the Bahamas has a subtropical climate with relatively warm temperatures all year. The average temperature ranges from 77°F to 90°F.

However, the Bahamas has a wet season that runs from June to November. If you plan on visiting during the wet season, there will be plenty of sunny beach days.


The primary language in the Bahamas is English, and you’ll find that many people speak Spanish, Haitian Creole, and Bahamian Creole (Bahamaniese). 


You don’t need to convert your dollars in the Bahamas since the US dollar is widely accepted throughout the islands. Bahamian dollars are fixed to the US dollar at a rate of 1 BSD per USD. 

Bahamas Cuisine

If you’re a seafood fanatic. Bahamian cuisine is for you. It consists of fresh seafood, with popular dishes being fish stew, conch, grilled lobster tails, baked crab, and more. 

Conch is their national dish, which is a large sea mollusk that’s used to make everything from cracked conch to conch chowder. Cracked conch is essentially conch meat that’s battered and fried similar to calamari. 

Other local favorites include peas and rice, jerk chicken, and johnnycakes. Johnnycakes are fried dough cakes made out of flour and cornmeal that resemble cornbread. 

Bahamas Nightlife

Compared to Puerto Rico, the nightlife in the Bahamas is not as notable. However, there are still plenty of beach bars and nightclubs throughout the islands.

Additionally, resorts like the Atlantis and Baha Mar have large casinos and night clubs on site.

bahamas resort
Image by: Mikhail Nilov

Is The Bahamas Safe To Visit?

Unfortunately, the Bahamas is not that safe, and there is a high likelihood of crime in both tourist and non-tourist areas. 

According to the US Department of State’s Travel Advisory, it has a crime level of 2, meaning that you should take extra precautions while visiting. 

However, there are still areas that are safe, such as the Abacos Islands, Cat Islands, and Berry Islands. Additionally, most resorts are very safe and well-patrolled.

FAQs: Puerto Rico Vs The Bahamas

When’s the best time to visit each place?

The best time to visit Puerto Rico and the Bahamas is between December to April when the weather’s at its nicest.

But, if you’re looking for the cheapest prices, between August and November is when the prices drop in the Bahamas. For Puerto Rico, the prices drop in September and July. 

Is Puerto Rico or the Bahamas cheaper?

Puerto Rico is generally cheaper than the Bahamas. The average daily price in Puerto Rico is $218 while it’s $249 for the Bahamas.

However, the prices will vary widely depending on the hotels, restaurants, and activities you do in each place.  

A week’s trip for two in Puerto costs an average of $3,048, whereas a week’s trip for two in Bahamas costs an average of $3,493.

Is Puerto Rico or the Bahamas better for families?

Both Puerto Rico and the Bahamas offer plenty of kid-friendly activities.

In Puerto Rico, you can take kids horseback riding, ziplining, snorkeling with turtles, and kayaking in the bioluminescent bay. There are also waterparks, museums, ice cream shops, and rainforest parks that are perfect for young kids.

In the Bahamas, you can take kids swimming with pigs or to the pink sands beach. There is also the Aquaventure water park, Ardasta Wildlife Conservation Center, the Pirates of Nassau Museum, and much more. 

Conclusion: Which is better for vacation?

Puerto Rico and the Bahamas are incredible vacation destinations with beautiful beaches and rich cultural histories.

Whether you’re looking to relax on the beach or venture out to see some of the most breathtaking nature attractions, both spots have something for you. 

If you are looking to explore national rainforests, kayak in bioluminescent bays, enjoy delectable Puerto Rican cuisine, and party on the streets of Old San Juan, Puerto Rico is for you. 

If you want to stay in a luxurious resort, island hop, swim with pigs, and go snorkeling in one of the largest barrier reefs on the planet, the Bahamas is for you. 

No matter which place you choose, they’re guaranteed to leave you with memories that last a lifetime.

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