One Big Reason Why Puerto Rico Might Be the Ultimate Travel Destination This Year

High vaccination rates and fewer travel restrictions make Puerto Rico a draw.
JT Genter
By JT Genter 
Edited by Meghan Coyle

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If you're into nature, history or gastro tourism, Puerto Rico provides a number of appealing reasons to visit any year. However, 2022 is shaping up to be an especially good time to travel there — and there's one big reason why: It's the most vaccinated place in the U.S.

As of February 2022, 81.1% of Puerto Rico's population have received a full COVID-19 vaccination, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. That vaccination rate is one of the highest among all U.S. states and territories, and ahead of the 64.8% vaccination rate for the U.S. as a whole.

Since there's still uncertainty about international border openings and COVID testing requirements, international travel has lost some of its appeal. However, travelers can avoid most of these hassles — and still enjoy a taste of international travel — by visiting Puerto Rico instead.

Here's a look at other reasons why Puerto Rico may be the ultimate travel destination in 2022.

Reasons to consider visiting Puerto Rico

Diverse activities for every type of traveler

Despite its small size, Puerto Rico offers diverse activities. You can explore Old San Juan during the day, including visits to the Spanish fort, museums and the second-oldest church in America. As night falls, venture out on a kayak on the brightest bioluminescent bay in the world. Then, fall asleep to the sound of coquí — Puerto Rico's native frogs — in a rainforest.

Puerto Rico may be known for its beaches, but it also has mountains, which are higher than the peaks of 24 states. Here, you can visit coffee haciendas, zipline in the forest or tube through caves.

For those who enjoy a drink, Bacardi's "Cathedral of Rum" factory is the largest premium rum distillery in the world. The factory is located across the harbor from Old San Juan and is open for tours.

No COVID testing requirement to fly home

As of December 2021, all travelers returning to the U.S. from a foreign country must provide a negative COVID-19 test taken no more than one calendar day before departure.

Since Puerto Rico is a U.S. territory, travelers flying back don't need to provide a negative COVID test to board their flight.

No passport required

U.S. citizens and permanent residents don't need a passport to travel to Puerto Rico, as long as you don't connect in Mexico or another foreign airport. That makes Puerto Rico an option for travelers who don't have a passport — or whose passport may have expired during the pandemic.

  • Routine processing: Six to eight weeks.

  • Expedited processing: Two to three weeks.

And that's not including mailing times. So, if you don't have a valid passport or a long lead time until your next break from work, you'll want to stick to destinations that don't require a passport over the next few months.

There are plenty of ways to get there

Another reason to travel to Puerto Rico in 2022 is how easy it is to get there from the U.S. mainland.

According to the flight route tracking website FlightConnections, eight U.S. airlines fly nonstop to San Juan from 28 airports. It takes less than three hours to fly from Florida to San Juan, or around four hours from other parts of the East Coast.

For East Coast residents, it’s a shorter flying time to get to Puerto Rico than to the West Coast.

How to travel to Puerto Rico on a budget

Use points and miles

Depending on when you visit, cash airfares to Puerto Rico can be quite affordable. However, the best way to fly to San Juan is for almost free using airline miles or credit card points.

You can book an award flight to San Juan on American Airlines using as few as 9,000 points from Chase, American Express or Capital One. Points transfer from each of these programs to British Airways Executive Club at a 1:1 ratio.

Or fly nonstop to San Juan on Delta for as few as 7,500 SkyMiles each way. You can top off your Delta SkyMiles account by transferring points from American Express Membership Rewards at a 1:1 rate.

Fly in lie-flat business class seats

If you want to fly in style, look for routes where American, Delta and United fly wide-body aircraft to San Juan. On these large airplanes, like the Boeing 777 or 737, the business class seats recline into lie-flat beds. That means you can snag a comfortable nap on the flight to Puerto Rico.

Best of all, booking these premium seats doesn't have to make you points-broke. You can use as few as 20,000 AAdvantage miles to fly from Miami to San Juan in the airline's lie-flat business class. Or pay as few as 25,000 Aeroplan points to fly from Newark or Houston to San Juan in United lie-flat business class.

If you need Aeroplan points, you can transfer points to Aeroplan from Chase, American Express or Capital One.

If you're considering visiting Puerto Rico in 2022

Puerto Rico's high vaccination rates and relative ease of travel is shaping it up to be a hot travel destination this year — and that's not just a reference to the lovely tropical weather.

The island offers many diverse activities and an international flair without the need to have a passport or get tested for COVID before returning to the U.S. mainland. You can save yourself from the other hassles of COVID-era international travel by visiting Puerto Rico instead.

How to maximize your rewards

You want a travel credit card that prioritizes what’s important to you. Here are our picks for the best travel credit cards of 2023, including those best for:

Travel Cards from Our Partners
Chase Sapphire Preferred Credit Card

on Chase's website

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NerdWallet Rating
Rewards rate


5x on travel purchased through Chase Travel℠, 3x on dining, select streaming services and online groceries, 2x on all other travel purchases, 1x on all other purchases.


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Earn 75,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's over $900 when you redeem through Chase Travel℠.

Chase Freedom Unlimited Credit Card

on Chase's website

Chase Freedom Unlimited®
NerdWallet Rating
Rewards rate


Enjoy 5% cash back on travel purchased through Chase Travel, 3% cash back on drugstore purchases and dining at restaurants, including takeout and eligible delivery service, and unlimited 1.5% cash back on all other purchases.


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Up to $300

Earn an additional 1.5% cash back on everything you buy (on up to $20,000 spent in the first year) - worth up to $300 cash back!

Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card

on Capital One's website

Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card
NerdWallet Rating
Rewards rate


Earn unlimited 2X miles on every purchase, every day. Earn 5X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of trip options.


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Enjoy a one-time bonus of 75,000 miles once you spend $4,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel.

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